Wikijunior is part of the Wikimedia Foundation, begun on November 7th, 2004. The project is a collection of free books for children, which is being written collaboratively in many languages at Wikibooks projects.
All of the content is covered by the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license. All of the books are completely original and developed by the hundreds of contributors who have worked on them. Contributions remain the property of their creators, while the copyleft licensing ensures that the content will always remain freely distributable and reproducible. See copyrights for more information.
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In 2004, the John and Frances Beck Foundation approached the Wikimedia Foundation, inquiring about whether we would be able to use our resources to develop educational material for a younger audience. We responded that we would be interested in such a project, and that our materials can be adapted for children. A proposal was sent, and Wikimedia received a grant to develop the project. This grant was confirmed at a foundation board meeting on October 16, 2004.
The original idea was for Wikijunior to produce a series of full-color glossy booklets (48 pp.; 8 ½ x 11) for a young audience (ages 8-11) on a variety of topics that interest kids. Suggested titles include Astronomy, Animals, Dinosaurs, Countries of the World, Science, and History. The books were not to be comprehensive. Instead, they would form various subseries, such as African Mammals, Jurassic Carnivores, South America, the French Revolution, etc. The texts were to follow a format, so that each page, while different, will also have certain common features, so that kids can flip through the different pages and find the themes that are of special interest to them. This was to be achieved by using headers with questions. (e.g., Where do lions/giraffes/elephants live?)
Wikijunior has an extensive online component. Like any Wiki project, it is developed online, and the community creates, edits, and verifies the content.
However, Wikijunior aims to produce a separate website, a "children's portal" that is suitable for children to browse the content.
- The content on this portal would be verified. Sources should be given and versions should be relatively stable.
- The portal will also have a special area for kids to ask questions.
- The layout and design of the children's portal site would be greatly simplified when compared to a standard wiki.
What has already been accomplished
Wikijunior is an ongoing project.
- Development site created
- Prototype books have been created
- Develop a process for launching new titles.
- Develop additional titles.