Wicipedia Cymraeg, the Welsh Wikipedia has reached 100,000 articles. Welsh Wikipedians have been working hard over the past year to reach this target, which is a big achievement for a minority language Wikipedia. Wikimedia UK is committed to diversifying Wikimedia’s content and contributors and supporting the Celtic British languages, and reaching this milestone demonstrates the impact this work has had.
Wikimedia UK’s Programme Co-ordinator in Wales, Robin Owain, has been a driving force behind the growing strength of the Welsh Wikipedia, along with National Wikimedian at the National Library of Wales, Jason Evans, and the many tireless contributors to Wicipedia. It’s been a long journey since the birth of Wicipedia in 2003, and you can see the most important milestones in this journey in our Welsh Wikipedia timeline video:
Welsh Wikimedians have also recently established a Community User Group in Wales, Grŵp Defnyddwyr Cymuned Wicimedia Cymru. This will be a separate entity to Wikimedia UK, but will work in close partnership with us. Robin Owain will continue to develop and manage Wikimedia UK’s programme in Wales, working with external partners and the community to help deliver our strategy with a focus on Wales and the Welsh language. As part of this role he will work closely with the User Group as to support and develop the Wikimedia community in Wales, facilitating and delivering partnership events and activities and acting as the key contact point between the User Group and the Wikimedia UK Chapter.
Where next for Welsh Wikipedia?
Welsh Wikipedia is already the most visited site in Welsh online, it is close to gender parity in its biographical articles, and it is highly integrated with Wikidata, so what is the next goal for the Wicipedia community? Jason Evans, National Wikimedian at the National Library of Wales, says that the focus will be on growing the Welsh-language editor community, securing partnerships with the education sector and existing producers of relevant Welsh language content.
“Not only is the Welsh Wici growing but the community of editors is growing. The National library of Wales will continue to support and encourage editors through events and training sessions and by sharing its own data openly for use on Wicipedia and beyond”, Evans said.
Elsewhere in the growth of language Wikipedias, the Chinese (Mandarin) and Portugese Wikipedias are both about to pass 1 million articles, while English Wikipedia is over 5.6 million articles. Many people who speak English as a second language work on the English Wikipedia, meaning that it has far more regular editors than other languages. Wikimedia UK strongly encourages people who speak another language than English to help translate and improve articles into the other languages they speak so that people who do not speak English can access the same quality of encyclopaedic content that is available in English.
Wikimedia UK is now looking forward to the Celtic Knot conference, taking place at the National Library of Wales in July. This conference aims to bring together people working on smaller language Wikipedias, especially the Celtic languages of the UK, but also indigenous languages from other parts of Europe, to discuss how to improve and promote Wikipedia as an educational tool for minority language communities. If you’re interested in taking part, why not get in touch?