The Internet Encyclopedia, which was launched in 2001, is currently the seventh most popular website in the world.
Wikipedia is celebrating its 20th anniversary on Friday and the collaborative Internet encyclopedia, produced by volunteers, aims to spend the next 20 years further expanding free access to information.
Founded on January 15, 2001 by British American entrepreneur Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia is now the seventh most popular website in the world, with more than 55 million articles viewed 15 billion times per month.
The website started in English, but within two months it had already launched in German and Swedish. It is now available in 309 languages.
But Wales has no intention of stopping there, with the languages of developing countries in the site’s viewfinder.
“It’s really important that the next billion people, two billion people who go online, want to participate in Wikipedia, develop their own knowledge pool, and they’re going to be counting on us to support this work, and that’s a great one. big part of how I think about the future, ”Wales told AFP news agency in an interview.
Hope you like our new birthday look! # Wikipedia20 pic.twitter.com/PwPbgBL2FR
– Wikipedia (@Wikipedia) January 15, 2021
In 2006, Wales set a goal of having 100,000 Wikipedia entries for each language with over a million speakers, but acknowledged that Wikipedia was still at least 20 years after achieving that goal. .
The nature of Wikipedia’s nonprofit status makes it an outlier among today’s Internet dominated by Google and Facebook, and let’s go back to the idealistic early days of the Web when the open-source movement harnessed the talents of volunteers to provide free access to tools and knowledge. .
Wales said it was inspired by these collaborative efforts.
“I had seen the growth of open source software, free software, and to me it seemed obvious to me that you could use the same type of techniques to create a free encyclopedia, so I was in a kind of panic because I thought this is such an obvious idea that other people will, ”he said.
“But in fact, we were probably two years into the project before anyone noticed or cared, so maybe it didn’t need to be that urgent.
Wikipedia continues to be a volunteer-driven effort, with each language site being built independently of original contributions rather than translated articles.
Unlike traditional encyclopedias, contributions from non-experts are welcome, which has sparked countless debates over its content and led to restrictions on updating certain entries.
The website has also been criticized due to the fact that its volunteers are predominantly white men from Western countries, with critics saying it lacks information on women and developing countries.