|Type of site||Source text repository|
|Created by||Jimmy Wales and the Wikimedia Community|
Wikisource – The Free Library – is a Wikimedia project to build a free, wiki library of source texts, along with translations into any language and other supporting materials. It is located at Wikisource.org.
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digital format previously published texts; including novels, non-fiction works, letters, speeches, constitutional and historical documents, laws and a range of other documents.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 free of copyright, either because this has expired or because the text has been released under a GNU Free Documentation License. Texts in all languages are welcome, as are translations.
Wikisource does not host "vanity press" books or documents produced by its contributors.
Wikisource had an eventful early history that included several changes of name and location (URL), and the move to language subdomains. The following sections explain these changes as well as the subsequent, more recent history of the project.
Project Sourceberg started officially when it received its own temporary URL on November 24 2003 (http://sources.wikipedia.org); all texts and discussions were moved there from ps.wikipedia.org. 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.
Within two weeks of the project's official start (at sources.wikipedia.org), over 1000 pages had been created, with approximately 200 of these being designated as actual articles. At the start of 2004, the site had 100 registered users. In early July, 2004 the number of articles exceeded 2400, 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.
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 subdomains at 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 (wikisource.org). The wikisource community, through a mass project of manually sorting thousands of pages and categories by language, prepared for a second wave of languages, including the English version, which were created on September 11 2005.
The community has requested that the main wikisource.org website remain a functioning wiki, to serve both as a multilingual coordination site for the entire Wikisource project in all languages, as well as a home for languages without their own subdomains. The Main Page at wikisource.org has been turned into a dynamic language portal, created by ThomasV based upon the Wikipedia portal. The new portal, created on August 26 2005, also incorporates Wikisource's new slogan, The Library.
- 4 January 2004
- Wikisource welcomes its 100th user.
- 27 November 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).
- English Wikisource
- Multilingual portal
- Early discussions and plans for the project (Meta)
- A personal perspective on the history of Wikisource
Projects of the Wikimedia Foundation
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