Wikipedia Academies are public outreach events, usually lasting one or two days. They are designed to coach academics and other experts in how to contribute to Wikipedia, and to foster a positive impression of Wikipedia. Their main purpose is to increase the quality and – to a lesser extent – the quantity of articles in Wikipedia. Such Academies are normally staged as conferences for roughly 80–200 people. They often focus on encouraging contributions from a particular language, or to a specific field.
Typically, a Wikipedia Academy is organized by the local Wikimedia chapter together with a credible external partner organization with authoritative expertise. The reputation of the partner organization helps to encourage experts to participate, and to sustain their participation as they begin to edit Wikipedia.
Shorter outreach events (lasting less than a full day) are generally called Wikipedia workshops.
Wikipedia Academy was organized for the first time in June 16–17, 2006 at the university library at Göttingen, Germany. Wikipedia's founder Jimmy Wales was present. More information can be found on the German Wikipedia, de:Wikipedia:Academy 2006 with photos on commons:Wikipedia Academy Göttingen 2006.
The second Wikipedia Academy was organized on August 24–25, 2007 at the Academy of Sciences and Literature in Mainz. It was sponsored by the German federal department of education (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF) and part of the official program for the year-of-science "Humanities–the ABC of mankind" (Die Geisteswissenschaften. ABC der Menschheit). The conference was opened by Doris Ahnen, minister of education in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, and the president of the academy Elke Lütjen-Drecoll. More information can be found on the German Wikipedia, de:Wikipedia:Academy with photos on commons:Wikipedia Academy Mainz 2007.
On October 19–20, 2007, Wikimédia France, the French chapter, organized a version titled Colloque Wikipédia. It was held at the "Carrefour numérique", a center for digital technology in the science city Cité des sciences et de l'industrie in northeastern Paris.
On November 6, 2008, Wikimedia Argentina, the Argentine chapter, organized the Academia de Wikipedia in Buenos Aires. The event - held in Belgrano University - was opened by Jimmy Wales.
In November 2008, the first Wikipedia Academy in Scandinavia was organized by Wikimedia Sverige and held at the University library of Lund.
A Wikipedia Academy was held on 16 July 2009 at the US National Institutes of Health.
The Zedler medal was awarded for the first time during Wikipedia Academy 2007. It is named after Johann Heinrich Zedler, who published a German Universal-Lexicon in 64 volumes (1732–1754), and is awarded by the chapter Wikimedia Deutschland together with the Academy in Mainz for distinguished encyclopedic contributions. In 2007 it was awarded to wikipedian Josef Winiger. More information can be found in the German Wikipedia, de:Wikipedia:Zedler-Medaille.