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Wikipedia Lobbies UN To Be On Its World Heritage List

It's been 10 years since Wikipedia came into existence. It launched with a wide ranging and ambitious idea that it would be a place where humanity could "share in the sum of all knowledge."

Now, a German branch of Wikimedia, the non-profit that runs Wikipedia, is saying the online encyclopedia has evolved into "nothing less than the greatest collection of human knowledge."

Because of that they've launched a campaign to try and sway the United Nations to designate Wikipedia as the first digital World Cultural Heritage Site, and join the likes of the Great Wall Of China and the Statue of Liberty on the list.

The New York Times reports that getting the designation will be an up-hill battle:

The bid, the first by a digital entity for a place on a Unesco list, will no doubt be controversial among heritage professionals advising Unesco, who tend to view online innovation as lacking the necessary effect or maturity for listing.

"Heritage professionals tend to be rather conservative types, or they wouldn't choose this kind of occupation," said Britta Rudolff, a heritage consultant who teaches on the subject at the Brandenburg University of Technology in Cottbus, Germany. "They like to play with the past, and something only a decade old is going to face challenges."

Wikipedia argues that beyond a place where human knowledge is stored, it's also spurred thousands of people to collect "mankind's knowledge." Wikipedia, they argue, is changing society.

If Wikipedia gains acceptance, it would receive the same international protection and preservation man-made monuments and natural wonders get.

Tell us what you think; we've created a poll below, which closes Saturday:

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Eyder Peralta
Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.