How Wikipedia Works: Building an Open Source Encyclopedia

Wednesday, February 23, 2011 - 16:30
TH 331
Steven Walling (Wikimedia Foundation)

Wikipedia is a free, web-based, collaborative, multilingual encyclopedia project supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. Its 17 million articles (over 3.5 million in English) have been written collaboratively by volunteers around the world, and almost all of its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the site. Wikipedia was launched in 2001 and has become the largest and most popular general reference work on the Internet averaging 365 million readers. This presentation will explain the technical foundation of the Wikipedia infrastructure that allows to scale to this number of users.


Steven Walling is a fellow at the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit behind Wikipedia and other free culture projects. An active editor and administrator of Wikipedia since 2006, Steven joined the Foundation in 2010 as part of a program that brings together Wikipedia community members, academics, and professionals to address critical problems and opportunities facing the encyclopedia anyone can edit. Prior to his fellowship, he was a contributor to technology publications such as The New York Times-syndicated ReadWriteWeb.