Wikipedia.org presentation on Saturday morning

Presentation on Saturday 16th, 10:00-11:00, in Kiasma ground floor seminar room.

Wikipedia is a Web-based free content encyclopedia that is openly edited and freely readable. It has 187 independent language editions sponsored by the non-profit WikimediaFoundation. Entries on traditional encyclopedic topics exist alongside those on almanac, gazetteer and current events topics. Its goal is to create "a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge."

Wikipedia contains approximately 1.3 million articles, over 490,000 of which are in its English language edition, over 200,000 in the German language and over 100,000 in the Japanese language. It began as a complement to the expert-written Nupedia on 15 January 2001. Its name is a combination of Wiki, a Hawaiian word meaning "quick" adopted to describe a kind of collaborative software, and encyclopedia. Having steadily gained in popularity, it has spawned numerous conceptually related sister projects such as Wiktionary, Wikibooks and WikiNews.

Wikipedia has been praised for being free, being openly accessible, covering a wide range of topics, and being detailed. It has been criticized for lack of authority versus a traditional encyclopedia, systemic bias, and for deficiencies in traditional encyclopedic topics. Vandalism is a persistent problem. Its articles have been cited by the mass media and academia, and mirrored or forked by websites. Wikipedia’s content has not been distributed officially or on a large scale in any physical form.

The idea of a free, open community, united by technology, where increasingly vast amounts of content are actively written, reviewed, and debated for public consumption, makes the Wikipedia distinctive not only amongst encyclopedias but amongst informational resources in general. The credibility of Wikipedia has often come into question, because the fact that the content can be freely edited by anyone who so chooses opens the door for a certain degree of inaccuracy and poorly researched content.

Although Wikipedia is a community, project founder JimmyWales insists that this is secondary: "Wikipedia is first and foremost an effort to create and distribute a free encyclopedia of the highest possible quality to every single person on the planet in their own language."

Wikipedia is one of the most popular reference sites on the Web, receiving around 50 million hits per day.


Florence Devouard
Florence Nibart-Devouard is an editor of WikiPedia, and currently serves as the Vice-Chair of the WikimediaFoundation.

Florence was born in Versailles (France). She grew up in Grenoble, and has been living since then in several French cities, as well as Antwerpen in Belgium and Tempe in Arizona (USA). She is a engineer in Agronomy (www.ensaia.inpl-nancy.fr) and also holds a DEA in Genetics and biotechnologies (www.inpl-nancy.fr).

She has first been working in public research, in flower plant genetic improvement, and later in microbiology to study the feasability of polluted soil bioremediation. She is currently employed in a french firm, Quantix Agro (www.quantix.com) to conceive decision-making tools in sustainable agriculture.

She joined the Wikipedia adventure in February 2002 and is known as a contributor under the pseudonym Anthere. Florence is 36, and live in Clermont Ferrand (France) with her husband Bertrand and her two children, Anne-Gaëlle aged six and William eight.