By EDISON D. ONG
WikiPilipinas.org, an online, free content encyclopedia on the Philippines, has drawn support from the blogging community and local tri-media organizations to hit its international mark to be counted among the top ten wikis in the world.
Wiki is a knowledge sharing tool on the Internet and an online Website that allows users to add, remove, edit, and share contents easily and quickly.
"We are challenging the Filipinos to step it up to become among the top ten Wiki encyclopedias of the world," underscored Gaspar Vibal, WikiPilipinas founder.
"It (WikiPilipinas) is a big thing!," he exclaimed during a recent presentation to local media at the Milky Way Restaurant in Makati City.
Within 24 hours, with the support of news broadcast on the top Philippine TV networks and pick ups from the blogging community, WikiPilipinas.org experienced a surge of online visitors – logging in more than 100,000.
"We are overwhelmed by the public response to the project," said Vibal. "Starting from a handful of visitors, our website traffic scaled exponentially to 250 by 6 p.m., 780 visitors by 7:49 p.m., and tens of thousands by 12 midnight after the Saksi segment was aired."
GMA-7 aired its news report on the WikiPilipinas project on its 6 p.m. news program 24 Oras and on TV news magazine, Saksi.
The surge necessitated an immediate escalation of WikiPilipinas’ web hosting solutions. It turned to VConnect Inc., a business process outsourcing company and its technology partner. Its general manager, Butch Capistrano supplied an IBM X-series Web Server 3850 to rapidly meet the website’s expanding requirements. WikiPilipinas’ new world-class server is powered by dual 3-gigahertz Xeon processors, 16 gigabytes of RAM, dual 750 gigabyte hard drives, and a dual gigabit Ethernet port.
Its internet pipeline is supplied by IP Converge. To meet its escalating traffic, VConnect has increased WikiPilipinas’ bandwidth allocation to 10 megabits per second, equivalent to 5 E1 connections.
"With this configuration, WikiPilipinas and VConnect Inc. are confident that the website is ready to take on hundreds of thousands volunteers who will help catapult it to the top ten wikis of the world," a company press statement said. "Its stated ambition is driven by WikiPilipinas founder’s challenge to all Filipinos to make a cultural and technological landmark in the world.
With the 33,000 articles in WikiPilipinas as of August 21, the Philippines has surpassed Malaysia, Vietnam, India, Thailand , Iran, Greece and Norway.
Within the year, it aims to reach its stated benchmark of 100,000 entries to better the output of the English, Polish, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Norwegian, Chinese, Russian, Dutch, Italian, Japanese and French wikis.
The WikiPilipinas top honcho is calling all Filipinos worldwide to contribute and share information that is fundamentally Pinoy. It wants to bring in a myriad of volunteers to take part in its "knowledge revolution" nationwide campaign that will foster nationalism, gain cultural recognition of the Philippines and help the country make an international mark.
WikiPilipinas started on March 15 this year. In just five months, it has published more than 33,000 entries sectioned in ten knowledge portals: People and society, culture and the arts, media and entertainment, sports and leisure, history, economy and business, government and politics, geography and travel, religion and beliefs, science and technology, plus communities and a Philippine Web directory.
Aside from its growing encyclopedia content, WikiPilipinas has added several other features, such as: An almanac of lists/records, a Yahoo!style directory of the top Philippine knowledge portals, and community portals specifically aimed for underserved communities such as Tsinoys, Hispano-Filipino, Kapampangan and Filipino American.
WikiPilipinas eventually will evolve into a multilingual encyclopedia by localizing contents written in eight major languages. All of these will be maintained, updated and managed by separate communities, and will include thought-provoking information and articles which can be hard to find through other common sources.
WikiPilipinas is the second project of the VIBAL Foundation, the corporate social arm of VIBAL Publishing House, Inc., a leader in educational publishing that has more than 50 years of service to the nation. Last November, VIBAL Foundation launched its pilot project, Filipiniana.net which has become the country’s biggest full-text, fully-indexed digital library and research portal.
Filipiniana.net offers free online access to rare, unpublished and out-of-print books and materials on Philippine studies.
It has launched several microsites dedicated to specific areas of study including Philippine Revolutionary Recors, 100 Nobelang Tagalog, and Master Union Bibliography of the Philippines. In the pipeline are: Batasan.org, Archivo General de Filipinas, Philippine Scholars and Philippinists, 100 Cebuano Novels, 100 Iloko Novels, 100 Pinoy Komiks, Virtual Blair and Robertson, and Premio Zobel.org.