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REL 4343 Saints, Sages, and Social Reformers: Wikipedia

Facts about Wikipedia

Image: Wikipedia wordmark

Facts about Wikipedia 

Created 2001
Number of Visitors 374 million per month
Number of Contributors 71,000
Number of articles, in all languages 47,000,000
Total Number of Languages 299
Total number of English language articles

6,247,634 (Feb 12, 2021)

6,017,350 (Feb 19, 2020)

As of 18 April 2018, there are 5,615,569 articles in the English Wikipedia

Average number of new articles per day for the past year, English Wikipedia  684
Total number of new articles so far, this year, English Wikipedia


Total number of edits 896,071,047
Size of Encyclopedia Britannica in print volumes 32
Estimated Size of the English language articles in Wikipedia in print volumes

 Nov 2017=2,563

 April 2018 =2,652

February 2021=2837


Source: Wikipedia:About, and Wikipedia:Statistics Wikimedia Foundation


Facts about Wikipedia

Wikipedia has advantages over traditional paper encyclopedias.

  • First, it is not limited in space: it can keep growing as fast as people add.
  • Second, there are no qualifications required to be able to author its articles. Therefore, it has a vast pool of contributors: the whole world. This, and the first advantage mentioned above, have enabled Wikipedia to become the most comprehensive encyclopedia on Earth.
  • Third, a paper encyclopedia remains static (stays the same) and falls out of date until the next edition. But Wikipedia is dynamic: you don't have to wait for the next edition to come out (there are no editions), as Wikipedia is published on-line as it is written on-line. Articles are made available as is, regardless of what stage of development they are in. You can update Wikipedia at any instant. People do so continually around the clock, thereby helping each other keep abreast of the most recent events everywhere and the latest facts in every subject.
  • Fourth, Wikipedia has a meager "publishing" cost for adding or expanding entries, as it is on-line, with no need to buy paper or ink for distribution. This has allowed it to be made available for free, making it more accessible to everyone. This has enabled Wikipedia to be independently developed and published in many different languages simultaneously by people literate in each language. Of the 290+ different language Wikipedias, 137 of them have 10,000 or more articles.
  • Fifth, Wikipedia has a low environmental impact in some respects, since it never needs to be printed. However, computers have their own environmental cost.
  • Sixth, Wikipedia is extra-linear (more than linear). Instead of in-line explanations, Wikipedia incorporates hypertext in the form of wikilinks. Throughout its content is a robust network of links, providing another dimension of knowledge accessibility. The encyclopedia also has correlated to tables of contents and indexes, with each entry in them hyperlinked to an article on the topic specified.
  • Seventh, each Wikipedia article provides an introduction summarizing the more extensive detail of its contents.
  • Eighth, being open to anyone to edit, articles on Wikipedia are subject to additions that might be erroneous or written poorly, which in turn are subject to being corrected or rewritten. It is a community effort, with most people involved helping to improve the work, fixing problems they encounter along the way. See more about Wikipedia's strengths and weaknesses below ...


Wikipedia (Listeni/ˌwɪkˈpdi.ə/ or Listeni/ˌwɪkiˈpdi.ə/ wik-i-pee-dee-ə) is a multilingualweb-basedfree-content encyclopedia project supported by the Wikimedia Foundation and based on a model of openly editable content. The name "Wikipedia" is a portmanteau of the words wiki (a technology for creating collaborative websites, from the Hawaiian word wiki, meaning "quick") and encyclopedia

Wikipedia is written collaboratively by largely anonymous volunteers who write without pay. Anyone with Internet access can write and make changes to Wikipedia articles, except in limited cases where editing is restricted to prevent disruption or vandalism. Anyone is allowed to add or edit words, references, images, and other media here. What is contributed is more important than who contributes it.

Wikipedia is written collaboratively by largely anonymous volunteers who write without pay. Anyone with Internet access can write and make changes to Wikipedia articles, except in limited cases where editing is restricted to prevent disruption or vandalism... 

Anyone is allowed to add or edit words, references, images, and other media here. What is contributed is more important than who contributes it.

Feb 11, 2021

When to Use Wikipedia

Since the articles in WIkipedia can be edited by anyone, they are unreliable and should not be used as a source for your paper. However, there is nothing wrong in using Wikipedia as a place for starting your research.  The many references or footnotes that are displayed at the bottom of the article page, (that were used to create the article) are still useful.  Many times by looking at the references at the end of a article in Wikipedia, you can discover previously unknown sources.