A “Wikipedia CD” has been made available for download on BitTorrent.com. The CD comprises of over 2500 hand-picked educational articles aimed at helping schools enhance their curriculum and children learn.
The CD has been compiled by volunteers for “the world’s largest orphan charity”, SOS Children. The articles, all of which are from the English language portal, are on common educational topics such as Geography, Science, Dinosaurs, Plants and Animals, to name a few. Articles on all countries and their capital cities have also been included.
Apparently, each of the articles has been “checked for suitability” and “cleaned by hand and script.” The CD is currently at release 1.0. Previous versions contained “disputed” articles relating to religion and politics, but they have subsequently been removed.
This CD is clearly aimed at schools and institutions with a slow, or non-existent connection to the Internet. Unlike Encyclopodia, the popular open source project that puts all of Wikipedia on your iPod, the Wikipedia CD is aimed at a younger audience who might find it hard to discern the clearly inaccurate or false from the ‘real’ information. It is a great effort, but at the same time one has to remember that the content on the CD is edited, and has therefore not been cross-checked by the innumerable people that frequent, contribute to and refine Wikipedia.
SOS Children did not have permission to use the Wikipedia logo, so it is not present on the CD, but they have recently been granted permission and it will appear on the next release in 2007.