The conference, entitled Wikipedia Academy 2009, was held at Stockholm University's Konradsberg campus and took place on 16-17 November. Around sixty participants including teachers, librarians and journalists from all over Sweden, as well as further afield, including Norway and the USA, gathered to listen to lectures and to learn to write and edit articles in Wikipedia.

Senior delegates from both the Swedish and international Wikimedia organisations spoke on Wikipedia from academic and scientific perspectives. Erik Zachte, from the Wikipedia Foundation, an international non-profit organisation, "dedicated to encouraging the growth, development and distribution of free, multilingual content, and to providing the full content of these wiki-based projects to the public free of charge" gave a presentation entitled, "Wikipedia from an academic perspective - what are the trends and other statistics". Zachte discussed the enormous growth of Wikipedia since its founding in January 2001, illustrating his presentation with an advanced animation, inspired by Hans Rosling's Gapminder, showing growth figures per Wikimedia project.

Other representatives from Wikimedia Sweden – all wearing white t-shirts emblazoned with the Wikimedia logo – were on hand to answer questions and provide practical help to participants. Workshops aimed at encouraging more people to participate in creating and editing articles in the Swedish Wikipedia were held during the conference. One participant noted that "Wikipedia seemed to simpler to use than it used to be. There is a graphical text tool that means you don't need to remember any codes. The workshop was useful in that it reminded me how easy it is to edit an article in Wikipedia."

The conference organisers invited a number or distinguished speakers, including digital media guru Richard Gatarski, whose presentation, 'Cauliflower, Prosumption and Academia' described the way in which Wikipedia creates "a new relationship with the media as well as with the production and consumption of knowledge". Gatarski's assertion that the Wikipedia phenomenon means "we need to rethink – to think that for example students can become teachers and vice versa," was a theme that permeated the conference. Lars Ilshammar, historian and head of the Labour Movement Archives and Library, gave the closing presentation, emphasising the democratic value of Wikipedia for society: "Wikipedia challenges the old standards of how knowledge is collected, validated, structured and made available by involving the user on an equal footing".

More information: www.sub.su.se/startasok.aspx

Related links:
Richard Gatarski - www.weconverse.com/about/
Wikimedia Foundation - http://wikimediafoundation.org
Wikimedia Statistics - http://stats.wikimedia.org/wikimedia/animations/growth/index.html
Erik Zachte - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Erik_Zachte
Labour Movement Archives and Library - www.arbark.se/en/