[Foundation-l] Bertelsmann publishes "Wikipedia Encyclopedia in One Volume"

Sebastian Moleski sebmol at gmail.com
Tue Apr 22 09:22:05 UTC 2008


2008 has started as the year of old school encyclopedias permanently
relocating to the internet when Brockhaus announced that the current 30
volume edition would be the last one available in print. It may end as the
year when trees can yet again wither in the hope that they will end as
repositories of human knowledge. In a few hours, a well-known publishing
house will announce the production of a single-volume Wikipedia to be
available in stores this fall. Prior to this announcement, we wanted to
provide you with some background and details on this project.

There have been a number of approaches to publish Wikipedia content in print
such as the community-developed WikiReaders of a few years ago or the
WikiPress series of paperbacks produced by DirectMedia in Berlin. Now a new
project has started with the goal to produce a general encyclopedia based on
Wikipedia articles. First ideas for a single volume edition were formulated
some years ago but it wasn't until this year that a publisher was found who
would turn this vision into reality: this fall, the Bertelsmann Lexikon
Institut (Wissen Media) will publish the "Wikipedia encyclopedia in one
volume" in German language.

The first edition will contain 50,000 articles consisting of the
introductory paragraphs taken from the corresponding Wikipedia articles. The
paragraphs usually provide a compact overview of the topic and its
significance so they are well-suited for being published separately. They
are comparable in depth and structure to full entries in other single-volume
encyclopedias. At a price of €19.95 and its size of about 1,000 pages, it
will be a pretty good value in comparison to similar works. The volume will
be printed in full color and published as a hardcover with about 100
pictures taken from Wikipedia as well.

Topic selection for the first edition was based on page hits collected for
German Wikipedia. The data was taken from Domas Miuzas' Wikistats (
http://dammit.lt/wikistats/) and adjusted to reduce the impact of current
but short-lived events in favor of lastingly popular topics. The list of
authors for each article will be included in the finished volume and the
GFDL will be observed as would be expected.

There are a number of ways in which we see Wikipedia profiting from this

1) The Bertelsmann editors working on the first edition will submit parts of
their work--such as improvements to article introductions--to Wikipedia
under the GFDL.

2) The accessibility of Wikipedia content will be broadened to a wider range
of readers. We may even recruit some new authors as a side effect.

3) For every copy sold, one Euro goes back to Wikimedia.

We're looking forward to the response of this forthcoming announcement as
well as the public availability of the first edition later this year.

Sebastian Moleski
Board of Directors
Wikimedia Deutschland

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