Jump to content


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wikipedia has a lofty goal: "a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge."[1]

Wikipedia's purpose is to benefit readers by acting as a widely accessible and free encyclopedia; a comprehensive written compendium that contains information on all branches of knowledge.

Encyclopedias are designed to introduce readers to a topic, not to be the final point of reference. Wikipedia, like other encyclopedias, is a tertiary source and provides overviews of a topic by indicating reliable sources of more extensive information.

The goal of a Wikipedia article is to present a neutrally written summary of existing mainstream knowledge in a fair and accurate manner with a straightforward, "just-the-facts style". Articles should have an encyclopedic style with a formal tone instead of essay-like, argumentative, promotional or opinionated writing.

Concept of an encyclopedia


Wikipedia's goal


Wikipedia's content


Content is governed by three principal core content policiesneutral point of view, verifiability, and no original research.

See also

  • Administration – discusses both the human administrative structure of Wikipedia, as well as its non-human components.
  • The Free Encyclopedia – describes how Wikipedia is "Free" as in Free Software and Free Culture.
  • The essence of Wikipedia – describes how Wikipedia uses collective intelligence, collaboration, and preservation to build, expand, and improve content.
  • Statement of principles – by the co-founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, as updated by the community since then.
  • What Wikipedia is not – describes how there are certain things that Wikipedia is not.
  • Offline access – describes how to access Wikipedia's free content without internet access.
  • Original Wikipedia policy – as edited by the co-founder of Wikipedia, Larry Sanger, on 1 November 2001.


  1. ^ "The Sum of All Human Knowledge". The On Being Project. 30 June 2020. Retrieved 9 June 2024.
  2. ^ Diderot, Denis (1755). Encyclopédie. Vol. 5. Translated by Philip Stewart. Paris. p. 635. University of Michigan Library: Scholarly Publishing Office and DLXS. Retrieved on: November 17, 2007
  3. ^ Sanger, Larry (1 November 2001), Wikipedia Policy, Wikipedia, archived from the original on 11 December 2007
  4. ^ Roblimo (28 July 2004). "Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales Responds". Slashdot. Retrieved 28 April 2014.
  5. ^ "Wikipedia is an encyclopedia". Wikimedia. 8 March 2005. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
  6. ^ "Neutral point of view/draft - Meta". meta.wikimedia.org.
  7. ^ "Wikipedia: NeutralPointOfView". 16 April 2001. Archived from the original on 16 April 2001.
External videos
video icon Jimmy Wales: The birth of Wikipedia, 2005 TED (conference), 20 mins.