WIKIPEDIA REACHES 1 MILLION ARTICLES IN 100 LANGAUGES
September 20, 2004 (Tampa, Florida): The Wikimedia Foundation
announced today the creation of the one millionth article in
Wikipedia, its project to create a free, open-content, online
encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org Wikipedia.org).
Started in January 2001, Wikipedia is currently the world's
largest and fastest growing encyclopedia, with articles under
active development in over 100 languages. Nearly 2,500 new
articles are added to Wikipedia each day, along with ten times
that number of updates to existing articles.
Wikipedia now ranks as one of the ten most popular reference
sites on the Internet, according to traffic watcher Alexa.com
(http://www.alexa.com). It is increasingly used as a resource
by students, journalists, and anyone who needs a starting point
for research. Wikipedia's rate of growth has continued to
increase in recent months, and at its current pace Wikipedia
will double in size again by next spring.
With its dedicated community of volunteers, Wikipedia has also
gained recognition as a website for community interaction. This
has led to two international prizes in 2004, the Prix Ars
Electronica for "Digital Communities" and a Webby Award for
"Best Community" (see http://www.aec.at/en/prix/winners2004.asp
In addition, static versions of Wikipedia are being prepared
for release on CD or DVD. Soon to be available are a German
language version distributed by Directmedia Publishing, and a
bilingual French and English version, included as part of an
upcoming Mandrakesoft Linux distribution. More information is
available in the Foundation's newsletter
Wikipedia is created entirely by volunteers who contribute,
update, and revise articles in a collaborative process. The
process is governed by Wikipedia's official neutral point of
view [NPOV] policy, which requires that contributors work to
avoid bias in writing articles. Even articles covering
controversial topics can be developed using this process.
Contributors build upon each other's changes and flawed edits
are quickly repaired.
Quotes from Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia :
"The idea of sharing knowledge is powerful."
"Everything is peer-reviewed in real time."
Wikipedia runs on a wiki software platform called MediaWiki,
which allows anyone to edit a page at any time and have one's
changes visible instantly (wiki means "quick" in Hawaiian).
Visitors can also examine older versions of pages to see how
an article has developed.
All Wikipedia text is published under the terms of the GNU Free
Documentation License (GFDL), which lets contributors enhance
and modify each other's work based on a principle known as
"copyleft". This means the license allows third parties the
right to reuse Wikipedia articles as long as they pass on that
right to others. The MediaWiki software is available under a
similar license designed for software (GFDL details:
Wikipedia is becoming increasingly multilingual; for the past
year, it has experienced most of its growth in languages other
than English. Out of the more than 100 Wikipedia languages,
14 currently have 10,000 articles or more (English: 350k,
German: 135k, Japanese: 70k, French: 50k, Swedish: 40k,
Polish: 35k, Dutch: 35k, Spanish: 30k, Italian: 20k,
Danish: 20k, Portuguese: 15k, Esperanto: 15k, Chinese: 13k,
and Hebrew: 10k).
In addition to Wikipedia, the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation
supports several multilingual sister projects, including
Wiktionary (a dictionary and thesaurus), Wikiquote (a
compendium of famous quotations), Wikibooks (a collection of
manuals and textbooks), and Wikisource (a repository of public
domain documents). All of these projects are published under
the same license and run on MediaWiki software. To support
these projects, the Foundation has raised over US$100,000
(55,000 Pounds Sterling or 80,000 Euros) since its creation,
and is holding a fundraising drive this month with the aim of
raising an additional $50,000. More information is available
via the foundation's site
For questions and interviews, please contact (in English only):
Chair, Board of Trustees, Wikimedia Foundation
Executive Secretary, Board of Trustees, Wikimedia Foundation
For further background information, please see:
* Wikipedia's article about itself http://en.wikipedia.org/Wikipedia
* Statistics http://www.wikipedia.org/wikistats/EN/Sitemap.htm
* Selected feature articles
* Some responses to common criticisms of the wiki concept