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README.md

Print Wikipedia

This code parses the entire Wikipedia database, creates print ready PDFs, and uploads them to Lulu.com. This is a multi-step process documented in the meta-and-documentation folder. The code can create three different sets of PDFs: Print Wikipedia (the encyclopedia), Wikipedia Table of Contents and Wikipedia Contributor Appendix.

##About Print Wikipedia

Print Wikipedia is a both a utilitarian visualization of the largest accumulation of human knowledge and a poetic gesture towards the challenges of knowing in an episteme of big data. Artist Michael Mandiberg wrote software that transforms the entirety of the English-language Wikipedia database into 7473 volumes of 700 pages each, complete with covers, and then uploads them for print-on-demand. Built on what is likely the largest appropriation ever made, it is also a work of found poetry that draws attention to the sheer size of the encyclopedia’s content and the impossibility of rendering Wikipedia as a material object in fixed form: once a volume is printed it is already out of date. The work is also a reflection on the actual transparency or completeness of knowledge containers and history.

This artwork was launched and first exhibited at Denny Gallery in New York City from June 18 – July 11, 2015. The exhibition, From Aaaaa! to ZZZap!, presented a live projected video which displayed a performance of the upload of Print Wikipedia to Lulu.com (a print-on-demand website), and the exhibition of a selection of volumes from the project. The artist made custom wallpaper that represented floor-to-ceiling bookshelves full of volumes. The upload process lasted 24 days, 3 hours, and 18 minutes and was on continuous view, with the gallery open 24 hours to the public in during the first weekend. Each time a volume was completely uploaded, the script posted to Twitter @PrintWikipedia.

Print Wikipedia is complimented by a 91 volume Wikipedia Table of Contents and 36 volume Wikipedia Contributor Appendix which lists the names of the 7.5 million Wikipedia users who have made at least a single edit to the website.

##Next Steps

  1. Upgrade dependencies to most current versions
  2. Resolve Helvetica non-embed error
  3. Cap all volumes at 700 pages (split and save entries that exceed the 700th page)
  4. Correct Right-To-Left languages (Hebrew and Arabic), and make sure Joined languages (Arabic) are doing so

##Other READMEs All other READMEs live in the folder meta-and-documentation. Use the main README.txt to learn how to set up this project UPLOAD_README.txt is how to set up the upload process and things to watch out for during the upload. REFACTORING_README.txt is notes for future developers on some overall issues/bugs that need to be solved and other advice.

##Other URLs

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