Online Listening Practice: Wikipedia

Online Listening Practice

Listening level: 4
Audio file: 2:28 min
Story length: 299 words


Here is the listening file for this lesson.



Wikipedia gets about 13 million visitors per day. It’s a huge success and a quick source of information available in many languages. The way Wikipedia operates today is, however, quite different from its original intent.

The history of Wikipedia goes back to 2001.

Jimmy Wales had a website called Nupedia. It was designed to be a free online encyclopedia. According to the original plan, its articles would be written by volunteers who were experts in different fields. In order to produce correct information, each article had to pass seven steps of review.

All that checking caused a problem. It was slow. During the first year, only 12 articles were posted online.

One evening, Jimmy met two people who had an idea to make Nupedia better: build a new website with wiki software. A wiki lets people collaborate online to create and change articles. The word wiki comes from the native language in Hawaii and means quick.

Jimmy liked the idea. He thought wiki articles could be checked and later added to Nupedia. In other words, the wiki would support his primary website, Nupedia.

Well, that idea soon changed.

In January 2001, Wikipedia was online. In the first seven months, it had 10,000 articles. By the end of the first year, there were 20,000 articles with another 1500 added every month. Wikipedia was a success. In 2003, Nupedia was shut down. By 2015, Wikipedia had 36 million articles in 291 languages.

Funding for Wikipedia comes from public donations. There are no advertisements. According to a 2014 report, Wikipedia has an annual budget of about $58 million, which includes $2 million for internet hosting.

Wikipedia is a success in many ways. And it all started as a small project that grew into a global brand supported by volunteers around the world.

More Practice

Here’s a gap fill exercise. Download the Wikipedia¬†printable worksheet (pdf file). Listen to the story and fill in the blanks.

Learn English Online with More Listening Practice

Ready for another listening lesson? Try this free online lesson about Uber.

Image Credit

Use of the image in this post complies with the owner’s Creative Commons license.

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