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Launched in January 2001, by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger, Wikipedia is now the largest and fastest growing encyclopedia online. In fact it is one of the world’s ten most visited websites.

As of September 2007 the English Edition of Wikipedia had a massive 2 million articles and 609 million words, making it around 15 times the size of the Encyclopedia Britannica.

The site has more than 100 servers set up to deal with the 10,000 – 35,000 page requests every second.

Wikipedia is multilingual and is currently available in 253 languages. Operated by the Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit organization, it is a collaboratively written by volunteers around the world.

Contributing to Wikipedia:
* Is a peer-reviewed publication.
* Does not require contributors legal names
* Requires contributions are supported by published and verifiable sources.

Due to its open nature, Wikipedia has been criticized as an easy target for trolls, vandals, internet marketers, advertisers, and even those with a political agenda to push. However studies have shown that vandalism is usually short-lived and that generally the site is as accurate as other encyclopedias.

Wikipedia uses MediaWiki as its software platform, MediaWiki is free open source software built on a MySQl database.

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Submitted by Brigitte Capp - Netconcepts