Wikimedia blog

News from the Wikimedia Foundation and about the Wikimedia movement

Milestones

Wikimedia Projects in Urdu: Unleashing the Latent Potential

Urdu Wikipedia logo commemorating the creation of 50,000 articles.

On April 24, 2014, Urdu Wikipedia reached a new milestone of 50,000+ articles. There was jubilation among the contributors and a special project page to commemorate the event was created. The event was reported in the Urdu media with the Hindustan Express calling it a “giant leap.” Similar enthusiasm was seen on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter (see this tweet by the recently formed Wikimedia Community User Group Pakistan).

This achievement raised concerns over the sudden growth of the Urdu Wikipedia articles. As per the Wikimedia Statistics for March 2014, Urdu Wikipedia had a total of 35,699 articles during that month. It also had a growth of 263 articles every day, which was surprising considering the relatively low number of active editors. In fact, when I communicated this on the Wikimedia India mailing list, Asaf Bartov, Head of the Wikimedia Foundation’s Program and Global South Partnerships asked me (his reply), “was it a coordinated plan to activate a bot to create stubs, as has been hypothesized?” He also added, “if there’s any Urdu speaker who can shed more light on this, please do.”

Taking a cue from Asaf’s message, I decided to go on a Skype call with the leading Urdu Wikipedians. I set an agenda which aimed at not just analyzing the article-creation but also the overall workings of Urdu Wikipedia.

The Skype call took place on April 29, 2014 between 4-6 pm Indian Standard Time. The actual dialogue was in Urdu but the transcript is available here in English. While interested readers may go through the call transcript “in toto” at the cited link, for the purposes of this blog, I am just going to summarize the key points.

This Skype call included five participating Urdu Wikipedians: Muzammil (myself as a moderator, inspired by my recent designation as the Programme Officer at Access to Knowledge, Centre for Internet and Society, Bangalore). Shuaib Nadwi, admin for Urdu Wikipedia, hailing from Nagpur, India. Tahir Mahmood, admin for Urdu Wikipedia, originally from Pakistan but currently based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Qaisarani, a Finland-based Urdu Wikipedian. And Irfan Arshad, a student from Vehari in Pakistan.

Some of the key findings of this interaction are as follows:

(more…)

Ten years of supporting free knowledge

Ten years ago today, on June 20, 2003, Jimmy Wales announced the founding of the Wikimedia Foundation. He entrusted the new nonprofit with the operation of Wikipedia, launched two and a half years prior.

Wales recalled the early days of Wikipedia and marveled that it has grown to be such an important and ubiquitous source of free information for the world. “It is hard to imagine that in 2003, Wikipedia was still running on just two servers – which I used to administer myself in the beginning,” said Wales, who noted that he founded the Wikimedia Foundation because he believed Wikipedia would need the support of a stable and trusted institutional base for years to come.

The Wikimedia Foundation’s second Board of Trustees (photo taken at Wikimania 2006). From left to right: Tim Shell, Florence Nibart-Devouard, Jimmy “Jimbo” Wales, Michael Davis, Angela Beesley

“Ten years later, the Foundation continues to fulfill that role, thanks to the trust of our millions of donors, the hard work of its staff, the thoughtful oversight enacted by my fellow Board of Trustees members and last but not least the many thousands of volunteers who not only manage and build our projects, but also take an active part in the governance of the Foundation,” Wales said.

Those two early servers, which belonged to Jimmy Wales’ company at the time, have now grown to more than 800 servers operated by the Wikimedia Foundation. They are the backbone of the free knowledge projects that serve over half a billion readers each month, with 21 billion monthly pageviews. The Foundation also provides the legal basis for projects, defending them against legal threats and protecting the trademarks that have come to represent the global community’s work.

The name “Wikimedia” had been suggested earlier in 2003 by Wikipedia editor Sheldon Rampton for an endeavour that would “use Wiki-style rules to enable public participation in the creation and editing of all kinds of media: encyclopedias and other reference works, current news, books, fiction, music, video etc.”

During the following decade, Wikipedia was joined by several sister projects to realize parts of the vision of a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. The Foundation continues to work on creating a richer Wikimedia experience beyond text, making use of the web’s expanding possibilities. It has also taken on the challenge of sustaining and increasing editor participation, with projects such as the VisualEditor, the most complex software development project undertaken by the Foundation so far, which is already being live-tested on numerous language versions of Wikipedia, and slated for a full rollout next month.

As part of its commitment to increase access to free knowledge, the Wikimedia Foundation has launched Wikipedia Zero, a program to convince telecommunications operators to waive data charges to Wikipedia for the billions of people around the world whose primary opportunity to access the internet is via a mobile device. Keeping up with the mobile revolution on the internet, the Foundation has upgraded Wikipedia’s interface for mobile users, including introducing a “Nearby” feature and starting to enable contributions from mobile devices.

Wikimedia Foundation staff (September 2012)

Erik Möller, a volunteer Wikipedian in Germany in 2003, and today the Deputy Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, highlighted the importance of this programmatic work. “Today, the Wikimedia Foundation is well positioned to modernize the user experience and the infrastructure supporting our projects, while dedicating all its efforts to the public, working transparently, and releasing code as open source,” said Möller. “This wouldn’t be possible if Jimmy hadn’t laid the foundation 10 years ago to dedicate the operation of Wikipedia and our other projects to a non-profit organization, supported by a community of donors.”

The Foundation works with a global network of chapters, affiliates and volunteers in achieving its mission. Several grants programs exist to support smaller projects by individuals and groups. Last year saw the launch of the Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC), entrusted with reviewing larger funding requests from movement organizations and giving recommendations on the most effective use of donation money to achieve the movement’s goals. The FDC is volunteer-driven, and two of its seats are currently up for election by the community, as are three seats of the Board of Trustees. If you are an eligible Wikimedian, don’t forget to cast your vote until June 22!

As for Wales, who could have made Wikipedia a commercial venture and monetized the site’s content with advertising, the decision to safeguard the future of the Wikimedia projects with a non-profit couldn’t have been wiser. “Wikipedia is something special. I like to compare it to a temple for the mind: A place we can all go to think, to learn, to share our knowledge with others,” he said.

“The Wikimedia Foundation is here to preserve and nurture that place, and make sure that Wikipedia remains a shining example of openness and freedom, a public good that is part of many people’s daily life around the globe.”

Jay Walsh
Senior Director, Communications

Swedish Wikipedia surpasses 1 million articles with aid of article creation bot

On June 15, 2013, Swedish Wikipedia hit one million articles, joining the club of English, Dutch, German, French, Italian, Russian and Spanish Wikipedias. The article that broke the barrier was the butterfly species Erysichton elaborata. There is, however, one fact that separates this million article milestone from almost all others.

The one milionth article was not manually created by a human, but written by a piece of software (a “bot”). The bot, in this case, Lsjbot, collects data from different sources, and then compiles the information into a format that fits Wikipedia. Lsjbot has to date created about 454,000 articles, almost half of the articles on Swedish Wikipedia.

Lsj, Sverker Johansson, who runs Lsjbot

Bot-created articles have led to some debate, both before Lsjbot started its run, and currently. First, there was a lengthy discussion on Swedish Wikipedia after the initial proposal by Lsjbot’s operator, science teacher Sverker Johansson. The Swedish Wikipedia community was wary, having learned the lessons from previous conflicts about article-creating bots, including rambot in 2002. But there was also curiosity, so a series of test runs was made to make sure that the articles were acceptable.

After review, the Swedish Wikipedia editor community said okay. Lsjbot started by creating articles about different species of animals and plants – articles that are largely uncontroversial and that can have a similar format without feeling mechanical.

Subsequent criticism has come from prolific article writer Achim Raschka on German Wikipedia’s Kurier. Here the main complaint was that article is short: only 4 sentences long. This is a valid complaint. Even if longer articles are not always better, they tend to contain more information.

Therein lies the rub. The bots use as many datasets as their operators can find, but many sources are behind paywalls or are incomplete across entire taxon (covering only selected species). The upside of this criticism is that each statement in articles created by bots is supported by references, something that doesn’t happen in many other articles. This means that more references are added to Wikipedia by bots than by humans. This is of course not in itself a sign of quality, but it is a start for human contributors to search for more information. As with any article in Wikipedia, the readers can also help make bot-created articles better.

Is this the future for Wikipedia, to let software create articles? With Wikidata, it is certainly becoming easier to use software to create articles, something that can benefit the smaller Wikipedias. But we still need more humans to help make the determination of which sources are high quality, what information is presented correctly and what qualifies as clear writing.

So far, bots have shown that they are much quicker to create articles. In that respect, I, for one, bow to our robot overlords.

Lennart Guldbransson, Swedish Wikipedia editor

Spanish Wikipedia surpasses the 1 million article milestone

This post is available in 2 languages:
Español 7% • English 100%

Español

Wikipedia en español supera el millón de artículos

Este 16 de mayo de 2013, la comunidad de Wikipedia en español anunció un nuevo récord de edición, cuando «La enciclopedia libre» superó la barrera del millón de artículos.

Wikipedia-logo-es-millon-vector.svg

Wikipedia es la enciclopedia más grande, más actualizada y de más rápido crecimiento en todo el mundo, caracterizada por ser libre, multilingüe y escrita únicamente por voluntarios de todo el mundo, que trabajan en forma colaborativa. Actualmente cuenta con más de 25 millones de artículos en 271 idiomas. Solo Wikipedia en español recibe cerca de 2 millones de visitas por hora, y es la segunda versión de la enciclopedia con más usuarios: hoy cuenta con 16 590 usuarios activos. Es uno de los sitios más visitados de Internet, con lectores que van desde estudiantes y docentes, hasta periodistas, políticos, científicos, artistas y gente de la comunidad civil.

La tecnología wiki es lo que permite que sus artículos puedan ser modificados por cualquier persona mediante un navegador web. Sus contenidos están bajo la licencia libre Creative Commons Atribución-CompartirIgual 3.0, que posibilita a los usuarios copiar y modificar el trabajo de terceros, basándose en un principio conocido como copyleft. La base de datos, además, puede ser descargada gratuitamente. Pero el proyecto no se trata solamente de tomar la información necesaria. La enciclopedia funciona gracias a que millones de colaboradores dedican incontables horas de su tiempo libre a mejorar el contenido disponible en la web, desde corregir errores tipográficos, gramaticales y ortográficos, hasta extender artículos y crear nuevas entradas sobre personajes, lugares e hitos históricos desconocidos.

Es en este espíritu de colaboración que, a pocos días de cumplir 12 años, Wikipedia en español ha superado el hito del millón de artículos. No se trata solo de un millón de entradas diferentes, sino del trabajo conjunto de cientos de miles de personas en todo el mundo de habla hispana que, con su contribución individual, aportan a la creación de un proyecto colectivo que está en permanente actualización. Los editores provienen de diversos puntos del globo, de las más variadas profesiones, edades y culturas. Muchos de ellos ya no editan más, otros permanecen como colaboradores pero, invariablemente, todos dejan un poco de sí mismos como legado para la humanidad.

Wikipedia es fiel reflejo del dinamismo del saber y del mundo moderno, uno de los mayores logros de la sociedad del conocimiento. Es una enciclopedia viva.

Millars, Wikimedia España

(more…)

Wikimedia projects reach more than 500 million people per month

In the Wikimedia movement, we have a vision statement that inspires many contributions to our endeavor: “Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. That’s our commitment.”

comScore traffic data to Wikimedia sites.

comScore traffic data to Wikimedia sites.

We’re still a long way from realizing that vision, but we’ve recently surpassed an important milestone: as of March 2013, the combined sites hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation reached more than 500 million monthly unique visitors, according to the latest comScore Media Metrix data. Our traffic increased to 517 million in March, five percent higher than our previous record: 492 million in May 2012.

While more people are coming to Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia sites, they are also staying longer and reading more. Over the past 12 months, Wikipedia monthly page requests increased from 17.1 billion to 21.3 billion, with the mobile share increasing to roughly 15 percent of the total, or more than 3 billion monthly views (data). We’re also gratified to see growth in significant target areas: in India, traffic as a percentage of our worldwide total increased from 4.0 percent to 4.8 percent; in Brazil it increased from 3.6 percent to 5.9 percent.

To reach the entire planet, we will need to not only continue to expand our mobile offerings, but also eliminate barriers to access. With Wikipedia Zero, we’re partnering with mobile providers in the developing world to reduce or eliminate data fees for accessing Wikipedia on a mobile phone. In March, we announced the fifth major Wikipedia Zero partnership, which means that the program will be available to 410 million mobile users around the world.

For those who don’t have an Internet connection at all, Wikimedia movement contributors are enabling offline access to Wikipedia, such as the work by Kenyan volunteers who travel to rural schools and install copies of the encyclopedia on computers there. And now, there’s also an open source application for Android phones and tablets that makes it easy to download and read offline copies of Wikimedia content.

The idea of enabling every single human being to freely share in the sum of all knowledge is still as audacious as ever — but it’s also starting to look like an achievable goal, if we come together to make it happen.

Sue Gardner, Executive Director, Wikimedia Foundation

 

Italian Wikipedia surpasses one million articles

This post is available in 3 languages:
Italiano 7% • English 100%•  Español Spanish

English

(This is a guest post from Maurizio Codogno, Wikimedia Italia)

On 9 September 2005, the article Choisy-le-Roi, a French town near Paris, was created on the Italian Wikipedia. On 3 October 2008, the article Placca indiana, one of the tectonic plates in the lithosphere of the Earth, was also created. What can these articles ever have in common? Simple. they are, respectively, the 100,000th and the 500,000th article on it.wikipedia.org.

Scouts from Portugal at the opening of the 21st World Scout Jamboree

Scouts from Portugal at the opening of the 21st World Scout Jamboree

On January 22, at 4:50 am (Rome and Zurich timezone), the millionth article was created! Given the creation and deletion of articles that routinely happens on Wikipedia, it is not exactly clear which one is the actual millionth article. The two most likely candidates are 8mm (a California-based band) and Scautismo e guidismo in Portogallo (Scouting and Guiding in Portugal).

The Italian edition of Wikipedia is the fifth to have reached this milestone. In addition to the English language edition, which had its millionth article on March 1st, 2006 and now has well over four million entries, the “millionaire club” currently includes the Wikipedias in German (since 27 December 2009), French (since 21 September 2010) and Dutch (since 17 December 2011). The editions in Spanish, Russian and Polish are also approaching the milestone.

Surely, in August 2001, when the first Italian article was created, no one would even have dreamed of witnessing the millionth one. In the discussion about the creation of article number 100,000, some people jokingly wrote that they were getting ready for when the half a million goal was reached, a figure which seemed unattainable.

To tell the truth, the first two articles mentioned at the beginning of this post have something else in common. The links above show how the items appeared at their creation, but if you consult them today (respectively here and here), we can see that in these years the content of both articles has been greatly expanded. This is probably the best answer to those who believe that having too many articles is useless, if not harmful, for the encyclopedia: The structure of Wikipedia allows and even encourages the growth of knowledge, because even a slight improvement, when added to many others, can make a difference.

In fact, on the Italian Wikipedia, relative to other editions, the automated creation of pages is strictly limited to the cases where it’s tightly checked by humans and it encourages editor engagement, and has been almost non-existing in last years. Even more noteworthy is the fact that the 500,000th article was created by an unregistered user (a permission removed on the English Wikipedia in 2005), another confirmation of the practical philosophy of Wikipedia, which prefers authority of the text to authority of the writer.

The article Scautismo e guidismo in Portogallo is a product of Progetto:Scout, the combined effort of Wikipedia editors interested in developing and maintaining articles about scouting. The article itself, while entered by User:Lou_Crazy, is the result of a combined effort, in pure wiki style. Its contents come from the article Scouting and guiding in Portugal in the English language Wikipedia, which received contributions from at least ten different users since it was created in 2007. On the English Wikipedia there is WikiProject Scouting, which is analogous to Progetto:Scout. The text was translated by Lou Crazy, and it was adapted using templates written by members of Progetto:Scout to help in this effort. So, despite being only 2175 bytes long at its creation, this article already has a long history behind it, and it has already grown almost twice in size, including the addition of a photo.

Lou Crazy, who volunteers most of his free time as a scout leader, says that he started working on this article a few days ago, because it was missing, and he wants Wikipedia to be a great resource for scouts and guides who want to know more about their brother scouts and guides across the world. He had also prepared an article about Federação Escotista de Portugal, one of the scout associations in Portugal. So, when the counter was close to 1 million, he sent both articles and crossed his fingers.

The second candidate article, 8mm, was written by Nungalpiriggal, a fairly novice Wikipedian, who was awake and online that night, looking at the page counter with the mouse ready to press the Save Page button for the historical moment.

Why that article? First of all, Nungalpiriggal is a fan of that band and that page was missing. Second, he felt the millionth article should have respected Wikilove, thus, no controversial topics or discussed personalities, no football players or politicians, nothing that may cause any disagreement and confusion. So, the choice went to an international band that most people in Italy did not even know about (maybe, now that this article has been published, somebody else in Italy will listen to their music). And, last but not least, as a cameo in this page there is a link to Grey’s Anatomy, the article mostly viewed on the Italian Wiki in 2012.

Of course, no one plans to rest on our laurels and there are at least two new challenges for the encyclopedia. We need to increase the number of active contributors on Italian Wikipedia, which has stayed more or less constant for many months at around 8,000 people. Anyone can lend a hand, even just correcting a typo.

Of course we then have to improve the quality of individual items too. Today there are only 800 entries which are stated featured or good: it is true that the criteria for inclusion in those lists are very strict, but it is certainly possible to do much more. Finally, for those who feared that we are running out of items to be created, no worry! There is a page dedicated precisely to the requests for creating articles on topics not yet covered. Collaboration means that too!

Maurizio Codogno, Wikimedia Italia

(more…)

Wikimedia Foundation launches Wikivoyage, a free, worldwide travel guide that anyone can edit

The Wikimedia Foundation is excited to announce the launch of its 12th official project: Wikivoyage, a free, worldwide, online travel guide. Like Wikipedia and its sister projects, Wikivoyage is free to edit, free of ads, and built collaboratively by volunteers from around the globe.

Wikivoyage becomes the 12th official Wikimedia project and debuts on the 12th anniversary of the founding of Wikipedia on January 15th, 2001, what Wikipedians often refer to as Wikipedia Day. Wikivoyage is already available in nine languages: Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Russian, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish. There are approximately 50,000 articles, which are edited and improved by a core group of approximately 200 volunteer editors.

“There’s a huge global demand for travel information, but very few sources are both comprehensive and non-commercial. That’s about to change,” said Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation. “Wikivoyage is a great, useful service for travelers, and I’m expecting that with the support of the Wikimedia Foundation and the global Wikimedia editing community, it’s going to get even bigger and better.”

Wikivoyage has been an active wiki-based travel guide since 2006 in German and Italian, supported by the German non-profit Wikivoyage Association. The contributors on that site and the non-profit requested to migrate their content and offered to donate their brand to the new project hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation. The proposal was approved by the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees in October 2012. The site was moved over to the Wikimedia Foundation servers in November of 2012, where it was in Beta until today.

“The purpose of the Wikivoyage Association is to promote education and knowledge of all countries and regions in the world, as well as understanding among nations,” said Stefan Fussan, Chairman of the board of the Wikivoyage Association. “We’re very excited about the launch of Wikivoyage as a Wikimedia project, and about the future role of the Association in supporting the Wikivoyage community through its programs.”

Wikivoyage is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license, which allows anyone the right to read, copy, print, save, download, modify, distribute, sell, and update its content in any way, provided the terms of the free license are respected. This includes giving proper attribution to the creators of the content and ensuring that any reuse or derivative works are also freely-licensed.

“As contributors to Wikivoyage, we work hard to create high-quality content, written by travelers, for travelers, in their own language,” said Peter Fitzgerald, an administrator on Wikivoyage. “We’re very excited to be part of the Wikimedia community, and we invite travelers to join us in creating an independent, non-commercial, online travel guide for the world. We are confident that it will become the number one travel resource on the web.”

Matthew Roth, Global Communications Manager, Wikimedia Foundation

English Wikipedia crosses 4 million article milestone

A screenshot of the article just after it was created.

Wikipedia has succeeded through the dedication of its volunteer editors, who have created over 22 million articles across 285 language Wikipedias in just eleven years. Today, the English Wikipedia, the largest of the Wikipedias, celebrated its four millionth article, a remarkable milestone.

The four millionth article was Izbat Al Burj (عزبة البرج‎), a city in the Damietta Governorate in Egypt, with a population of 70,000. Within a few hours, the article had over 50 edits and was expanded from a short entry to one with several citations and multiple maps.

The article was written by volunteer editor Mohammed Farag (‎محمد فرج), an active Wikipedian on Arabic and English Wikipedia. Farag, whose user name on-wiki is Meno25, lives in Alexandria, Egypt.

“I am proud that I helped Wikipedia to reach 4 million articles and become the largest encyclopedia in the world,” Farag wrote in an email. “With about only 20,000 good and featured articles, I believe that all of us Wikipedians should concentrate more on the quality of the encyclopedia rather on the number of its articles.”

Though 4 million articles is a very large number, there is still a great deal of work to be done. There are new topics emerging each day which deserve coverage, and in a best case scenario, the great majority of Wikipedia articles could do with some improvement. About 20,000 articles out of these four million have been given ”good article” or ”featured article” status, which are assessment grades given by editors based on comprehensiveness, research quality, and writing style. They are awarded to articles only after they undergo a peer review process.

English Wikipedia celebrated the one millionth article on 1 March 2006 (Jordanhill railway station), and reached the 2 million milestone on 9 September 2007 (El Hormiguero) and 3 million on 16 August 2009 (Beate Eriksen). The German Wikipedia reached one million articles on 27 December 2009, the French Wikipedia on 21 September 2010, and the Dutch Wikipedia on 17 December 2011. The Italian, Spanish and Polish Wikipedias are all near the 1 million article mark as well.

On projects that see thousands and thousands of edits an hour, where articles are regularly created and other articles are deleted, it can be challenging to precisely pinpoint which article is exactly the 4 millionth. Other articles created around the same time as  Izbat Al Burj (عزبة البرج‎) include Idaho State Highway 48, the Siersza Power Station in Poland, ”Mushtum,” an Uzbek humor magazine, Albert C. Baker, an early 20th-century American judge, Brazilian cruiser ”Rio Grande do Sul”, an early 20th-century warship, and Intelsat 605, a satellite launched in 1991.

Wikipedia, and the other Wikimedia Foundation projects, aim to provide accurate and useful information to every person around the globe. This is being accomplished by the generous support of volunteers who provide their time, knowledge and expertise to the projects. While we celebrate what is certainly a major milestone, we hope you’ll join our community and help improve Wikipedia and its sister projects.

Matthew Roth, Global Communications Manager
With significant contributions from The ed17 and an unregistered user, who helped with the early drafts 

1 million media files uploaded using Upload Wizard

In May 2011, we announced a new way to share pictures, sounds, and video: the Upload Wizard. A year later, Upload Wizard has been used to upload more than 1 million freely licensed media files and has contributed to an acceleration of growth of the Wikimedia Commons community.

Countering the decline in retention of new contributors to Wikipedia, the number of contributors to Wikimedia Commons (individuals who make at least one upload) grew by about 25% from March 2011 to March 2012, compared with ~12% in the prior year. We attribute this growth primarily to two factors: the introduction of the Upload Wizard, and the successful “Wiki Loves Monuments” competition in September 2011, highlighted on the graph below.

Wikimedia Commons uploader statistics 2011-2012.png

(more…)

165,000 Photos Submitted During Second Annual Wiki Loves Monuments Photography Contest

Torre de Belém, Portugal. Photo: Joaomartinho63

 

 

Wiki Loves Monuments was a crazy idea: ask people to get out of their houses and take a picture of the cultural heritage around them, of monuments and buildings!
In September 2010, however, the idea proved far from crazy – 250 people participated in the Netherlands and submitted 12,500 photos. Last month, during the pan-European 2011 contest, we crushed that number.

In the past few months, volunteers throughout Europe have worked hard to organize this public photo contest in 18 countries throughout Europe – from Portugal to Estonia – and with great success. More than 5,000 people participated, submitting an amazing 165,000 photos– all available under a free license, and usable on Wikimedia Commons, Wikipedia and other places on the internet. As a comparison, the current record for the largest photography competition according to the Guinness Book of World Records stands at 126,501 images.

This project has been a success in so many different ways already. Not only 5,000 people participated, but an estimated 4,000 of these are ‘new users’ to the Wikimedia projects and through this contest they made their very first contribution to Wikimedia as a registered user. Now it is up to the community to cherish and welcome these people and help them find their way on the projects, supporting them and encouraging them to further contributions.

In 14 cities, related ‘Wiki takes the City’ events have been organized, and two of those are most interesting. Thanks to Wiki takes Andorra (a very small country between Spain and France) and the work of Amical Viquipèdia, we have now over 1,000 images of Andorra’s cultural heritage – covering 100% of the listed buildings! And in Wiki takes Cologne the organizational skills of the German chapter and volunteers were once again proven; the event was highly successful with more than 70 participants.

A young participant of Wiki takes Cologne. Photo: Elke Wetzig

 

Wiki Loves Monuments is not finished yet – it’s a continuous project, but the contest that ran through the month of September is now over. The national juries will deliberate in the coming month over the best photos from their countries, and submit 10 winners to an international jury by the end of October. By the beginning of December, the winners of the European contest will be announced, and the 2011 edition will come to an end. But the volunteers who have been working so hard on this will keep working to check, categorize and use the images in Wikipedia, write the articles, improve the monument lists and do all the other work that still lies ahead.

I would like for all of us to take a minute and thank all the people who have worked so hard to make Wiki Loves Monuments 2011 a success. Our partners on both the national and European level – cultural heritage organizations, chapters, sponsors and others – have worked hard to enable us to pull this off. But even more importantly, all the volunteers who have worked so hard to connect with the partners, create the monument lists, write background materials, write manuals, prepare contest rules, find jury members, find sponsors, prepare press releases, answer press enquiries, help with technical challenges, set up the wizards and banners, help the uploaders where necessary, check the incoming files and make sure that everything keeps on going – they deserve a big cheer and hug.

I really  hope this has not worn you out, and that you consider helping to organize and support this crazy idea again next year.

Lodewijk Gelauff – international coordinator of Wiki Loves Monuments