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A massively popular, free, multilingual, online encyclopedia, Wikipedia has changed the way people do research and get information. Wikipedia Day celebrates the anniversary of the creation of this user-generated online source!

History of Wikipedia Day

In its more than two decades of use, Wikipedia has become an online resource that many people use in their daily lives. Because it is a user generated place where information can be entered, removed and edited by just about anyone, it is not considered to be a reliable source by educators or for formal research. It can be somewhat biased, its readability can be limited, and it may be missing information or simply have incorrect ‘facts’.

But even though it may not be reliable for everything, Wikipedia has created an enormous library with information that is free and accessible to just about anyone all over the world. Even if it means that facts need to be checked and double checked with more reliable sources, the idea that information can be accessed for free is an important step. 

Wikipedia was launched by Jimmy Wales on January 15, 2001, and its birthday is celebrated each year on Wikipedia Day!

How to Celebrate Wikipedia Day

Whether looking up some facts or just hoping to have a good time, Wikipedia Day provides an opportunity to try out some of these ideas in celebration of the day:

Host a Wikipedia Day Party

Have fun celebrating the freedom of information that is generated by grassroots efforts and is hosted by a non-profit, non-ad-based organization! Invite a few friends over for a little gathering to talk about the benefits of Wikipedia and the ways it has impacted life in the past 20+ years.

Make sure there is a birthday cake with candles to blow out, of course, and perhaps spend some time reading various Wikipedia entries that are fun or silly or meaningful to the people in the group!

Do Some Online Research

The very essence of Wikipedia is about getting free access to information online. Wikipedia Day would be the perfect time to do a little bit of online research about interesting topics. See what comes up on Wikipedia and then dig deeper into other sources to find out how reliable and accurate the information actually is.

Watch a Film About Wikipedia

Good or bad, a few different films have been made around the subject and theme of Wikipedia. Perhaps Wikipedia Day is the time to watch one or some of these in celebration of the day:

  • The Truth According to Wikipedia (2008). This documentary film was made in the Netherlands and acts as comparison between the use of information from experts vs. amateur editors. 
  • Wikipedia and the Democratization of Knowledge (2021). This German documentary film takes a look at the 20 year history of this organization and includes thoughts shared by the founders of the project, Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger. 
  • Truth in Numbers? (2010). An American documentary, this film makes an exploration of the history and cultural implications that come along with an ever-changing, online, user-editable encyclopedia.

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