Columbus, OH (PRWEB) October 31, 2007
It has been one year since the private launch of the Citizendium (http://www.citizendium.org/) wiki, an online reference source aiming to create "the world's most trusted knowledge base." The innovative non-profit project combines free-wheeling, open wiki collaboration with real names and guidance by expert editors.
Since then, more than 2,100 people have joined as authors and editors and 3,300 articles are under development. The project has tripled its article count since its public launch last March. Also, the rate at which it creates new articles has tripled in the last ten months and doubled in the last one hundred days.
"We've grown nicely, and are now clearly accelerating," said the project's founder and Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Larry Sanger, who is also co-founder of Wikipedia. Sanger, in a progress report (http://www.citizendium.org/oneyearandthriving.html), used the occasion to "debunk myths" about the project, acknowledge significant progress, announce several new initiatives for the expert-guided online project, and make some bold predictions.
According to Sanger, the Citizendium's readers have only just begun to see the power of the project's model. "Simply put, we've pioneered a new and better way to use wikis, and an interesting, dynamic way to build an online knowledge base," Sanger said. "Increasingly, the Citizendium is looking like the next step in the evolution of the collaborative Internet."
The project has been virtually free of the sort of vandalism and irresponsibility for which other Web 2.0 projects are frequently criticized, partly because real names are required for participation. By allowing self-driven public contribution, with oversight by editors who are established experts in their fields, there is a framework to ensure dynamic growth without sacrificing quality and credibility.
"Some said it couldn't be done, but the Citizendium proves that experts and the general public can work together collaboratively to create high quality encyclopedic content," said Sanger.
The project announced some significant new features and projects:
+ A new automated registration process allows for the turnaround of user applications within a few hours at most. So the project has finally launched its first recruitment campaign, with significant results already.
+ An innovative use of wiki software involves placing various sorts of reference information on "subpages" of the main topic page. For example, attached to the article about Biology (http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Biology) are wiki pages listing related articles, a bibliography, external links, and an image gallery. The pages are linked together via a tab interface.
+ The new "Core Articles" initiative identifies and prioritizes new articles for addition to the Citizendium.
+ The Eduzendium initiative (http://www.eduzendium.org/), now in a pilot project, encourages professors to use the Citizendium for serious public writing assignments. Several excellent articles have already been written this way. Sanger wrote in the progress report that it's "perfect" for such college work, "because most topics are wide open, and the project is managed in a way that will appeal to most professors."
+ A monthly "Write-a-Thon" spans the globe for one day each month, adding extra collaborative activities during a concentrated time span. The next one is Nov. 7th.
+ The project, part of a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is hoping to raise at least $10,000 in an end-of-the-year fundraiser.
Also in the progress report, Sanger predicted that an "explosion of growth" will come in the next year, and that the project will have 100,000 articles by 2011, if not sooner.
"We look forward to welcoming all new visitors to the Citizendium website," Sanger said, "and I encourage any user who appreciates what we are creating to sign up to become an author or editor."
Larry Sanger, Editor-in-Chief