The Wikimedia Foundation plans to launch an editable, video encyclopedia to complement its text-based online encyclopedia. Since its launch in 2001, Wikipedia has grown at an astounding rate, with about 65 million visits per month and thousands of volunteer contributors writing, adding to and editing thousands of articles every day. In a multimedia age, adding video hopes to take Wikipedia to a new level.
The aim is to revolutionize the existing site by allowing open-source video to be accessible to the general public. The company hopes to be ready for the launch in the next few months.
So how will it work? When Wikipedia contributors begin to edit an article, they will discover a new Add Media button, which will allow them to access an interface, select a video clip from three repositories, containing copyright-free material, and drag it into the article. No video-editing software is required. The video clip will then be embedded in the article and will appear to the viewer as a “clickable” video clip.
In the future, users may also be able to be import video content directly from the web, and the content may be able to be edited within or added to the Wikipedia website.
At first, the videos will be sourced from three repositories: the Internet Archive; Wikimedia Commons, which is maintained by the Wikimedia Foundation; and Metavid. The Metavid repository contains videos of Congressional hearings and speeches. Some of the videos include closed-captioning text. In the future, this text will serve as a tagging system and will assist Wikipedia users to search for particular words or phrases and then import a certain section of a speech into an article.
The project is being partly funded by the Mozilla Foundation, creators of the open-source Firefox browser, which insists that all video imported onto its pages be open-source. The Wikimedia Foundation hopes that video content providers will allow their material to be available in the public domain, motivated by the exposure Wikipedia offers.
The project will also involve the development of web tools to enable users to easily edit and transfer video content, without having to deal with file conversions.