Last updated: 14 january, 2011 - 14:27 GMT


Wikipedia at 10

To play this content JavaScript must be turned on and the latest Flash player installed.

Play in either Real OR Windows Media players

It started as a hobby with noble aims and has blossomed into the fifth most popular website in the world - with over three million English articles alone, ten million contributors and 175 languages.

Today, it's hard to imagine life without Wikipedia. When you want to know more about anything, what do you do? You turn your computer on, put your query into a search engine, and in the first few hits there's a Wikipedia page. It's easy to see why the English site alone gets over nine million views per hour.

In this documentary, Science in Action presenter Jon Stewart explores this truly global phenomenon as it continues to grow at an impressive rate, despite surviving on only 50 paid staff and being run as a charity.

Why has it become such an invaluable resource? How has it changed over the decade? And is it a reliable source of info and news or a symptom of the spread of mediocrity and devaluation of research?

As it enters its tenth year, we look at the history and evolution of Wikipedia - which by allowing people from opposite sides of the world to contribute - has grown into one of the most popular websites on the internet.

What does the future hold for the site? Will it simply be replaced by another way of sharing knowledge on a mass level? Or will Wikipedia one day contain the sum of human knowledge? And are there any downsides to this democratisation of information?

First broadcast on 14 January 2011

Download this documentary

Download other documentaries

Related Links

Documentary Archive

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.