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Vikidia in English opens today, let’s build a children wiki encyclopedia!

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Résumé en français en bas de page

VikidiaVikidia in English opens today!

Vikidia is the equivalent of Wikipedia for children: an online encyclopedic project, for 8 to 13-year-old readers, open to contributors of any age.  It was launched in November 2006 in French, then in Spanish, Italian, Russian and now English. It aims both at offering a suitable corpus of knowledge for children and letting some of them, as well as teenagers, be involved in building it. It is very close to Wikipedia in its aim and functioning, except the readers age range.

Such wikis have proven their sustainability, relevance and success, the two biggest ones following  this model being Vikidia in French and in Dutch, with respectively 16000 and 14000 articles and hundreds of thousands readers every month.

Many children already use Wikipedia daily, for the substantial content and the well known convenient way it is to find material on any subject. However, the level of Wikipedia articles makes them hardly accessible  for children — and even other people on some subjects — who may well read them for lack of a better resource.
There are television programs for children, books and movies for children, even some newspapers and magazines for children. We believe that they can make a great use of a children encyclopedia. Many children really need and appreciate it when a more readable content is available to them. They tell it on the French Vikidia guest book, on which the main remarks are that they like it and that they would like to find more articles and more content in most articles. Vikidia however is not designed only for children but for everybody who wants a simple explanation on a subject. That means that the content must be suitable for 8–13 years old children, based on the general perception of what is or not considered as possibly offensive for this age range. That also means that we take each subject seriously in order to build a quality and substantial documentary resource.

Offering children and teenagers to be active in the process of building such a resource is obviously also a matter of empowerment. The mere possibility to add something may also change one child’s motivation for the content as a reader.

Everyone is welcome

Everybody is invited to edit Vikidia without age restrictions. There are no mandatory nor forbidden roles or status related to the users real ages. Vikidia both needs grown-up contributions and enable children and teenagers to write and to be involved in building the encyclopedia.
Young people can also be involved within educational activities organised by schools. They will gain some digital media literacy by learning about the functioning of a resource they will use extensively a few years later, namely Wikipedia. Although the goal is still the “knowledge resource” benefit of such a project: school projects are welcome provided they consider the rules and content objectives of the wiki.

  • Adults’ involvement is essential for building content that is of quality and significance, fostering basic maintenance: to watch and ensure a certain stability in the functioning of the wiki.
  • Children’s involvement, even when they don’t produce very long articles, let appear works on subjects that interest their peers. It responds to their aspirations and their desire to participate and they definitely take their share both in growing the content and in maintenance tasks.
  • Older children, teenagers that don’t (yet) edit Wikipedia can have the chance to do it here, and to make a good work. The advantage is both the amount of work they can bring, and what this work can bring to them, like for the younger ones and like any Wikipedia editor.

See Vikidia:For children or by children?

Vikidia representatives used to work on a proposal to be adopted within a multilingual Wikikids as a Wikimedia Foundation sister project. They no longer ask for it and decided to remain it independent from the Wikimedia Foundation and now to open a Vikidia in English.

Vikidia is handled by the Association Vikidia, a non-profit organisation located in France. It is supported by Wikimédia France.  The wiki is hosted by Tuxfamily, that hosts free software and free content projects in France.
Vikidia is free according to the principle of Free Knowledge. The content is published under the general license CC-BY-SA.
Vikidia especially implements and complies with the articles 12, 13 and 17 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Join us to built Vikidia in English!

Summary in French — Résumé en français :

Vikidia ouvre une version en anglais !

Vikidia, dans sa présentation la plus simple, est l’équivalent de Wikipédia pour les enfants. Ses objectifs, ses bases et son fonctionnement, très proches de ceux de Wikipédia, sont à la fois de proposer un contenu de qualité et d’être ouverte à la participation des enfants et adolescents pour sa construction et dans la plupart des aspects de son fonctionnement. C’est ce qui se passe effectivement avec une distribution très intergénérationnelle des contributeurs.
Ouvert depuis sept ans, ce wiki réunit maintenant 16 000 articles et reçoit 600 000 visiteurs uniques par mois pour sa version initiale en français. Son homologue en néerlandais connaît un développement similaire avec plus de 14 000 articles. L’un et l’autre montrent la viabilité du modèle et les nombreux messages sur le livre d’or de Vikidia en français indiquent l’utilité du contenu que ces wikis permettent d’élaborer.

Des communautés plus modestes sont également actives sur les Vikidia en italien et en espagnol, ouvertes plus récemment.

Bien qu’ayant développé la proposition d’adoption de Vikidia par la Wikimedia Foundation, l’équipe de Vikidia a abandonné ce projet dont l’issue et les implications étaient incertaines. Cela permettant du même coup moins d’interférences avec la version de Wikipédia en Simple English quant à l’ouverture de Vikidia en anglais.

Vikidia est détenue par l’association du même nom, avec le soutien de Wikimédia France et est hébergée par Tuxfamily.