Print Wikipedia is an art project by Michael Mandiberg that printed 106 of the 7,473 volumes of English Wikipedia as it existed on April 7, 2015. The project shows the spines of the first 1,980 volumes in the set, supplemented by 106 actual physical volumes, each of which runs to 700 pages. A 36-volume index of all of the 7.5 million contributors to English Wikipedia is also part of the project. The table of contents takes up 91 700-page volumes. The printed volume only includes text of the articles: images and references are not included. The project was shown at the Denny Gallery in New York City in the summer of 2015. Similar projects have been held with a printed part of the German Wikipedia (Berlin, 2015) and with the Dutch Wikipedia (Ghent, 2016)
Mandiberg originally thought of the project in 2009 but ran into technical difficulties. He then engaged an assistant, Jonathan Kirinathan, to aid with the programming of the code to compile, format and upload an entire English Wikipedia download. The print files were uploaded to self book publisher Lulu.com and are available for printout as paper volumes.
Mandiberg's motivation was to answer the question, "How big is it?" For a big data entity, its size is on the threshold of what can be perceived as a collection of volumes, but not so large as to overwhelm one's senses, such as the data files of Facebook or the NSA. Katherine Maher, the Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, described it as "a gesture at knowledge". Wikimedia cooperated with the project and Lulu.com helped fund it.
The task took three years, and the upload process took 24 days, 3 hours and 18 minutes. It was completed on 12 July 2015. PediaPress had attempted to raise money for a full English Wikipedia printout on Indiegogo in 2014, with a goal of $50,000 (£30,000), but the project was pulled. The pulled project had intended to print 1,000 volumes, which would include 1,200 pages each: 1,200,000 pages in total equal to about 80 meters of shelf space. Mandiberg later assured people that he won't be printing out the entire collection, claiming an entire collection is not necessary for people to comprehend the true size of Wikipedia, and once people have seen a portion of it, it will help them realize its size. Mandiberg estimates that the printing costs of a full printout would be around $500,000. The Denny art exhibit featured only a selection of actual printed volumes with about 2,000 of the other volumes represented as spines on the wall. The show revolved around the actual upload of the print files to Lulu.com.
- "Print Wikipedia, in 7,600 volumes, to sell for $500,000", The Hindu, 22 June 2015
- Sawers, Paul (17 June 2015). "You can soon buy a 7,471-volume printed version of English Wikipedia for $500,000". VentureBeat. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
- Jennifer Schuessler, “Moving Wikipedia From Computer to Many, Many Bookshelves” New York Times, 16 June 2015
- Wikipedia, Volume 0873, Arturo O'Farrill Jr. --- Art Deco, Publisher Michael Mandiberg, 2015, page 611450 ISBN 9781329244580
- Natalie Hegert, “Standing Out in the Crowd: 10 Summer Solo Shows Around the World in 2015", MutualArt.com, 24 June 2015[permanent dead link]
- Invitation Wikimedia Belgium
- "Why Print Copies of Wikipedia?" Interview with Michael Mandiberg by Dan Damon, BBC World Update, 19 June 2015
- Schuessler, Jennifer (13 July 2015). "Print Wikipedia Project Reaches Final Entry". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 July 2015.
- Hannah Ghorashi, “From AAAAA! ToZZZAP!: Michael Mandiberg on his plan to print Wikipedia”, ARTnews, 24 June 2015