Offline Projects/About Offline
The goal of the Wikimedia movement at large is to make knowledge freely available to all of humanity; currently, however, the content knowledge available via the Wikimedia projects is mostly confined to those who have access to a broadband Internet connection – or less than 5% of the developing world. It is critical for the reach of the movement to proactively consider ways to make the information available to the offline majority of the global population. In order to achieve the greatest scale of impact possible, Wikimedia must intentionally focus on the largest demographic segment of the world in order to address the steadily increasing “digital divide.” The offline work is geared to expand the reach of the collective knowledge and broaden participation in the project.
Current world situation
About five billion people in the world do not have access to Internet, and these are grossly over-represented in developing countries. While over 50% of the developed world's population is online, only 17% of the population in transition economies are online and only 15% in developing countries. Beyond hardware constraints in developing countries, the costs of information and communications technology (ICT), normalized for income, are much lower in developed countries—countries with relatively high income levels—than in countries with low income levels. That is, people in developing countries have to spend relatively more of their income on ICT services than people in developed countries. For example, in 2009, an entry-level broadband connection cost developing countries approximately 167% of Gross National Income (GNI) per capita, while in developed countries this same connection averaged only 2% of GNI.
The Wikimedia Offline product solution is a set of content libraries which can be "read" and delivered by a pre-installed piece of software, allowing for a non-connected (i.e., offline) user an online-type of experience with a pre-selected collection of content.
The ecosystem of forming this offline solution, then, consists of four primary components, and all offline efforts are geared at one of these four pieces:
|CONTENT||Selecting the Wikimedia content to be displayed offline
|STORAGE||Packaging the selected Wikimedia content in a standard file format
|READER||Accessing the stored Wikimedia content via a platform|
|DISTRIBUTION||Spreading the selected Wikimedia content into areas that need it!
Outside of mobile phones, the most scalable and efficient way of reaching those in the Global South without predictable access to Internet is likely via computer-based software distributed through education channels. For more detail on the distribution options, see the Offline strategy page.
The education channels are not only a reachable, sizable portion of the market but also are most equipped to utilize and contribute to the mission of Wikimedia.
Reachable at a scalable level
Of all the potential customers in the offline world, the education sub-segment is the one that is not only the most likely to benefit from an offline Wikimedia but also the most direct to reach:
- Few key providers: In developing countries, there are a few key providers of low-cost, educational computers.
- Governments are purchasers: Unlike retail, the purchasing base for primary and secondary students is somewhat consolidated and tends to be run through either state or national governments
Sizable of market
While it varies by country, approximately 30% of the population in the developing world is primary or secondary school age, and university enrollment is growing.
- Primary & Secondary: An estimated ~550M students and teachers have some level of access to a computer in the Global South
- Tertiary: An estimated ~110M students and teachers are estimated to currently be in the Global South's university system
Ability to utilize materials
The population in the education system is most likely to benefit from access to WM/WP for a variety of reasons:
- Literate: On average, populations 15-24 have literacy rates about 8ppt higher than the adults (25+) for the same country.
- Tech savvy: Educational experts agree that school is the primary location for learning technical skills.
- Learning environment: Students will be able to see the direct benefits of leveraging the content on the WM projects for their classroom settings.
Potential to contribute
Though it is yet to be determined if the offline product will offer an avenue for offline editing, there is certainly potential for the educated populace to provide high value contributions if given the opportunity in the future. For example:
- An increasing number of schools are going online. This increases the probability of eventual access to the standard online experience or at a minimum could provide future opportunities of offline edits being uploaded when connections occur.
- The educated populace is the most able to contribute to projects in local languages (see literacy & technical points above).
- Education is directly related to income, which is also related to technology ownership and utilization. That is, the students today are most likely to be the computer owners tomorrow, and if they are exposed to and familiar with content and layout of Wikipedia, they may be able to add valuable contributions in the future.
See distribution map here. Please add the detailed information from any of your distributions!
Note: content guides needs to be developed!
Go to Offline Guides for full list of developed guides.
Note: Repository needs to be developed!
Go to OpenZim Content Library for available library of openZIM files.
See Offline Help FAQs for more information.
Other relevant pages
- Offline Home
- openZIM - official website of the open source .ZIM file format that has made this all possible. ZIM files are compressed websites, as easily manageable as ebooks.
- Kiwix - Software created to read .ZIM files which are compressed websites, or basically ebooks.
- Wikipedia for Schools - Online version of this project
- See Offline Wikimedia Projects for a full list of offline related projects