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Wicipedia Cymraeg set for expansion

Graeme Parton

The new Wales manager for Wikipedia – or Wicipedia – has expressed his intention to help the site expand with new language packs.

Robin Owain, who used to be a head teacher, has also spoken of his plans to travel around his home country teaching the site’s users how to make their own contributions.

While Owain is the company’s first designated Wales manager, Wikipedia has had a Welsh language section for almost 10 years, and currently has more than 100,000 pages. Out of the 2.6m hits it gets every month, 80% fall into the 16-24 age bracket.

As direct language translations from English pages aren’t used on the site currently, Wikipedia is hoping to boost its original content output by encouraging more Welsh users to share their knowledge.

The site’s administrators will, however, have the power to edit any inaccurate information as it is submitted. Owain did explain that the odd “vandalism” incident will be inevitable but said that they will be dealt with promptly to maintain accuracy.

The educational publicity journey across Wales is part of the Llwybrau Byw project – or “Living Paths”. Speaking about the trip, which will cover “the length and breadth” of Wales, Owain said:

“Some may want to put information about local history, famous people or maybe just about their interests and I’ve just had one who wanted to share information about their community newspaper.”

The digital age has seen Wikipedia oust its physical competitors, with more people than ever turning to their computers in the search for free knowledge. The drive to provide better original content for the online encyclopaedia’s Welsh users should also show business owners and marketers just how important it is to maintain the interest of the target audience by making it easy to access relevant, useful content.

Graeme has experience creating content for online sources and for the radio, and at university he studied Multimedia Journalism.

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