Wikipedia is a multilingual, web-based, free-content encyclopedia project based on an openly editable model. Wikipedia's articles provide links to guide the user to related pages with additional information. It is written collaboratively by largely anonymous Internet volunteers who write without pay. Anyone with Internet access can write and make changes to Wikipedia articles (except in certain cases where editing is restricted to prevent disruption or vandalism). Users can contribute anonymously, under a pseudonym, or with their real identity, if they choose.
So how does Wikipedia work? Asaf Bartov of the Wikimedia Foundation will tackle this question from two angles:
- First, the human and social mechanisms that Wikipedians rely on to build the encyclopedia, and how Wikipedia is managed and governed and,
- Second, the software architecture and technical ecosystem that allows the delivery of 13 billion hits per month (more than 5000 per second) in serving over 19 million articles in more than 270 languages.
Asaf Bartov is Head of Global South Relationships at the Wikimedia Foundation. He had been a software team leader for almost 20 years, studied and taught ancient Greek and Latin at Tel Aviv University, and is interested in technologically transforming libraries into institutions for the 21st century, through work such as his involvement in the Library Linked Data group of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).