Source material from which Wikipedia statistics in this article are derived is available; the Footnote on WikiStatistics section at the end of this page provides technical discussion of this article.
- 1 Wikipedia
- 2 Other online encyclopedic resources
- 3 Paper encyclopedias
- 4 Comparison of encyclopedias
- 5 Size of other information collections
- 6 The cost of a printed Wikipedia
- 7 Footnote on Wikipedia statistics
- 8 See also
- 9 References
Currently, the English Wikipedia alone has over 4,706,899 articles of any length, and the combined Wikipedias for all other languages greatly exceed the English Wikipedia in size, giving more than 19 billion words in 34 million articles in 287 languages. The English Wikipedia alone has over 2.6 billion words, over 100 times as many as the next largest English-language encyclopedia, Encyclopædia Britannica, and more than the enormous 119-volume Spanish-language Enciclopedia universal ilustrada europeo-americana.
In 2005 the English-language Wikipedia more than doubled in size, and many smaller Wikipedias have grown by a higher multiple.
Wikipedia is still in need of much expansion and improvement. Many of the articles are of poor quality and some mainstream encyclopedia topics are not covered adequately. In addition, the average article length is only a little over half the size of that in Encyclopædia Britannica, although many major articles are considerably longer. Over time the balance of the editorial effort is expected to slowly tilt towards a greater emphasis on increasing the quality, scope, classification and interlinkage of existing articles. However, new articles will probably always be created in large numbers, as Wikipedia's conventions on acceptable article topics incorporate huge numbers of potential new articles every year (newly prominent people, current events, media products, physical products, etc.). In mid-2006, the rate of new article creation was still rising, but only slowly. As of January 2007[update] it looks as if the rate of article creation may have peaked in mid 2006, though it would be premature to state that it did so for certain. See Wikipedia:Modelling Wikipedia's growth for more on Wikipedia's growth rate and expected future size.
Other online encyclopedic resources
There are many other online databases which combine several encyclopedias and encyclopedic dictionaries and allow users to search all of the works simultaneously. One example is Oxford Reference Online—a database of 221 encyclopedias and encyclopedic dictionaries, offering about 1.4 million articles as of 2011[update], with expansions planned for the future. Another example is Xrefplus, which offers access to 262 encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference books. This all added up to about 2.9 million entries when the database had 225 titles. There also is HighBeam Research and GaleNet. GaleNet—which is likely the largest named so far—offers users the ability to search several encyclopedia databases, including the Biography Resource Center (1,335,000 people), Gale Virtual Reference Library (594 reference books), and the Science Resource Center (51 titles), among others.
The largest paper encyclopedia ever produced is possibly the Yongle Encyclopedia, completed in 1407 in 11,095 books, 370 million Chinese characters. The individual books that made up the encyclopedia were small by modern standards; the work was twelve times the size of the 20 million word French Encyclopédie, giving 240 million words, or 21,600 words per book, although it is unclear if that is how it differs from the Encyclopédie in size. It is also unclear if it is twelve times larger than the original 28-volume version of the Encyclopédie completed in 1772 or the 35-volume version completed in 1780. The Yung-lo ta-tien was a collection of excerpts and entire existing works, rather than an original work. Only two copies were made and all that survives is a small fraction of one copy.
Comparison of encyclopedias
|The factual accuracy of parts of this Wikipedia page (those related to section) may be compromised due to out-of-date information. Please update this Wikipedia page to reflect recent events or newly available information and see the talk page for possible discussion on this. (April 2009)|
Numbers regarding total characters are based on an estimated average word length of five, plus a space, or six characters per word.
|Average words per article|
|Hudong (Chinese Wiki)||Nov 2009||3,920+||4,300+||—||1097|
|Siku Quanshu (四庫全書)*||1782†||—||800||—|
|Yongle Encyclopedia (永樂大典) *||1403†||—||370 / 770||—|
|Enciclopedia universal ilustrada europeo-americana||1933||>1,000‡||200||1,000||—|
|Gǔjīn Túshū Jíchéng (古今圖書集成)||1725†||—||100||—|
|Encyclopedia of China (中国大百科全书)||1993||80||126.4||1580|
|Die Brockhaus Enzyklopädie||2006||>300||33||?||—|
|Great Soviet Encyclopedia||1978||100||21††||200||570|
|Microsoft Encarta||Encarta Deluxe 2002||70‡‡||40||200||600|
|Microsoft Encarta||Encarta Deluxe 2005**||63||40||200||200|
|Microsoft Encarta||2002 Encarta Encyclopedia||40||26||200||200|
|Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia Online||—||39||11||70||280|
|Columbia Encyclopedia||Sixth ed. 2000||51||6.5||40||130|
|Meyers Konversations-Lexikon||Fourth ed. 1888–92||97||15.5||110||—|
|Encyclopædia Universalis||13th ed. 2008||41.5⁑||60||350||1450|
*Classical Chinese is a very compact language. The result is very short in size for the same content.
†It is said that Yongle is larger than Siku, but it is uncertain how they were compared.
‡Kenneth F. Kister, Kister's best encyclopedias: a comparative guide to general and specialized encyclopedias, (1994) p. 450. [Article count is for the 82-volume edition, rather than the 119-volume one.]
§Alfieri, G. Treccani Degli. "Enciclopedia italiana" Diccionario Literario (2001 HORA, S.A.)
**Number of encyclopedic articles. The Nationalencyklopedin totals 356,000 entries.
††Kister, op. cit., p. 365.
**Includes 10,000 historical archives.
‡‡Advertised as containing "over 63,000 articles...with 36,000-plus map locations, and over 29,000 editor-approved Web site links." The 2006 Premium CD-ROM had 68,000 articles.
⁑Advertised as containing 41,500 articles written by 6,803 authors, 60 million of words, 350 million of characters, 360,000 links, 122,000 definitions in the included dictionary, 130,000 bibliographical references.
Size of other information collections
Film and television
Science and Technology
The cost of a printed Wikipedia
Evaluating the cost of a printed Wikipedia is fraught with difficulties. As of April 2014, there were approximately 22 billion characters so assuming 5,000 characters per page that would yield 4.5 million pages. If you then add 25% for extra space for photos, tables, and diagrams, that would yield 5.0625 million pages. This would produce 17,119 volumes of 400 pages each. As an example, allowing US$0.05 per page would yield a cost of US$281,250 without binding.
Footnote on Wikipedia statistics
Very detailed statistics for almost all aspects of Wikipedia are available from http://stats.wikimedia.org/EN/Sitemap.htm.
Statistics for this page are taken from the Article count (alternate) table and from the Words table.
- 1.4 million articles that have at least a single link.
- 1.3 million articles that have at least a single link and 200 readable characters (roughly equivalent to at least 33 words).
Taking the difference of these two figures, there are about:
- 100,000 articles that have at least a single link but fewer than 200 characters.
There is also an uncounted number of articles which have no links. The current statistics provide no indication of the size of this last category. The 609 million words in fact span the 1.3 million bona fide articles, the remaining 100,000 linked articles, and the unknown number of articles without links. A rough estimate of the word count in the latter two categories is ten million words. Dividing the remaining 600 million words by 1.3 million gives a mean article length of about 460 words.
Further, of the articles on the English Wikipedia, perhaps 36,000 are "data dumped" gazetteer entries about towns and cities in the United States. It is controversial whether gazetteer entries should count towards the number of "real" encyclopedia articles; however, their statistical significance is very much less now than in October 2002 when they were added. Very many have been colonised by Wikipedians who have transformed them to varying extents, including to an unimpeachably encyclopedic status.
- Wikipedia:Modelling Wikipedia's growth
- Wikipedia:Size of Wikipedia (focuses on article count)
- Wikipedia:Largest encyclopedia
- Wikipedia:Statistics Department
- User:Emijrp/All human knowledge
- Source material for article
- Wikipedia Statistics All languages (11.9 billion words estimate from 6 billion in Nov 2009 plus 1 billion every 9 months)
- Wikipedia Statistics English
- Oxford Reference online
- Gale Virtual Reference Library
- Science Resource Center
- "Yongle dadian". Encyclopædia Britannica.
- Yongle Encyclopedia
- Yongle Encyclopedia
- Yongle Encyclopedia
- Encyclopedia Britannica Store
- Grolier online
- 2008 Press release
- El cálculo más preciso de la historia cifra las especies que viven en la Tierra en 8,7 millones (Spanish)
- Online Mendelian Inheritance
- site statistics