Press releases/German DVD/Book release - December 2005

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Directmedia's next edition of German Wikipedia content was issued in December 2005. A 139 page book explaining Wikipedia, its history and policies was accompanied by a 7.5 GB DVD containing 300,000 articles and 100,000 images. The book with DVD is sold for 9.90 Euro; both are also available for free download.

Size and coverage of the German Wikipedia

German Wikipedia was started in May 2001. As of November 2005, this edition had more than 322,000 articles, ranking second, behind the English language edition. 97% of the articles had more than 200 characters, 84% had more than 512 bytes, 36% had more than 2 KB, the average article size was 3100 bytes. All these numbers were the biggest among the large Wikipedias.

Compared to the English Wikipedia, the German one tends to be more selective in its coverage, often rejecting small stubs, articles about fictional characters and similar materials.

The January 2005 w:en:Google Zeitgeist announced that "Wikipedia" was the #8 most searched query on Google.de, ranking only behind the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake, George Bush, Mozilla Firefox, Schnappi, Rudolph Moshammer, Saturn, and Angelina Jolie. In February 2005 Wikipedia reached third place behind Firefox and Valentine's Day. In June 2005, Wikipedia attained even the first place.

Off-line publication

CD November 2004

In November 2004, Directmedia Publishing GmbH started distributing a CD-ROM containing a German Wikipedia snapshot [1]. Some 40,000 compact discs were sent to registered customers of directmedia. The price was 3 Euro per CD.

The display and search software used for the project, Digibib, had been developed by Directmedia Publishing for earlier publications; it ran on Microsoft Windows and MacOS X (and now also on Linux). (See screenshots: [2] and [3].) The Wikipedia articles had to be converted to the w:en:XML format used by Digibib.

To produce the CD, a dump of the live Wikipedia had been copied to a separate server, where a team of seventy Wikipedians vetted the material, deleting nonsense articles and obvious copyright violations. Questionable articles were added to a special list, to be reviewed later. The final CD contained 132,000 articles and 1,200 images.

The .iso file was distributed via w:eneMule and w:en:BitTorrent. In December, the CHIP computer magazine placed the Wikipedia CD on the DVD that it distributes with every issue. The Wikipedia materials are published under w:en:GFDL while the Digibib software may only be copied for non-commercial use (the Linux version is w:enGPLed).

CD/DVD April 2005

A new release of Wikipedia content was published by Directmedia on 6 April 2005. This package consisted of a 2.7 GB DVD and a separate bootable CDROM (running a version of Linux with Firefox). The CDROM did not contain all the data, but was included to accommodate users without DVD-drives. The DVD used Directmedia's Digibib software and article format; everything could be installed to a hard drive. In addition, the DVD contained an HTML tree, as well as Wikipedia articles formatted for use with w:en:PDAs (specifically, the w:en:Mobipocket and w:en:TomeRaider formats).

German Wikipedians have developed a special format for meta data about persons (name, birth date and place etc.) known as Personendaten . The main aim of this system was to aid the search features of the DVD. Personendaten were added to some 35,000 biographical articles on the live Wikipedia, partly aided by a semi-automatical tool.

The vetting process was similar to the one for the CD described above and took place on a separate MediaWiki server. The process took about a week and involved 33 Wikipedians, communicating on IRC. To prevent duplication of work, editors would protect every article that they had reviewed; links to protected articles were shown in green. Lists of potential spammed or vandalized article had been produced ahead of time with SQL queries. Unacceptable articles were simply deleted on the spot. While the XML articles for the earler CD version had been produced from HTML, this time a script was used to convert Wiki markup directly to the Digibib format. The final DVD contained about 205,000 articles, with every article linking to a list of contributors.

Directmedia sold 30,000 DVDs, at 9.90 Euro]each. This price included 16% taxes and a 1 Euro donation to Wikimedia Deutschland; production costs were about 2 Euro. The DVD image can also be downloaded for free.

DVD/book December 2005

Directmedia's next edition of Wikipedia content was issued in December 2005. A 139 page book explaining Wikipedia, its history and policies was accompanied by a 7.5 GB DVD containing 300,000 articles and 100,000 images. The book with DVD is sold for 9.90 Euro; both are also available for free download.

The vetting process for this version was different and did not involve human intervention. A "white list" of trusted Wikipedians was assembled, the last 10 days of every article's history were examined, and the last version edited by a white-listed Wikipedian was chosen for the DVD. If no such version existed, the last version older than 10 days was used. Articles nominated for cleanup or deletion were not used.

In mid-November 2005, it was discovered that an anonymous user had entered hundreds of articles from older encyclopedias that had been published in the 1970s and 1980s in East Germany. The articles were mainly on topics in philosophy and related areas. The user had started in December 2003.

A press release was issued and numerous editors started to remove the copyright protected materials. This was made difficult by the fact that the old encyclopedias were not online and not easily available from many West German libraries, and that the user had used numerous different IP addresses. The Directmedia DVD had to be updated.

Wikipress series

The book about Wikipedia was the first in a series titled Wikipress. These books consist of a collection of Wikipedia articles about a common topic, selected and edited by so-called "Wikipeditors" who may receive compensation from Directmedia. Wikipress books about the Nobel Peace Prize, bicycles, Antarctica, the solar system etc. are in the planning stages. The books are assembled on a separate server, http://www.wikipress.de

Every Wikipress book is accompanied by an "edit card", a post card that readers can send in to edit the book's contents.

Reviews

In September 2004, the German Wikipedia was evaluated against the Brockhaus Multimedial and the localized edition of Microsoft's Encarta by w:en:c't, a respected computer magazine. On a scale from 0 to 5, Wikipedia 'won' with a total score of 3.4. [4] Video(RealMedia/German)

A few weeks later, the weekly newspaper w:en:Die Zeit also compared content from Wikipedia with other reference works and found that Wikipedia only has to "share its lead position in the field of natural science." [5].

The DVD version of Spring 2005 received a rather negative review by Bjoern Hoffmann in July 2005 [6].

External links

Source : w:en:German Wikipedia