Wikivoyage

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Wikivoyage
File:Wikivoyage.jpg
Screenshot of Wikivoyage's portal
URL http://www.wikivoyage.org/
Commercial? No
Type of site Wiki
Registration Optional
Available language(s) 2 active editions (German, Italian)
Owner The site is owned by the Wikivoyage association. The content is owned by individual authors per the copyleft.
Created by Wikivoyage e.V. association

Wikivoyage (French pronunciation: [ˌvikivwaˈjɑʒ], English: /ˌwɪkiˈvɔɪ.ɨdʒ/) is a free web-based travel guide for both travel destinations and travel topics written by volunteer authors. The name is a blend of the words “Wiki” (an Internet based software system that allows change and extension of the text by any user) and “Voyage”, the French word for travel, journey, voyage, or trip.

The project has been founded in September 2006 by a German association of the same name acting supra-regionally: Wikivoyage e.V. It has been available on the Internet from December 10, 2006 and considers itself free in every respect: its contents are published under the copyleft license Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike — which also allows commercial use — and are freely, and for free available online as well as in a downloadable offline version. Commercial influence harmful to this kind of project, e.g. by the travel industry, is intentionally excluded.

Contents

History

Wikivoyage's history dates back to October 7, 2004 when many of its authors and administrators pressed ahead with the building up of the German branch of Wikitravel, in particular with respect to the German language. This was driven by the disappointment when the acquisition of wikitravel.org by the operator of media and e-commerce sites Internet Brands was announced on April 20, 2006.[1] Additionally a discontent with the management style of the project led to the decision of most German administrators and authors to continue the project as a fork.

After half a year of preparation, the by now registered and recognised as non-profitable association Wikivoyage e.V. was founded, which is both the owner of the domain names and operator of the server.[2] On December 10, 2006, the project went online with the database taken over from the German-language Wikitravel. After seven months already 40 % of the articles were new (50% after 10 months).[3] Of course there are still some holes to fill up, but there are several articles for travel destinations like Egypt, Thailand and Switzerland or for the travel topic Cycling.[4]

The Italian branch of Wikivoyage was launched on December 10, 2007. The organisation of the media data and the administration of the user access are already applicable for use with branches in other languages.

The project had already been a topic of news reports, particularly in the Swiss radio and press. The Tages-Anzeiger[5] from Zurich as well as the Swiss radio station DRS1 reported broadly about the project without concealing the still existing weaknesses.[6] Therefore, it is not astonishing that this project is mainly supported by German and Swiss authors.

Organisation and operation

Mode of operation

Similarly to the free encyclopaedia Wikipedia, Wikivoyage uses the free software MediaWiki in order to allow an internet based use without registration for non-authorship users. The quality assurance occurs in the same way as on Wikipedia, i.e. through reciprocal control by users. The use of the same software is supposed to facilitate familiarisation with Wikivoyage.

License

Wikivoyage does not use the GNU Free Documentation License but the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license. This mean is supposed to facilitate the production of printed guides from a legal point of view. In opposition to the texts, the aim for media files is to be published either in the public domain or under multiple licenses (GNU, Creative Commons).

Information structure

As compared to encyclopaedias the information is built up in a more structured way. Articles belonging to a topic are grouped as well through the categories known from the Mediawiki software as well as through the so-called bread crumb trails which show the affiliation to the articles.

Different name spaces are used to separate different topics. The main name space contains travel destinations within their geographical hierarchy. Two other important name spaces are reserved for travel topics and travel news, with the intent to allow a tight interweavement between travel destinations and topics.

The content's design is incumbent on the authors, i.e. the community, and not the association.

Distribution

A distribution through mirrors or by other means of modern media is licit and also desired. For this purpose, up-to-date archives are provided on a weekly basis. The files contained in these archives are provided with all the necessary legal licensing information, e.g. the attribution of the authors. A technical extension related to the program concerning the mentioning of the image authors is in preparation.

The choice of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license is intended to allow the simplified distribution under the mention of the authors without the need to state the complete license text.

References

  1. corporate-ir.net
  2. consider the bylaws of the Wikivoyage association
  3. Wikivoyage statistics page
  4. The article distribution of Wikivoyage can be seen on a special page
  5. Roger Zedi: Eine Sammelstelle für praktisches Reise-Wissen, in: Tages-Anzeiger from January 20, 2007, page 60
  6. Daniela Huwyler: AllerWeltsGeschichte / Heute aktuell, DRS 1, February 21, 2007, 15:45 o'clock (local time)

External links

es:Wikivoyage fr:Wikivoyage it:Wikivoyage sl:Wikivoyage

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