Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales: “I’m a Carpenter Not an Architect”

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Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said during a lecture at the New Museum last night that although he may be considered an Internet entrepreneur he still considers himself an Average, Web-surfing Joe.

“I always say, 'I'm a carpenter, not an architect,'” Wales said Thursday night. “I'm just this guy who would otherwise be in his pajamas typing away on the Internet.”

Wales talked about creating his baby and what the future holds for everyone's go-to Web resource during the lecture last night.

“A big part of what made Wikipedia work is that I just sat down and started doing it, plugging away everyday,” said Wales. “It wasn't some brilliant inspiration or vision I had.”

Since its launch in 2001, Wikipedia has exploded, boasting more than 3 million English articles on topics ranging from bananas to The Battle of the Bulge. Nevertheless, Wales said Wikipedia is not perfect.

“Wikipedia will always be a work in progress,” he said. “I think that what we really need to be doing is with students nowadays is … to teach them how to use Wikipedia. One of the great strengths of Wikipedia is that we tell you how weak we are [with warnings on the top of some pages].”

Wales said the future of Wikipedia lies in other Wiki-type Web sites that go more in depth about topics not necessarily in the scope of an Internet encyclopedia. Specifically, he mentioned Lostipedia, which has over 6,000 articles revolving around the plots, characters and main events in ABC's hit TV show Lost.

“[Wikipedia] is just the beginning,” he said. “There is a huge universe still available and things that are going to happen with collaborative culture on the Internet.”

Wales said if Wikipedia can be compared to a large volume of encyclopedias, the other Wiki Web sites are the rest of the library.

And the library is expanding almost as fast as Wikipedia itself.

“We're having a new Wiki being created every six minutes,” Wales said.

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