Help:Introduction to editing Wikisource

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Introduction to editing Wikisource

A general introduction to editing Wikisource.

Editing Wikisource is mainly about creating and correcting new texts. Unlike Wikipedia, once a text has been completed and checked there is usually little need to change it.

A huge number of texts are being scanned by Google and other organizations but the resultant text is often far from satisfactory. Not only is text sometimes misinterpreted, but the structure of the book may be ignored. Chapter and page divisions are often not clear and footnotes are poorly treated. So there is a massive scope for volunteers at Wikisource to assist with the improvement of these. There are excellent facilities available for viewing the text and scans side by side and making corrections and very soon you could be playing a significant part in this creative enterprise.

If you have a new text that you are keen to upload, then you may want to move to the last part of this introduction. But many people find that beginning on an existing text is an easier way to start and means that you have assistance and support in understanding the later stages a document has to go through before getting your own document right.

Finding a document to start on[edit]

Since most people want to proofread something that interests them, you need to find a suitable book that is in the process of being checked. There a number of ways of doing this.

Finding what needs to be done to it[edit]

Work in progress is kept in a namespace called "Index" and most of the methods above take you straight to that. If you picked an Incomplete text, then you may see something that starts like this:

The box towards the bottom indicates that it is incomplete but the important thing is the Source tab at the top. This indicates that there are scans available for this document. If there's no Source tab then you would have to have a copy of the book to work from. If it's there, click on it. Don't click on the Edit tab. That's not what you need.

You will now see a page which includes a page map of the current stage of editing, such as the following:

This gives a very graphic view of the progress on the book, which may be read using this key:

Without text
empty page Not Proofread Proofread Validated

The straight-through path involves two checks, by different people, before it is finished. Though many of the pages are marked as "No Text" the output of the OCR process is often there, so that there isn't so much straight typing. For details of the proofreading process see Proofreading. A particular issue is dealing with page breaks.

Once a reasonable section (typically a chapter) has been completed, it can be placed on the main page of the book by a process known as transclusion. This involves converting pages into chapters, though it may reduce pages into articles in the case of an encyclopedia. The details are in Transclusion.

When all the pages have been proofread, verified and transcluded, the tags indicating the work is incomplete may be removed and it takes its place alongside all the other finished works in Wikisource.

The correction process[edit]

Starting from the page map shown above, click on one of the pages needing work. The first time you do this, it's best to select a page marked yellow so that you can see what a (hopefully) more experienced editor has done. Click on the Edit tab at the top and you will see the Wiki markup form of the text. If you need guidance on this look at the editing help page.

You will now see an edit area on the left and the scan on the right side. You will notice that there are three areas on the left side: Header, Page body and Footer. The header has special formats for running heads and the footer allows for footnotes as well as page numbers. For further details see Proofreading. Particular care should be taken with words, footnotes and tables which cross page boundaries.

In the page body, you may need to convert the separate lines into paragraphs using the normal Wiki conventions and then read through the whole page and make any corrections necessary. When you have finished, press Show preview to check that it looks as you want and when you are satisfied press Save. At this point the status of that page will move on to the next stage. If you haven't finished the stage or you don't know how to detail with some issue, you should move the stage indicator above the button back one so that the stage gets redone. The improvements you've made won't be lost.

Starting a new project[edit]

The stages in a project are:

  1. Check that the version of the document does not exist already in Wikisource
  2. Check that copyright conditions are fulfilled
  3. Upload images of the pages to Wikimedia Commons
  4. Upload text of the pages
  5. Create the page in the main namespace
  6. As chapters are loaded, transclude the pages to the main namespace
  7. Add the appropriate copyright, category and incompleteness tags
  8. Start proofreading
  9. Add entries into the appropriate Portal
  10. Add entry to the Author page, creating it if necessary.
  11. When the document is verified, remove the incompleteness tags

The form of the page is actually quite brief. Here is an example of what you need to provide for a single page article. To understand this you will need to know about Wiki markup layout, as used in Wikipedia.

 | title      = On the tendency of species to form varieties
 | author     = |override_author= [[Author:Charles Darwin|Charles Darwin]] and [[Author:Alfred Russel Wallace|Alfred Wallace]]
 | translator = 
 | section    = 
 | previous   = 
 | next       = 
 | year       = 1858
 | notes      = 
<pages index="Onthetendencyofspecies.pdf" from=1 to=18/>

[[Category:1858 works]]
[[Category:Wikisource texts needing proofreading]]

The first part, between "{{" and "}}", is a predefined template which is used for all main articles - all you do is fill in the details. (Usually you just fill in the author name, but this is a special case for multiple authors.) The "<pages>" line performs the "transclusion" from the index entry which in this case is derived from a pdf file. The categories at the bottom provide the basic categorization for a page.

Details of this process may be found in the following help files:

One important thing to remember is that there are others who will help if you get stuck. Places your requests at Wikisource:Scriptorium/Help.