“Imagine a world where everyone can have free access to all human knowledge … that’s what we’re doing!”
These are the words used to sum up the meaning of the Wikipedia project!
Almost everyone in the world uses Wikipedia, but few have asked where it comes from and how it works.
Wikipedia is a multilingual collaborative encyclopedia, online and free of charge, supported by the Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit organization from U.S.A, born from the collaboration of Larry Sanger and Ben Kovitz, and also thanks to Jimbo Wales, who made available the necessary servers for the experiment.
Established in January 15 , 2001, in English language, it is probably one of the most amazing, eccentric and ambitious projects. After a few time, a German edition was created, and soon many other languages were added to the project.
The English edition , with more than 1,100,000 items, Wikipedia is the biggest encyclopedia, there are more than three million articles written in over 150 languages, some already well supplied, and others that have just started to grow.
Wikipedia is one of the 20 most visited websites in the world!
The main feature of Wikipedia is that it gives the opportunity for everyone to collaborate, using a system of editing and publishing in open language wiki.
The aim is to share knowledge with the idea that no one knows everything, but everyone knows something.
In other words it’s the concrete realization of the concept of Network.
No item is the work of a single author. Tens or hundreds of people work together to change a single item.
The result is a continuous work -in-progress.
The project of Wikipedia (to provide free content and free created collaboratively) has been extended to other ones with equivalent goals.
The other projects are in various languages, and they have developed communities.
Wikidictionary, a multilingual dictionary.
Wikibooks, a project that aims to produce collective textbooks.
Wikiquote, a collection of aphorisms.
Wikisource, an archive of free license texts.
Wikimedia Commons, an archive of free media documents.
It’s impossible to name all the projects, because new ones are arising every day.
Wikipedia is the fastest growing open source phenomenon in the world and this should make us think of how the nonprofit collaboration can create unique products. All this could be applied to any domain of action: economic, productive and social.
It is easy to take a picture of a world where all the existing projects will use the principles of sharing reaching that size.