WIKIPEDIA volunteers have begun working on an offline version of the online encyclopaedia that can be distributed on CD. A preliminary version of the CD was released earlier this month. The goal is to extend Wikipedia to those with limited or no internet access. Success with the CD could ultimately lead to Wikipedia in book or other forms. The move will what contradict what Wikipedia's advocates view as the online encyclopaedia's key strength: Volunteers can quickly respond to new developments and errors in the collaborative online encyclopaedia by adding or changing entries themselves.
"Plenty of people do not have internet access. They have a computer and no internet, or just a slow internet connection," Martin A. Walker, the Wikipedia volunteer who helped coordinate the project said. "There are many times when you may be offline anyway. You may be at a camp or something like that." The development comes as the Pew Internet and American Life Project reports that 36 per cent of US adult internet users have consulted Wikipedia - 8 per cent on any given day. The telephone-based study issued Tuesday also found Wikipedia usage higher among college graduates and younger internet users.