Happy Birthday, Wikipedia!

Today is a celebration of the creation of the world’s largest online encyclopedia and the radical idea that information can be created by and open to everyone. This concept resonates with our work at the National Archives, where we strive to support open government values of transparency, collaboration and participation. We believe in government that is created of, by and for the people. Congratulations to the wikipedians around the world who have contributed to one of the most visited websites on the planet. 

David Ferriero keynoting at Wikimania 2012. By PierreSelim – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

I have been a proponent of Wikipedia from the beginning. It just makes sense that if we want to share our records with people where they are online, Wikipedia is the logical place to be. When people initially expressed concern about the reliability of articles in Wikipedia, I advised them to participate and add more and better content. And they did.

Edit-a-thon at the Innovation Hub for Hispanic Heritage Month, 2017

It seems like yesterday that we were celebrating Wikipedia’s 10th birthday here in D.C. NARA was one of the first GLAM organizations to hire a Wikipedian-In-Residence student in 2011 and became the first organization to support a full-time Wikipedian-In-Residence position in 2013. Since then, NARA staff and I have presented at numerous Wiki conferences, held edit-a-thons and local Wikipedian meetings, provided talks by our subject matter experts on historical topics and specific sets of records for Wikipedians, and added digital copies of our records to Wikimedia Commons for reuse in Wikipedia articles. We are also proud to host an exhibit on Wikipedia in our Innovation Hub at our flagship building in Washington, D.C.

Women in the Civil War, One of many edit-a-thons held in NARA’s Innovation Hub over the past decade.

Since we began our work with Wikipedia, NARA has contributed over 450,000 digital copies to Wikimedia Commons.  NARA’s digital copies have been used in over 80 thousand Wikipedia articles. The numbers of views our records have received on Wikipedia has been astounding. In FY2020 alone, digital copies of NARA’s records received almost two billion page views on Wikimedia platforms. NARA’s digital copies in Wikipedia have received: 1,152,043,520 views (English); 140,460,507 (Spanish); 102,478,210 (German);  80,559,405 (French) and many many more languages. NARA’s records are also available on Wikibooks, Wikinews, Wikivoyage, Wikiquote, Wikiversity, and Wikisource. The world of Wikipedia opened up to a universe of Wiki platforms that provided new kinds of access to the records of the National Archives. 

Wikipedia exhibit in the Innovation Hub

Two decades after its creation, Wikipedia is celebrating the millions of people who have created over 53 million articles in more than 300 languages, enjoyed by hundreds of millions of readers across the world. Congratulations to Wikipedia, here’s to the next 20 years of collaboration!

3 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Wikipedia!

  1. Happy Birthday, the largest information site in the world, and thank you for the free information. We Iranians like Wikipedia

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