The Citizendium (sit-ih-ZEN-dee-um), a "citizens' compendium of everything," is an open wiki project aimed at creating an enormous, free, and reliable encyclopedia. The project, started by a founder of Wikipedia, aims to improve on the Wikipedia model by adding "gentle expert oversight" and requiring contributors to use their real names.
The world needs a trustworthy free encyclopedia. We aim to create that by providing a responsibly governed global community where real-named contributors work under expert guidance and all are accountable.
- We wish to accurately capture the full range of humanity's knowledge. Over time, our expert-approved articles will be authoritative, error-free, and magisterial—as expected of encyclopedia articles. See our progress.
- Paper and print space does not constrain us—our project is digital. Millions of detailed, nuanced articles are possible.
A new sort of online community
- We welcome experts as well as the general public. We are governed by a regularly changing group of contributors tasked with managing a public trust by a relatively stable code of rules. Our tolerance for disruption and abuse is low.
"Authors", "Editors", Collaboration, Real Names
- Anyone who feels they can benefit the project can be an author. The main thing authors do is collaboratively write encyclopedia articles, but many do a lot more.
- The editor role is a Citizendium distinctive. As verifiable experts in their field, editors guide the crafting of articles and can approve articles as authoritative. They also can get involved even more.
Collaboration and real names
- Some experts have explained why they're involved. Most of our contributors are authors, however, and some have no formal credentials. We're guided by expert editors, not experts-only, and there are many levels of expertise. Editors and authors collaborate using their real names.
Editors and authors register here.
A Free Global Project
- We are nonprofit and nearly 100% volunteer. Everyone donates what they write under the Creative Commons-Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license. The world is the beneficiary.
- Like our readers, our contributors span the globe. If your English writing is not near-native, hold off for a Citizendium in your native language. You can make a project request here.
- We launched publicly in March 2007 and now have over 5,200 articles and 2,200 contributors. And many thousands of messages have been exchanged on our forums and mailing lists. We expect not only continued growth but acceleration. See CZ:Statistics for more.
- Servers and bandwidth cost money, plus we try to pay a technical person and the Editor-in-Chief. Your donations sustain this important work, keep it independent, and are tax-deductible.
- Statement of Fundamental Policies
- The Citizendium one year on: a strong start and an amazing future (October 2007; first year progress report)
- Latest press release
- Older press releases: 1 | 2 | 3
- Toward a New Compendium of Knowledge (September 2006; original project manifesto; outdated, but articulates the grounds for the project; [essay_shorter.html shorter version])
- Why the Citizendium Will (Probably) Succeed (March 2007)
- Why Citizendium editors are involved: some testimonials (compiled winter 2006-7)
- Who Says We Know: On the New Politics of Knowledge (Edge.org, April 2007)
- How to Think about Strong Collaboration among Professionals (text of keynote at Handelsblatt IT Congress from Jan. 30, 2007)
- Why Make Room for Experts in Web 2.0? (text of keynote at SDForum from Oct. 24, 2006)
- The Role of Content Brokers in the Era of Free Content (articulates one of the Citizendium Foundation's concepts for funding free content)
Larry Sanger is the author of the above writings, unless otherwise noted. Others are welcome to submit essays in a similar vein.