Wikimania 2008

Wikimania 2008 wrap-up

Wikimania 2008, the fourth annual conference of the Wikimedia Foundation, was held in Alexandria, Egypt from July 17-19. The conference was held in the conference center of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, or new Library of Alexandria.

Nearly 600 people attended the event, which was sponsored by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina along with WikiHow, the Open Society Institute, Cisco Egypt, Hewlett Packard Middle East, Raya Corporation, Advanced Computer Technology, Kaltura, Microsoft Egypt, Intel Egypt, Sun Microsystems, Onkosh, eSpace, and Wikia.

The first day's opening ceremony featured speeches from Dr. Ahmed Darwish, the Egyptian Minister of State for Administrative Development, who welcomed attendees all to Egypt on behalf of the Prime Minister of Egypt, Florence Devouard, outgoing Wikimedia Foundation Board Chair, for the Foundation, and Mohamed Ibrahim for the organizing team. Next were speeches by Dr. Hoda Baraka, the First Deputy to Minister of Communications and Information Technology, who talked about education and IT, and Dr. Ismail Serageldin, the director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, who spoke broadly of the need for communication and education.

Michael Snow, the newly elected chair of the Foundation board, speaking at the closing ceremony. Credit Bastique

As in previous years, the rest of the program featured reports from Wikimedians about their projects, academic talks and analysis of the projects, reports on related work, and community discussion. The program also featured a panel with the Wikimedia Foundation board members, where it was announced that Michael Snow had been elected the next Board Chair, replacing Florence Devouard.

A copy of the program may be found here; some of the presentations have been posted here. All sessions were recorded, and the videos are available for download on the mirror of the Internet Archive at BA. Archived webcast sessions are also available.

Special features of the program included tours of the Bibliotheca for all participants, as the conference was actually in an adjacent, joined building to the library itself. On the tours, participants learned about the library's many outreach activities, including digitization efforts using OCR software for Arabic that was developed by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina. This is one of the only digitization projects for Arabic-language materials currently; some of the library's digitized materials can be viewed online at the library's website as well as the Digital Assets Repository, DAR

The Wikimania volunteer team, at the closing ceremony. Credit Bastique

The closing ceremony featured a short speech from Sue Gardner, executive director of the Foundation, and recognition of the many volunteers and staff who worked on the conference. The closing ceremony also featured an invitation, including a short video and a speech from Patricio Lorente, the lead organizer, to Wikimania 2009, which will be held in Buenos Aires.

Finally, on the last night a party was held for all the participants in an outdoor garden setting at a private club. The party featured live entertainment, dinner, and a DJ.

The conference was covered by both mainstream and community media. WikipediaWeekly produced a series of daily podcasts about the conference, which may be downloaded here. Wikinews reported on the conference, while Noam Cohen of the New York Times blogged about the conference. Links to more press coverage may be found on the conference wiki.

Pictures may be found both on Commons and on the photosharing site Flickr.

Also this week:
  • Wikimania 2008
  • WikiWorld
  • News and notes
  • Dispatches
  • WikiProject report
  • Features and admins
  • Technology report
  • Arbitration report

  • Signpost archives

    + Add a comment

    Discuss this story

    To follow comments, add the page to your watchlist. If your comment has not appeared here, you can try purging the cache.
    No comments yet. Yours could be the first!


    The Signpost · written by many · served by Sinepost V0.9 · 🄯 CC-BY-SA 4.0