World celebrates as Wikipedia turns 10

News 14 Jan, 2011

Wikipedia, now the fifth most popular website in the world, will turn 10 this weekend.

Wikipedia will celebrate its 10th birthday tomorrow and can look back on a decade of significant growth.

Hundreds of events have been, and will be, held across the globe in celebration of the milestone, from a party in Sao Paulo to a workshop and kite flying festival in Bangladesh.

Various celebrations will be held in London, including an ‘editathon’ at the British Library where people will be invited to “go mad” editing Wikipedia.

Wikipedia is now home to 17 million articles in 270 languages with over 400 million people visiting the site every month, making it the fifth most popular website in the world.

Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, thanked all the contributors and editors of the site.

“It's hard to imagine that it's been 10 years since I first edited Wikipedia. I remember that first day,” Wales said.

“I clicked on 'Edit' and I wrote 'Hello World', and that was the beginning of Wikipedia and all the things that have come since then.”

As for the future, Wikipedia has plans for extended growth and wants to reach a billion people by 2015.

“We want to persuade more readers to edit. More women. More people from the Global South,” said Sue Gardner, Wikimedia Foundation executive director.

“We know that the more diverse the editing community becomes, the more comprehensive, accurate and rich the encyclopedia will be.”

Wales called on anyone who had never edited Wikipedia to get online and give it a go.

“Even though we've got millions of articles, even though we're in hundreds of languages, there's still a lot of work to do,” he added.

Phil Stewart, customer service director at Virgin Media Business, claimed Wikipedia, in its use of wiki technology, had even changed the way in which businesses operated.

“Wikipedia has laid the foundation for global business collaboration, and for new social collaboration tools such as the hot social media start-up Quora,” Stewart added.

“With network capacity behind it, enabling the likes of cross-site video training, it's almost certain that we'll see more creative uses for wikis emerge during the next 10 years.”