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A white sphere made of large jigsaw pieces. Letters from several alphabets are shown on the pieces.
Wikipedia wordmark
The logo of Wikipedia, a globe featuring glyphs from several writing systems
Slogan The Free Encyclopedia
Commercial? No
Type of site Internet encyclopedia
Registration Optional, but needed to upload files, edit protected pages, or create pages in the English Wikipedia.
Available language(s) 275 active editions (285 in total)
Users 41,000,000 (total registered in all editions)[1]
Content license Creative Commons Attribution/
(most text also dual-licensed under GFDL)
Media licensing varies
Owner Wikimedia Foundation (non-profit)
Created by Jimmy Wales, Larry Sanger
Launched January 15, 2001 (2001-01-15) (18 years ago)
Alexa rank 7 (July 2013)[2]
Current status Active

Wikipedia (Loudspeaker.png pronunciation (info • help)) is an Internet encyclopedia project in many languages. It is free of charge (it does not cost money to use)[note 1]. It is also "open content," which means anyone can copy it for any need, as long as they follow certain rules.

It is owned by an American organization, Wikimedia Foundation, which is in San Francisco, California.

Its name is a combination of the two words wiki, a Hawaiian word for quick, and encyclopedia. Because the word was made by combining parts of those words, it is a portmanteau.

It was started on January 10, 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger as part of an earlier Internet encyclopedia named Nupedia. On January 15, 2001, Wikipedia became a separate website of its own. It is a wiki that runs using the software MediaWiki (like all other Wikimedia projects).

Anyone can change the pages in Wikipedia, or even make new ones. Wikipedia has a standard page layout for all pages in the encyclopedia.

As of December 2007, Wikipedia had about 9.25 million pages in 253 languages, and more than 1.74 billion words across all Wikipedias.

Some people think that the English Language Wikipedia shows bias and unfairness.[3] Editors of reference works such as the Encyclopædia Britannica have questioned Wikipedia's utility and status as an encyclopedia.[4] An example of bias is that around 90% of Wikipedia editors are male.[5] Other people think that Wikipedia is more useful than other encyclopedias because it is large and can be updated quickly.


Wikipedia originally developed from another encyclopedia project, Nupedia.

Wikipedia began as a related project for Nupedia. Nupedia was a free online English-language encyclopedia project. Nupedia's articles were written and owned by Bomis, Inc which was a web portal company. The main people of the company were Jimmy Wales, the guy in charge of Bomis, and Larry Sanger, the editor-in-chief for Nupedia. Nupedia was first licensed under the Nupedia Open Content License which was changed to the GNU Free Documentation License before Wikipedia was founded when Richard Stallman requested them.[6]

The Wikipedia Monument, October 2014

Larry Sanger and Jimmy Wales are the ones who started Wikipedia.[7][8] Wales is credited with defining the goals of the project,[9][10] Sanger created the strategy of using a wiki to reach Wales' goal.[11] On January 10, 2001, Larry Sanger proposed on the Nupedia mailing list to create a wiki as a "feeder" project for Nupedia.[12] Wikipedia was launched on January 15, 2001. It was launched as an English-language edition at,[13] and announced by Sanger on the Nupedia mailing list.[9] Wikipedia's policy of "neutral point-of-view"[14] was codified in its initial months, and was similar to Nupedia's earlier "nonbiased" policy. Otherwise, there were not that many rules initially and Wikipedia operated independently of Nupedia.[9]

Wikipedia gained early contributors from Nupedia, Slashdot, and also from search engine indexing. It grew to about 20,000 articles, and 18 languages by the end of 2001. By late 2002 it had 26 languages, 46 by the end of 2003, and 161 by the end of 2004.[15] Nupedia and Wikipedia both existed till Nupedia's servers were stopped in 2003. After this, its text was incorporated into Wikipedia. The English Wikipedia passed the 2 million-article mark on September 9, 2007, making it the largest encyclopedia ever assembled, eclipsing even the Yongle Encyclopedia (1407), which had held the record for exactly 600 years.[16]

The English Wikipedia reached 3 million articles in August 2009. In terms of the numbers of articles and of contributors it appeared to have been reduced around spring 2007.[17]

In October 2014, the Wikipedia Monument was unveiled to the public in Poland to honor all the contributors of the Wikipedia.

10th birthday

The logo used on the English Wikipedia on January 15, 2011

On January 15, 2011, Wikipedia celebrated its 10th birthday. It used a special logo (pictured) to celebrate its 10 years since it opened on January 15, 2001, and the logo was used for the whole day on the sidebar of the English Wikipedia.

Related pages


  1. ^note 1  Some language versions such as the English Wikipedia contain non-free images.
  2. Anyone can change Wikipedia pages


  1. Grand Total. July 24, 2013. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  2. " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2013-07-29.
  3. Simon Waldman, Who knows? The Guardian, October 26, 2004
  4. Robert McHenry, "The Faith-Based Encyclopedia", Tech Central Station, November 15, 2004.
  5. Simonite, Tom (October 22, 2013). "The Decline of Wikipedia". Technology Review. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  6. Richard M. Stallman (2007-06-20). "The Free Encyclopedia Project". Free Software Foundation. Retrieved 2008-01-04.
  7. Jonathan Sidener (2004-12-06). "Everyone's Encyclopedia". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 2006-10-15.
  8. Meyers, Peter (2001-09-20). "Fact-Driven? Collegial? This Site Wants You". New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved 2007-11-22. " 'I can start an article that will consist of one paragraph, and then a real expert will come along and add three paragraphs and clean up my one paragraph,' said Larry Sanger of Las Vegas, who founded Wikipedia with Mr. Wales."
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Sanger, Larry (April 18, 2005). "The Early History of Nupedia and Wikipedia: A Memoir". Slashdot. Retrieved 2008-12-26.
  10. Sanger, Larry (January 17, 2001). "Wikipedia Is Up!". Internet Archive. Retrieved 2008-12-26.
  11. "Wikipedia-l: LinkBacks?". Retrieved 2007-02-20.
  12. Sanger, Larry (2001-01-10). "Let's Make a Wiki". Internet Archive. Archived from the original on 2003-04-14. Retrieved 2008-12-26.
  13. "Wikipedia: HomePage". Archived from the original on 2001-03-31. Retrieved 2001-03-31.
  14. "Wikipedia:Neutral point of view, Wikipedia (January 21, 2007)
  15. ""Multilingual statistics". Wikipedia. March 30, 2005. Retrieved 2008-12-26.
  16. "Encyclopedias and Dictionaries". Encyclopædia Britannica, 15th ed. 18. (2007). Encyclopædia Britannica. 257–286. 
  17. Bobbie Johnson. "Wikipedia approaches its limits".

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