Wikipedia celebrates seventh birthday

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Wikipedia celebrates seventh birthday

Wikipedia is today celebrating seven years as the world's first open source encyclopaedia.

Since its inception in 2001 Wikipedia has become one of the top 10 most visited sites on the internet.

The site currently has over nine million pages of information written in over 250 languages, covering the gamut of human knowledge and supposition.

"In a relatively short time, Wikipedia has become one of the world's most successful collaboratively written websites," said Florence Devouard, chairman of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees.

"We have struck a chord with tens of thousands of volunteers worldwide, all of whom share our dream of empowering citizens worldwide to share in the sum of all human knowledge.

"Now, with a strong international volunteer base, we would like to focus more energy on improving the quality of Wikipedia and its sister projects.

"The next five years are going to bring many never-seen-before web-based initiatives geared towards this goal."

However, not everyone is so impressed with Wikipedia. The online encyclopaedia has been accused of containing junk facts, and tests have shown that concerns remain over reasonable accuracy.

Academia has been a particular critic. Professor Tara Brabazon will use her inaugural lecture as professor of media studies at the University of Brighton tomorrow to issue a stinging attack on the site.

"We need to teach our students interpretive skills before we teach them technological skills," Professor Brabazon told The Daily Telegraph.

"I want students to sit down and read. It's not the same when you read it online. I want them to experience the pages and the print as much as the digitisation and the pixels.

"Both are fine but I want them to have both, not one or the other. Not a cheap solution."

Professor Brabazon has described Wikipedia and other internet search tools as "white bread for the mind".

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