News and notes

News and notes

School-oriented Wikipedia selection released

Volunteers at the English Wikipedia and SOS Children UK have today launched the Wikipedia Selection for Schools. The Selection is about the size of a 15 volume encyclopaedia, with 24,000 pictures, 14 million words and articles on 4625 topics. It includes the best of Wikipedia, and many thousands of pages of extra material specifically selected to be of interest to children who follow the UK National Curriculum and similar curricula elsewhere in the world.

There has been recent public discussion on the suitability of Wikipedia for UK schools. Many articles on the live Wikipedia website are of acceptable accuracy. This Selection aims to correct the remaining criticisms made of Wikipedia as a school resource:

Florence Devouard, chair of the Wikimedia Foundation, said: "The Wikimedia Foundation aims to encourage the development and distribution of reference content to the public free of charge: this project is an excellent example of free resources being offered to a particular audience which we warmly encourage, and are proud to support."

Dr. Andrew Cates, CEO of SOS Children (and himself a Wikipedia administrator) said: "Wikipedia offers a fantastic learning resource. We are delighted to have been able to play a part in increasing the number of children who will be able to benefit from it. We are indebted to the volunteers in our offices and on Wikipedia who helped check articles and to the Wikipedia community for their help with this project."

The Selection can easily be run on school intranets or in remote locations in the developing world where Internet access is a problem. A pilot version of this release has already been distributed to schools in South Africa by the Shuttleworth Foundation. It is intended to extend and update the Selection periodically.

Belarusian editor dies

Just a few days after the death of Norwegian journalist Tron Øgrim (see related story), a Belarusian editor passed away this week. Uladzimir Katkouski, a well-known and award-winning Belarusian blogger who also made more than 1,300 edits to the English Wikipedia and nearly 900 edits to the Normative Belarusian Wikipedia between 2004 and 2006 as User:Rydel, passed away on May 26, 2007. Katkouski mostly edited articles about Belarus; among the articles he edited were Orsha, White Russia, and Belarusian language. He was evidently hit by a fire truck, and died after being in a coma.

Wikipedia reaches Alexa rank 9

Wikipedia reached the 3-month Alexa rank of 9 this week, passing Tencent QQ, the website of a Chinese instant-messaging program. Wikipedia generally hovers at rank 9 on most days, falling to rank 10 or 11 on Fridays and Saturdays. Wikipedia still has a long way to go to pass the number 8 site, Orkut; on only one occasion, in February, has Wikipedia reached a daily rank of 8; this rise was probably due to the Chinese New Year, as this usually produces spikes in Wikipedia's ranking, as traffic to the main Chinese-language sites falls sharply at this time each year.

Notably, Alexa statistics also show that about 6.3% of internet users visit Wikipedia, and that as of late, Wikipedia accounts for nearly 0.5% of internet traffic, about 1 in 200 page views. Additionally, Wikipedia reaches more users than Orkut, 7th-ranked Baidu, and 6th-ranked MySpace; however, Wikipedia ranks lower due to the low number of pages visited by each user (5.0) compared to the other sites (38.7, 12.5, and 37.0, respectively).

Jimbo Wales appears on Colbert Report

Jimbo Wales appeared on The Colbert Report, a satirical television program hosted by comedian Stephen Colbert. Stephen's character of the same name interviewed Wales, talking about the project and joking about a previous segment of the show where Colbert encouraged viewers to edit articles to state "the number of elephants has tripled in the last six months." (see archived story). Colbert again encouraged various vandalous additions, including the phrase "librarians are hiding something". After a comment by Colbert's character that Spanish users should learn English, Wales joked that he'd have to protect the entire Spanish Wikipedia. The full interview can be seen at Comedy Central here.

Election committee announced

The volunteers who will serve on the Board Election Steering Committee for the upcoming Board of Trustees election were announced by Wikimedia Volunteer Coordinator Cary Bass. They include Aphaia and Jon Harald Søby, both of whom were election officials last year, along with Tim Starling as technical adviser. Joining the group this year are Benjamin Mako Hill, Newyorkbrad, and Philippe Beaudette.


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==the UK National Curriculum?==

Perhaps being a bit pedantic, but then we're here to teach.... there's no such thing as "the UK National Curriculum" – the National Curriculum is used in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but not for education in Scotland, as is clearly shown in Education in the United Kingdom. Possibly better stated as the National Curriculum in the UK, or the English National Curriculum. ... dave souza, talk 04:27, 31 May 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Ok, well we'll fix the online version in a couple of days. I also notice now I am checking that Scotland is listed only under Great Britain Geography but not under the main "countries of the world" list. That ought to be fixed too. --BozMo talk 06:27, 31 May 2007 (UTC)[reply]


Why include Rugby football but not rugby union or rugby league? bizarre.----HamedogTalk|@ 05:47, 2 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]


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