“There are websites, and then there’s Wikipedia. The internet behemoth boasts 30 million articles written in more than 285 languages, tweaked by 70,000 active editors and viewed by 530 million visitors worldwide each month. As mountains of information go, it’s Everest. Teasing out trends from the open source encyclopedia’s archives is a task few would even attempt. Yet Erik Zachte did just that. Zachte used his statistical intuition to create “Wikistats,” an online statistics package that’s more than a trove of charts and graphs for data geeks. It’s the most direct measure yet of Wikipedia’s success in achieving its central objective: making the sum of all human knowledge available to everyone everywhere.” (via Wired.com)
“Anyone can edit Wikipedia. But the vast majority of contributors speak the languages of the world’s wealthiest, most-wired countries; though the site offers 287 languages, the only ones that have cracked 1 million articles are eight European tongues. Doesn’t seem quite fair, does it? In the next decade, however, the most dramatic growth in Internet use is expected to be in highly populous areas of Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.” (via Wired)
“Sound and musical content have long trailed behind other subjects on Wikipedia, but that is beginning to change with a new musical scores extension for MediaWiki, the software running Wikipedia and thousands of other wikis. The Score extension was added to a MediaWiki deployment earlier this year and allows users to render musical scores as PNG images and transform them into audio and MIDI files.” (via Wikimedia blog)
“After three and a half months at the Metropolitan New York Library Council, I’m still figuring out what it means to be a consortium based Wikipedian-in-Residence WiR. METRO is a member-resource organization for a large and diverse body of institutions, each with their own interests in Wikipedia. METRO’s members include 150 libraries and archives in the museum, cultural, public and medical sectors in New York City. Members range from the American Museum of Natural History Library, to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, to the Cornell Weil Medical College Library.” (via Wikimedia blog)
“We’re pleased to announce Beta Features, a way you can try out new features on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia sites before they are released for everyone. Beta Features lets developers roll out new software in an environment where lots of users can use these features, then give feedback to help make them better.
You can think of it as a digital laboratory – where community members can preview upcoming changes and help designers and engineers make improvements based on their suggestions.” (via Wikimedia blog)
“An algorithm that assesses the quality of Wikipedia articles could reassure visitors and help focus editors on entries that need improving, according to the computer scientists who developed it. The result is many high-quality articles on a huge range of topics in more than 200 languages. But there are also articles of poor quality and dubious veracity. This raises an important question for visitors to the site: how reliable is a given article on Wikipedia?” (via Mashable)
“Today Airtel and the Wikimedia Foundation announced a partnership to launch Wikipedia Zero, an initiative to provide free access to Wikipedia on mobile phones. This partnership with Airtel will help provide Wikipedia access to 70 million new users in sub-saharan Africa, starting in Kenya. One exciting aspect of this partnership is that we are reaching a group of people we’ve never been able to reach before: mobile phone customers who don’t have internet access.” (via Wikimedia blog)
Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Sue Gardner’s response to paid advocacy editing and sockpuppetry
“Editors on the English Wikipedia are currently investigating allegations of suspicious edits and sockpuppetry (i.e. using online identities for purposes of deception). At this point, as reported, it looks like a number of user accounts — perhaps as many as several hundred — may have been paid to write articles on Wikipedia promoting organizations or products, and have been violating numerous site policies and guidelines, including prohibitions against sockpuppetry and undisclosed conflicts of interest. As a result, Wikipedians aiming to protect the projects against non-neutral editing have blocked or banned more than 250 user accounts.” (via Wikimedia blog)
“When Wikipedia decided to roll out an aggressive fundraising effort a few years ago, the free encyclopedia came with a remarkably effective battle plan. For the entirety of the campaign, co-founder Jimmy Wales stared visitors down from the top of every page, making you feel guilty every time you viewed an article without paying a dime. It worked. From 2011 to 2012, Wikipedia’s fundraising arm, the Wikimedia Foundation, pulled in $38.4 million. It was a major increase from the $5 million raised from 2007 to 2008, one that occurred even as editorial involvement with Wikipedia was on the decline.
But where does all this money go?” (via Mashable)
“Medical students at the University of California, San Francisco, will be able to get course credit for editing Wikipedia articles about diseases, part of an effort to improve the quality of medical articles in the online encyclopedia and help distribute the articles globally via cellphones. While professors often incorporate Wikipedia work into classes, hoping that student research can live on online, the university and others say this is the first time a medical school will give credit for such work.” (via New York Times)