Evolution of Wikipedia’s Category Structure

K. Suchecki, A.A. Salah, C. Gao, A. Scharnhorst

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Wikipedia, as a social phenomenon of collaborative knowledge creation, has been studied extensively from various points of view. The category system of Wikipedia, introduced in 2004, has attracted relatively little attention. In this study, we focus on the documentation of knowledge, and the transformation of this documentation with time. We take Wikipedia as a sample of knowledge in general and its category system as an aspect of the structure of this knowledge. We investigate the evolution of the category structure of the English Wikipedia from its birth in 2004 to 2008. We treat the category system as if it is a hierarchical Knowledge Organization System, capturing the changes in the distributions of the top categories. We investigate how the clustering of articles, defined by the category system, matches the direct link network between the articles and show how it changes over time. We find the Wikipedia category network mostly stable, but with occasional reorganization. We show that the clustering matches the link structure quite well, except short periods preceding the reorganizations. Keywords: Classification systems; Wikipedia; evolution; knowledge organization
Original languageEnglish
Article number1250068
Number of pages21
JournalAdvances in Complex Systems
Issue numbersuppl. 1
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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