Magnus Manske

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Magnus Manske
Manske at Wikidata's Third Birthday Party by Wikimedia Deutschland in 2015
Heinrich Magnus Manske

(1974-05-24) 24 May 1974 (age 50)
Alma materUniversity of Cologne
Known for
Scientific career
ThesisGENtle, a free multi-purpose molecular biology tool (2006)
Doctoral advisor
  • Helmut W. Klein
  • Sabine Waffenschmidt[2]

Heinrich Magnus Manske (born 24 May 1974) is a German biochemist, who is a leading researcher on malaria. He is a senior staff scientist at the Wellcome Sanger Institute in Cambridge, UK[1][3][4][5][6] and a software developer of one of the first versions of the MediaWiki software, which powers Wikipedia and a number of other wiki-based websites.

Early life[edit]

Manske was born in Cologne, Germany. He studied biochemistry at the University of Cologne and graduated in 2006 with a PhD; his dissertation was an open source tool for molecular biology called GENtle.[2][7]


As a student, Manske was one of the first contributors to the Internet encyclopedia Nupedia, the precursor to Wikipedia, and later wrote one of the first versions of the MediaWiki software that Wikipedia runs on.[8] Manske has worked in Cambridge with the Wellcome Sanger Institute since April 2007,[9][10][11][12][13] but remains active in the development of tools for Wikipedia[14] and its sister projects Wikidata and Wikimedia Commons.[15]

In 2012, Manske was co-author of a paper published in Nature that demonstrated new ways to identify areas where malaria parasites are evolving, and described techniques for mapping malarial drug resistance. The researchers developed a technique to extract the malaria parasite DNA directly from the blood, which minimizes errors in sequencing.[9][16]

Development of MediaWiki[edit]

As a student, Manske was one of the most active contributors to the Nupedia project,[17] submitting content on biology topics[8] and developing tools and extensions for Nupedia.[18] Later, unhappy with the existing software's limitations,[17] Manske developed one of the first versions of what later became MediaWiki.[18][19] His new version of the software was installed in 2002.[17]

The wiki software that was initially used for Wikipedia was called UseModWiki and was written in Perl. With issues of scale starting to present themselves as Wikipedia grew, in the summer of 2001, Manske started work on a replacement for UseModWiki that would be database-backed and would contain "wikipedia-specific features".[20] On 25 January 2002, Manske released the first version of a MySQL-based PHP wiki engine, called Phase II.[21] One innovation implemented by Manske in Phase II was the use of namespaces in order to separate different types of pages, such as the "Talk" or "User" namespace, which distinguished it from older wiki software which didn't have different namespaces.[20] Phase II also introduced a number of other features which are still present, including file upload, watchlists, automatic signatures, and user contributions list.[22][23] Manske's re-write also made it easier to integrate photographs in Wikipedia articles, and created a new user group: administrators, empowered to delete pages and block vandals.[17][24]

Manske was an adherent of open source and specifically, the GPL license, and his work on the early versions of MediaWiki was released under the GPL license.[25]

Manske's Phase II software encountered load issues as Wikipedia continued to grow, so Lee Daniel Crocker did another re-write, which led to phase III, which was used from June 2002 and from 2003 onwards was called "MediaWiki".[21] The resultant MediaWiki software is now used as the core platform for both Wikipedia and many Wikimedia sister projects, as well as in many organizations and institutions.

Manske continued to develop extensions for MediaWiki and tools used to build Wikipedia and its sister projects, including tools to map category membership, compute category intersections, and import images from Flickr to Commons.[26][27][28] Manske also developed the Cite extension which brought an XML-like syntax to citation management.[29]


As well as working on MediaWiki itself, Manske has made tools that work with it such as "wiki shoot me" that identifies on a map photos that are needed to be taken and allow them to be uploaded or Reasonator that take the raw information from Wikidata and presents it as if it were a Wikipedia article.[30]


Manske is recognized as the creator of the first article in the German Wikipedia, which was on the polymerase chain reaction, first written by him in 2001.[31][32][33]

Jimmy Wales in 2002 named 25 January as Magnus Manske day in honor of his contributions to Wikipedia, proclaiming that "Tonight at dinner, every Wikipedian should say a toast to Magnus and his many inventions."[34]

Larry Sanger, in his memoir on the early history of Wikipedia, highlighted the contributions of Manske to the project and attributes the eventual success of Wikipedia to a core group of actors, with Manske playing a role:[35]

Wikipedia started with a handful of people, many from Nupedia. The influence of Nupedians was crucial early on. I think, especially, of the tireless Magnus Manske (who worked on the software for both projects), our resident stickler Ruth Ifcher, and the very smart poker-playing programmer Lee Daniel Crocker—to name a few...Still, because the project started with these good people, and we were able to adopt, explain, and promote good habits and policies to newer people, the Nupedian roots of the project helped to develop a robust, functional and successful community.

Manske, along with others, was recognized as a major contributor to MediaWiki by the USENIX Advanced Computing Technical Association in 2010 when MediaWiki and the Wikimedia Foundation were honoured with a STUG award (Software Tools User Group).[36]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Magnus Manske publications indexed by Google Scholar
  2. ^ a b Magnus Manske (2006). GENtle, a free multi-purpose molecular biology tool (PhD thesis). University of Cologne. Archived from the original on 7 April 2015. Retrieved 27 March 2016.
  3. ^ Magnus Manske at DBLP Bibliography Server Edit this at Wikidata
  4. ^ Magnus Manske publications indexed by Microsoft Academic
  5. ^ Magnus Manske's publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database. (subscription required)
  6. ^ Daub, J.; Gardner, P. P.; Tate, J.; Ramsköld, D.; Manske, M.; Scott, W. G.; Weinberg, Z.; Griffiths-Jones, S.; Bateman, A. (2008). "The RNA WikiProject: Community annotation of RNA families". RNA. 14 (12): 2462–2464. doi:10.1261/rna.1200508. PMC 2590952. PMID 18945806.
  7. ^ Alastair Kerr (21 June 2011). "Desktop Sequence Analysis: software review". Bioinformatics Knowledge Blog. Archived from the original on 30 September 2018. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  8. ^ a b Claudia Lehnen (2 February 2008). "Der Wikipedia-Pionier aus Köln" [The Wikipedia pioneer from Cologne]. Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger (in German). Archived from the original on 12 July 2015. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
  9. ^ a b Manske, M.; Miotto, O.; Campino, S.; Auburn, S.; Almagro-Garcia, J.; Maslen, G.; o'Brien, J.; Djimde, A.; Doumbo, O.; Zongo, I.; Ouedraogo, J. B.; Michon, P.; Mueller, I.; Siba, P.; Nzila, A.; Borrmann, S.; Kiara, S. M.; Marsh, K.; Jiang, H.; Su, X. Z.; Amaratunga, C.; Fairhurst, R.; Socheat, D.; Nosten, F.; Imwong, M.; White, N. J.; Sanders, M.; Anastasi, E.; Alcock, D.; et al. (2012). "Analysis of Plasmodium falciparum diversity in natural infections by deep sequencing". Nature. 487 (7407): 375–9. Bibcode:2012Natur.487..375M. doi:10.1038/nature11174. PMC 3738909. PMID 22722859.
  10. ^ Manske, H. M.; Kwiatkowski, D. P. (2009). "Look Seq: A browser-based viewer for deep sequencing data". Genome Research. 19 (11): 2125–32. doi:10.1101/gr.093443.109. PMC 2775587. PMID 19679872.
  11. ^ Manske, H. M.; Kwiatkowski, D. P. (2009). "SNP-o-matic". Bioinformatics. 25 (18): 2434–5. doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btp403. PMC 2735664. PMID 19574284.
  12. ^ Robinson, T.; Campino, S. G.; Auburn, S.; Assefa, S. A.; Polley, S. D.; Manske, M.; MacInnis, B.; Rockett, K. A.; Maslen, G. L.; Sanders, M.; Quail, M. A.; Chiodini, P. L.; Kwiatkowski, D. P.; Clark, T. G.; Sutherland, C. J. (2011). "Drug-Resistant Genotypes and Multi-Clonality in Plasmodium falciparum Analysed by Direct Genome Sequencing from Peripheral Blood of Malaria Patients". PLOS ONE. 6 (8): e23204. Bibcode:2011PLoSO...623204R. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0023204. PMC 3154926. PMID 21853089.
  13. ^ Logan, D. W.; Sandal, M.; Gardner, P. P.; Manske, M.; Bateman, A. (2010). "Ten Simple Rules for Editing Wikipedia". PLOS Computational Biology. 6 (9): e1000941. Bibcode:2010PLSCB...6E0941L. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000941. PMC 2947980. PMID 20941386. Open access icon
  14. ^ "Magnus Manske". Archived from the original on 13 June 2013. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  15. ^ "Wikimedia-related tools by Magnus Manske". Archived from the original on 14 December 2018. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
  16. ^ "DNA Research; Putting parasites on the world map". China Weekly News. 26 June 2012.
  17. ^ a b c d Kurt Jansson (14 January 2011). "Zehn Jahre Wikipedia – Der kurze Sommer der Anarchie". Der Spiegel. Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
  18. ^ a b Jennifer Joline Anderson (2011). Wikipedia: The Company and Its Founders. ABDO. p. 44. ISBN 978-1-61714-812-5.
  19. ^ Torsten Kleinz (16 December 2012). "Neues Werkzeug soll Anfänger zur Wikipedia locken". Die Zeit. Archived from the original on 10 August 2019. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
  20. ^ a b Sumana Harihareswara; Guillaume Paumier (2012). "MediaWiki". In Amy Brown; Greg Wilson (eds.). The Architecture of Open Source Applications. Kristian Hermansen. ISBN 978-1-105-57181-7. Archived from the original on 24 September 2013. Retrieved 27 March 2016.
  21. ^ a b Rajeev Kumar. "Wiki Installation and Customization". Archived from the original on 21 July 2015. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  22. ^ "Wikipedia:PHP script new features". Wikipedia. 27 January 2002. Archived from the original on 7 June 2020. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  23. ^ Magnus Manske (27 January 2002). "[Wikipedia-l] New features list". Archived from the original on 12 November 2015. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  24. ^ Erik Möller (9 May 2003). "Das Wiki-Prinzip". Heise Online. Archived from the original on 2 September 2016. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
  25. ^ N. A. Polukarova (June 2007). "The concept of open editing from the copyright viewpoint". Automatic Documentation and Mathematical Linguistics. 41 (3): 104–107. doi:10.3103/S0005105507030053. ISSN 1934-8371. S2CID 6463839. In simpler words, while the developers of proprietary programs use their copyrights to deprive most of the users of most of their freedoms, GPL adherents, including above-mentioned Magnus Manske, use these privileges to guarantee these freedoms to users.
  26. ^ "Magnus' toys'n'tools". Archived from the original on 10 May 2014. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  27. ^ "Magnus' tools on wmflabs". Archived from the original on 14 May 2020. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  28. ^ "Tools Directory". Wikimedia Foundation. Archived from the original on 1 February 2019. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  29. ^ Mathias Schindler; Denny Vrandečić (March 2009). "Introducing new features to Wikipedia" (PDF). In Hendler, Jim; Margetts, Helen (eds.). Proceedings of the First International Conference on Web Sciences WebSci09. Athens, Greece. Archived (PDF) from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  30. ^ Vrandečić, Denny; Pintscher, Lydia; Krötzsch, Markus (30 April 2023). "Wikidata: The Making Of". Companion Proceedings of the ACM Web Conference 2023. New York, NY, USA: ACM. pp. 615–624. doi:10.1145/3543873.3585579. ISBN 978-1-4503-9419-2.
  31. ^ "German Wikipedia reaches landmark millionth entry". Deutsche Welle. 28 December 2009. Archived from the original on 6 June 2015. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
  32. ^ dpa/mos (28 December 2009). "Deutsche Wikipedia erreicht eine Million Einträge". Die Zeit. Archived from the original on 25 August 2016. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  33. ^ Achim Sawall (28 December 2009). "Deutschsprachige Wikipedia erreicht die Millionenmarke". Archived from the original on 21 May 2021. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
  34. ^ "[Wikipedia-l] Celebration". 25 January 2002. Archived from the original on 31 October 2020. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  35. ^ Larry Sanger (2008). "The Early History of Nupedia and Wikipedia: A Memoir". In Chris DiBona; Danese Cooper; Mark Stone (eds.). Open Sources 2.0: The Continuing Evolution. O'Reilly Media. p. 317. ISBN 978-0-596-55389-0.
  36. ^ "STUG award". 6 December 2011. Archived from the original on 11 January 2012. Retrieved 4 June 2013.

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