The Wikimedia Foundation and Linterweb announces the release of Wikipedia Version 0.5, a compact disc collection of around 2,000 articles from the English Wikipedia. The project paves the way for many such collections, with larger releases planned in a variety of languages.
Articles were chosen based on criteria for quality and importance set by the Wikipedia community. Topics covered include, among others, geography, arts, literature, science, history, and natural sciences. Users can browse articles using a built-in search engine or by surfing navigational pages.
Martin A. Walker, a chemistry professor at the State University of New York at Potsdam, played a central role in the production of Wikipedia Version 0.5, and in setting criteria for article selection.
“Although this is only a test release, we really tried to produce something the Wikipedia community could feel proud of. We wanted to cover the major topics, while also including a selection of articles considered to be the very best of Wikipedia. These ‘featured articles’ aim to be well written and comprehensive, and also free from errors, bias, vandalism and marketing ”, states Walker.
The community members are welcome to take part in this innovating project, either by helping for the selection process, or by helping at the development of the open-source project Kiwix, which is the software part of the CD. “We hope that everyone is able to participate at the future development of the Encyclopedia, and be proud of its reach. ”, Pascal Martin emphasizes.
Wikimedia France was at the forefront of bringing the CD collection to fruition, and securing the deal with Linterweb, a French technology company. In the future, Wikimedia France also aims to produce a French language CD through Linterweb. The French/English collaboration has proved very successful, and the two groups continue to share ideas and resources.
The Wikipedia Version 0.5 CD is compatible with Windows (back to 98), Macintosh (Intel) OS X and Linux x86. It can be purchased at the price of $13.99.