The Wikimedia Foundation announced today the creation of the 500,000th article in the English-language Wikipedia, its project to create a free, multilingual, online encyclopedia. The article was about "Involuntary settlements in the Soviet Union (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Involuntary_settlements_in_the_Soviet_Union)." Wikipedia is a comprehensive online reference that has won acclaim and awards (http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Trophy_box) for its detailed coverage of current events and popular culture, its usability, and its community of contributors. It receives millions of visits each day.
Other recent additions to its English-language edition include hundreds of full-length songs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Sound/list), almost a gigabyte of new images (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page), and subject-specific portals (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikiportal/Art).
Daniel Pink, author and WIRED Magazine columnist, recently described Wikipedia as "the self-organizing, self-repairing, hyperaddictive library of the future." BBC News calls it "One of the most reliably useful sources of information around, on or off-line," and Tim Berners-Lee, father of the Web, has called it "The Font of All Knowledge."
Wikipedia is the first and best-known project of the Wikimedia Foundation. It has spawned sister projects, including a dictionary, a library of textbooks, a compendium of quotations, and a news site. These projects are all run on the open source MediaWiki platform (http://wikipedia.sourceforge.net/).
Wikipedia is available free of charge and free of advertising from its website, en.wikipedia.org. Interested contributors can visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Introduction to learn how to add to the encyclopedia. DVD versions of the encyclopedia are scheduled to be released in English, German (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia-Distribution), and French, later this year.