If Wikipedia’s mission is to embody the universe of human knowledge in one freely accessible, crowdsourced encyclopedia, Wikiverse is that universe. This newly launched interactive data visualization–the latest and largest version of an ongoing Wikipedia mapping project by data designer Owen Cornec–uses Wikipedia’s index to sketch out a three-dimensional universe, with each encyclopedia article serving as a single star in Wikipedia’s firmament.
Conceptually, Wikiverse isn’t that hard to grasp. Every star in the Wikiverse is first grouped into constellations, representing the articles it is most closely linked to: for example, in the Wikiverse, you might have a constellation of German romantic poets, or a constellation of transgender athletes. From there, these constellations get pulled together into nebula, which represent sub-categories, which in turn get gravitationally drawn towards one another, to form galaxy categories like philosophy, religion, politics, and more. No matter where you are in the Wikiverse, though, you can always zoom way in to click on a star and read it’s associated Wiki entry.
The interactive makes a Silver Surfer out of those looking to wile away their afternoons Wikipedia-surfing. It’s also a fantastic way of getting a feeling for the sheer scale of the platform: Cornec’s original version of the map included just 100,000 articles. Cornec has more than doubled that with 250,000 nodes, but even still, it only represents 5% of Wikipedia’s 40 million-plus articles.
Now consider the fact that the Wikiverse is only 1/400,000th the size of the real Universe, and put into perspective exactly how insignificant the “universe” of human knowledge really is.