Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2006-05-15/Wikimania series

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The Wikipedia Signpost

About Wikimania

By Sj and Brassratgirl, 15 May 2006.
Wikimania 2006
A Signpost series
Apr. 10 Introduction
Apr. 17 Three years of meetups
Apr. 24 About Wikimania
May 1 Community involvement
May 8 Retrospective: 2005
May 15 Retrospective: 2005 pt.2
May 22 2006 themes
May 29 2006 project content
Jun. 5 Other international meetups
Jun. 12 Wikimania speakers
Jun. 19 Hacking Days
Jun. 26 Wikimania speakers II
Jul. 3 Posters and updates
Jul. 10 Wikimania panels
Jul. 17 Wikimania workshops
Jul. 24 Wikimania events
July 31 Wikimania last minute information
Aug. 7 Wikimania highlights
Aug. 14 Wikimania report and wrapup
Aug. 28 Other August wiki conferences

This week, we continue our overview of Wikimania 2005, the first annual international Wikimedia conference, held in Frankfurt, Germany. See last week's story for an introduction to the conference.

Program and events

The program at Wikimania 2005 was very diverse. The conference program filled four rooms (and occasionally a fifth) throughout the conference. There were 65 presentations, workshops, panels and keynotes, plus an open board meeting of the Wikimedia Foundation and a number of posters that were placed on display.

Keynote presentations

There were four keynote speakers: Richard Stallman, the founder of the Free Software Foundation; Ward Cunningham, inventor of the wiki; Ross Mayfield, CEO of Socialtext; and of course Jimbo himself. All four gave very well-attended presentations. Jimbo, in his opening keynote on Friday, spoke about the future of the free content movement and "Ten Things That Will Be Free", a topic which he was also guest-blogging about on Lawrence Lessig's blog. Stallman spoke about "Copyright vs. Community" to a lively crowd; he also blogged about his experience getting to the conference. Cunningham gave a presentation on the background of creating the original wiki software and why he did so, entitled "Wikis Then and Now". Finally, Mayfield gave a presentation on "Case studies on Wiki use within Enterprises for Project Communication".

Other presentations and workshops

Other speakers discussed various topics including wiki communities and contributors, wiki software development, wiki use in education, knowledge creation and collaboration, and more. There were also several technical workshops on topics such as using geo-data, customizing MediaWiki and sound recording. Several presentations focussed on the developing world and smaller wiki projects. One highlight of this was the "Wikis in the Developing World" panel, which focussed on wikis and Wikipedia in Africa and how to get participation in African languages. There was also a "Global Voices" panel which had presentations about the Women of Uganda network, wiki use in Iran, technology use in Arab countries, and an overview of the Chinese Wikipedia.

The conference presentations and abstracts were originally collected as a Wikibook, but following some debate about whether they were suitable for Wikibooks, were moved to meta, and are awaiting an eventual planned move to a permanent site.

Other events

There was a well-attended party at the Brotfabrik, a venue with a long tradition of hosting Wikipedia gatherings; by the end of the night, before everyone caught vans and taxis back to their rooms, many of the attendees and speakers had been convinced to put down their drinks and dance for a bit. There was also a contest for the best writing, photography, and media, with prizes contributed by Directmedia, O'Reilly, and Apple, and winners announced during the closing awards ceremony.

A wikireader on Frankfurt was printed and distributed to conference attendees, and the week provided many opportunities to discover the city. Outings at the end of the conference included two tours of the national library, and a walking tour of the city.

Media and documentation

Wikimania attracted a good deal of local and international media attention; print, radio, and television. A number of the international attendees were called on during the event for interviews by papers from their home countries, and the organizers of the conference, along with Jimbo, gave nearly continuous interviews during the conference.

A national radio van took over the hostel's central courtyard for a night and a day, during which it ran a live broadcast from the courtyard for almost half an hour. A documentary team from New York came to videotape the conference; this was later turned into a half-hour film. Links to much of the press coverage of the conference were collected on the Wikipedia press page. There was also extensive coverage on Wikinews. Many photos of the event were also placed on Flickr.

Editor's note: Registration is now open for Wikimania 2006, happening this year in Cambridge, Mass.. Make your plans now to attend!

Also this week: Baidu Baike

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