Wikisource is an online digital library of free content textual
sources on a wiki, operated by the Wikimedia Foundation.
the name of the project as a whole and the name for each instance of
that project (each instance usually representing a different
language); multiple Wikisources make up the overall project of
Wikisource. The project's aims are to host all forms of free text, in
many languages, and translations. Originally conceived as an archive
to store useful or important historical texts (its first text was the
Déclaration universelle des Droits de l'Homme), it has expanded to
become a general-content library. The project officially began in
November 24, 2003 under the name Project Sourceberg, a play on the
famous Project Gutenberg. The name
Wikisource was adopted later that
year and it received its own domain name seven months later. The
project has come under criticism for lack of reliability but it is
also cited by organisations such as the National Archives and Records
The project holds works that are either in the public domain or freely
licensed; professionally published works or historical source
documents, not vanity products; and are verifiable. Verification was
initially made offline, or by trusting the reliability of other
digital libraries. Now works are supported by online scans via the
ProofreadPage extension, which ensures the reliability and accuracy of
the project's texts.
Some individual Wikisources, each representing a specific language,
now only allow works backed up with scans. While the bulk of its
collection are texts,
Wikisource as a whole hosts other media, from
comics to film to audio books. Some Wikisources allow user-generated
annotations, subject to the specific policies of the
1.1 Early history
1.2 Logo and slogan
1.3 Tools built
2 Library contents
3.1 Language subdomains
5 See also
7 External links
Wikisource's early (2003–2005) history included several changes of
name and location (URL), and the move to language subdomains in 2005.
The original concept for
Wikisource was as storage for useful or
important historical texts. These texts were intended to support
articles, by providing primary evidence and original source
texts, and as an archive in its own right. The collection was
initially focused on important historical and cultural material,
distinguishing it from other digital archives such as Project
The project was originally called Project Sourceberg during its
planning stages (a play on words for Project Gutenberg).
In 2001, there was a dispute on regarding the addition of
primary source material, leading to edit wars over their inclusion or
deletion. Project Sourceberg was suggested as a solution to this. In
describing the proposed project, user The Cunctator said, "It would be
Project Gutenberg what is to Nupedia," soon clarifying
the statement with "we don't want to try to duplicate Project
Gutenberg's efforts; rather, we want to complement them. Perhaps
Project Sourceberg can mainly work as an interface for easily linking
from to a
Project Gutenberg file, and as an interface for
people to easily submit new work to PG." Initial comments were
Larry Sanger questioning the need for the project,
writing "The hard question, I guess, is why we are reinventing the
Project Gutenberg already exists? We'd want to complement
Project Gutenberg--how, exactly?", and
Jimmy Wales adding "like
Larry, I'm interested that we think it over to see what we can add to
Project Gutenberg. It seems unlikely that primary sources should in
general be editable by anyone -- I mean, Shakespeare is Shakespeare,
unlike our commentary on his work, which is whatever we want it to
The project began its activity at ps.wikipedia.org. The contributors
understood the "PS" subdomain to mean either "primary sources" or
Project Sourceberg. However, this resulted in Project Sourceberg
occupying the subdomain of the Pashto (the ISO language code
Pashto language is "ps").
Project Sourceberg officially launched on November 24, 2003 when it
received its own temporary URL, at sources.wikipedia.org, and all
texts and discussions hosted on ps.wikipedia.org were moved to the
temporary address. A vote on the project's name changed it to
Wikisource on December 6, 2003. Despite the change in name, the
project did not move to its permanent
URL (at http://wikisource.org/)
until July 23, 2004.
Logo and slogan
Wikisource was initially called "Project Sourceberg", its first
logo was a picture of an iceberg. Two votes conducted to choose a
successor were inconclusive, and the original logo remained until
2006. Finally, for both legal and technical reasons – because the
picture's license was inappropriate for a
Wikimedia Foundation logo
and because a photo cannot scale properly – a stylized vector
iceberg inspired by the original picture was mandated to serve as the
The first prominent use of Wikisource's slogan — The Free Library
— was at the project's multilingual portal, when it was redesigned
based upon the portal on August 27, 2005, (historical
version). As in the portal the
Wikisource slogan appears
around the logo in the project's ten largest languages.
Clicking on the portal's central images (the iceberg logo in the
center and the "Wikisource" heading at the top of the page) links to a
list of translations for
Wikisource and The Free Library in 60
The Proofread Page extension in action.
Wiki extension called ProofreadPage was developed for
Wikisource by developer ThomasV to improve the vetting of
transcriptions by the project. This displays pages of scanned works
side-by-side with the text relating to that page, allowing the text to
be proofread and its accuracy later verified independently by any
other editor. Once a book, or other text, has been
scanned, the raw images can be modified with image processing software
to correct for page rotations and other problems. The retouched images
can then be converted into a PDF or
DjVu file and uploaded to either
Wikisource or Wikimedia Commons.
This system assists editors in ensuring the accuracy of texts on
Wikisource. The original page scans of completed works remain
available to any user so that errors may be corrected later and
readers may check texts against the originals. ProofreadPage also
allows greater participation, since access to a physical copy of the
original work is not necessary to be able to contribute to the project
once images have been uploaded. Thus it enhances the project's
commitment to the Wikimedia principle that anyone can contribute.
ThomasV built other tools as well: when the choice of whether
publishing annotations or not was discussed, he made a gadget to offer
the choice between texts alone or annotated texts. When the choice of
modernizing or not the texts was discussed, he made another gadget to
modernize the original text only when it was wished, so that it could
be decided then that the texts themselves would be the original ones.
▶ Example: Old ſ (for s) and other old spellings on French
:::Action of the modernizing tool
A student doing proof reading during her project at New Law College
Within two weeks of the project's official start at
sources.wikipedia.org, over 1,000 pages had been created, with
approximately 200 of these being designated as actual articles. On
January 4, 2004,
Wikisource welcomed its 100th registered user. In
early July, 2004 the number of articles exceeded 2,400, and more than
500 users had registered. On April 30, 2005, there were 2667
registered users (including 18 administrators) and almost 19,000
articles. The project passed its 96,000th edit that same day.[citation
On November 27, 2005, the English
Wikisource passed 20,000 text-units
in its third month of existence, already holding more texts than did
the entire project in April (before the move to language subdomains).
On February 14, 2008, the English
Wikisource passed 100,000 text-units
with Chapter LXXIV of Six Months at the White House, a memoir by
painter Francis Bicknell Carpenter. In November, 2011, 250,000
text-units milestone was passed. But counting was difficult because
what a text-unit is, could not be clearly defined.
On May 10, 2006, the first
Portal was created.
Wikisource inclusion criteria expressed as a Venn diagram. Green
indicates the best possible case, where the work satisfies all three
primary requirements. Yellow indicates acceptable but not ideal cases.
Wikisource collects and stores in digital format previously published
texts; including novels, non-fiction works, letters, speeches,
constitutional and historical documents, laws and a range of other
documents. All texts collected are either free of copyright or
released under the
Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike
License. Texts in all languages are welcome, as are translations.
In addition to texts,
Wikisource hosts material such as comics, films,
recordings and spoken-word works. All texts held by
have been previously published; the project does not host "vanity
press" books or documents produced by its
A scanned source is preferred on many Wikisources and required on
some. Most Wikisources will, however, accept works transcribed from
offline sources or acquired from other digital libraries. The
requirement for prior publication can also be waived in a small number
of cases if the work is a source document of notable historical
importance. The legal requirement for works to be licensed or free of
copyright remains constant.
The only original pieces accepted by
Wikisource are annotations and
translations. Wikisource, and its sister project Wikibooks, has
the capacity for annotated editions of texts. On Wikisource, the
annotations are supplementary to the original text, which remains the
primary objective of the project. By contrast, on
annotations are primary, with the original text as only a reference or
supplement, if present at all. Annotated editions are more popular
on the German Wikisource. The project also accommodates
translations of texts provided by its users. A significant translation
on the English
Wikisource is the
Wiki Bible project, intended to
create a new, "laissez-faire translation" of The Bible.
A separate Hebrew version of
Wikisource (he.wikisource.org) was
created in August 2004. The need for a language-specific Hebrew
website derived from the difficulty of typing and editing Hebrew texts
in a left-to-right environment (Hebrew is written right-to-left). In
the ensuing months, contributors in other languages including German
requested their own wikis, but a December vote on the creation of
separate language domains was inconclusive. Finally, a second vote
that ended May 12, 2005, supported the adoption of separate language
Wikisource by a large margin, allowing each language to
host its texts on its own wiki.
An initial wave of 14 languages was set up by
Brion Vibber on August
23, 2005. The new languages did not include English, but the code
en: was temporarily set to redirect to the main website
At this point the
Wikisource community, through a mass project of
manually sorting thousands of pages and categories by language,
prepared for a second wave of page imports to local wikis. On
September 11, 2005, the wikisource.org wiki was reconfigured to enable
the English version, along with 8 other languages that were created
early that morning and late the night before.
Three more languages were created on March 29, 2006, and then
another large wave of 14 language domains was created on June 2,
2006. Currently, there are individual subdomains for Wikisources
in more than 60 languages, besides the additional languages hosted
at wikisource.org, which serves as an incubator or a home for
languages without their own subdomains (31 languages are currently
During the move to language subdomains, the community requested that
the main wikisource.org website remain a functioning wiki, in order to
serve three purposes:
To be a multilingual coordination site for the entire Wikisource
project in all languages. In practice, use of the website for
multilingual coordination has not been heavy since the conversion to
language domains. Nevertheless, there is some policy activity at the
Scriptorium, and multilingual updates for news and language milestones
at pages such as Wikisource:2007.
To be a home for texts in languages without their own subdomains, each
with its own local main page for self-organization. As a language
incubator, the wiki currently provides a home for over 30 languages
that do not yet have their own language subdomains. Some of these are
very active, and have built libraries with hundreds of texts (such as
Esperanto and Volapuk), and one with thousands (Hindi).
To provide direct, ongoing support by a local wiki community for a
dynamic multilingual portal at its Main Page, for users who go to
http://wikisource.org. The current
Main Page portal was created on
August 26, 2005, by ThomasV, who based it upon the portal.
The idea of a project-specific coordination wiki, first realized at
Wikisource, also took hold in another Wikimedia project, namely at
Wikiversity's Beta Wiki. Like wikisource.org, it serves Wikiversity
coordination in all languages, and as a language incubator. But unlike
Main Page does not serve as its multilingual
portal (which is not a wiki page).
Personal explanation of
Wikisource from a project participant
Larry Sanger has criticised Wikisource, and sister project Wiktionary,
because the collaborative nature and technology of these projects
means there is no oversight by experts and therefore their content is
Bart D. Ehrman, a New Testament scholar and professor of religious
studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has
criticised the English Wikisource's project to create a user-generated
The Bible saying "Democratization isn't necessarily
good for scholarship." Richard Elliott Friedman, an Old Testament
scholar and professor of Jewish studies at the University of Georgia,
has identified errors in the translation of the Book of Genesis.
In 2010, Wikimedia France signed an agreement with the Bibliothèque
nationale de France (National Library of France) to add scans from its
own Gallica digital library to French Wikisource. Fourteen hundred
public domain French texts were added to the
Wikisource library as a
result via upload to the Wikimedia Commons. The quality of the
transcriptions, previously automatically generated by optical
character recognition (OCR), was expected to be improved by
Wikisource's human proofreaders.
Wikisource has original works on the topic: National Archives and
Records Administration Collection
In 2011, the English
Wikisource received many high-quality scans of
documents from the
National Archives and Records Administration
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
as part of their efforts "to increase the accessibility and visibility
of its holdings." Processing and upload to Commons of these documents,
along with many images from the NARA collection, was facilitated by a
NARA Wikimedian in residence, Dominic McDevitt-Parks. Many of these
documents have been transcribed and proofread by the Wikisource
community and are featured as links in the National Archives' own
^ "Wikisource.org Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved
^ a b c d e f g h Ayers, Phoebe; Matthews, Charles; Yates, Ben (2008).
How Works. No Starch Press. pp. 435–436.
^ "Transcribe Citizen Archivist". Retrieved 4 October 2013.
^ a b The Cunctator (2001-10-16). "Primary sources Pedia, or Project
Sourceberg".. Retrieved 2011-07-05.
^ The Cunctator (2001-10-16). "Primary sources Pedia, or Project
Sourceberg".. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
^ Sanger, Larry (2001-10-17). "Primary sources Pedia, or Project
Sourceberg".. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
^ Wales, Jimmy (2001-10-17). "Primary sources Pedia, or Project
Sourceberg".. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
^ Starling, Tim (2004-07-23). "Scriptorium". Wikisource. Retrieved
^ "Wikisource.org". Wikisource.org. 2005-08-27. Retrieved
^ a b Bernier, Alex; Burger, Dominique; Marmol, Bruno (2010). "Wiki, a
New Way to Produce Accessible Documents". In Miesenberger, Klaus;
Klaus, Joachim; Zagler, Wolfgang; Karshmer, Arthur. Computers Helping
Special Needs. Springer. pp. 22–24.
^ Proofread Page extension at MediaWiki. Retrieved 2011-09-29.
^ ProofreadPage at Wikisource.org. Retrieved 2011-09-29.
^ "100K" discussion on Scriptorium. English Wikisource. 14 February
2008. Retrieved 2011-09-29.
^ "Mission statement". WikimediaFoundation.org. Wikimedia Foundation.
^ "Wikisource". Wikimedia.org. Wikimedia Foundation. Retrieved
^ "What is Wikisource? – What do we exclude?". Wikisource.org.
Wikisource. Retrieved 2011-07-08.
^ a b c Boot, Peter (2009). Mesotext. Amsterdam University Press.
pp. 34–35. ISBN 978-90-8555-052-5.
^ Broughton, John (2008). Reader's Guide: The Missing
Manual. O'Reilly Media, Inc. p. 23.
^ a b c Philips, Matthew (June 14, 2008). "God's Word, According to
^ Server admin log for August 23, 2005; a fifteenth language (sr:) was
created on August 25 (above).
^ See the Server admin log for September 11, 2005, at 01:20 and below
(September 10) at 22:49.
^ "Server admin log for March 29". Wikitech.wikimedia.org. Retrieved
^ "Server admin log for June 2, 2006". Wikitech.wikimedia.org.
^ See the organized lists at Wikisource's Multilingual
Meta's numbered, sortable list of Wikisources by size.
^ For an automatic list of local main pages, see Category:Main Pages;
for a formatted list, see the wikisource.org section of the Wikisource
^ "Wikiversity.org". Wikiversity.org. Retrieved 2011-07-05.
^ Anderson, Jennifer Joline (2011).: The Company and Its
Founders. ABDO. pp. 92–93. ISBN 978-1-61714-812-5.
^ "La BNF prend un virage collaboratif avec Wikisource" [BNF takes a
collaborative turn with Wikisource]. ITespresso (in French).
NetMediaEurope. April 8, 2010. Retrieved 2011-09-29.
^ "Wikimédia France signe un partenariat avec la BnF" [Wikimedia
France sign a partnership with the BnF]. Wikimédia France (in
French). April 7, 2010. Archived from the original on September 29,
2011. Retrieved 2011-09-29.
^ "French National Library to cooperate with Wikisource",
^ McDevitt-Parks, Dominic; Waldman, Robin (July 25, 2011). "Wikimedia
and the new collaborative digital archives". The Text Message.
National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Wikisource.
Danny Wool on
Wikimedia Foundation article).
A personal perspective on the history of
Wikisource by Angela Beesley
Early discussions and plans for the project (Meta)
Oscar van Dillen
List of Wiktionaries
List of Wikimedia chapters
Wikimedia v. NSA
Barnes & Noble Nook
Plastic Logic Reader
Adobe Digital Editions
Google Play Books
OverDrive Media Console
Atlantis Word Processor
Help & Manual
Oxygen XML Editor
Amazon Kindle Store
Baen Free Library
Barnes & Noble
Sony Reader Store
Academic journal publishing reform
Comparison of e-book readers
Comparison of iOS e-book reader software
Comparison of Android e-book reader software
iBooks Author Conference
International Digital Publishing Forum