In Search of the Ur-Wikipedia: Universality, Similarity, and Translation in the Wikipedia Inter-Language Link Network

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In Search of the Ur-Wikipedia: Universality, Similarity, and Translation in the Wikipedia Inter-Language Link Network is a 2012 conference paper written in English by Morten Warncke-Wang, Anuradha Uduwage, Zhenhua Dong, John Riedl and published in WikiSym.

[edit] Abstract

Wikipedia has become one of the primary encyclopaedic information repositories on the World Wide Web. It started in 2001 with a single edition in the English language and has since expanded to more than 20 million articles in 283 languages. Criss-crossing between the Wikipedias is an interlanguage link network, connecting the articles of one edition of Wikipedia to another. We describe characteristics of articles covered by nearly all Wikipedias and those covered by only a single language edition, we use the network to understand how we can judge the similarity between Wikipedias based on concept coverage, and we investigate the flow of translation between a selection of the larger Wikipedias. Our findings indicate that the relationships between Wikipedia editions follow Tobler's first law of geography: similarity decreases with increasing distance. The number of articles in a Wikipedia edition is found to be the strongest predictor of similarity, while language similarity also appears to have an influence. The English Wikipedia edition is by far the primary source of translations. We discuss the impact of these results for Wikipedia as well as user-generated content communities in general.

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