Visualizing the joint work of 20 million volunteers
We all know that Wikipedia is huge. The English version alone consists of more than 4 million articles. But can you imagine how large Wikipedia really is?
We think that the best way to experience the size of Wikipedia is by transforming it into the physical medium of books.
In order to do this, we plan to print the complete English Wikipedia in 1,000 books and display them at a public exhibition.
Containing the most volumes and edited by the largest number of contributors the printed edition will be a work of record breaking dimensions. Furthermore the exhibit aims to honor the countless volunteers who have created this fascinating trove of knowledge in little more than ten years.
We want to invite you to become part of this project.
Who we are
We are a small team of developers who work on the open source book tool for Wikipedia at PediaPress. Over the last five years we have created thousands of books from Wikipedia content and became the official print on demand partner of the Wikimedia Foundation. And we are - by the way – based in Mainz, the city where Gutenberg started the printing revolution more than 500 years ago.
What it will look like
We’ll fit the complete English Wikipedia in approximately 1,000 books with 1,200 pages each. All volumes will have continuous page numbers, so the last article could as well be on page number 1,193,014.
The books will have a hard case and will be printed in gray scale. Color printing is one of our stretch goals.
The book case will be more than 10 meters (32ft) long and about 2.5 meters (8ft) high.
Details of the exhibition
The books will be first exhibited at Wikimania London in August 2014. Wikimania is the annual conference of the Wikipedia community. This years venue will be the Barbican Centre, a performing arts centre in the City of London and the largest of its type in Europe.
If there is sufficient interest, we would love to send the exhibition on a tour around the globe after Wikimania. This is a stretch goal though.
Finally, we would like to donate the edition to a big public library. To later generations this might be a period piece from the beginning of the digital revolution.
How the books will be created
Until a few years ago, such a project would have been impossible. Thanks to advances in computing power, internet bandwidth, open source software and print on demand technologies, today we can programmatically transform content from Wikipedia into printable PDFs. The challenge will be to scale and refine our existing technologies to handle the size and diversity of the complete Wikipedia. Every article - including images - needs to be aggregated and preprocessed. Afterwards, the content will be rendered automatically in a three column layout and distributed across multiple volumes. (Kudos to our friends at YesLogic for contributing their awesome Prince renderer.)
The final layout files will be uploaded to the printing facility where 1,000 unique hardcover books will be printed onto more than 600,000 sheets of paper, manually bound, and prepared for shipping. The books will be transported to the exhibition on three fully packed cargo pallets. After the exhibition the books will need to be repackaged again for transportation to the next venue.
The books will be printed on FSC certified paper that comes from sustainable forestry.
What We Need
As you can imagine, there are some inescapable costs for such a project. That’s why we are turning to you for support. The funds that we aim to raise shall cover:
- Printing of 1,000 unique books
- A very big book case
- Transportation of the books and the case to the Barbican Centre and back to storage
- Setting up the exhibition
Our Stretch Goals
Color printing is more expensive than gray scale – but it’s also more impressive.
If we raise sufficient funds, we would like to show the exhibition of the work at further venues around the globe. Ideally, it will be displayed at least once on every continent.
Obviously a printed Wikipedia will be outdated within seconds. We plan to visualize the update frequency of Wikipedia by printing live updates on continuous paper during the exhibition.
What You Get
If you help us, you’ll be named as a project sponsor.
Think how exciting it would be to be able to visit the exhibition, pull the book off the shelve and see your name listed as a sponsor of this large exhibit.
$5 – Thank You
We will list your name as a sponsor on the project website.
$25 – Your Name In One Of The books
You will be mentioned as a sponsor at the beginning of a book.
$50 – PediaPress coupon
You will receive a $25 PediaPress coupon code within 24 hours. The coupon can be redeemed immediately and buys you a personal Wikipedia-Book at pediapress.com. You will also be mentioned as a sponsor at the beginning of a volume.
$100 – One Page For Your Personal Dedication
Sponsor a complete book and use a whole page at the beginning of that book to write a dedication.
$250 – A Copy Of The Book With Your Personal Dedication
Write a dedication, as above, but also receive a copy of the book you sponsored.
$1000 – Your Logo On A Selected Book
Is your organization mentioned in Wikipedia? Consider to become the corporate sponsor of the corresponding book. Add a dedication and have your logo placed on the back of the book. You’ll also receive a copy of the book.
$? – Special WishesDo you have a sponsoring idea which is not listed above? Maybe additional copies of a certain volume or bringing the exhibition to your hometown. Just contact us and we'll figure something out.
Selecting your volume
We will contact all sponsors with eligible perks after the campaign has ended (April 12) via
email and provide them with the details for submitting their dedication
(and optionally logo). We'll also offer to receive an invoice for the chosen perk.
You'll be able to choose which volume you want to sponsor by naming a certain article. We will place your dedication (and optionally your logo) in the volume that contains the designated article.
While unlikely, a situation might occur where two sponsors choose the same article or two articles from the same volume. In this case, the sponsor with the higher contribution will take precedence. When two sponsors contributed the same amount, the situation will be solved on a "first sponsor, first serve" basis. Of course, the sponsor who could not be assigned the initially selected volume can either select a different volume or choose to be refunded.
Writing your personal dedication
The dedication can contain only text and it must fit on a single page (approximately 1500 characters of text). Some basic formatting (like different paragraphs, bold and italic) will be possible, but no advanced layout or custom fonts.
Other Ways You Can Help
Back our campaign!
By backing our campaign you’re telling us that you’re as excited as we are about this project and you’ll help us getting closer to our goal.
Share our campaign!
It may seem like a small thing, but sharing our campaign on Facebook, Twitter (Hashtag #wp1000) etc. will allow us to see the response of our intended audience and hopefully helps us to get the project funded.