Press/Programme published

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Frankfurt am Main, Germany
July 18, 2005

The programme for the first global Wikimedia conference, Wikimania 2005 from August 4-7, was finalized this week. It includes 65 lectures, workshops and tutorials, through which attendees will actively explore the content, the technology, the sociology and the potential of wikis. Wikimania is the first global conference focused on the wiki phenomenon.

Wikis have become internationally known as open, editable websites, through the popularity of the wiki-based encyclopedia Wikipedia. Wikipedia has grown to include 2 million articles in over 1000 languages through the contributions of volunteers from all over the world. Jimmy Wales, the founding father of Wikipedia and its umbrella organization Wikimedia, will open the conference.

The principal purpose of the Wikimedia Foundation, as expressed by Wales, is it to make it possible for everyone to access the world's knowledge in their own language; even in regions with minimal Internet access, or behind a veil of censorship. Speakers from the Middle East, from Africa and from China will specifically address the issues of information access under censorship and in the developing world.

Ward Cunningham, the creator of the very first wiki in 1995, will review the first decade of the technology in a keynote address. In further lectures and workshops, the sociology of Wiki communities and problem areas such as the integrity and neutrality of content, will be discussed as the basis of current scientific research.

In addition to supporting free content, Wikimedia supports the philosophy of free software. The father and most prominent representative of the free software movement, Richard Stallman, will make clear in his own keynote speech why software like the operating system GNU/Linux and projects such as Wikipedia face very similar challenges, being developed by volunteers. The MediaWiki software used by and developed for the Wikimedia projects is free in Stallman's sense of the term; technical lectures and workshops will be concerned with its scalability and extendability, and the future of free Wiki technology in general. A special emphasis will be placed on the challenges of the semantic Web — using machine-readable, structured mark-up to convey content and meaning relationships.

The conference will take place from August 4th to 7th in Frankfurt am Main, in the Haus der Jugend conference center. A detailed program summary is available at http://wikimania.wikimedia.org/wiki/Programme . From July 30th to August 3rd, developers and users of the MediaWiki software will also meet to "hack", brainstorming and advancing development of the software: http://wikimania.wikimedia.org/wiki/Hacking_Days .

Registration and sponsorship

Conference passes may be purchased online for 20 Euros per day or 50 Euros for all three days. Tickets may also be purchased at the venue for 25 Euros per day or 65 Euros for the full conference. Registration and further information is available from the Wikimania website:

http://wikimania.wikimedia.org

The conference is sponsored by Answers.com, a free online reference service; by Socialtext Inc., a producer of software for social collaboration; by Sun Microsystems, and by the medical lexicon service DocCheck. The German Library Association is an official supporter of Wikimania.

A generous grant from the Open Society Institute's Information Program has allowed the attendance of many participants, primarily from developing nations, who would not otherwise have been able to come.

Press conference and accreditation

A press conference will be held at the conference center on Friday, August 4, at 12pm. Press representatives are invited to register at http://wikimania.wikimedia.org/wiki/Press .

About Wikimedia

The Wikimedia Foundation is a non-profit corporation based in Florida, USA. It was founded in 2003, to maintain and develop free-content projects like Wikipedia, and to provide the full contents of those projects to the public free of charge. As well as Wikipedia, the Foundation supports several multilingual sister projects, including Wikinews (a free content news source), Wiktionary (a dictionary and thesaurus), Wikiquote (a compendium of famous quotations), Wikibooks (a collection of manuals and textbooks), Wikisource (a repository of public domain documents), and the Wikimedia Commons, a repository of free images, video, and sound files.

About Wikipedia

Started in January 2001, Wikipedia is currently the world's most current, fastest-growing, and largest encyclopedia, with 2 million articles under active development in 150 languages. It is created by volunteers who collaboratively contribute, update, and revise articles; any visitor to the site can contribute to it.

Wikipedia's content is written for a general audience, and is steadily revised for clarity, readability, and accuracy. Original text, images and sounds contributed to Wikipedia are licensed under the GNU Free Documentation Licence (GFDL), which lets users copy and modify each other's work based on a principle known as "copyleft." The entire database is freely downloadable, and can be used at no cost by both nonprofit and commercial entities, subject to certain minimal conditions.

Further information:


Additional information

For questions and interviews, please contact:

Jimmy Wales, Board of Trustees Chair, Wikimedia Foundation (English only)

Email: jwales@wikimedia.org
Phone: (+1)-727-527-9776

Wikimania Press Team

Email: wikimania-press@wikimedia.org
Elisabeth Bauer (English/German)
Phone: +49 (0)173 355 86 45

For further background information, please see http://wikimania.wikimedia.org .