Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2005-04-11/DVD releases

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The Wikipedia Signpost


Media covers German Wikipedia DVD, plans for English

By Worldtraveller, 11 April 2005

Working towards a DVD release

ZDNet.co.uk reported this week on the efforts of the English Wikipedia to produce a DVD release of the encyclopaedia. Wikimedia Foundation president Jimmy Wales told the magazine that a lot of work remained to be done before a DVD release would be possible, but he hoped it would be available by the end of 2005.

The German Wikipedia is ahead of the English in terms of off-line releases, having produced its first DVD edition last year. Its second edition has just been released, selling on Amazon for €9.90, and the site received over 8,000 pre-orders in advance of the release date. The DVD is currently the 8th best seller on German Amazon, and German Wikipedianer are planning to release further DVDs every six months.

Jimmy Wales said it was easier to produce a German edition from a size perspective, as all the text and images in the English Wikipedia would barely fit on two DVDs. The English DVD edition is likely to omit stubs and also omit or reduce the size of most images, to allow the content to fit on one disk.

The bar-bet settler's friend

The Boston Herald this week looked at the Wikipedia phenomenon, in a column by its 'bookmark diva' Stephanie Schorow. The column confused its etymology, stating that wiki software took its name from Wikipedia rather than the other way round, but Schorow seemed impressed that Wikipedia had not collapsed into anarchy due to competing know-it-alls. She described it as a "friend to scholars, bar-bet settlers and high school juniors on Sunday night with papers due Monday", and a "big beautiful Internet group hug".

Schorow praised the self-selecting contributors to the self-correcting encyclopaedia, but also had a quick look at Uncyclopedia, a satirical take on Wikipedia, where "like those other wikis, readers can add or edit their entries, with gleeful disregard of fact".

Douglas Adams: father of Wikipedia?

An article in British newspaper The Guardian gave a nod to Douglas Adams' role as possible inspiration for Wikipedia. The article which was discussing the tortuous 20-year journey of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy from book to big screen, also looked at some of the multi-talented author's other projects. h2g2 was described as his labour of love, and the column suggested it anticipated the rise of Wikipedia, describing itself as "like an encyclopaedia only better, because all the entries are written by people like you".

Citations

The scope and influence of Wikipedia spreads ever wider. This week, an article in the New Straits Times of Malaysia [1] cited the case of an MP who, struggling to recruit researchers, was doing his own research on Wikipedia. Tan Kok Wai, the member for Cheras in the state of Selangor, was making use of a Wikipedia article on global warming in advance of a parliamentary debate on the subject.

Other citations this week included right wing website theconservativevoice.com quoting Wikipedia on the Separation of Church and State [2]; the Star Tribune making use of chinese wall in an article about the widening US trade deficit [3]; and the Hawaii Reporter quoting from Hawaiian Creole English in an article about the difficulties faced in Hawaii by those who speak the local Pidgin [4].