Slovenian Wikipedia marking 20th anniversary

Ljubljana – The Slovenian-language edition of Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia, is celebrating its 20th anniversary. It was launched in 2002 as the 16th language variant after the original Wikipedia was launched in 2001, and there are currently 314 language variants.

The initiative came from user Jani Melik, and the Slovenian-language Wikipedia now boasts over 175,000 articles, which puts it among the top 50 per number of entries.

Jernej Polajnar, a representative of the Slovenian collective behind Wikipedia, has told the STA upon the anniversary that they are proud to produce such content with an innovative approach and completely voluntarily.

He says that the relevance of their work is reflected in the use of their work and the citation rate. “We also score quite high in Wikipedia’s various international rankings in terms of the amount of content.”

The project also proves that Slovenian is equal to languages spoken by many more speakers in terms of richness and the power of expression even at a time of globalisation and the global dominance of English.

“We want to be a role model showing that writing in the mother tongue and in a home environment is not in vain,” Polajnar says.

As a relatively large pool of freely accessible structured information, the Slovenian-language Wikipedia has also been used to create language corpora for machine learning algorithm and for analysing online presence of Slovenian writers.

Looking to challenges ahead, Polajnar says their wish is for experts to better understand the opportunities wiki platforms provide for spreading knowledge.

“Several fields are covered insufficiently on Wikipedia, such as economics, law and various social topics, while we are doing better in natural sciences.”

Some experts see their contributions as self-promotion, which totally misses the wiki platforms’ basic mission, so Polajnar says they want to change this, which will require more awareness raising.

The core of the team behind the Slovenian-language Wikipedia is relatively stable in terms of its size and activity, even the founder still finds time to write articles.

While many decide to improve the existing articles, there are few who decide to cooperate for a longer period of time or as a hobby, but Polajnar says the team of administrators does get rejuvenated and refreshed all the time quite successfully.

“Despite the competition modern mobile platforms present, I feel the enthusiasm will not wane just yet, but we will have to do more for promotion. When it comes to a community or project like us, the rule the more the better definitely holds true.”