Wikimedia press releases/One million Wikipedia articles (US)/Plain


September 20, 2004 (Tampa, Florida): The Wikimedia Foundation 
announced today the creation of the one millionth article in 
Wikipedia, its project to create a free, open-content, online
encyclopedia (  

Started in January 2001, Wikipedia is currently the world's 
largest and fastest growing encyclopedia, with articles under 
active development in over 100 languages.  Nearly 2,500 new 
articles are added to Wikipedia each day, along with ten times 
that number of updates to existing articles.

Wikipedia now ranks as one of the ten most popular reference 
sites on the Internet, according to traffic watcher 
( It is increasingly used as a resource 
by students, journalists, and anyone who needs a starting point 
for research. Wikipedia's rate of growth has continued to 
increase in recent months, and at its current pace Wikipedia 
will double in size again by next spring.

With its dedicated community of volunteers, Wikipedia has also 
gained recognition as a website for community interaction. This 
has led to two international prizes in 2004, the Prix Ars 
Electronica for "Digital Communities" and a Webby Award for 
"Best Community" (see 

In addition, static versions of Wikipedia are being prepared 
for release on CD or DVD. Soon to be available are a German 
language version distributed by Directmedia Publishing, and a 
bilingual French and English version, included as part of an 
upcoming Mandrakesoft Linux distribution.  More information is 
available in the Foundation's newsletter 


Wikipedia is created entirely by volunteers who contribute, 
update, and revise articles in a collaborative process.  The 
process is governed by Wikipedia's official neutral point of 
view [NPOV] policy, which requires that contributors work to 
avoid bias in writing articles. Even articles covering 
controversial topics can be developed using this process. 
Contributors build upon each other's changes and flawed edits 
are quickly repaired. 

Quotes from Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia : 
 "The idea of sharing knowledge is powerful."
 "Everything is peer-reviewed in real time."

Wikipedia runs on a wiki software platform called MediaWiki, 
which allows anyone to edit a page at any time and have one's 
changes visible instantly (wiki means "quick" in Hawaiian).  
Visitors can also examine older versions of pages to see how 
an article has developed. 

All Wikipedia text is published under the terms of the GNU Free
Documentation License (GFDL), which lets contributors enhance 
and modify each other's work based on a principle known as 
"copyleft". This means the license allows third parties the 
right to reuse Wikipedia articles as long as they pass on that 
right to others. The MediaWiki software is available under a 
similar license designed for software (GFDL details:

Wikipedia is becoming increasingly multilingual; for the past 
year, it has experienced most of its growth in languages other 
than English.  Out of the more than 100 Wikipedia languages, 
14 currently have 10,000 articles or more (English: 350k, 
German: 135k, Japanese: 70k, French: 50k, Swedish: 40k, 
Polish: 35k, Dutch: 35k, Spanish: 30k, Italian: 20k, 
Danish: 20k, Portuguese: 15k, Esperanto: 15k, Chinese: 13k, 
and Hebrew: 10k).

In addition to Wikipedia, the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation 
supports several multilingual sister projects, including 
Wiktionary (a dictionary and thesaurus), Wikiquote (a 
compendium of famous quotations), Wikibooks (a collection of 
manuals and textbooks), and Wikisource (a repository of public 
domain documents). All of these projects are published under 
the same license and run on MediaWiki software. To support 
these projects, the Foundation has raised over US$100,000 
(55,000 Pounds Sterling or 80,000 Euros) since its creation, 
and is holding a fundraising drive this month with the aim of 
raising an additional $50,000. More information is available 
via the foundation's site 

For questions and interviews, please contact (in English only):

Jimmy Wales
Chair, Board of Trustees, Wikimedia Foundation
Phone: (+1)-727-644-3565

Angela Beesley
Executive Secretary, Board of Trustees, Wikimedia Foundation
Phone: (+44)-7796-305-786

For further background information, please see:
* Wikipedia's article about itself
* Statistics
* Selected feature articles 
* Some responses to common criticisms of the wiki concept