Computer Systems Laboratory Colloquium

4:15PM, Wednesday, January 16, 2002
NEC Auditorium, Gates Computer Science Building B03
For additional information consult

Wikipedia and why it matters

Larry Sanger
Wikipedia and Nupedia
About the talk:

This talk will both introduce the Wikipedia open content encyclopedia project and state some brief opinions on why Wikipedia's work and progress should be of interest to those following developments on the internet.

Wikipedia is an open content, wiki-based encyclopedia project. The project has been very active and is growing rapidly. Its first anniversary is January 15; it has created over 20,000 articles in its first year. Community editing provides us a surprisingly effective way to avoid vandalism, cranks, and Usenet-style infighting to a modest extent. Article quality is determined by community-enforced standards. There are several active Non-English Wikipedias, but the English language project is by far the most active. Wikipedia is associated with its sister project, another open content encyclopedia Nupedia. Unlike Wikipedia, Nupedia is rigorously peer-reviewed. Press reception, by The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, MIT's Technology Review, and other sources has been generally positive.

The second part of the talk will make a series of arguments about why the Wikipedia project matters: as an encyclopedia; as a free encyclopedia; as an intellectual/academic project; as a successful project in collaborative writing; as a successful, growing web innovation; as an educational resource; and as an open content project/free (gnu) resource.

Why this talk is important

About the speaker:

Larry Sanger is co-founder and one of the chief organizers of Wikipedia and editor-in-chief of Nupedia. Sanger received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Ohio State in 2000.

Contact information:

Larry Sanger
702-631-7301 (temporary)


Many thanks to the Computer Forum for providing support for this lecture. The Computer Forum is the industrial affiliate program for CS, EE, and CSL. To learn more about the program, contact Suzanne Bentley,, or visit the Comptuer Forum website linked above.