Ten years ago Jimmy Wales had an idea. The idea snowballed into something so versatile and innovative that it is almost a sensation.

Wikipedia is 10. In his short and simple video clip, on January 15, 2011, Jimmy Wales said: “Hello I am Jimmy Wales and I am with Wikipedia and today we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of Wikipedia. It is hard to imagine that is has been 10 years since I first edited Wikipedia.

I remember that first day. I put it on ‘edit' and I wrote ‘Hello world,' and that was the beginning of Wikipedia and all the things that have come since then.

Today we have got millions of articles in hundreds of languages. These days about 400 million people a month visit the website. And that is just an astounding thing to have happened if you really think about the impact on our culture; it's staggering. And it's all thanks to you. I want to thank everybody who has helped. I want to thank all the people who have helped, all the people who have edited Wikipedia, who have contributed in this way. I want to thank the people who are reading Wikipedia, who are really engaging with ideas and minds. That's why we made it ... we made it for you to read.

And I have a little bit of a call for action ... a little bit of a request for everybody. Even though we have got millions of articles, even though we are in hundreds of languages, we have still a lot of work to do.

So I want everybody out there if you have never edited Wikipedia, to try it. Give a try. Click on ‘edit.' If you see some problem, fix it for us. We really appreciate it.

And well, happy birthday Wikipedia!”

… officially, Wikipedia “is a multilingual, web-based, free-content encyclopaedia project,” with its name derived from the word-combination of “Wiki” (from the Hawaiian “Wiki” meaning quick”) and “encyclopaedia”. Its articles are cross-linked with other related pages that have more information. It is a collaborative effort and the articles are written by, most often, anonymous Internet volunteers who do it for free.

Because of its nature, Wikipedia operates using what are called “five pillars” or “fundamental principles”. Important among these are: that an article has a neutral view, is accurate and has facts that can be easily verified. Personal opinions are not acceptable. Also, as no editor owns any article, contributions can be edited.

How did Wikipedia begin? And whose idea was it? Wikipedia was founded as an outcome of ‘Nupedia,' which was supposed to be a project to produce a free encyclopaedia.

In 2000, Jimmy Wales, founder of Nupedia, and Larry Sanger, were thinking of ways to expand Nupedia. After much thought about allowing members of the public to make contributions, the idea of a “Wikipedia” was born. It was launched on January 15, 2001 — which, for many users, is also called “Wikipedia Day”. The Wikimedia Foundation, now based in San Francisco, was also launched as the parent organisation.

From May 2001 onwards, a number of multilingual Wikipedias were also launched — in Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, Esperanto, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish, to name a few.

It is estimated that Wikipedia now gets 78 million visitors every month. There are more than 91,000 active contributors working on more than 17,000,000 articles in more than 270 languages. There are also nearly 3,565,990 articles in English.

Now that's what you would call a pretty “Wiki” idea

Mistaken identity!

Wikipedia is not connected with WikiLeaks! Wiki is not a brand name! Though WikiLeaks first called itself “the Wikipedia of secrets,” Jimmy Wales was quick to issue a clarification!

Wikipedia is a project dedicated to the building of free encyclopaedias in all languages.

The project started with the English-language Wikipedia on January 15, 2001, and then by a French edition. Other languages followed.

Based on information in January 2011, there are 278 language editions of Wikipedia, which together have more than 17 million articles

.Some important Wikimedia projects:

Wikipedia: It's the main thing!

Wikimedia Commons: A house of images, sounds, videos and media, common to all Wikimedia projects.

Wikibooks: A collection of free educational textbooks and learning materials.

Wiktionary: A dictionary that has meanings, synonyms, etymologies and translations.

Wikinews: A news source of reporting by citizen journalists from across the world.

Wikisource: A project to provide and translate free source documents, such as public domain books.

Wikiquote: A collection of quotations.

Wikispecies: A directory of data on species and other forms of life.

Wikiversity: A free learning environment for the study of human knowledge.

There are many fun things at Wikipedia, such as:

Wikipedia: Contests (article-writing and other kinds) which encourage users to make contributions.

WikiQuizes: a game of various quizzes pertaining to a wide variety of subjects where users obtain points and awards.

WikiCup 2011: A championship which takes place every year on Wikipedia. The cup is played and won by those who show a considerable skill in editing. Entry is available for any registered user.

WikiGames

Wikisong: “Hotel Wikipedia” is the official theme song, and is based on The Eagles' 1976 song “Hotel California”.

Wikipedia at 10:

Most of the events happened in January this year. Some were: forming a Wikipedia timeline — what are the most important events of the past 10 years? Tracing the growth of Wikipedia, from a tiny website to one of the largest reference sites in the world.

Musical tributes — A special Wikipedia song was composed and performed by members of ‘Building 25', a young and emerging Australian theatre collective, in celebration of Wikipedia's 10th Anniversary.

A Wikipedia ‘Top 10'

A time capsule of the Wikipedia 10th anniversary, inviting thoughts, wishes and ideas about the future of Wikipedia. It would be protected till 2026, when it would be time for the Wikipedia 25th anniversary.

Images

But the most important thing was an announcement by the Executive Director, Wikipedia, Sue Gardner, that it was focusing on India and Brazil to reach its target of one billion users. It would be opening its first overseas office in India and boosting readership with articles in English and several Indian languages. Among the 316 events marking the 10th anniversary in 104 countries, 60 events were scheduled inside India, she said.

There is also a ‘Wikipedia 10,' a wide-ranging multi-language design concept to help Wikimedia celebrate its 10th year anniversary of Wikipedia. It is based on “ten dots, the Wikipedia word mark and the numeral 10,” and uses the slogan “Wikipedia, one of the most successful projects of the world, will be 10 years old. Let's celebrate!”

There is also Wikimedia India - an approved chapter of the Wikimedia Foundation for Wikimedians living in, or connected to India - on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/WikimediaIndia

Keywords: Wikipedia