Wikipedia, aspiring to be the definitive free resource for the “sum of all knowledge,” is looking to build its nest egg to ensure a stabler future for the site, which turns 15 today.
The Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit that operates Wikipedia and other projects like Wikiquotes and Wikitionary, is setting up an endowment with a small initial contribution that it hopes to add $100 million to in the next decade.
The new endowment, according to Wikipedia, was established as a “collective action fund” through the Tides Foundation, and “is to act as a permanent safekeeping fund to generate income to support the operations and activities of the Wikimedia projects in perpetuity.”
The site averages more than 18 billion page views per month, according to Alexa.com, and its English-language sites make up the bulk of page views, according to analysis of its content by the Pew Research Center. Subjects popular on the English edition of Wikipedia are pages that refer to current events such as ISIS, new media (Star Wars, Game of Thrones), and other sites such as Facebook or Google, according to Pew’s analysis.
Recently, the Knight Foundation granted the Wikimedia foundation $250,000 in support of research on how people search and browse for information on Wikipedia (disclosure: Knight is a supporter of Nieman Lab):
This exploratory project will include deep research, analysis, and prototyping to assess potential improvements in how people find information on Wikipedia and its sister projects. Specific activities include:
– User testing and research on current user behavior to understand the search and discovery experience.
– Creation and maintenance of a dashboard of core metrics to use in product development.
– Research on search relevancy and the possibility of integrating open data sources.
– Open discussion with the Wikimedia community of volunteer editors and technology experts.
– Creation of prototypes to showcase discovery possibilities.