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File:Wikispecies screenshot 2008.png
Screenshot of home page on 7 December 2008
Commercial? No
Type of site Species directory
Registration Optional
Owner Wikimedia Foundation
Created by Benedikt Mandl (proposed project in 2004); Jimmy Wales and the Wikimedia Community
Launched August 2004

Wikispecies is a wiki-based online project supported by the Wikimedia Foundation. Its aim is to create a comprehensive free content catalogue of all species and is directed at scientists, rather than at the general public. Jimmy Wales, chairman emeritus of the Wikimedia Foundation, stated that editors are not required to fax in their degrees, but that submissions will have to pass muster with a technical audience.[1][2] Wikispecies is available under the GNU Free Documentation License and CC-BY-SA 3.0.

Started in August 2004, with biologists across the world invited to contribute,[3] the project had grown a framework encompassing the Linnaean taxonomy with links to Wikipedia articles on individual species by April 2005.[2]



Benedikt Mandl co-ordinated the efforts of several people who are interested in getting involved with the project and contacted potential supporters in early summer 2004. Databases were evaluated and the administrators contacted, some of them have agreed on providing their data for Wikispecies. Benedikt Mandl defined two major tasks:

  1. Figure out how the contents of the data base would need to be presented - by asking experts, potential non-professional users and comparing that with existing data bases.
  2. Figure out how to do the software, which hardware is required and how to cover the costs - by asking experts, looking for fellow volunteers and potential sponsors.

Advantages and disadvantages were widely discussed by the wikimedia-I mailing list. The board of directors of the wikimedia foundation voted by 4 to 0 in favor of the establishment of a Wikispecies. The project was launched in August 2004 and is hosted at It was officially merged to a sister project of Wikimedia Foundation on September 14, 2004.

On October 10, 2006, the project exceeded 75,000 articles. On May 20, 2007, the project exceeded 100,000 articles with a total of 5,495 registered users. On September 8, 2008, the project exceeded 150,000 articles with a total of 9,224 registered users.


Wikispecies has disabled local upload and asks users to use images from Wikimedia Commons. Wikispecies does not allow the use of content that does not conform to a free license.

See also


External links


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