A small team of developers who work on the open source book tool for Wikipedia at PediaPress think that the best way to experience the size of Wikipedia, which is truly huge, is by transforming it into the physical medium of books. (Pedia Press is the official print on demand partner of the Wikimedia Foundation and is coincidentally based in Mainz, the city where Gutenberg started the printing revolution more than 500 years ago. Over the last five years thousands of books have been created from Wikipedia content).
Their plan is to print the complete English Wikipedia in 1,000 books and display them at a public exhibition. Containing the most volumes and edited by the largest number of contributors, the printed edition would be a work of record breaking dimensions. It would also honour the many volunteers who have created Wikipedia in just over ten years.
What it will look like
The complete English Wikipedia will fit in approximately 1,000 books with 1,200 pages each. All volumes will have continuous page numbers, so the last article could as well be on page number 1,193,014.
Details of the exhibition
The books will be exhibited at Wikimania London in August 2014 the annual conference of the Wikipedia community to be held at the Barbican Centre. The conference and exhibition are open to the public. If there is sufficient interest, they would love to send the exhibition on a tour around the globe after Wikimania and like to donate the edition to a big public library. ‘To later generations this might be a period piece from the beginning of the digital revolution.’