Wikidata to provide structured data for all Wikipedia versions

With more than 280 different language editions of Wikipedia often sharing data elements like people's birth dates and definitions, there has never been a single central data repository from which each version could pull such information. Until now.

Today, the German chapter of the Wikimedia Foundation pulled back the wraps on Wikidata, a project that is aiming to be a single common source of structured data that can be used across all versions of Wikipedia. By December, that should allow editors of each individual language version of a Wikipedia article to pull data from that repository rather than adding … Read more

Encyclopaedia Britannica drops print and goes digital only

Gone are the days of walking over to the bookshelf, grabbing an Encyclopaedia Britannica, and flipping through the pages to look up whatever piqued one's curiosity. The leather-bound print edition set of reference books is now defunct, the company announced today.

However, Encyclopaedia Britannica is also quick to say that this change isn't its swan song. Now, in the digital age, the company will focus on its online encyclopedias and educational curriculum for schools.

"In spite of our long history with print, I would like to point out that no single medium, neither books nor bits, is … Read more

Wikipedia gone daddy from Go Daddy

The Wikimedia Foundation has completed the process of transferring its domains away from Go Daddy in response to Go Daddy's initial support for the Stop Online Piracy Act, the foundation said this week.

"As the provider of the 5th most visited Web properties in the world, the Foundation cares deeply about who handles our domain names. We had been deliberating a move from GoDaddy for some time--our legal department felt the company was not the best fit for our domain needs--and we began actively seeking other domain management providers in December 2011. GoDaddy's initial support of (SOPA)...… Read more

SOPA-proponent Dodd under attack by Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales

Christopher Dodd, chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America and former U.S. Senator, made a few comments recently that have made him extremely unpopular in the Web world.

According to VentureBeat, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales called for the MPAA to fire Dodd, saying that Dodd's statements undermine the MPAA and make the organization seem corrupt.

During last week's major online protest against SOPA and PIPA--the two antipiracy bills pending in the Senate and Congress--Dodd told Fox News, "Those who count on quote 'Hollywood' for support need to understand that this industry is watching … Read more

Wikipedia shows traffic uptick during SOPA protest

Although Wikipedia completely blacked out its English language Web site yesterday in protest of potential U.S. antipiracy legislation, traffic on the Web encyclopedia was higher than usual, according to research and analysis company Zscaler.

"If you want a quick way of increasing traffic to your website--change or take down portions of your website in protest," Zscaler wrote on its blog yesterday. "At least that is what we have gleaned from today's (1/18) Wikipedia protest against SOPA."

Graphs on the Zscaler blog show that unique Wikipedia visits during the blackout were higher than surrounding … Read more

One early winner in SOPA protest: Wikipedia

commentary There's talk that the online protests against the cybersiblings SOPA and PIPA constituted some sort of political coming of age moment for the tech industry. As if the tech moguls had "largely steered clear of lobbying and other political games in Washington" until now. Really? I love The New York Times but c'mon. This is the sort of fairy tale that sounds sweet but fails the smell test.

Silicon Valley has been looking to buy influence in Washington ever since tech companies started making serious money. Witness the sundry battles waged in the last couple … Read more

Going dark means crazy day for anti-SOPA site owners

With sites like Reddit, BoingBoing, PostSecret, and I Can Has Cheezburger blacked out today in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act, you might think this would be a peaceful, relaxed Wednesday for the people who run them. You'd be wrong.

All across the Internet, sites like those and many others stood up to register their opposition to SOPA and PIPA. But for some of those who have gotten the most attention for their activism, today has actually been crazier than usual, despite not having to constantly update their publications all day.

"Today … Read more

The 404 974: Where we **** the **** (podcast)

We've put it off long enough, and today we'll finally spend time discussing Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), an incendiary bill written by Texas Congressman Lamar Smith that would effectively put an end to any Web site that would "steal America's innovative and creative products, attract more than 53 billion visits a year, and threaten more than 19 million American jobs."… Read more

WSJ comes out for SOPA, more lawmakers pull support

One of America's most respected newspapers has come out on the side of copyright owners by supporting a controversial antipiracy legislation, which the technology sector has sworn to defeat.

The Wall Street Journal's editorial section today published a piece called "Brake the Internet Pirates." The paper said that the creative industries are being threatened by abusers "who hijack [the Internet's] architecture." The Journal wrote that regardless of what critics say, that is all the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) would do.

"SOPA merely adapts the current avenues of legal recourse for infringement … Read more

Wikipedia, Google blackout sites to protest SOPA

Three of the Internet's most popular destinations--Google, Wikipedia, and Craigslist--launched an audacious experiment in political activism this evening by urging their users to protest a pair of Hollywood-backed copyright laws.

Wikipedia's English-language pages went completely black at 9 p.m. PT, with a splash page saying "the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open Internet." The online encyclopedia's blackout, intended to precede next week's Senate floor vote on the legislation, is scheduled to last 24 hours.

Craigslist and Google have taken a more modest approach. Unlike Wikipedia, … Read more