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06 October 2011, 14:56

Wikimedia awarded $3.6 million grant for technology improvements

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Wikimedia Foundation The Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organisation behind Wikipedia, has announced that it has been awarded a $3.6 million grant. The grant was given to Wikimedia by the Stanton Foundation – named after American broadcasting executive Frank Stanton – for improvements to its technology structure.

According to Jay Walsh, Head of Communications at Wikimedia, the funds will be be used across Wikipedia and its sister projects "in order to successfully serve their growing readership". Wikipedia is currently the fifth most popular site in the world: according to recent comScore numbers, Wikimedia projects reach more than 422 million unique visitors every month.

Planned development projects include a new editing interface to make it easier for users to edit Wikipedia pages without needing to know special wiki syntax, and other features to make the sites "friendlier and more understandable" for new editors. The organisation also plans to improve the mobile experience for both editors and readers.

This isn't the first time that the Stanton Foundation has helped to fund Wikimedia: in 2008 it gave the organisation a grant for $890,000 to improve its interface to simplify creating and editing entries for first-time authors, and, in 2010, it provided $1.2 million for the Wikipedia Public Policy Initiative.

Sue Gardner, Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director, said, "The Stanton Foundation is a long-time funder of the Wikimedia Foundation, and I am thrilled they're increasing their investment in us," adding that it "was one of the first institutions to recognize that Wikipedia is a serious educational endeavour that's having a significant impact on people around the world."

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