Wikisource:Scriptorium/Archives/2005-12-15

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Warning Please do not post any new comments on this page. This is a discussion archive first created on 15 December 2005, although the comments contained were likely posted before and after this date. See current discussion or the archives index.

Why are some things even modifiable?

Discussion moved to Wikisource talk:Protection policy.

Problem with a Category

The Category:British Prime Ministers (I can't put it in [[]]) somehow includes a link to the page The Suez Crisis, despite the fact that there are no categories noted on this page. Can anyone explain this, or fix it? Thanks AllanHainey 12:16, 17 October 2005 (UTC)

Allan, edit this section and look at the "secret": Category:British Prime Ministers.
Thanks for that but does anyone have any idea why The Suez Crisis is showing up on Category:British Prime Ministers? AllanHainey 14:47, 24 October 2005 (UTC)
Sometimes something odd happens with the categories. If a page is categorized, but it shouldn't be there, go edit that page and hit "save." (Note: you don't need to actually make an edit.) This updates the page information for the miscategorized page, and it should remove any such errors like what happened to The Suez Crisis.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 16:52, 30 October 2005 (UTC)

Suggestions for additional Wiki Resources

The addition of Wikisource made me realize that there is a need for additional resources as well

One of these would be Wikigraphics, which would be a central library of graphic items that would be accessible from all of the other programs. This would minimize the number of Megabytes of space given over to graphic items since - as currently configured - a graphic item must be stored once for each program in order for the same code word to be functional in all programs.

Another would be WikiCatalog, which would be the cental storage location for the current system of Categories that is located in each program. Again, the number of Megabytes given over to Categories would be minimized since a category would be created only once, and would be available to all programs.

The third would be WikiTemplates, which would do the same thing for templates, again minimizing the number of megabytes of storage space given over to templates in each program.

I am sure there probably are other uses for cental storage that is accessible from all the programs. CORNELIUSSEON 21:54, 17 October 2005 (UTC)

Ideas for new projects are discussed at meta.wikimedia.org. Your "Wikigraphics" already exists as commons.wikimedia.org. Templates and categories are probably harder to reuse, as they often depend on each language. --LA2 14:38, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

Illustrations?

What is Wikisource's policy about including illustrations from the original books? --Munchkinguy 18:39, 18 October 2005 (UTC)

Please do!—Zhaladshar (Talk) 02:09, 19 October 2005 (UTC)

Modern_Fiction:Authors page is confusing because it is incomplete

The Modern_Fiction:Authors page is confusing because it is incomplete but does not say so. For example, I went there and found exactly one story by Lovecraft listed. However, the Author:H._P._Lovecraft page lists lots of stories by Lovecraft available on wikisource. The Modern_Fiction:Authors page gives the impression that it is a complete list. If I had not already known about the Author:H._P._Lovecraft page, I would have thought that the list on Modern_Fiction:Authors was all there is.

Perhaps a note should be added to the top of the page (and similar pages) explaining its incomplete status?

Joe Wells

It's probably preferable to change Modern Fiction:Authors so that it's an index of author pages. --Angr/Talk 01:01, 22 October 2005 (UTC)
I've made it into a list of author pages. It's still incomplete, but at least it no longer makes it look like we have only one or two works by an author when we actually have lots of works by him. --Angr/Talk 01:46, 22 October 2005 (UTC)

A useful tool

I found th is on WP [[1]].Its used for analyising edits. It appears only to work with WP, but I wonder if it might be adapted for WS Use. Apwoolrich 18:47, 21 October 2005 (UTC)

It's certainly interesting but I don't see that it has much practical use, on WP or WS. I can't think of any situations when we'd need the information on editors, %of minor edits, time between edits, etc that it provides - though you may know better than me. AllanHainey 14:55, 24 October 2005 (UTC)
Since we have so many posts from anons, I did wonder if it would be any use in tracking them. Apwoolrich 19:37, 25 October 2005 (UTC)

Breaking new ground #2

I have just added to the Help page (see left box) one on the use on Wikisource of dedicated UTF-8 text editors, which are a boon in adding text in foreign characters. Apwoolrich 19:41, 25 October 2005 (UTC)

bot request

I had an account, Wolfbot, tagged as a bot on the top-level Wikisource. In the move to language subdomains, bot accounts were not carried over. The purpose of the tag is to avoid cluttering the recent changes with repetitive tasks. If you desire, you can still see these in RC by clicking the bot option there. The purpose of the bot is to automate routine, but tediously repetitive tasks. One example would be applying a navigation template to all 80 chapters of a Charles Dickens novel. Meta has asked me to announce my request to re-tag Wolfbot as a bot here on the english subdomain. Anyone object? Wolfman 03:17, 3 November 2005 (UTC)

No problem here. Go right ahead.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 19:14, 3 November 2005 (UTC)
Thanks, it's tagged now. If anyone has big tasks that can be automated/programmed, I'd be glad to run them (if given a week or two). Wolfbot 03:45, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

REDIRECT

How do you REDIRECT?

Wikipedia syntax doesn't work here.

WB2 01:35, 4 November 2005 (UTC)

Fixed ...
216.135.224.55 01:52, 4 November 2005 (UTC)
#redirect[[to_name]] Wolfman 01:53, 4 November 2005 (UTC)

Wikification?

I have recently noticed people going through poems and such adding wikilinks to wikipedia and wiktionary. Personally, I think some of this is useful. For example, I linked many of the signatories of the Southern Manifesto. However, I'm less sure about wikifying too much of the main text, particularly basic words like "queen" and the like. Linking a few more obscure or important items doesn't bother me, but I find it distracting and a bit ugly to have too much. I suppose this only really bothers me in works of art; it seems presumptuous. See, e.g. some of the more mundane links in The Native-Born or The Roman Centurion's Song. Do we have a policy or guideline on this? Is it encouraged? Wolfman 17:43, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

I agree. Basic words should not be linked. No one will really ask "What does 'queen' mean?" if they read a poem that has the word "queen." Phrases or words that aren't obvious, especially if it helps to explain the work in question, should be linked, but nothing more. There is no current policy, but I think we should write one up.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 19:15, 5 November 2005 (UTC)
I don't like it. I have assumed that our task is to produce accurate texts which are then locked as a service for other branches of the Wiki empire. What happens to them after that is another matter. The thought of having EB1911 articles Wikified like this is dire, but I agree that some linking is valuable. On EB 1911 a link is placed on each to the WP or WD pages covering the same topic,and there are internal links to other articles on EB1911 WS, but no more: I feel this is enough. If an WS editorial commentary is needed about an article that is the place to Wikify. I agree we should have a policy about it ASAP. I will draft another Help page Apwoolrich 19:43, 5 November 2005 (UTC)
But there are lots of places to get accurate texts on the internet. There is no particular reason to have many texts posted here other than to just provide another mirror for those texts. But for non-fiction texts, at least, having the ability to wiki terms in the texts is a huge added value. If a text is not wikified, then there is no reason to spend any time reformating it for WS -- just post a link to another repositority. --The Jacobin 17:34, 10 November 2005 (UTC)

Apwoolrich has posted a proposed guideline at Help:Wikificaton and Wikisource. I think it might be useful to make a distinction betweeen reference works and literary works. After all, the main objection (at least mine) boils down to aesthetics. I don't completely oppose wikilinks in literary works, but I think they should be used sparingly out of respect for the artist. One standard might be whether the item linked would merit an explanatory footnote for a modern audience — in a sense that's what the wikilink is. For non-creative works, I would be comfortable with a somewhat looser standard — though I think Wikipedia goes way too far with silly links. Wolfman 21:52, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

A good example of correct Wikification on Wikisource can be seen at "Fuzzy-Wuzzy" Apwoolrich 21:24, 6 November 2005 (UTC)
yes, that would be a tough read for many without most of those links. in that case, it really adds some value. so that should really be the standard: would many modern readers find it difficult to understand the meaning, importance, or context without the wikilink? on the olther hand, don't wikilink words like "pine", "ship", or "Germany" just because you can. Wolfman 22:15, 6 November 2005 (UTC)

This is great disscusion! I was looking for guidelines earlier this week and found none. I have done all the wikifying on The Native Born The Roman Centurion's Song as well as "Fuzzy-Wuzzy" and have some ideas on this and in truth I plan on doing The Native Born a little differently as it was my first go at it.

First of all I went in to this thinking about how much I loved Kipling poetry and how much it open up different world and time to me than modern America. So was trying link very specifically to things that help paint a picture of that world. Also I was thinking of Poetry classes I took in school where the first task was aways to look up any words you couldn't write a definition for. So I was think of this as being a hyper-texted look up for these things. Here are some examples from The Native Born:


We read of the English skylark,
    Of the spring in the English lanes,
But we screamed with the painted lories
    As we rode on the dusty plains!


On Sklylark notice I linked to specific bird species found in England not just to a general songbird. When you click on this article and on the lorries you get a good idea of the contrast between England and "Native" land which is what this Poem is all about. Also I memorized this poem ten years ago, it has always been a favorite and until I did this project I always thought "lorries" was some sort of fast transport for riding on the plains. So I think this is useful. I also picked this section to say I would not wikify spring in hindsight. I was thinking of highlighting the contrast between the four seasons in England to the two seasons in the Tropics, but I was incorrect there.


Secondly I found a resource wtih the Kipling Society which has well-researched notes on all of his works. This is when I did the Roman Centourian Song and Fuzzy-Wuzzy. They have only a small portion of the notes online. However Washington University has a copy of the book (There were only 100 printed in 1962) and I plan going down there this coming week for help in redoing The Native Born. This where a found what the current names are for all the Roman towns and the wars refered to in Fuzzy-Wuzzy. This information would be quite hard to understand with out the links.


Lastly I think that if you understand the language and references in a poem, no one is making you follow the link. I don't understand how it being blue make it "ugly." Although I think people need to be careful what they do link to. For example some one said earlier "queen" shouldn't be linked as it is a broad term. But I did not link to the definition of queen I linked to Victoria of England who the actual person Kipling is refering to here. In the Roman Centiourian's Song, I took purple and linked to Wikipedia:Tyrian purple which tells how it was used in ceromoninal Roman robes and worth ten to twenty times it's weight in gold. I think is something specific that doesn't normally come to mind when one reads purple. Poetry often use odd and arhaic words to convey very specic ideas and images and I think we should take advantage of resource we have here to explore that. I would not link so heavily in prose, but poetry understood better by this

Thank you to everyone who liked the work I did. Also perhaps we could have some sort secondary text without links for those who dislike then and for printing--BirgitteSB 23:12, 6 November 2005 (UTC)

Ah, I should have actually clicked on queen and purple, those do seem suitable in context. Spring though, as you note, is a bit pedestrian, as were a few others. Mind you, it's not at all a criticism of your work, I think much of this is great. My aesthetic issue is that my eye tends to unwillingly linger on a highlighted word, breaking the flow a bit. Certainly, if the link were there, but it weren't highlighted I would have no objection at all. The break in flow is warranted if the word actually deserves explanation, it then appropriately draws notice to the word. By the same token, I dislike excessive footnotes in texts, because I find it impossible not to look at them. That's why I suggested the standard should be much the same; sometimes you really ought to have a look. I don't think this should be a policy, but rather guidance.
I'm curious what generic guidance, if any, you would propose Birgitte? As you note, we should definitely get some sort of consensus on a help page. Wolfman 23:39, 6 November 2005 (UTC)
As far as the aesthetic issue I wonder if we could have view preferences that people could to see highlighted or not? In truth no mattter how significant the reference you wouldn't want the flow broken any differently than the meter calls for. As far as poetry goes any way.
In the area of guidance, I used two things myself. I looked at others thought significant enough to make a footnote to see if I could wikify that idea. There were things I could not for example in "Fuzzy-Wuzzy" You’re a poor benighted heathen… was a reference from very popular sermons by Wikipedia:Charles Spurgeon and someone reading the poem in Victorian times would have thought of him, but I couldn't find a good way to wikify this. Secondly I looked at whether an item might have different meanings to someone who does not live in the local or time that is being written of. If I could then link to what was specifically refered to by the poem I did. As some one who has read extensively without ever really traveling these were some of the first thing I looked up when I discovered Wikipedia. To understand what a moor is for example. Those were the basic guidelines I was using by the end. In the begining with Native Born I didn't use those guidelines I was thinking of if something was specific and if was meant something different than in common usage. I guess I used the last one a bit later also. But if something was used outside common useage it would be in the footnotes I had. This is just off the top of my head but I think the important issuse is specificity with poetry. Then again when you take Poetry appreciation classes the first step is dissecting the poem word by word. That is not to say I would take the same approach with prose. I'm not sure about prose, I would like to see some famous book that has been annoted for use in a literature class and work off that. If a specific "thing" is important in a story then the author is free to describe it. But every word choice is important in a poem. What else is on here besides poetry and prose? Well thats my brainstorming.--BirgitteSB 00:24, 7 November 2005 (UTC)
Good discussion on the poetry. Taking the issue of the wikification of historical/constitutional documents & speeches I would say that there should be very few links. Currently on those documents which are wikified there are far too many links, mostly on obvious words like queen, etc & repeated linking of the same word (Eg country or individuals names). I'd say that the only words which should be wikified should be names, obscure or country-specific titles (eg Lord Chancellor rather than President or King), situations or events/themes which are not immediately obvious from their titles (EG Bedchamber crisis or Dreyfuss affair) where these are not specifically elaborated on in the text, things like say an abdication crisis or civil war shouldn't be linked as they are self explanatory & if people want to they can just look them up in wikipedia without a link. Each link should also be linked only once, at its 1st occurrance. Basically I think we should try to keep the number of links as low as possible as it is distracting & breaks the attention from the text.
For electoral data I think the wikification is fine as it is, with winning candidates & political parties only being linked.AllanHainey 08:55, 7 November 2005 (UTC)
I think the reason that it looks "ugly" is because the eye is contrasting blue text with black. However, I think most of the wikification is useful, as Birgitte has brought up. A bunch of poetry (and Kipling does this all over the place) references things that are not quite obvious to us today and need to be explained out if we are to get his meaning. However, I do think there is a balance that must be brought about between footnotes and links to WP or Wiktionary, if we are to be effective.
My thoughts on this are that we should link to special events that people today might not fully grasp. Sometimes, though, I think just explaining something (as translating a foreign word or a explaining a vague reference to a famous person or a famous event) should just go in a footnote. If that would get the point across to people--and I'm sure not everyone wants to read a full WP article about numerous subjects where a simple sentence would suffice--then that seems like it should be the better course of action.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 03:24, 8 November 2005 (UTC)
I will just add that if you click on the "Printable version" link (in the toolbox) you can view a version of the page without the blue links. —Mike 03:35, 8 November 2005 (UTC)
Now that it is extremely useful point! If we are going to support wikilinks inside texts to any extent (which apparently is the case) then we should fine a way to emphasize that this tool is always available. It is also useful for people who want to use our texts for other purposes (via copy and paste) but don't want to waste time editing out all the colored links in the new context. Dovi 08:27, 8 November 2005 (UTC)
You can also edit your monobook.css (or MediaWiki:Monobook.css) to alter the appearance of links to other wikis. I am not saying that this is a good idea, I am just saying that it is a possibility. /EnDumEn 10:49, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

I redid Fuzzy-Wuzzy on my User:BirgitteSB page as mock-up. This was done using a template on the main text which then could be protected. Does this solve our problem? Is this an acceptable presentation for Wikisource? Note the Wikipedia box at the bottom would normally link to w:Fuzzy-Wuzzy not my user page.--BirgitteSB 12:02, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

I agree with the general view here that wikification at Wikisource should be kept to a minimum but not banned outright. Over at de: I'm in the process of adding an 1899 phonetic description of a dialect of Irish, and I'm wikifying the technical terms, because they may need further explanation. But of course it would be ridiculous to have
Tyger! Tyger! Burning bright,
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
--Angr/Talk 15:22, 8 November 2005 (UTC)
I like the 2 versions, wikified & non, on User:BirgitteSB& I think this would work well for most works. Though if it is adopted for all poetry works (leaving aside all other literature & historical works) it would significantly increase the amount of computer storage space/bandwidth/server space needed for wikisource so it might not be practical in the long term if we expect wikisource to grow & grow. For long works (Eg The Rime of the Ancient Mariner) I see real problems with the 2 versions solution, at least if they are on the same page. If we used http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Rime_of_the_Ancient_Mariner for the unwikified version & http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Rime_of_the_Ancient_Mariner/wikified & included a link from the non-wikified version I think this would work fine. I'd prefer this to having them on the same page, even for shorter works.
Another possible solution (& I don't know if this'd work as part of the template or not) would be to apply a printable version link at the top of each poetry page, named something like non-link version (possibly with a wee explanation saying if you don't like blue links click here). This would give everyone the option of links or not & would save server space. I'd favour this option.
Generally I would prefer to read poetry without the blue links as I find it distracting &, as you say, breaks the meter & flow of the poem.
I like the idea of the templates as this would save a lot of trouble checking for & reverting vandalism, though for the linked version it would complicate link-maintenance a bit.
You know, that's not a bad idea. Having a wikified version at http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Poem_name_here/wikified would be a good idea; we'd still have the original text and we would have the annotated. And neither of them would conflict with each other (like make a page much longer than it need be because there are two versions present). We should probably think about this approach.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 14:33, 10 November 2005 (UTC)
Perhaps with a little template showing the link to the wikified? However, this might pose a small maintenance problem, as all text corrections would have to be done twice. I like the "printable page" solution a little better, except (a) it's not at all obvious (b) it is ugly, at least on my browser .. no left margin (c) we lose all useful wikilinks such as navigation templates. since i suspect we can't get a developer's attention to fix these problems, the wikified subpage with a (templated pointer to it) is probably the way to go at the moment. Wolfman 16:35, 10 November 2005 (UTC)
Btw, I can probably automate the process of keeping the two versions in sync except for wikilinks. If all corrections are made to the wikified one, I can simply have a bot strip out the wikification, preserving the changes, and post it unwikified as well. Wolfman 16:38, 10 November 2005 (UTC)
Is there anyone who disagrees with having a seperate page for the wikified version? I think this is going to be the best solution in the long run if we set it up well. It might help if we put a note on the help page about Wikification to ask people to proofread the work before making the wikified page. Will the bot still be able to keep them in sync if the pages are protected?--BirgitteSB 21:13, 10 November 2005 (UTC)
Re: bot syncing & protection. The simplest way to handle maintenance is to make the wikified version the main one. A bot can then automatically produce the non-wikified version. The real trick would be to keep people editing only the wikified version for non-protected pages. Wolfman 02:28, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

Bottom line: We can easily produce non-wikified versions either with a bot or by using the "printable" page trick. So, there's no real reason to discourage useful wikification (or to produce non-wikified versions by hand). Assuming we pursue that, my aesthetic objection is moot. So, I think we ought to encourage wikification in general (see also The Jacobin's point above). A simple guideline like "wikify only when it is likely to help the reader understand meaning, importance, or context" should be sufficient to discourage excessively silly wikification, such as is often seen in wikipedia. Wolfman 02:41, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

Can a bot really produce a non-wikified version on demand? How would it work? Would there be a link on the wikified page that says "Non-wikified version here" and clicking on it would have the bot produce the non-wikified page?—Zhaladshar (Talk) 03:48, 11 November 2005 (UTC)
Well, on demand you can produce the "printable" version. We could include a template noting that option. The only real problem with that is losing useful navigational links & templates. In contrast, a bot would not be "on demand" of the user, but I could trivially run it periodically for all new articles. The bot runs python, so it's simple to program it to strip out wikilinks intelligently. We could simply make that a subpage of the main page, again with a template providing a link to it. That would, of course, take up twice the server space. But, I think the amount of server space used for plain text is probably completely trivial. ... In sum, "printable" is simplest & cheapest, but not optimal; "bot" is more complicated & expensive, but allows more flexibility. Either one is fine with me, but I'd be happy to do the 'bot-ing' if you want that approach. Probably not something to be rushed into, though. Wolfman 16:29, 11 November 2005 (UTC)
I plan on playing around with some options this weekend and seeing if we are missing anything but right now I like the sub-page options better for three reasons. 1) For longer works which will have TOC, using the printable page option would disable the TOC as well as all other wikilinks. 2) I personally would rather have people read the plain text first and follow a link to reach the wikified version. I'm not sure if the rest of you have a strong preference about that. 3) And this is minor but the left margin looks horrible in printable view. We should probably see if we could get this fixed anyways. Especially if it really prints that way. I need to test that at home.--70.241.199.104 18:43, 11 November 2005 (UTC)This was me--BirgitteSB 22:08, 11 November 2005 (UTC)
I strongly support point number 2. Most people who come here are looking for just the poem itself and aren't concerned very much about what it all actually means. If they want to go more in depth, great, we'll have a link for that, but if not, they shouldn't get the marked-up version first and have to root around for the plain one.
And since Wikisource is pretty much all text, the amount of space we take up on Wikimedia servers is nothing compared to something like Commons or WP, so having the sub-pages wouldn't really be a problem.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 21:31, 11 November 2005 (UTC)
We may be able to kill two birds with one stone here. If we always provide a subpage for wikification, we could also ask/require that people only edit that one (after some initial stabilization period). In other words, the wikified one could be the "sandbox" version that has been suggested regarding page protections. Then, periodically, we could update the plain text version based on any correct/useful edits to the wikified one -- after stripping wikification out. That way we could maintain a stable, reliable main version. However, it would still allow ordinary users to provide corrections, because the wikified version would have to be unprotected anyway to allow for wikification. Wolfman 21:52, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

Javascript approach

I have now tried doing something with JavaScript and CSS. The code can be seen in User:EnDumEn/monobook.js and User:EnDumEn/monobook.css. I have added tab to hide wikipedia links beside the history and edit tabs. It is not perfect yet. But it is working, so you can try it yourselves if you want. /EnDumEn 01:11, 12 November 2005 (UTC)

Neat, I've got to learn me some of this fancy stuff. But, on XP Firefox, the blue links don't go away, they just turn into "external link" signs. Wolfman 02:09, 12 November 2005 (UTC)
I have made some changes now. I tested it and it works with the browsers I have (Opera 8 and Netscape 7). I don't know about other browsers but I think that it should be possible to make work with IE or Firefox too. /EnDumEn 10:14, 12 November 2005 (UTC)

This all seems like it might involve too much extra work. But having said that, if this sort of thing is adopted, I would have to take the opposite view that we should have the unprotected, wikified version as the default with a plain, protected version as a subpage. Having the wikified version as the subpage implies that most people don't want wikification and would regard the value-added links as bad. If they are so bad, then why bother? —Mike 06:40, 12 November 2005 (UTC)

Oh, I don't think having the wikified version as a sub-page implies that most people don't want it. I just think it reflects the fact that most people aren't looking for that indepth analysis. Most just want the text and aren't interested in the mark-up. The marked-up version would be more for people actually studying it, which isn't a lot of people (I'd assume, anyway).
When the tab is perfected, EnDumEn, let me know. I'm anxious to see how it works.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 09:02, 12 November 2005 (UTC)

Very cool. Works on XP Firefox now too. Is there a way to tag some wikilinks to remain highlighted? Navigation links, etc. Also, it would be useful for the tab to toggle between hide/unhide. Wolfman 16:11, 12 November 2005 (UTC)

It is possible to use CSS so that some links remain visible. Those links has to be inside a tag with a class attribute. As an example I have specified in my monobook.css that interwiki links inside the boilerplate class should be visible. The boilerplate class is used in template:PD and in some other templates. The current version of User:EnDumEn/monobook.js should do toggling between hiding and showing links. /EnDumEn 13:38, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

Just for reference, I see that the "printable" page also uses a javascript/css combination, while keeping links clickable. So, that sourcecode might be helpful in ironing out any bugs. Wolfman 16:18, 12 November 2005 (UTC)

How exactly do you use this? I know nothing about javascript.--BirgitteSB 18:14, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

Copy User:EnDumEn/monobook.css & User:EnDumEn/monobook.js over to User:BirgitteSB/monobook.css & User:BirgitteSB/monobook.js. When you go to "Fuzzy-Wuzzy", you will see a new entry on the tab-bar called "hide". Click it. Wolfman 18:51, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
Hm, I seem to be having trouble with it. The links aren't disappearing for me.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 20:05, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
Did you force a reload? per instructions here. also, the external link arrow is back for me on Firefox, had been gone yesterday. Wolfman 20:14, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
I did. But it works for me just fine in Firefox. I'm not too sure why IE won't do it, though.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 20:40, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
ok, same here. firefox is perfect (was my bad on the arrows), ie doesn't work at all. both on xp. Wolfman 20:56, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
Now I think it should work in IE also. /EnDumEn 12:24, 14 November 2005 (UTC)
Works just fine in IE. Thanks a bunch!—Zhaladshar (Talk) 15:05, 14 November 2005 (UTC)
I have been using this without a problem but only on Firefox. Have we decided if this is ready for prime time? If so I think we should advertise it somewhere prominently.--BirgitteSB 19:44, 14 November 2005 (UTC)
See the Help page about CSS and Javascript as a home for this :-) Apwoolrich 19:53, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

We should try it out on a few more browsers first. I can check the various Linux ones. Anyone got Opera? If it works all around, we can just edit the site-wide css & js files, rather than making each user do it by hand. Wolfman 22:08, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

That's a good idea. If I can get this source removed from my monobook, then I can get my signature back to normal.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 22:47, 14 November 2005 (UTC)
Just tried it out in Opera; work like a charm. How does it work with Linux?—Zhaladshar (Talk) 17:32, 16 November 2005 (UTC)

Other site-wide CSS

If we can edit site-wise for CSS, does anyone have a view about adding Pilaf's Live Preview. This is a gizmo that enables previewing to be done offline on the browser, and so speeds editing up greatly. I have the CSS codes on my browser but have not yet sussed out how to activate it. See Help:CSS and Java script it is in the first entry somewhere :-( Apwoolrich 18:30, 16 November 2005 (UTC)

Unexplained mass changes to Wikisource

Hey folks! What happened to Wikisource? I'm away for a couple of months, and when I return:

  • Wikisource has a new domain.
  • My user ID has evaporated.
  • The Foundation-wide standard Transwiki log has disappeared.

and there's not a single announcement about what made this happen. In fact, Wikisource:Announcements is a non-existent article!

I deduce from comments made in the Scriptorium archive that we recently changed to the new wikisource.org domain, but lost a lot of material in the process. (The only way an infrequent contributor can glean this incredibly important information is to track down old discussions about missing pages.) I therefore have a few questions:

  1. Can someone start an Announcements page that says something about this dramatic development?
  2. Are my user name and low-numbered user ID gone permanently, so that I need to recreate my account? (This would be a real bummer, since my watchlist was how I recalled what articles I was interested in. OTOH, it would give me an excuse for renewed Random page wandering. ☺)
  3. What happened to the Transwiki log?
  4. Are the problems with missing pages completely resolved? If not, do we have an expectation of when they might be?

Thanks for any enlightenment anyone can provide. ~ 68.98.190.85 03:26, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

You are correct in thinking that your account is not here. It's still over at the Old Wikisource, but you'll need to re-register for this site. I believe there is no Transwiki log because (as far as I know) nothing has been Transwikied over here. Of course, if there were a log, I bet there would have been numerous entries. And I believe the problem with missing pages is done. That all involved a bad php transfer at the initial creation of the wiki. Since then, Brion's redone it.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 04:00, 9 November 2005 (UTC)
From meta:Transwiki:
Transwiki is a pseudo-namespace in each Wikimedia project, where it is a temporary store for articles which have been moved from another wiki. The temporary name for the article is obtained by prefixing "Transwiki:".
People moving stuff over here (and, for that matter, moving it out) have certain expectations of where to find traces of it. I found Wikisource:Transwiki log/Articles moved to here on this version of en:Wikisource. Not only is nobody likely to find it there without the standard Transwiki link, but it is severely abbreviated from the state it had the last time I looked, destroying the expected interproject connections. Also, there seems to be no corresponding page for transwikied articles moving out of Wikisource. Could somebody straighten out this mess? Thanks. ~ Jeffq 18:03, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

It probably would be best if you did it yourself. You sound like you know what you're talking about and what you'd be doing, so it wouldn't take you much time to set up everything that needs to be, right? I know that I wouldn't know what exactly to do (in terms of setting up the Transwiki logs and whatnot) without having to hunt around the old Wikisource. And I'm not sure anyone else here is interested in doing it.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 18:57, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

As far as I can tell from "All pages", nothing but the severely curtailed (and nearly history-less) page I mentioned above remains of the old transwiki logs. I don't have the original material to restore. Wouldn't it require a developer to transfer it from the old Wikisource database? I'm not even a sysop here. ~ Jeffq 09:03, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

Suicide Notes

I was just curious about whether suicide notes were largely considered acceptable for Wikisource. They're often too long or rambly to include directly on Wikipedia - but it would be nice to have a See Also section on a wikipedia article directing the reader to the text of the suicide note on Wikisource. 08:07, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

I think suicide notes are an acceptable source for inclusion in wikisource (provided they are by people known for something other than just their suicide). I wouldn't want to have a seperate section or 'see also' for them though, it'd be sufficient to just include it on the author page. AllanHainey 08:31, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

I can't see why there'd be a problem posting suicide letters here. My only request is to make sure that they're not protected under copyright (I really wish a user here were a lawyer specializing in copyright law). I'm not sure how recent the letters you'd be posting are, but if they're very recent, there's a good chance they might be protected. Otherwise, have at it!—Zhaladshar (Talk) 15:01, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

Caching of Special pages?

Has anyone noticed that since this wiki has started, many of the special pages (e.g. Orphaned pages, Wanted pages) have not been recached? Pages not even existing here or pages that have since been fixed still show up. Does anyone know what might be causing this? I'd submit a bug, but I can't even stay logged in over at Bugzilla (and I think we've already submitted one--not sure; have to check).—Zhaladshar (Talk) 19:03, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

looking at the bottom of WP:RFA, this seems to be the format for forcing a cache purge. Wolfman 15:14, 16 November 2005 (UTC)

Massive Copyvio Problem

We have a serious situation with copyvios of UN resolutions. The text of the resolutions is copyrighted by the United Nations and the UN does not allow its copyrighted materials to be generally used in a way that is compatible with the GFDL. All UN resolution texts need to be marked as copyvios and deleted. David Newton 23:37, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

Actually, the texts on the website of the UN are copyrighted by the UN as mentionned on [the copyright notice]. It is forbidden to reproduce these texts except in the limit mentionned in their [terms of use]. To put it siply, this basic license allow people to reproduce the texts but not to modify them, which seems normal since these are legal texts and that distributing modified versions could induce people in error. I think that wikisource could make a good use of these texts if they come with a proper disclaimer. --Soufron 11:22, 20 November 2005 (UTC)
Please see the discussion at Wikisource:Possible copyright violations (note: now copied below). This seems to me to satisfy every one of the fair use requirements. But, your GFDL point raises a larger issue, must works here at wikisource be covered by the GFDL? I don't see what that accomplishes here, since unlike Wikipedia we (almost by definition) produce no original work. We archive work, and we ought to be able to archive a Creative Commons work, for example. Or, in this case, a work falling under fair use for our purposes. Adding GFDL to a public domain work accomplishes nothing, since our minor modifications (such as formatting) aren't copyrightable anyway. Wolfman 23:40, 11 November 2005 (UTC)
The Wikisource: Copyright page is somewhat confused about the issue as to whether non-GFDL and public domain and GFDL-compatible material may be placed on the site. On the one hand it says, "To put a work in Wikisource either it must be in the public domain, or you must have the permission of the author or some other license to put it here.", and "Wikisource does use some text under licenses that are compatible with the GFDL but may require additional terms that we do not require for original Wikisource text (such as including Invariant Sections, Front-Cover Texts, or Back-Cover Texts). When using these materials, you have to include those invariant sections verbatim." which do not necessarily imply that works have to be GFDL, public domain or a licence that can be altered to GFDL. On the other hand it also says "If you contribute material to Wikisource, you thereby license it to the public under the GFDL (with no invariant sections, front-cover texts, or back-cover texts). In order to contribute, you therefore must be in a position to grant this license, which means that either", which seems to rule out non-GFDL, public domain and GFDL-compatible material.
If we do allow non-GFDL compatible materials on the site then that opens up a whole gamut of possibilities, including reproducing British legislation right up to the latest acts and statutory instruments under the Crown copyright waiver terms. David Newton 00:49, 12 November 2005 (UTC)

I'm copying the discussion over here from the Copyvio page, as this needs some immediate attention. David has created Template:UN Copyvio, which he appears to be inserting on every UNSC resolution.


Someone tagged United Nations Security Council Resolution 1154 as a copyvio today. I believe it qualifies under all four conditions for fair use. It seems to me crazy and counter-productive for the UN to copyright all their stuff. However, I very much doubt they intend to prohibit people copying their resolutions. Further, they can't stop a fair use, even if they so desired. They clearly have not tried to assert any protection, see 1.25 million google hits. Jimbo needs to find a copyright lawyer who'll give some pro-bono advice now and then. Wolfman 22:32, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

We need a fair use template with language like the following. I found variations on this theme on lots of sites replicating UN Resolutions.

In accordance with the fair use provisions of Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this copyrighted material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. Wolfman 22:37, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

The U.S. government, for example, freely redistributes Security Council resolutions e.g. this pdf with no mention at all of copyright. Wolfman 22:56, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

Fair use is not an issue with wikisource texts. By its very nature Wikisource means reproducing the entire text of something which knocks out one of the main underpinnings of fair use. It may be 'crazy and unproductive' for the UN to copyright its material, but it certainly does, see here: [2] Consequently every single UN resolution text is a copyvio and needs deleting.
I also happen to think that fair use should not be allowed on Wikisource for the same reason it is not allowed on Commons, but that's a separate issue. David Newton 23:44, 11 November 2005 (UTC)
I'd like to get some advice from meta on this. These things are reproduced all over the web. They are distributed by governments. There is a very strong argument under US copyright law that this is fair use. As you'll see in the fair use article, the US Constitution authorizes copyright only to promote "the Progress of Science and useful Arts". That's not just boilerplate, it's the foundation of the laws and the basis of the "fair use" exemption. Fair use is not just Congress being nice ... it's essentially required under the Constitution. Again, wikimedia needs to secure some professional copyright advice. But deleting these without a stronger argument, or a complaint, strikes me as an over-reaction. Further, that logic would mean we can't reproduce any laws here at all, except for US federal laws. Most US states have copyright on their work, and thus laws. So do most national governments. Can we reproduce recent constitutions? Why? Those works are also copyrighted, at least those produced recently. Can we reproduce transcripts of trials, such as Saddam's upcoming one? All recent works are automatically copyrighted, so if we're not going to allow fair use, we're basically restricting all our modern historical documents to be US federal works.
As to whether Fair Use should be allowed, I can't imagine why not, but then I don't follow stuff on Commons. Wolfman 00:04, 12 November 2005 (UTC)


It doesn't matter if those things are reproduced all over the web. There are links to illegal software and illegal DVD downloads all over the web and it still does not make them any less a copyright violation. These texts are copyrighted, that is a fact. It even mentions the United Nations in the US Code copyright under Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 104(b)(1) as a legitimate place of national origin for copyright to subsist.
The line of reasoning that no laws, except US federal laws, can be reproduced on Wikisource goes too far. No laws, except those that are not copyrighted, or those that are out of copyright, can be reproduced on Wikisource. For example, British laws from 1954 and earlier are fair game as they are out of copyright and I have enquired with HMSO about whether the Crown copyright term in the UK of 50 years from date of publication for published works can be considered to apply worldwide, and they have said that it can be. However, the Hunting Act 2004 is a copyright violation as it is Crown copyrighted material. There is a copyright waiver on reproducing British legislation, but the terms of that waiver are not compatible with those of the GFDL. Therefore we cannot reproduce British legislation from 1955 and later on the site.
Fair use is also irrelevant. In reproducing entire works Wikisource essentially exempts itself from fair use applying. That fact is admitted to in the copyright section of this very website.
"Can we reproduce recent constitutions?" No if they are copyrighted and we do not have permission. "Can we reproduce transcripts of trials, such as Saddam's upcoming one?" No if they are copyrighted and we do not have permission. "All recent works are automatically copyrighted, so if we're not going to allow fair use, we're basically restricting all our modern historical documents to be US federal works." Yes and we have to according to the strictures of copyright law. David Newton 00:18, 12 November 2005 (UTC)
I believe you are incorrectly intrepreting the law on fair use. But, I'll say no more for now. I copied the previous discussion, back over to Scriptorium, as this clearly requires broader involvemnet. Wolfman 00:23, 12 November 2005 (UTC)

GFDL v. public domain

A clarification of U.S. copyright law... Just because we may specify that all original material is licensed under the GFDL, public domain material may still be published even when no specific exception is noted. Many publishers will republish a public domain book with a new copyright, but without specifying which part of the book is public domain and which is new copyrighted material. The very definition of public domain means that regardless of what copyright the material is published under, the user has no obligation to honor that copyright. (Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer.) —Mike 03:25, 12 November 2005 (UTC)

How about Creative Commons, or other free licenses, though? Many of these are incompatible with GFDL. My view is that as an archive we should include whatever we legally can, within the scope of our mission. Wikipedia creates original content, so there is a strong argument to GFDL that. However, Wikisource won't hold copyright on anything, so excluding works incompatible with GFDL (CC, fair use, GPL, crown copyright, 1923 US) buys us nothing at all. Wolfman 15:16, 12 November 2005 (UTC)
I think where some people might be getting confused is that the GFDL only applies to original content added to the site. Content falling under other licenses will always be governed by those other licenses, and unless the content is used under a fair use provision (such as quoting a passage within an article), it should be explicitly noted what the license is so that the user knows that GFDL doesn't apply. Public domain content is different because it can be used without specifying it is public domain simply because it doesn't really belong to anyone (or in other words, there is no license). —Mike 09:05, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
In truth we should have some tagging for Wikisource stating: "This text is in the public domain; markup is available through GFDL." I have seen this sort of thing on the internet of courxe the markup was copyrighted to some university not GFDL.--BirgitteSB 17:14, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
A quick aside first: It's highly questionable whether you can copyright markup. Title 17 explicitly disallows adding "typgraphical flourishes" to original works as copyrightable; a "modicum of creativity" is required, and "sweat of the brow" is insufficient to afford protection (see the Westlaw pagination case).
However Birgitte's central point is quite important, annotations clearly qualify as creative works, and so would be GFDL. Allowing annotations was actually part of the original intent of Wikisource, see the early discussions at m:Wikisource. So, absolutely we need to make some distinction when parts of a page are GFDL and others are not. While we can GFDL public domain works, note that most free licenses are incompatible with the GFDL, even ironically the GPL. So, we could not redistribute the whole of such works under the GFDL. Annotations alone would constitute a distinct work, and so it should be possible to license them separately. Encouraging annotations just got a whole lot more attractive with EnDumEn's javascript wizadry. Wolfman 17:42, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
I agree that we need to say the annotations are available through GFDL. But there's no point in putting it on every page we annotate. I say we edit one of the MediaWiki files (specifically the one of the bottom of each page) and state it there. That way we keep from cluttering the pages yet still say what needs to be said.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 19:43, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

Fair use

“Fair use” should not apply for 99% of texts on Wikisource. Fair use has special requirements, and the copying and mass distribution of complete texts is not considered fair use (think Napster). —Mike 03:25, 12 November 2005 (UTC)

No, don't think Napster. Napster was involved in distributing commercial works without educational purpose. I've spent about three hours today researching "fair use", and I'm 99% sure we're fine to include UNSC Resolutions under fair use. There is no simple cookbook. The U.S. "fair use" doctrine evolved as a set of common law principles. Some of these principles are explicitly codified in Section 107, while explicitly not limiting the scope of common law findings. There are 4 or 5 major principles often used by the courts, along with a host of smaller ones.
  • The most important one in practice is: MARKET Effect (Including Potential Effect) on Value of Copyrighted Work
    • That would be zero. Both, because there's not a big market for UNSCR's to start with, and also because these are completely freely available. Nor were they ever created or marketed with commercial intent.
  • NATURE of the Copyrighted Work
    • Non-creative works have very weak protection.
    • Previously published, check. (don't know why this is good, but it is.)
  • PURPOSE and Character of the Use
    • Educational, research, non-profit all very good
  • AMOUNT and Substantiality of portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
    • Well, you can't really post half a resolution. This is the only weak reed, but it's important to note that this is not a checklist of 4 factors which all must be met. Rather, the court makes a determination based on the totality of these factors.

As I said, I read around quite a bit, and I'll try to collate some sources; here's a good starting point[3] After my research, I would frankly be astonished if this did not qualify. But, IANAL ... we need wikimedia to round up one for some guidance. Do not think Napster, not even close. Don't assume you know the relevant law ... it's predominantly common law, partly summarized in 107 -- which is neither mandatory nor exclusive. Basically, judges take very seriously the Constitutional intent of the copyright provision, and we are not even remotely close to violating that intent by publishing a UNSCR. The reason everyone on the planet is publishing these things, including the US govt (who posts a comprehensive series) + a dozen other govt's, is that it's fair use. Remember the constitutionally specified basis of copyright protection is to provide incentives for creation of works. The UNSC Resolutions are clearly created with complete disregard for any commercial incentives. Let's not get a case of copyright paranoia just because someone somewhere might make a complaint which might have some validity which might make it to court. The DMCA established safe harbor provisions for just this sort of situation, and wikimedia is fully in compliance, with a registered agent for complaints and all the rest. Wolfman 04:26, 12 November 2005 (UTC)

Yes, I agree: we need to get Wikimedia to get some good guidance on this issue. Does anyone know personally a copyright lawyer who can help? It would be a shame to remove those resolutions, and fair use is a very complex thing, as Mike has shown. Getting a good lawyer helping out the Wikimedia Foundation would be quite beneficial.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 09:12, 12 November 2005 (UTC)
I left a note with Jimbo Wales explaining the situation. Wolfman 15:44, 12 November 2005 (UTC)
Fair use should apply to 0% of the texts on Wikisource. There is a case for images but not for text. Fair use does not apply where a significant proportion of the text is used. There can be arguments as to whether 30% of the text is significant or 70% of the text is significant. 100% of the text is automatically the use of a significant part of it, ie all of it. David Newton 18:13, 12 November 2005 (UTC)
There is no binding requirement that less than 100% of a text be used for fair use. Particularly so in the case of a short work such as a resolution. Fair use is decided by a balance of various factors, none of which is an absolute requirement. The over-arching factor being the public interest. However, I suspect that Dragons flight (below) is correct ... that any use is "fair use" and so these are public domain. Wolfman 20:48, 12 November 2005 (UTC)

As it is manifestly necessary to the public interest and maintainence of democratic government that one be able to communicate all laws, rules, and codes that may be binding onto one's self and others, all federal, state, and local laws and court records automatically enter into to the public domain in the US. See item 4d As do the public records of most open sessions of government. This is true even in states and municipalities whose other works are restricted by copyright. I suspect that a similar argument would place UN resolutions into the public domain, though I do not know of any place such an argument has been made. For the record, IANAL, but I do spend unreasonable amounts of time worrying about copyright both here and in my real life. Dragons flight 18:19, 12 November 2005 (UTC)

See here for a long, well-cited, discussion of DF's point. Wolfman 22:06, 12 November 2005 (UTC)

Fair use is not applicable on Wikisource, and even if it were applicable, I think we should not allow documents under fair use. But I can't say if UN resolutions can be included here or not. You should ask Jean-Baptiste Soufron who is a copyright lawyer and the legal adviser of Wikimedia Foundation. Yann 09:47, 20 November 2005 (UTC)

No Edicts of Government, Domestic or Foreign, are Eligible for Copyright in the U.S.

The Compendium of Copyright Office Practices (Compendium II) section 206.01 states, "Edicts of government, such as judicial opinions, administrative rulings, legislative enactments, public ordinances, and similar official legal documents are not copyrightable for reasons of public policy. This applies to such works whether they are Federal, State, or local as well as to those of foreign governments." See also, VEECKS v SOUTHERN BUILDING CODE CONGRESS (5th Circuit Appeals) for references to relevant case law. Wolfman 22:41, 12 November 2005 (UTC)

I can fully understand US copyright not applying to US laws, whether of federal, state or local level. That is fully in line with US copyright policy from the constitution down to the current day.
However, to claim that foreign laws also cannot be copyrighted within the US is, shall we say, arrogant in the extreme. Foreign laws do not affect those within the US directly at all. It is only when dealing internationally that such laws come into play. Laws most certainly can be copyrighted outside the US. I don't claim that it is a good idea, indeed I think that not allowing the text of the law of the land to be reproduced is singularly unwise.
Having looked at the link you cite I can't see the caselaw that says that foreign laws cannot be copyrighted inside the United States. I see plenty of caselaw talking about US domestic law, but none that explicitly refers to laws of nations outside the United States. Please let me know what caselaw the source you cite above is relying upon. David Newton 23:06, 12 November 2005 (UTC)
No, it is not a law, but it is statement of the relevant federal agency on how it interprets & implements the law. However, the interpretation is well-grounded under the various court decisions on the matter. It is indisputable looking at court decisions that domestic laws & court decisions cannot be copyrighted, see Veecks (above) & Banks v. Manchester for the relevant rulings respectively. Also, under the Berne Convention, foreign works are afforded the same protection as the work would receive if it had domestic origin. At any rate, this is wikisource, not a court. I don't see any reason why we should hold ourselves to a higher standard than the U.S. copyright office, given that we are geographically subject to U.S. law. After all, our mission is to spread information. Wolfman 23:34, 12 November 2005 (UTC)
When talking about the Berne Convention your forget what the US Code has to say about the matter under Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 104(c), "Effect of Berne Convention.— No right or interest in a work eligible for protection under this title may be claimed by virtue of, or in reliance upon, the provisions of the Berne Convention, or the adherence of the United States thereto. Any rights in a work eligible for protection under this title that derive from this title, other Federal or State statutes, or the common law, shall not be expanded or reduced by virtue of, or in reliance upon, the provisions of the Berne Convention, or the adherence of the United States thereto."
That means that talking about the Berne Convention itself is irrelevant to US domestic law. What matters is the implementation of the Berne Convention in the US Code itself. There is no specific provision in USC Title 17 for making foreign laws and court decisions public domain in the United States. Statute says that federal law and decisions are public domain. Case law says state and local law and decisions are public domain. Neither speaks on foreign law and decisions.
BTW UN resolutions are not law in and of themselves, and they would be classified as foreign works anyway. David Newton 00:28, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
My point was the "shall not be expanded", i.e. foreign statutes do not enjoy copyright protection because of Berne where they would not have enjoyed it previously. In other words, Berne does not mean that the U.S. must respect Crown Copyright on English law, as such law would not have otherwise been afforded copyright protection here. At any rate, I've spent the better part of a Saturday on this now, and am personally quite satisfied that Wikisource is at no legal risk for posting these. That the U.S. Copyright office refuses to register copyright for such works is enough for me. Hopefully, Jimbo will make a call from on high. Otherwise, I'll leave it up to the judgement of the administrators to sort out whether these ought to be deleted. Enjoyed the vigorous debate with you, David. Cheers, Wolfman 01:44, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
Here's a major U.S. law school (U.T. Austin) which has a formal institute dedicated to translating and posting foreign statutes. Of course, law schools can also break the law, but I would expect them to be reasonably informed about the legal issues. Wolfman 17:08, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
I've already said that the Berne Convention itself is specifically excluded from dealing with copyright in the US. It is what is in the US Code that matters and what is in US case law. Those two cover US domestic laws and decisions, but they certainly do not cover foreign law. Consequently if a government claims copyright over laws (and quite a few do) then we have a problem with reproduction of those laws at Wikisource.
If, as the British Government does, the government does claim copyright over laws, but allows those laws to be reproduced quite freely under a copyright waiver, then there ist still a situation with reproducing the text here. As I have also said elsewhere it is not clear whether things posted to Wikisource have to under the GFDL, public domain or a GFDL-compatible licence. As I read the copyright page of Wikisource it is confusing and could certainly be interpreted that way. We need clarification of that.
I also think that fair use does not and should not apply to Wikisource, which rules out a great many documents certainly, which also makes the site a good deal safer from a copyright infringement point of view. That's another thing that makes the UN documents problematic. David Newton 08:02, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

The purpose of copyright law is to foster creativity by giving artists a possibility to be compensated for their work. Is there any serious reason why this argument would apply to legal texts? do we need to encourage the artistic creativity of the UN? are there states that are collecting royalties for their laws? are there countries prosecuting other countries when they decide to copy their law? And when a new legal text is voted, do newspapers need to ask permission of the government before they reproduce the text in their pages? come on, please... Obviously, it is fair use to reproduce any legal text, wherever they come from. ThomasV 09:14, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

Agree completely with ThomasV. From the very beginning I thought this whole issue made no sense at all: Laws are laws, they are public by definition (this has nothing at all to do with fair use or even with the rules of specific governments). But I didn't comment, since I had nothing upon which to base myself than intuition. Now that someone else has said it too, I add my support. Dovi 12:54, 4 December 2005 (UTC)
I am voicing my agreements both with ThomasV and Dovi. I try to stay out of copyright discussions when they begin going over my head (which in this case, it most certainly did), but I do not see how we cannot at least claim fair use by posting these "copyrighted" UN works here (and "copyrighted" works by other governments, as well). The case seems to be in our favor that this is a fair use application, and I believe we should be able to use it.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 20:44, 4 December 2005 (UTC)
If we want to claim fair use I think we must have some other purpose than just making the documents available. Fair use depends of the specific use. If someone wrote a book about the UN he could (most likely) claim fair use and include the copyrighted full text of UN resolutions (or other copyrighted works that are relevant to his purpose). Our purpose is to make free texts available on the Internet for in a digital format so we cannot claim fair use. Wikipedia could claim fair use in an article about UN.
I don't think it is necessary for us to only include GFDL and public domain texts. We can probably include copyrighted material under other licences, but only if the license (given by the copyrightholder) explicitly permits us to redistribute it. (maybe UK Crown copyright is such a license).

Unfortunately, most of what is written above is misleading. UN published works are protected by copyright: [4]. U.S. Government works are not. Reproducing 100% of a work does not preclude a fair use defense (see Sony v. Universal), although it tends to weigh against it. Fair Use is a case-by-case determination, and the most troubling thing for WikiSource is that you have to worry not only about your initial copy, but also every redistribution. What happens when a publisher downloads your "fair use" text and turns around and publishes it for profit? Damages (mostly statutory) are not small in the U.S. The best way to stay liability-free is to stick with non-copyrighted works. There are more than enough works published before 1923 or produced by the U.S. Government to keep this site busy for quite some time. Dana Powers 05:15, 6 December 2005 (UTC) (2L @ Stanford Law)

Drat! I just checked the circular at the copyright website. Works by the United Nations are explicitly listed as works that are eligible for copyright in the U.S.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 15:19, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
I looked too, there is nothing surprising. Of course UN works are eligible. That doesn't mean that UN laws are eligible. International law is copyrighted? Ridiculous. By their very definition it is not. I think the whole issue should be dropped and that it is much ado about nothing, but I'll let the experts carry on from here.Dovi 17:10, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
Whatever became of the Wikimedia copyright lawyer? Wasn't he going to give us some help? I'm in no position to make this kind of a judgment about copyright law/what's eligible for copyright/etc., as I am no lawyer. Getting some good, solid, legal advice would be nice. Otherwise, I say we just drop it; we haven't gotten in any trouble yet, and if we are violating copyright, we'll probably get a cease and desist letter before any legal action takes place.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 18:31, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

Slow Server

Is anyone else having problems accessing the WS servers? The response time in recent weeks has been so slow as to made decent editing impossible. Maybe a dedicated Wiki text editor for running on the PC might be the answer so work can be done offline. Any thoughts? Apwoolrich 16:57, 16 November 2005 (UTC)

Every now and then I can barely access pages, too. This seems to happen every now and then. Usually, though, the problem is gone in a few weeks. But it's still extremely annoying. I think the Wikimedia servers get bogged down by the sheer amount of traffic they get and can't handle it sometimes.
Of course, an alternative would be to use a Wiki text editor (although I'm not very familiar with them). It would allow you to create the pages you want and then put them here once the servers are free again, and you wouldn't have to rely on Wikimedia so much. I might have to look into one of them now.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 17:10, 16 November 2005 (UTC)

Licence Ambiguity and What to do About It

As has become apparent recently there is considerable confusion possible when reading the text of the Wikisource copyright page at Wikisource: Copyright. It is not clear whether only GFDL works, GFDL-compatible works and public domain works can be posted at the site, or whether any licence that allows relatively free reproduction can be used. We need this situation cleared up. I am therefore proposing to re-write the offending bits of the Wikisource copyright page to remove the ambiguity.

Since this is a serious step for the project I thought it sensible to post here and see what the level of agreement is with what I am proposing to do. I will also post an equivalent message to the foundation-l mailing list since Wikisource lacks its own mailing list.

What I am proposing to do is to re-word the licensing page to make it clear that the documents themselves are licensed separately from the content of the site. That means that things on talk pages, the Scriptorium, Community Portal and similar will be under the GFDL as per Wikipedia. However, the documents themselves will be licensed according to conditions appropriate to their source. That means that works that are public domain in the United States should be noted as such with a template at the top or bottom of the page, whichever is felt most appropriate. It means that works that carry different licensing conditions from the GFDL and that have licences that are incompatible with the GFDL can be noted as such.

Such a step will open up Wikisource to a large number of possibilities of hosting that are currently not open and it will also clear up a considerable amount of confusion. What do you think? David Newton 23:55, 22 November 2005 (UTC)

I agree these matters should be clarified. Clearly wikimedia requires that original contributions which are eligible for copyright, such as annotations or this discussion, must be released under GFDL. Most of our original contributions "integrated" with the original document such as formatting, markup, navigation links aren't eligible for copyright (in the U.S.). This is helpful as it allows us to cleanly separate out what material we have control over. So, I agree with you that we should clarify the distinction of the license on the document and on wikisource contributions.
That leaves two issues, what can we legally post & what do choose to post. The discussion on legal issues should be continued & moved over to Copyright talk. The policy question should be opened up on What Wikisource Includes. This issue covers a broad range: Free, but non-GFDL compatible, licenses such as GPL & CC. Valid, but restrictive and non-free, licenses such as the Crown Copyright waiver. Copyright that is valid in some places, but that has expired or is not recognized in the U.S. (our legal jurisdiction). Fair use e.g. as permitted for en.wikipedia images.
Once the policy issue achieves some sort of support, we should draft a proposed Licensing policy page and put it up for a vote. I think such a page should be distinct from Copyright, which is a discussion of applicable law. Wolfman 02:56, 23 November 2005 (UTC)
I think we are probably going to have to make very considerable use of templates to sort this out. In many respects it is like with image licensing on Wikipedia. There each image has its own licence, although they must be licences that allow commercial usage for newly uploaded images, and each image therefore uses a template.
For works that are in the public domain in the United States we need to note that, probably with separate templates for those works published prior to 1923 and those unpublished works that are now out of copyright. A third template would be needed if any US works that did not have their copyrights renewed are ever posted. For the benefit of those in life of the author plus however long countries we need to not when the author of the work died, or if the author is not know when the document was first created and when it was first published since those determine the copyright length in anonymous/pseudonymous works in many countries.
I think so far as what we should include, I am in favour of using licenced material that allows commercial reproduction, but is not necessarily compatible with the GFDL. From a British perspective one extremely useful thing this would allow us to do is to post the text of British legislation, not just in the original form, but at each stage as amended. That is something is very hard to find on the web. David Newton 20:58, 23 November 2005 (UTC)
See Help:Copyright tags as well as the same page at top-level wikisource for links to various license templates (not everything got moved). I made a bunch of these quite a while back, based on templates in use at the Commons, but I don't think they're in wide use. Some of these templates include categories, which should probably be pulled. I'd personally rather have these simply include some italicized text at the bottom of the page, rather than have a big colored-box ... no need to make a big production out of a simple statement. Wolfman 22:00, 23 November 2005 (UTC)

A very clear summary. 2 questions. Was there ever a reply from Jimbo about this. If not I will ask Angela to have a look at it and maybe offer some advice on the way forward. Apwoolrich 13:34, 23 November 2005 (UTC)

no reply. Wolfman 14:11, 23 November 2005 (UTC)

I definitely think that this is something that needs to be done. And kudos to you, David, for taking it upon yourself to do the work. In terms of personal contributions that we make ourselves, those must be released under the GFDL. And I agree that works should be clarified as to what license they were released under. However, is it really necessary to use a template to indicate which works are PD? I mean, something under the Crown Copyright, GFDL, CC, etc., should clearly be indicated, but wouldn't it be much better (and far more expedient) to say in the document you propose to write that any work not indicated as released under a special license ought to be considered PD? This is in part because I hate the use of these kinds of templates, and partly because we really aren't required to indicate that something is PD.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 15:42, 23 November 2005 (UTC)

I favour using templates for all non-GFDL materials because the public domain is not just a simple thing but it varies around the world. Remember that things that are public domain in the United States are very often not public domain elsewhere and vice versa. Therefore we need to mark where things are public domain in the United States but not elsewhere. David Newton 20:58, 23 November 2005 (UTC)
I don't see how it matters about the copyright status in other countries. As our servers are in America, all we need to obey are those laws. It should be people's responsibility to determine the legality of using material that is PD in another country. It shouldn't be our job to do it for them.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 19:19, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
I think we should be very sure what we are doing on this. If we don't take on board other country's sensibilities we could well end up having major problem sorting out a particlar violation. And it won't be the original contrubutor who has to do it! I favour having firm procedures to cover possible eventualities. Apwoolrich 19:49, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

Today's (2 Dec, p 24) [London] Times has a valuable,letter about international copyright differences from Prof J. A. L. Sterling of U. London. I will try and add the link later Apwoolrich 09:06, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

The letter in fact relates to the digitising of texts. The link is [5] Sterling is an expert on international copyright. Apwoolrich 19:25, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

Adding Annotations

What would really make wikisource special is if a user could add annotations to the text (submissions would be under the GFDL). Then there could be analyses of the the meaning of a certain passage, definitions of words that we don't use much anymore, etc. I don't know how you could implement this using the current wiki markup. - 209.98.36.253

I would be against adding any interpretations or analysis to original source documents. The whole purpose of wikisource is to provide unedited original documents which can be viewed as set down by their authors. We already do allow links to wikipedia to explain references which are obscure (though this shouldn't be too widely used - as it tends to be) or footnotes to be added and I think this is quite enough. Any analysis of texts should be put on wikipedia as they are more suited to an encyclopedia than a primary source library. AllanHainey 08:19, 30 November 2005 (UTC)
there has already been a discussion about this, check the scriptorium of wikisource.org. to make it short: annoting texts is not the role of wikisource. other projects could do that, like wikibooks. ThomasV 08:49, 30 November 2005 (UTC)
What is currently being done is using wikilinks within a document to show where a reader might find more information on the topic linked. Obscure words go to Wikitionary but most links go to a Wikipedia article. This gives us an ability to give every reader interested in better understanding a jump-start on thier research, and sets us apart from every other copy of a document on the web. Work is being done on a script that will give a link to Hide/Show these link so it will be possible to to read a poem without the blue words adding false emphasis. I don't beilieve Wikisource is the place for authorative analysis. However I don't imagine there would be any objections to putting your thoughts on the talk page.--BirgitteSB 14:33, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

On all of the above comments, please see the following project pages and their talk pages:

In addition to the above, I suggest that we think about supplementary material in the same way as translations. Why do we include wiki translations, even thought are are not "original source texts"? For two reasons:

  1. Becaue extant translations, even of public domain texts, may themselves be copyrighted. Therefore, we provide the opportunity for users to contribute free and open translations of source texts here.
  2. If if there are already free and open translations of the public domain original source text, complementary translations in other useful formats can also add value to the original source text.

Both of these reasons apply to other supplementary materials. Many times suplementary materials to the text itself are crucial (especially in the case of ancient and medieval texts) but copyrighted. It would be a terrible loss to Wikisource if they could not be contributed here. Plus, even if such materials are not copyrighted, they can still be improved upon (especially if they are out-of-date in terms of their scholarship).

In my opinion, not only are such materials appropriate, but they are ultimately the greatest advantage and unique value that Wikisource could possibly provide. The two caveats must remain, however, that the original text itself remains central (and also stands alone in a "clean" version with no added material, as ThomasV has suggested in the past) and that we not have a classroom or "how to study" text which would better fit at Wikibooks. In general, it is important that we be inclusive about any quality materials in our "Free Library." Dovi 21:39, 3 December 2005 (UTC)

This is most valuable. I have added to the Help page a note about Wikisource:Wikisource and Wikibooks. As a matter of interest is there anything else of a similar nature reflecting WS pollcy, dating from before the establishment of the En.Wikisource page, we ought to know about? Apwoolrich 10:06, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

Nuremburg Trials

Interrogation of Wolfram Sievers - just curious, since putting these online at WikiSource is useful for illustrating articles at Wikipedia, if there were any concerns with files from the trials. It seems to me they must fall into PD, or at least privilege, but am also curious about naming conventions..."Interrogation of Wolfram Sievers" isn't very descriptive...but as unlikely it is somebody will search it, "Nuremburg Doctor's Trial - Volume 20, Pages 398-409" is an even more cumbersome title. Anyways, any help with the issue would be great, as I can imagine myself uploading similar texts in the future Sherurcij 14:57, 30 November 2005 (UTC)

I can't see it being at all likely that the transcripts would be anything but PD. I don't recall who actually published the things, but I seem to recall it being the US Army, in which case the USG public domain provisions apply. Anybody have a better handle on the history of the transcripts? --Penta 02:03, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

Is T. S. Eliot's poetry in public domain ?

I've noticed we have some T. S. Eliot's poems in Wikisource and I would gladly post "The Waste Land" and "Ash Wednesday" but am I allowed to? I must say I am a bit confused with what is in the public domain and what is not. It would be useful to have some kind of a fool-proof questionnaire (the fool being myself) to determine whether a given text is or not eligible for copyright. Marek Jasiok, Dec 2, 2005

T. S. Eliot died in 1965 therefore his poetry won't be in the public domain (unless he released it into the public domain & waived copyright - which is unlikely). The general rule is copyright expires 70 years after the death of the author, though this does vary amongst countries. See Wikisource:Copyright and Help:Copyright and Wikisource for information on this (on the latter there is a list of copyright terms by country). If you've seen any T.S. Eliot works on wikisource could you please note them on Wikisource:Possible copyright violations & if they are indeed copyrighted they will be removed. AllanHainey 16:17, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
Please note, Marek, that if the poem was published before 1923, it is in the public domain (regardless of the death of the author--this is written into law). So, if the poems have been written before then, go right ahead and post them.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 19:16, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

Thank you. It perfectly answers my question. I may then upload 'The Waste Land' since it was first published in 1922, and it's only too bad for 'Ash Wednesday', published in 1930--I will have to keep it for myself. The poems already on the site were all first published before 1923 so there is no copyright violation. --Jasiok 12:49, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

Does this come within the Wikisource submission rules ?

Decided to abandon my proposed submission for a number of reasons one of which is because it duplicates, in part, some material already here. Tobalwin

Need to get editors to do housekeeping

Many texts are submitted with no attempt to check the copyright status etc. The procedures are described in Help:Guidelines on adding a new document to Wikisource on the Help page. I don't think its the Admins' job to run round doing this after the event, so wonder if there is a way of making editors aware of it. Maybe an automatic template each time a new text is added. Apwoolrich 10:36, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

We also could edit one of the MediaWiki messages that appear on the edit page so that contributors will realize the importance of verifying a works copyright status.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 20:39, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

Orphaned Pages Problem

I was looking at Special:Lonelypages (which for some reason has the title Orphaned pages, rather than Lonely pages) and I noticed that there are some pages there which shouldn't be. EG On War/Book I is listed & on that page the what links here shows no links but On War does link to it. I'm sure there are other occurrances of the same problem.

Also I notice that there are 1000, exactly, orphaned pages. That seems a suspiciously round number, particularly as there are no pages beginning with a letter after T listed. AllanHainey 12:36, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

Yeah, that is weird. Maybe it will go away. But I think I found the problem for the reason why there are so many orphaned pages (even though there is a page that links to them). I think when the pages were all transfered over, for some reason or other the wiki does not register that one page is linking to another (e.g. a book title page is linking to one of its chapter pages). To fix this, go to the page that should be linking to it, edit it (you don't have to make any changes), and save. That refreshes the wiki, and it will then register that the orphaned page is in fact being linked to.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 14:50, 9 December 2005 (UTC)
The reason for the exactly 1000 orphaned pages listed, is a limit in the MediaWiki software. This limit is also in some other special pages. As examples there are 1000 long pages and 1000 short pages. /EnDumEn 15:48, 9 December 2005 (UTC)
There's a limit? I thought a while ago, you could show as many pages as there were (that is, that there was no limit). Is this a new thing, or have I just for some reason missed it?—Zhaladshar (Talk) 18:56, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

Debate on Authenticity

There is an interesting debate on the book people mailing list. Excerpt from a contribution by Jon Noring (DP):

  • "1) When possible, Focus on digitizing the more authentic or

authoritative paper edition(s) of each Work.

  • 2) Preserve page scans (if possible to obtain) somewhere (such as at

the Internet Archive),

  • 3) Provide full metadata regarding source(s) within the etexts.
  • 4) Focus on full, faithful reproduction of the text with a minimum

of editing. (If it is a modernized or merged work from several sources, clearly note that -- even casual readers *should* know, as consumers, what they are getting -- and don't forget the long-term preservation aspects.)

  • 5) Use a process which produces structured digital texts in a public

or semi-public setting and where multiple people worked on the text - to act as a check on each other's work. This, along with available page scans, greatly increases the trustworthiness of the work product." --134.130.68.65 02:20, 10 December 2005 (UTC)


Maybe we should tell them about us. I have had a look at the group's message board but can't find any obvious way of accessing it. Perhaps it too early on Saturday morning for me! Apwoolrich 10:03, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

"To subscribe, write to spok+bookpeople-request@cs.cmu.edu and say that you'd like to sign up for the Book People mailing list. You will be sent a short message confirming your subscription, and containing further instructions on how to participate and where to send messages." --172.177.66.103 05:54, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

This is an important issue that is going to open up a large can of worms that will need to be sorted out. For my own work which has been entirely new I have cut and pasted text already available on the web and then proofread it against the most "authentic" version possible. The best case scenario is The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere (1798) if you follow the external link in the text box on the talk page of the article you will find the original version from the London printing of 1798 has been scanned and put online which I used for proofreading. The is exceptional case, and you will note there are four other versions also scanned which were published over the following 15 years with minor to massive differences. I expect us to have an article for each of these versions in the end. But this is a major work, where will we draw the line for having seperate articles for different editions on less important pieces? The perfect example of the problems we stand to encounter is the poetry of Emily Dickinson. Shortly after her death her friends edited her poems heavily for publication. They removed passages they deemed "inappropiate" and changed spelling and capitalization as well as word choices. Later on her poetry was published again with a lighter hand at editing, but still with significant changes. It was not until the sixties that her poetry was published with the words as she wrote them (although there was still an issue with the odd dashes and lines she used which didn't translate well to printing). But is this more authentic version public domain? The poems published before 1923 are extremely different from the way she wrote them but are definately kosher for us so to speak. So you can see there are a lot of issues that tie into this. I think we should encourage every contributor to list there source so anyone that has a more original copy of text can proofread it in the future. It would be great to have as authentic texts as possible, but I wouldn't want anyone to feel inhibited about putting up a British text because they only have a copy printed in New York thirty years after the original.--BirgitteSB 14:29, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

Good point. Another area where this will apply is the texts of songs and hymns. Hymns in the Anglican church have been frequently revised for liturgical and sometimes political correctness. I have just used a carol verse on my Christmas card this year and found the version I used, printed in 1948, is markedly different from the words in the current edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern Revised. I have not checked them but it is possible the words of hymns by Newton and Wesley, which we do have, have appeared in different revisions. Apwoolrich 08:40, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

A proposal for music on Wikisource

See Wikisource:Sheet music for exciting ideas. Apwoolrich 15:32, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

I've always thought that the WikiScores proposal on Meta would better belong here in Wikisource (we complement each other so well). It would be great if this Lilypond markup were implemented on the wikis.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 20:31, 11 December 2005 (UTC)