Wiki lovers to meet in real, live library

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Wiki lovers to meet in real, live library

Hundreds of wiki enthusiasts from around the globe will share their thoughts in person next week for the fourth annual Wikimania conference at the Bibliotheca Alexandria in Egypt.

The event, which started in 2005, is the official conference of Wikimedia’s free knowledge online projects.

It serves as a key opportunity for wiki volunteers and staff from all over the world to meet and discuss the impact and future of free knowledge technology.

"Wikimania is the one time each year when Wikimedia volunteers from all over the world gather together in a single location," said Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Sue Gardner.

"This year is particularly special, because we will be in Alexandria, at what was once the site of the largest library of the ancient world.”

Along with bringing together wiki users from all walks of life, Wikimania also provides the opportunity for exposure of wiki projects to developing nations.

“Free-content projects such as Wikipedia are an essential tool for the collection and dissemination of knowledge, especially in the developing world," said Dr. Ismail Serageldin, Director of Bibliotheca Alexandrina.

"We hope that Wikimania 2008 will raise local awareness of new possibilities and indeed take us towards changing the shape of wisdom.”

That initiative is particularly important this year, as volunteers in Alexandria hope the location will help to step up the progress on Arabic wiki projects.

"We're hoping that our main goal of increasing awareness of free knowledge and the free software movement among Arabic speakers is going to be a success,” Alexandria volunteer organizing committee leader Mohamed Ibrahim.

“The Arabic Wikipedia is getting a lot of attention; Wikimania is an ideal opportunity for all attendees to start thinking about how to improve both quality and quantity of our projects.”

This year’s theme is ‘changing the shape of wisdom,’ and will include presentations on topics like public collaboration, open source initiatives, free knowledge, and wiki technology

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