Monday, March 31, 2014

The scale of Wikipedia in print

NPR has a story about a group that is looking to create a print copy of Wikipedia to allow people to see a physical representation of how big Wikipedia is. Here is the estimate of how big a print version of Wikipedia would be - One thousand volumes, 1,200 pages each — more than one million pages in all — about 80 meters of shelf space.

The article has this additional quote about Wikipedia - "Nobody can imagine this number. It's only when you see this in print or in a physical form that you realize how large it really is."

What is ironic is that when you get this in physical form it is really not that big. The following picture shows a range of books in a library. In this picture there are 771 volumes. Each volume is 1300 - 1500 pages. If we use the low end of the page range and take that times the number of volumes - 771 volumes X 1300 pages = 1,002,300 pages.

Admittedly this is bigger than your average set of printed encyclopedias. So comparing the picture above to the picture below you get the difference between Wikipedia and a regular encyclopedia set.

But to the scale of a library Wikipedia is not that huge.