Print Wikipedia

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Artist Michael Mandiberg and his assistant Jonathan Kiritharan of the "Print Wikipedia" project, at the "From Aaaaa! to ZZZap!" exhibition, on the day before its opening at Denny Gallery, New York City, USA.[1]

Print Wikipedia is an art project by Michael Mandiberg that printed out the 7473 volumes of Wikipedia as it existed on April 7, 2015. A 36-volume index of all of the 7.5 million contributors to Wikipedia is also part of the project. The table of contents takes up 91 volumes. Each volume has 700 pages.[2] The printed volume only includes text of the articles. Images and references are not included.[3] The project was shown at Denny Gallery in New York City in the summer of 2015.[4]

page from Contributor Appendix

Michael originally thought of the project in 2009 but ran into technical difficulties. He then engaged an assistant, Jonathan Kirinathan, to assist with the programming of the code to compile, format and upload an entire Wikipedia download.[1] The print files were uploaded to self book publisher and are available for printout as paper volumes.

Michael Mandiberg talks about Print Wikipedia
Reading Wikipedia

Michael's motivation is to answer the question, “How big is it?” For a big data entity, its size is on the threshold of what can be perceived as a collection of volumes, but not so large as to overwhelm one's senses, such as the data files of Facebook or the NSA.[5] One of the advantages of the print format by alphabetical listing is that it encourages surreptitious discovery by flipping through pages. Katherine Maher, Chief communications officer Wikimedia has describe it as "a gesture at knowledge". It has also been described as a "futile grand gesture." Wikimedia has cooperated with the project and has helped fund it.[2]

This may be the first attempt to print Wikipedia to succeed in the sense that all of Wikipedia has been formatted as printable pdf files and made available for individual printing. The task has taken 3 years, and the upload process took 24 days, 3 hours and 18 minutes. It was completed 12 July 2015.[6] PediaPress had attempted to raise money for a full Wikipedia print out on Indiegogo in 2014, but the project was pulled.[7] Michael estimates that the printing costs of a full printout are around $500,000. The Denny art exhibit featured only a selection of actually printed volumes with about 2000 of the other volumes represented as spines on the wall. The show revolved around the actual upload of the print files to[4]


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  1. ^ a b “Print Wikipedia, in 7,600 volumes, to sell for $500,000”, The Hindu, 22 June 2015
  2. ^ a b Jennifer Schuessler, “Moving Wikipedia From Computer to Many, Many Bookshelves” New York Times, 16 June 2015
  3. ^ Wikipedia, Volume 0873, Arturo O'Farrill Jr. --- Art Deco, Publisher Michael Mandiberg, 2015, page 611450 ISBN 9781329244580
  4. ^ a b Natalie Hegert, “Standing Out in the Crowd: 10 Summer Solo Shows Around the World in 2015",, 24 June 2015
  5. ^ “Why Print Copies of Wikipedia?” Interview with Michael Mandiberg by Dan Damon, BBC World Update, 19 June 2015
  6. ^ Schuessler, Jennifer (13 July 2015). "Print Wikipedia Project Reaches Final Entry". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 July 2015.
  7. ^ Hannah Ghorashi, “From AAAAA! ToZZZAP!:Micheal Mandiberg on his plan to print Wikipedia”, ARTnews, 24 June 2015

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