Wikipedia Day

Wikipedia day takes place annually on 15 January to commemorate the launch of the online web-based encyclopedia Wikipedia on January 15, 2001. It was launched by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger who coined the name, Wikipedia as a portmanteau of wiki and “encyclopedia”.

Wikipedia is a multilingual, web-based, free encyclopedia based on a model of openly editable and viewable content, a wiki. It is the largest and most popular general reference work on the World Wide Web, and is one of the most popular websites by Alexa rank. It is owned and supported by the Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit organization that operates on money it receives from donors.

The roots of Wikipedia begin as a complementary project for Nupedia, a free online English-language encyclopedia project whose articles were written by experts and reviewed under a formal process. It was founded on March 9, 2000, under the ownership of Bomis, a web portal company. Its main figures were Bomis CEO Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger, editor-in-chief for Nupedia and later Wikipedia. Nupedia was initially licensed under its own Nupedia Open Content License, but even before Wikipedia was founded, Nupedia switched to the GNU Free Documentation License at the urging of Richard Stallman. Wales is credited with defining the goal of making a publicly editable encyclopedia, while Sanger is credited with the strategy of using a wiki to reach that goal. On January 10, 2001, Sanger proposed on the Nupedia mailing list to create a wiki as a “feeder” project for Nuped

Wikipeadia was Initially an English-language encyclopedia, however versions in other languages were quickly developed. With 5,789,328 articles, the English Wikipedia is the largest of the more than 290 Wikipedia encyclopedias. Overall, Wikipedia comprises more than 40 million articles in 301 different languages and by February 2014 it had reached 18 billion page views and nearly 500 million unique visitors per month.

In 2005, Nature published a peer review comparing 42 science articles from Encyclopædia Britannica and Wikipedia and found that Wikipedia’s level of accuracy approached that of Britannica. Time magazine stated that the open-door policy of allowing anyone to edit had made Wikipedia the biggest and possibly the best encyclopedia in the world, and was a testament to the vision of Jimmy Wales. However Wikipedia has been criticized for exhibiting systemic bias, for presenting a mixture of “truths, half truths, and some falsehoods”, and for being subject to manipulation and spin in controversial topics. In 2017, Facebook announced that it would help readers detect fake news by suitable links to Wikipedia articles. YouTube announced a similar plan in 2018.


Other National Days and Events taking place on 15 January

  • National Hat Day
  • Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • National Strawberry Ice Cream Day

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