I had an encyclopedia at home, at the foot of a desktop computer with its brand new CD-ROM. That multimedia encyclopedia fit on a single CD and although it had cost a good money, with its 65,000 articles, it was much more comfortable than the eight paper volumes of my dear, but increasingly old-fashioned encyclopedia. That was a long time ago, it was the year 2001 and at that point we already knew that the newly released XXI century did not bear much resemblance to “2001: A Space Odyssey”. In the last decade of the 20th century, the map of Europe and EuroAsia had radically and violently changed. Such dizzying changes could not be picked up by the old encyclopedia and for her: Yugoslavia continued to be a country, with no trace of the Balkan War that lasted ten years and did not end until 2001. In turn, that same year, the encyclopedia on CD-ROM could say little about the Genome Project Human who had just published, for the first time, the sequence of the human genome in the journal Nature.
And then she was born. January 15, 2001, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, supported by its older sister (the Word Wide Web) came to tell us that although HAL 9000 (the super computer that appears in the movie 2001: a space odyssey) was nothing more than science fiction, a chimera about where we were going to be in the 21st century. On the contrary, the inhabitants of the Earth could give us a free, polyglot and collaboratively edited encyclopedia. Wikipedia is not science fiction or a fake, it is history. 300 million articles later, Wikipedia is one of the most visited websites in the world and not exactly to give a “Like”. 1.6 billion devices connect to Wikipedia every month to consult its articles and what is perhaps more exciting: collaborate with each other.
Speaking of fakes and the fight against misinformation, Wikipedia is one of the favorite targets of manipulators. But let no one kill the messenger. If the major Atlases said that there is a mountain range in Africa that runs across the continent, Wikipedia would say so too. Kong, was a non-existent mountain range, larger than the Himalayas, that appeared for a century on the maps of the 19th century. It was false, a fake, but it appeared in the main Atlases. Wikipedia is not a primary source, neither more nor less than any encyclopedia, whether on paper or on CD. If someone claims to have sequenced the human genome, they should not write it on Wikipedia, but rather in a reputable publication. Then the article on the Wiki will come.
Today is January 15, 2021 is the day of the Wikipedian, touch acknowledge the work of hundreds of thousands of volunteers who make Wikipedia possible all over the world. With all my heart, thank you!
Wait, maybe there is still some space to try to explain the emotion that one feels when collaborating on a project that no filmmaker had imagined in 2001. Well thought out, it is best that you try it for yourself.
Take part in the birthday party (s)!
If you read, edit, donate or develop Wikipedia; connect to one of the virtual parties on January 15 to celebrate this special occasion.