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Jimmy Wales
WikiMedia Foundation Inc.
San Francisco, CA

Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
P.O. Box 78350
San Francisco, CA 94107-8350
Work: 310-474-3223
Fax: (415) 882-0495

"Wikipedia for a lot of people hearkens back to what we all thought the Internet was for in the first place which is, you know, when most people first started the Internet they thought oh, this is fantastic, people can communicate from all over the world and build knowledge and share information. And then we went through the whole dot-com boom and bust and the Internet seemed to be about pop-up ads, and SPAM, and porn and selling dog food over the Internet. And now Wikipedia kind of hearkens back to the original vision of the Internet . . . . "
Jimmy Wales, in a Sept. 25, 2005, interview with CNN's Brian Lamb (link below)

"I don't think people should cite it, and I don't think people should cite Britannica, either -- the error rate there isn't very good. People shouldn't be citing encyclopedias in the first place. Wikipedia and other encyclopedias should be solid enough to give good, solid background information to inform your studies for a deeper level. And really, it's more reliable to read Wikipedia for background than to read random Web pages on the Internet."
Jimmy Wales, in a Dec. 14, 2005, interview in Newsweek magazine

webservice which lets anyone contribute/author material with "neutral point of view"

Download/play MP3 audio
Download/play MP3 audio

Jimmy Wales was educated in a one room schoolhouse in Alabama. He spent much of his free time time looking over The World Book Encyclopedia. This, he says, turned him into an eclectic geek. It would also, thirty years later, lead to him to his strange and singular passion: Wikipedia. It's an encyclopedia for everyone. Or, in his words, "a non-profit volunteer effort to write a freely-licensed high quality encyclopedia in all the languages of the world to give away so that every single person on the planet can have a free encyclopedia."

Wikipedia, under the helm of Wales, has been a revolution. It isn't just a matter of dusting off the old encyclopedia, putting it online, and making it free to the masses. It is the masses. Anyone can write entries, edit entries, write comments, edit comments, use it, distribute it, and "most controversially" vandalize it.

There are over 2 million English-language articles, and to this day its success seems contrary to Wales. Why, he wonders, can it be this open when anyone can go in and delete a page or fill it with curse words? Wales, though, likes a good philosophical question and he's quick to make his own rebuttal: this is the way we live. We leave our cars in parking lots and return to find them untouched. We experience that kind of benevolent society all the time, he says. The problems are well worth it given the freedom we have.
By Sara Majka, MGP Associate Editor

May 2009, click here for another profile of Jimmy Wales, this one written by MGP student intern Sahar Ashraf.

April 1, 2009. Yesterday, Wales pulled the plug on Wikia Search, his open-sourced, collaborative search engine that he hoped would rival Google. He wrote the postmortem on his blog:

"...while I personally believe in the opportunity for free software to make serious inroads into the search space, our project, Wikia Search, has not been enjoying the kind of success that we had hoped. In a different economy, we would continue to fund Wikia Search indefinitely. It's something I care about deeply."

As a reminder of greater successes, a new book just came out about Wikipedia, "The Wikipedia Revolution," written by a former Wikipedia editor. This Salon Review includes an interview with the writer, who comments that an encyclopedia was the perfect fit for a wiki collaborative project, while other projects have not gone as well.

February 17, 2009. Medpedia, a Wikipedia-style medical resource, goes live (you can read the New York Times article here). While it's not affiliated with Wikipedia, it brings up a lot of issues Wales struggled with between openness and accuracy. In interview with the Media Giraffe Project, he even considered what this sort of resource might look like. Click here for that article.
Aug. 15, 2007 -- NY Times, Fox editing wikipedia entries? A new, automated edit tracker is revealing that IP addresses associated with the New York Times and Fox News Channel are being connected to changes made to the user-generated Wikipedia that either smear rivals or remove negative information from their entries.

http://www.webpronews.com/topnews/2007/08/15/fox-nyt-play-with-wikipedia Middlebury College says WikiPedia no good for final research

On Sept. 12, 2006, the Wall Street Journal website featured a Q&A challenge/exchange between Wales and Dale Hoiberg editor-in-chief of Encyclopedia Brittanica.
On July 31, 2006, The New Yorker magazine profiled Jimmy Wales and WikiPedia in a piece by Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Stacy Schiff.
Boston Globe publishes two-part series on challenges to Wikipedia's business (Feb. 12, 2006)
Staffers to U.S. Rep. Marty Meehan, D-Mass., said to alter Wiki entry (Jan. 28, 2006)

Link to Media Giraffe Project post about the Seigenthaler incident (Dec. 13, 2005)
The Committee of Concerned Journalists consideration of the Seigenthaler-Wiki issues.


Scholarly article questions whether history can be open source (The Journal of American History, June 2006)
Wales launches open-source search engine (January 2008)
Open-Source Troubles in Wiki World (New York Times, March 2008)
Wales acknowledges editing his own Wiki bio (Wired News, Dec. 20, 2005)
British journal Naturefinds WikiPedia about as accurate as Encyclopedia Brittannica (BBC, Dec. 15, 2005)


Commentaries and stories about WikiPedia's handling of the John Seigenthaler bio matter:

The Online Newshour with Jim Lehrer (U.S.-PBS) did a story about citizen media on Nov. 16, 2005, and featured Wikipedia: http://audio.pbs.org:8080/ramgen/newshour/expansion/2005/11/16/20051116_media28.rm?altplay=20051116_media28.rm

Gena Tripanni, a blogger, has written a clear primer for how to post t and contribute/edit at WikiPedia instead of just taking. You can ready per how-to at LifeHacker.COM

CSPAN's Brian Lamb interviewed Jimmy Wales on Sept. 25, 2005: LINKED HERE.


The information below is from the WikiMedia Foundation website.

The Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. is an international non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging the growth, development and distribution of free, multilingual content, and to providing the full content of these wiki-based projects to the public free of charge. Wikimedia relies on public donations to meet its goal of providing free knowledge to every person in the world.

The Wikimedia Foundation is the parent organization of some of the largest collaboratively-edited reference projects in the world, including Wikipedia, one of the 40 most visited websites in the world. Other online projects include Wiktionary, a multilingual dictionary; WikiBooks, a collection of free content textbooks; WikiQuote, a repository of famous quotes; and WikiSources, a repository for primary source material.

A key philosophy imposed on worldwide Wiki sites by the foundation is that they must support, in Wales' words, "a neutral point of view."


(SOURCE FOR BELOW: Media Giraffe Project interview with Danny Wool, Oct. 21, 2005)

The WikiMedia Foundation Inc., is a 501(c)3 non-profit with a self-pepetuating board of directors whose chairman is presidently Wales, the founder. The foundation operated with volunteers until fall, 2005, when a former New York museum worker and former educational TV producer, Danny Wool, was hired as a full-time administrator at the foundation's small offices in St. Petersburg, Fla.

"We do a very vibrant, active, volunteer community," says Wool. "There is a lot of effort, community and enthusiasm . . . I have a great life story, but so does everybody else. one of the things we belive is that everybody does, and everybody can become a great contributor. Contributing a single comma, or a single fact helps this whole . . . it creates the idea tha teverybody has something to share."

As of Oct. 20, 2005, Wool reported that the WikiPedia site -- one of a family of "Wiki" sites -- alone had risen in rankings to be the 31st most-trafficked site on the web worldwide. That traffic creates some infrastructure costs -- the need for hundreds of web-serving computers and bandwidth -- but little in the way of administration because Wiki content is created in over 100 languages and sites by the users themselves, said Wool.

Wales was an early contributor to the Wiki foundation and periodic online fund drives add resources. In a drive just competed in fall 2005, about $250,000 was raised from the worldwide Wiki user community, said Wool.


On Saturday, June 25, 2005, Erik Mller presented the Wikinews business model at the OhmyNews International Citizen Reporters' Forum 2005, at the COEX conference hall in Seoul, South Korea. Here is the PDF file of that presentation.

A blog post from The Guardian of London
A digest of a Sept. 7, 2005 Reuters profile of Wikipedia

On July 8, 2005, the National Public Radio program "On the Media" broadcast on WNYC and other stations carried a 10-minute interview with New York University Professor Clay Shirkey discussing WikiMedia and its coverage of the London subway bombings. The excerpt is available as an MP3 here. The full-hour broadcast, including unrelated segments, is available at the On The Media website.


Jimmy Wales and Wikimedia Foundation are attempting to create a comprehensive, kindergarten-to-college curriculum of textbooks that are free and freely distributable, based on an open-source development model. Created in the same mold as the Wikipedia project, Wikibooks is still in its earliest stages. http://news.com.com/2100-1025_3-5884291.html

Esquire article edited by Wikipedia ONLINE MEDIA Source: Daniel Terdiman, CNET News.com; extract written for SPJ Online: When Esquire magazine writer A.J. Jacobs decided to do an article about the freely distributable and freely editable online encyclopedia Wikipedia, he took an innovative approach: He posted a crummy, error-laden draft of the story to the site. Wikipedia lets anyone create a new article for the encyclopedia or edit an existing entry. As a result, since it was started in 2001, Wikipedia has grown to include nearly 749,000 articles in English alone--countless numbers of which have been edited by multiple members of the community. (There are versions of Wikipedia in 109 other languages as well.) The idea is that, despite the fact that anyone can work on any article, Wikipedia's content is self-cleaning because its community keeps a close eye on the accuracy of articles and, in most cases, acts quickly to fix errors that find their way into individual entries. ... With that dynamic in mind, Jacobs decided to craft an article about Wikipedia, complete with a series of intentional mistakes and typos, and post it on the site. The hope was that the community itself would be able to fix the errors and create a clean version that would be ready for publication in Esquire's December issue. The original version was preserved for posterity. ... According to the Wikipedia page for Jacobs' story, the article was edited 224 times in the first 24 hours after Jacobs posted it, and another 149 times in the next 24 hours. The final draft, which was locked on Sept. 23 to protect it from further edits, reflects the efforts of the many users who worked on it. Source: Daniel Terdiman, CNET News.com

Mark Glaser, online media reporter at the Online Journalism Review, wrote in a Sept. 27, 2005 column: "Wikipedia and Flickr showcase citizen journalism at its best. While it is true that having filters (aka professional editors) does help make sense of a story as big and sprawling and complicated as Hurricane Rita, it is also true that group storytelling can work. Once again, the haphazard community that creates Wikipedia quickly mobilized the most useful online resource for Hurricane Rita as it was unfolding, including rescue efforts, economic effects and links to streaming video from news outlets. Plus, the county-by-county death count was the most comprehensive and up-to-date of any I've seen online."

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