Memory Alpha is a wiki encyclopedia for topics related to the Star Trek fictional universe. Created by Harry Doddema and Dan Carlson, it uses the wiki model and is hosted by Fandom on the MediaWiki software. As of September 2023[update], Memory Alpha contains over 56,000 articles and 62,000 images in its English edition alone, making it one of the largest wiki projects. The site is also available in several other languages, including Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese, Czech, Dutch, Esperanto, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, Swedish, and Ukrainian.
Type of site
|Launched||December 5, 2003|
|Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0|
What would eventually become Memory Alpha was created by Dan Carlson in 1995, at which point it consisted of Carlson's personal Star Trek starship database called Starfleet Ship Registry. By the time Carlson launched his website, The Gigantic Collection of Star Trek Minutiae, in 2000, what had been Starfleet Ship Registry had been expanded in scope and acted as one of the five basic sections of the site under the name Starfleet Reference Database.
In the fall of 2003, Carlson's friend Harry Doddema proposed the creation of a Star Trek wiki in a post on the Flare Sci-Fi Forums. Carlson was interested in the concept and the two of them went to work putting the theory into practice. Using Starfleet Reference Database as a framework, they christened the project Memory Alpha, after the Federation's central library from the TOS episode "The Lights of Zetar". Memory Alpha officially launched on December 5, 2003.
As the continuation of Starfleet Reference Database, Memory Alpha was originally launched as a section of the Star Trek Minutiae website. The site quickly gained momentum, being mentioned on the Star Trek fan site TrekToday on December 23. On March 23, 2004, the site's database was accidentally erased during a MediaWiki upgrade. Although this caused six weeks of work to be lost, the project continued to expand, with a Dutch version being added on April 10, eventually being followed by many more non-English editions of the site.
In April 2004, Memory Alpha spun off into its own website, independent of Star Trek Minutiae. In February 2005, Memory Alpha joined Wikicities (later renamed to Wikia, now known as Fandom), a free wiki-hosting company started by Jimmy Wales and Angela Beesley. By September, it was the largest project on Wikicities and a central hub for Trekkies. That month, Memory Alpha received the Ex Astris Excellentia award from Ex Astris Scientia, a Star Trek reference site. Later that year, the site was featured as the Sci-Fi Channel's Site of the Week for the week of October 10.
Blogger Will Richardson hailed the site in his 2006 book Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms as "one of the most impressive [wikis] out there". By October 5 of that year, Memory Alpha had reached the 20,000 article mark. On June 20, 2007, Memory Alpha announced that it had reached another milestone, this time of 25,000 articles, which made it one of the biggest online Star Trek informational sources.
Entertainment Weekly named Memory Alpha one of the 25 Essential Fansites in 2007. In comparing it to other Star Trek sites, the reviewer wrote, "Memory Alpha wins out for its handsome, intuitive presentation and its overwhelming mass". In July 2015, it became public knowledge that Simon Pegg, actor and writer for Star Trek Beyond, had used Memory Alpha as a resource in the writing process of the film, even asking the community's founders to name and establish etymology for a device in the film. Star Trek: Discovery's showrunners have described Memory Alpha as "an amazing resource."