Many people will be familiar with Wikimedia's largest and most popular project, Wikipedia. Wikipedia, with over 9 million articles spread over more than 250 different languages - of which nearly 190 are considered "active", with nearly 10 million users between them, is hard to miss. But by giving to Wikimedia, you are not only supporting this immense bank of human knowledge, you are also supporting the many other projects that Wikimedia hosts.
Perhaps the largest "sister" project of Wikipedia is the Wiktionary project. With almost 3,000,000 articles over 172 language projects, Wiktionary describes itself as "a project to create open content dictionaries in every language" - a goal that is fast being caught. Wiktionary is unusual in the fact that it has created this immense resource with significantly less contributors than Wikipedia - only just over 102,000 users have made a total of almost 16 million edits over the projects - that's an average of 154 edits per person, assuming every contributes equally. Wikipedia's 9,700,000 users, in contrast, have an average edit count of 40 edits.
Being the fourth largest project by Wikimedia (ousted only by Wikispecies in third place), Wikimedia Commons is a repository of over 2.1 millions freely usable media files, including images, video, audio, amongst other media. With over 200,000 users signed up to contribute, Commons acts as a place where these files can be uploaded centrally, and accessed from any Wikimedia project that so desires. And anyone can use these images as long as they adhere to the Reuse guide. You can even upload your own images, sounds, or videos here if they are useful in an article on a Wikimedia project - such as a news photograph that would be useful on Wikinews, or a pronunciation of a word for Wiktionary.
One of Wikimedia's 17 "Special Projects", Wikispecies is an open, free directory of species, covering Animalia, Plantae, Fungi, Bacteria, Archaea, Protista and all other forms of life. With an impressive collection of over 110,000 articles - all available under the GNU Free Documentation License - Wikispecies describes itself as more of a professional resource rather than a general knowledge database like Wikipedia - but people are free to contribute to and use both as and when the information is required.
Perhaps one of the least known projects hosted by Wikimedia, but with over 300,000 articles contributed by the tiny user base, a mere 37,000 over 54 language projects at time of writing, Wikisource is a formidable online library of free content publications - including source texts, translations, historical documents, and bibliographies. The resource started as a collection of supporting texts for Wikipedia articles - but soon outgrew its home at Wikipedia and moved on to a new domain. Now it is a flourishing community with a small group of dedicated contributors.
A project "which aims to collaboratively report and summarize news on all subjects from a neutral point of view", Wikinews is another relative infant in terms of wiki size. With only 44,000 articles over its 22 editions, of which 18 are "active" - and a user base of only 30,000 - people would be forgiven for thinking that the project lies dormant half the time. Wikinews, however, primarily in the English edition (which has spurred on activity on other language editions) is a hive of activity, with "Wikinewsies" constantly interviewing, researching, reporting, and developing news stories, often being the very first to break news (as was notable in the 2005 London Bombings) with images, field reports, and even developing Wikinews Video Reports - complete with cheesy anchors!
Described as "a multilingual online open-content compendium of quotations", Wikiquote is much like the other projects by Wikimedia: all content is released under the GNU Free Documentation License. With over 70,000 articles over 87 editions, and a user base of over 55,000, Wikiquote is a very valuable resource, and also has a thriving community base behind it!
A project that aims to build a collection of free e-book resources, including textbooks, manuals, and other public domain books. Wikibook's 125,000 users aim to provide comprehensive resources for students and teachers alike - and with an article count of over 80,000, with over 300,000 pages in total - this goal is fast becoming a reality.
A community working towards the creation and use of free learning materials and activities, Wikiversity is a multidimensional social organization dedicated to learning, teaching, research and service. Its primary goals are to create and host free content, multimedia learning materials, resources, and curricula for all age groups in all languages and develop collaborative learning projects and communities around these materials.
So, when you are considering your donation to Wikimedia, think not only of Wikipedia, but also of the other projects that also need your help - and not just money either! Why not donate some time to learn about these other projects - you might even find something you enjoy amongst the younger projects - whether it be gathering news reports for Wikinews, quoting famous people for Wikiquote, or photographing for Commons.
Author Information: Paul Williams, from Essex, England, has been a contributor to the Wikinews project since June 2006, Wikinews Administrator since November 2006, and is an accredited freelance Wikinews reporter. He also sporadically contributes to Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons.