Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2007-07-02/German chapter

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German chapter relaunches website, arranges government support

By Michael Snow, 2 July, 2007

Wikimedia Deutschland, the German local Wikimedia chapter, was involved in arranging a deal for government funding to help improve the German Wikipedia, which has gained a fair amount of attention and crossed over into English-language media. It also last week relaunched a website that figured in an earlier incident putting the chapter in the public spotlight.

Government funding

The money in question comes from the German Ministry of Nutrition, Agriculture, and Consumer Protection, which funds a renewable resources agency (Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe) to conduct research in that field. Determining that many key topics on renewable resources had little or no coverage in the German Wikipedia, it agreed to work with the Nova Institute, a private-sector organization, to put together articles in this area.

As explained by Florian Gerlach, project coordinator for the Nova Institute, the plan is for experts to work with a Wikimedia liaison who will help them improve Wikipedia content. Although the active development of Wikipedia articles is still a little way off, one of the first steps is supposed to be launching a WikiProject on renewable resources.

Website relaunch

A launch that has already taken place, also involving the German chapter, is that of one of its websites. As a local chapter authorized to use Wikimedia trademarks, Wikimedia Deutschland controls the country-specific domain for Wikipedia in Germany, wikipedia.de. On Tuesday, it relaunched this domain as a search portal for Wikipedia.

The new site allows visitors to enter a term and choose one of four options to search for that term in the German Wikipedia. The options include Wikipedia's own search function, and due to longstanding complaints about the quality of that search engine, alternative search results from three other sources. These include internet portal Web.de and search engine Exalead, both of which have launched Wikipedia-specific search products in the past year, along with T-Online, Germany's largest ISP (and also a major supporter with a donation of 20,000 euros to the chapter last month).

In the past, the domain has mostly been used simply to take visitors directly to the German Wikipedia. For a few months last year, the chapter had to change this use due to a preliminary court injunction. During the case, which was brought by the parents of deceased hacker Tron, the domain instead hosted a notice informing visitors of the lawsuit and instructing them that the German Wikipedia was at de.wikipedia.org. When the chapter prevailed on appeal, it was able to restore the domain to its previous use.

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