Origins and nature
Launched on January 15, 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger it is a free, collaboratively edited, and multilingual Internet encyclopedia supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. Its 23 million articles, have been written collaboratively by volunteers around the world. Almost all of its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the site,and it has about 100,000 active contributors.
The Encyclopaedia is seen as unscientific, flawed and even dangerous by many prominent scholars and academics. As the entry on Wikipedia itself states it: "The open nature of Wikipedia has led to various concerns, such as the quality of writing, the amount of vandalism and the accuracy of information. Some articles contain unverified or inconsistent information." These concerns are constantly being debated. However, it can nevertheless be immensely useful as a research tool, providing quick (even if suspect of unsubstantiated) information on just about everything.
Wikipedia and Theatre in South Africa
Wikipedia has a wide range of information and data on Theatre and Performance internationally, as well as in South Africa. Particularly international artists and academics who have worked in or influenced the arts in Southern Africa, as well as Southern African artists and academics who have become prominent internationally, and expatriate Southern African artists and academics.
ESAT and Wikipedia
ESAT also employs the Wiki software platform utilised by Wikipedia, and many of the entries in ESAT acknowledge Wikipedia as a source, or refer readers to related Wikipedia entries. ESAT also employs a similar strategy ot the Wikipedia one - i.e. it is free and open acess and can be contributed to and commented upon by readers and users - though access is controlled to a greater extent, to avoid vandalism in particular.
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