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Offline Projects/Offline Help

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Q: What is the purpose of providing an offline version of Wikipedia?
A: 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 – less than 5% of the developing world. The offline work is geared to expand the reach of the collective knowledge and broaden participation in the project.



Q: How do I get a copy of the offline WIkipedia?
A: You can download it right away! See this install guide for more information.

Current projects


Offline materials


Q: What offline resources are currently available?
A: Numerous offline projects are happening in the community around the world today in terms of storage formats, reader development, collection compilations / article selections, and avenue of access:

  1. Storage: openZIM is an open, standardized file format storing Wiki content for offline usage.
  2. Readers: Multiple open source software projects exist to create a standardized “reader” software that can read content packages from a specific storage forms, for example kiwiz, obawix, and WikiBrowse.
  3. Collection: Wikipedia 1.0 is the primary project working to identify and organize a core set of articles to be stored in an offline format, and is set to be released in 2011. Other programs exist to create collections as well, for example, cuts exist in German, Italian, Malaysian, Polish, and Spanish (though the storage formats for those cuts are not all the same). WikiProjects and WikiSlices also create packaged subsets of articles.
  4. Avenue of access: Offline materials are currently packaged in various forms, including print, DVD, external device, download (e.g., USB, CD), and mobile (note: a separate strategy is being developed with an exclusive focus on mobile).

Deployment efforts


Q: What deployment of offline materials has occurred / is occurring?
A: Many projects have occurred at the community level in working for the distribution of offline resources. For example, in 2005 & 2008, SOS Children's villages distributed an English Wikipedia DVD to their locations across Africa. In early 2010, the collection of articles called Wikipedia 0.7 (30K collection of English articles) on Kiwix was installed in a school lab in South Africa. Moreover, OLPC has begun distributing some of their computers in Latin America with a pre-downloaded version of Wikipedia. Many, many more exciting things are going on now too, get involved with them!

WMF and offline


Q: What support is the Wikimedia Foundation providing the offline project?
A: The Foundation is concentrating its efforts on accelerating the development and distribution of an offline product in the developing world. 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. WMF is focusing its efforts on the following:

  1. Storage format: openZIM
  2. Reader: Kiwix
  3. Collection: Wikipedia 1.0
  4. Format: download/DVD/USB
  5. Distribution: Education channels (e.g., universities, secondary schools, primary schools)

For more information, see the WMF tech blog posting.

Opportunities to contribute


Q: How can I / my community contribute?
A: There are a lot of different ways to get involved! We could use more help in the article selection process (particularly for languages outside of English) and the technical development of kiwix. Moreover, communities are encouraged to aid in the distribution and installation of offline versions of Wikipedia into their local schools and/or the training of teachers and students on how to use the resources.
If interested in participation at any level for the offline projects, please see Volunteer Page.

Common tech issues


Offline USERS






Many of the computers in these schools have viruses that spread through USB drives, so there is a risk of getting your own drive infected. But most of these viruses are spreading-only, non-destructive and are worms (.exe files) that need to be run to activate.

  • It is advised to use a USB drive that has a read-only switch, or just have a robust anti-virus on your own system and exercise caution. Nikhilsheth 06:15, January 20, 2011 (UTC)
  • Though there are some risks, I've had very good luck with "Security Essentials" which is free, seems to clean systems well, and doesn't require an internet connection. You also need to download the latest virus definition file, but in my experience it will protect the computer quite well for a year without further updates. Note that in severe infections, installing any virus software can destroy the system, but I would say that happens to me less than 1 in 10 times. Jfield 15:37, March 9, 2011 (UTC)

Not working / Not indexing on older computers

  • Go to the folder where kiwix.exe is located, open the "install" folder there and run "vcredist_x86.exe" to install the necessary drivers. Click the link to download this file form kiwix.org. Spl thanks to Emmanuel from kiwix.org for sharing this! Nikhilsheth 09:52, January 21, 2011 (UTC)
  • Even after installing vcredist_x86.exe per above, search still did not work on some computers for me. Also, the kiwix window would start very small in the top left corner and had to be expanded to see content. This was on a virus-free XP Pro SP3. solution: Installed "dotnetfx.exe" -- after that both problems were resolved. Jfield 16:26, March 8, 2011 (UTC)


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