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Wikimedia Foundation to explore new ways to search and discover reliable, relevant, free information with $250,000 from Knight Foundation

Posted: Jan 7, 2016 4:20 am | Internet & Websites Press Releases

The Wikimedia Foundation will launch a new project to explore ways to make the search and discovery of high quality, trustworthy information on Wikipedia more accessible and open with $250,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Funding will support an investigation of search and browsing on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects, with the goal of improving how people explore and acquire information.


Wikipedia includes more than 35 million articles across hundreds of languages. Its standards for neutral, fact-based and relevant information have made it a reliable resource for nearly half a billion people every month. With more than 7,000 articles created every day and 250 edits made per minute, Wikipedia is constantly growing and improving. Its open, nonprofit model, allows anyone to participate and contribute. This project will help improve discoverability of this vast resource of community-created content.


Over the last decade, the world has seen a surge in digital information. People today can access vast amounts of information online, mostly through a small number of closed technologies. Through this project, the Wikimedia Foundation will test ways to make relevant information more accessible and investigate transparent methods for collecting, connecting, and retrieving this information consistent with the values of Wikipedia and the open web.


With Knight support, the Wikimedia Foundation has begun six months of deep research, testing, and prototyping on user search habits and practices on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects. Using these platforms as testing grounds, the organization will examine questions around content preferences, queries, the quality and relevance of results, and what information people consume and why. It will conduct open discussions with the Wikimedia community to help inform the project. A public-facing dashboard will display results and metrics from this discovery and lessons will be shared widely.


"Finding an article on Wikipedia is like opening the first page in the book of knowledge. We have an obligation to our communities to make this first experience captivating for every user. We share Knight Foundation's belief in the power of open information in building engaged, strong communities. We are excited for the potential of this project to bring free, relevant, trustworthy knowledge to every person," said Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Lila Tretikov.


"As the amount of digital content continues to grow, helping people search for and discover relevant information so they can make decisions important to their lives is becoming increasingly essential," said John Bracken, Knight Foundation vice president for media innovation. "This project will help uncover more effective, transparent ways to do just that, drawing on the Wikimedia Foundation's commitment to an open and free Internet."


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