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Swiss National Library starts collecting Wikipedia articles

National Library
The reading room of the Swiss National Library in Bern © Keystone / Gaetan Bally

The Swiss National Library is building a digital collection of Wikipedia articles related to Switzerland. The articles are to be permanently archived for future generations and made freely available online.

To this end, the National Library is working with Wikimedia, the association for the promotion of free knowledge, Wikimedia said in a statementExternal link on Monday. The collection began in 2023 and includes more than 125,000 articles with a connection to Switzerland. Wikimedia expects an increase of around 5,000 Wikipedia articles a year, the association added.

The difference between the archived form of articles and live Wikipedia articles is that the archived article is “frozen” and no longer changed in the long-term archive, it said.

“Just because Wikipedia is online does not mean that this online encyclopaedia is secured for all eternity,” Wikimedia said. “This can only be guaranteed by a memory institution with a corresponding mandate. The Swiss National Library has this mission.”

The archive is listed in the library catalogue Helveticat and can be consulted in e-Helvetica AccessExternal link, the entry portal to the National Library’s digital collections.

The project was initiated at the end of 2020. The representative compilation does not claim to be exhaustive, the statement said. In addition to the text, the National Library will include all images, graphics, audios, videos contained in the Wikipedia articles, the list of contributors and the applicable licence terms, including their metadata.


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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR