Wikimedia Foundation

The Wikimedia Foundation is a non-profit organization, which was founded on June 20, 2003 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Their headquarters is now located in San Francisco, California. The Wikimedia Foundation operates 13 online collaborative wiki projects. The most known is Wikipedia, which was launched in the year 2001. Other projects include Wiktionary, Wikiversity, Wikimedia, Wikiquote, et cetera.

The company has 21 employees (as of August 2008) and their revenue in the year 2007 was $2,734,909 USD. Their Wikipedia project is ranked the 8th most visited web site┬╣ in the World Wide Web.

The Wikimedia Foundation's stated goal is to develop and maintain open content, wiki-based projects and to provide the full contents of those projects to the public free of charge.

In addition to the multilingual general encyclopedia Wikipedia, the foundation manages a multi-language dictionary and thesaurus named Wiktionary, an encyclopedia of quotations named Wikiquote, a repository of source texts in any language named Wikisource, and a collection of e-book texts for students named Wikibooks. Wikijunior is a subproject of Wikibooks that specializes in books for children.


The actual term Wikimedia, was thought up only a few months before the organization was officially founded, by Sheldon Rampton in a post to the English Wikipedia's mailing list. In April 2005, two years after being founded, the Internal Revenue Service approved the Wikimedia Foundation as "an educational foundation," making all contributions to the foundation tax deductible for US federal income tax purposes.

As previously stated, the Wikimedia Foundation initially began in St. Petersburg, Florida. In December 2006, however, problems aroused when Wikimedia could not become the membership organization it intended to be because of their inability to meet the registration requirements of Florida Statute. This, along with possible business partners and more convenient international travel, led to the Foundation moving to San Francisco, California, where it now resides.



MediaWiki is a web-based wiki software application used by all projects of the Wikimedia Foundation. This free and open source software allows you to create and edit web pages that initiate the server to run on one or more web servers.
This application is written using a PHP programming language that uses MySQL or PostgreSQL. In PHP, MediaWiki is made by putting double square brackets around words.

Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects played a huge roll when it came to setting the requirement for MediaWiki. Being the one of the world's largest websites, developers worry about being able to expand to meet the future requests and desires of MediaWiki. MediaWiki was originated to meet the needs of the Wikipedia encyclopedia's free content. Now it has evolved into a management system for internal knowledge and relational database management system by companies.

Wikispecies aims to create a comprehensive catalogue of all species. Scientists mostly use it. Editors are not required to fax in their degrees, but the submissions will have to be looked at with a technical audience. It was started in August 2004. Biologists across the world were invited to contribute. Since then, the project had grown into a framework encompassing the Linnaean taxonomy with links to Wikipedia articles on individual species.


Until the year 2005, the activities and actions of the Wikimedia Foundation were almost entirely done by volunteers to the project. During this year, the company had two employees; a coordinator and a software manager. On October 4th, 2006, the Wikimedia Foundation grew to accommodate five paid employees, including two programmers, an administrative assistant, a coordinator handling fundraising and grants, and an interim executive director.

One of the more interesting employees of the Wikimedia Foundation was the chief operating officer Carolyn Doran. She was appointed to her position in January 2007 after working as a part time bookkeeper in 2006, but left the Foundation in July of 2007. Later it was revealed that that she was a convicted felon, with a DUI arrest during her tenure at the foundation and a substantial criminal history, including shooting her boyfriend and complicity in credit card forgery.

The Wikimedia Foundation's employees have divisions in Technology, Programs, and Finance/Administration. Along with the employees, there is an Advisory Board and a Board of Trustees.

The Board of Trustees saw a recent change in February of 2008 when Michael Snow, an American lawyer and chair of the Communication Committee, and Domas Mituzas, a Lithuanian computer software engineer and MySQL employee were added. A structure change was announced in April of 2008, increasing the number of board members to ten. There will now be three community-elected seats, two seats to be selected by the chapters, one board-appointed 'community founder' seat, to be occupied by Jimmy Wales (an American Internet entrepreneur and co-founder of Wikipedia in 2001) and four board-appointed 'specific expertise' seats.

Operations and Finances:

The continued technical and economic growth of each of the Wikimedia projects is dependent mostly on donations. However, the Wikimedia Foundation also increases its revenue by alternative means. Alternative funding includes grants, sponsorship, services, and brand merchandising. In March 2008 the foundation announced its largest donation to date: a three-year, $3 million grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

The WikiMedia Foundation also relies on public contributions, to help fund their mission of providing free knowledge to everyone in the world. At the beginning of 2006, WikiMedia's net assets were $270,000. During the year, the organization received support and revenue totaling $1,510,000, with concurrent expenses of $790,000. Net assets increased to a total of over one million dollars. In 2007, the foundation ended the year with net assets of $1,700,000.

Web Resources: - Overview of all projectsOverview of all projects


Wiki software: A shared software, such as email, that runs a collection of web pages allowing anyone who accesses it to modify the content.
PostgreSQL: An object-relational database management system
PHP programming language: A computer language for personal home page.


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