We’ve always thought that the world’s largest encyclopedia should have a world-class library. Through the Wikipedia Library program, the encyclopedia’s editors have free access to a collection of over 80,000 unique periodicals, like journals, magazines, newspapers, newsletters, pamphlets, and series, in addition to an untallyable number of books. This access has been facilitated by over 60 partners, including many of the world’s leading publishers and aggregators.
The library of resources available to Wikipedians continues to grow, allowing these editors to use the best sources available to improve Wikipedia.
Why do we do this? Because facts matter.
That said, while an enormous amount of content is available, our current distribution and access processes leave a lot of room for improvement. Signing up for partners is currently done individually and on a per-partner basis, resulting in a slow turnaround on approval and distribution of access, taking on average three weeks from application to access, which is far too long. We’ve been limited in the number of accounts we can give out for most publishers and accounts are generally granted for exactly one year at a time, whether editors need longer perpetual access, or worse if they only want to grab a couple of references. Lastly, there hasn’t been a way to search through the vast content across all our separate partners.
This year, we’re working hard to solve these problems. We’re excited to share our plans with you, from the full rollout of the Wikipedia Library Card Platform to adding proxy access using Wikipedia logins to piloting a “bundle” of resources that could be accessed by thousands of qualifying editors at any time, as well as making Wikipedia’s citations far more open and accessible for readers.