Revolutionizing the way knowledge is shared.
20 million articles written in 282 languages.
“Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge.” That is the humble goal of Jimmy Wales, founder of the Wikimedia Foundation. Since its inception in 2001, Wikimedia’s most famous initiative – Wikipedia – has transformed the way the world obtains information. Free, multilingual, and edited by thousands of volunteers, it offers anyone with an Internet connection access to the largest and most up-to-date encyclopedia available today.
Wikipedia is built on the belief that information is not a for-profit commodity. It has created an open platform where people around the world can collectively share their knowledge: whereas the encyclopedias of the past were written by a minority of professionals, Wikipedia is available to be edited and reviewed by volunteers ranging in expertise and spanning geographical regions. The result is a database of peer-reviewed and accurate entries – some updated thousands of times.
" Wikimedia Foundation is a small non-profit that supports hundreds of thousands of volunteers – the people from all over the world who make our project, and give away their efforts for free so they can be enjoyed by hundreds of millions of people every day. You’re recognizing that community of volunteers by recognizing us.“
Rekindling the world’s insatiable appetite for knowledge, Wikipedia is visited by 477 million visitors per month, making the Wikimedia web property the fifth most visited in the world. It contains over 20 million articles in 282 languages and it is run by a meager staff of 97. In 5 years, Wikimedia plans to increase its global reach to 1 billion people and increase the number of articles in Wikipedia to 50 million – all while diversifying participation and improving the quality of its content. As part of this goal, Wikimedia hopes to increase participation from contributors in India, Brazil, and the Middle East and North Africa regions – where there are already buds of rich online engagement.
Wikipedia is not innovating a new technology nor is it staffing a mass of researchers to extract data from all corners of the earth. It is rather changing the world with an idea: to create a public space where all people can freely join to collaborate, share and communicate all of our collective knowledge. In its 12 years of existence, Wikipedia has become the largest collection of shared knowledge in human history. The brainchild of one man, it would never be possible without the hundreds of thousands of volunteers who offer their time and expertise to create its content.
Read also our interview of Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales.
(Photo CC-BY-SA 3.0 Victor Grigas)