User:Arch dude/proposed updated DNB project page

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WikiProject Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900
WikiProject to add Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, containing over 27,000 biographies related to the current territories of the United Kingdom and Ireland, and to former British colonies; together with its public domain supplements.


Welcome to WikiProject DNB.

As of January 2013, this project has produced a complete Wikisource copy of the Dictionary of National Biography (DNB). This is a massive standard work of reference on notable figures from British history, comprising 63 volumes and encompassing over 27,000 biographies. Even though it is now more than a century old, the original edition remains an important reference work; and is the best secondary source for many of the subjects or aspects of their biographies. The DNB comprises approximately 3% of all articles on Wikisource.

The project has:

  • created navigational pages for the DNB
  • copied scanned images of all 63 volumes to wikipedia commons ("page space")
  • created text for all article pages of these volumes ("page space")
  • created Wikisource articles for all articles, using this text. ("main space")
  • created a page for every identified DNB author that did not have a page ("author space")
  • added a link for each DNB article to the appropriate author page.

What next?[edit]

The project is incomplete, and we still need help. These goals have not yet been met:

  • carefully proofread each article
  • link each article to the cooresponding Wikipedia article when it exists
  • create appropriate internal links among Wikisource DNB articles and to pages in Wikisource author space.
  • Add annotations to the articles from the 1904 "errata"
  • add non-article matter (e.g. the index pages) from the original 63 volumes

The Wikipedia sister project[edit]

There are some thousands of DNB articles here that have not been linked to a WP equivalent. See Category:DNB No WP.

There are hundreds of WP biographical articles that could usefully reference a DNB article here. Some can be seen in the Wikipedia category w:Category:Articles incorporating DNB text without Wikisource reference.

The need for cross-wiki collaboration led to the creation of a sister project: w:Wikipedia:WikiProject Dictionary of National Biography. Some editors who are members of both projects are actively creating WP articles for each WS article.

The goal of the Wikipedia project is to add useful information to Wikipedia. If you are new to our project and wish to help but do not know where to start, please consider adding articles to WP from Category:DNB No WP. If you are willing to do the hard work, please consider proofreading our sources in "page space." Each page of the original DNB is available, and must eventually be progressed by three separate editors from "not proofread" to "proofread" and then to "verified."

Wikisource end[edit]

Another motivation is to get the DNB properly indexed and wikified, making the text much more useful. A couple of points about this: obviously articles created here will be found by search engines, and so will be read (more often and in a much more readable form than in text dumps from bad scans full of typos), and links from Wikipedia will help the prominence; and wikification onsite here of the articles can make the [q. v.] structure into hyperlinks. Wikification is not restricted to that type of hyperlink, either (see /Wikification)This work was originally secondary, but as we now have transcluded all articles it has become more important.

Comparison with the ODNB[edit]

We are not the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, the modern version of the DNB that is a subscription site of over 50,000 updated biographies and a total number of words around 65,000,000. We can rival the ODNB in various worthwhile ways:

  • by being free, evidently;
  • by linking to a WP article that is kept updated, so that anyone reading articles in WP/WS pairs will get a very fair view of what is known;
  • by being hypertext.

The last point is worth plenty, in fact: the DNB text mentions thousands of place names, for example, often enough in obsolete spellings, and we can link those. For all its virtues, the ODNB has hardly entered the hypertext age.

Disclaimers[edit]

Copyright status[edit]

This project has not been endorsed by the Oxford University Press or any agent, editor, or subsidiary thereof. The Oxford University press has been the publisher of the Dictionary of National Biography since 1917. Modern derivatives and supplements, now known as the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography continue to be protected by copyrights. The 1900 DNB, the first two supplements, and the early reprints are in the public domain because their copyrights have expired.

Inaccuracies[edit]

Wikisource's edition of the DNB is based upon the knowledge available at the time of original publication. Research continued as new sources were discovered. These new sources, reflected in later editions, were initially captured in the 1904 Errata. Readers should bear this in mind when using the information and verify the absence of applicable errata for these articles prior to use.

Overview[edit]

Our project has processed scanned text into Wikisource pages. We support this activity with necessary auxiliary pages.

Several mass scanning projects have scanned the original 63 volumes of the DNB. We have attempted to find the "best" scan for each volume, and these have been copied into the Wikisource "page space" to use as the basis for this project. However, none of the scans is perfect, and in many cases some pages of the "best" scan are not as good as the same page of an alternate scan. As the project has evolved, our methods of tracking the original scans have changed. You can now find all 63 scans in wikisource page space. You can access the page space scan for a particular article as follows:

For pages that are not part of articles, you may find pages for a particular volume as follows:

This link also provides information about any alternate sources we have found. If you find additional alternate scans on the Internet, feel free to edit the relevant "access" page to add the new source. As a last resort, some team members have access to the original hard-copy DNB and can scan the pages. Add a request to the talk page if this proves necessary. (So far, we have found online alternates for each request.)

Before the scans were available in page space, some articles were created by directly adding the text to the article either from an OCR version on the internet or by manual transcription. A few of these may remain, but we are attempting to convert them.

The scanned text you need should be by the djvu. When it is, the proof-reading task is conventional, with some standard format and markup conventions. The proofed text can be advanced in status (pink to yellow to green) using the radio buttons at the bottom of the editing box.

Articles in the main namespace have been created by transclusion, so any subsequent proof-reader finding errors can navigate back to the djvu and parallel text, using the left-margin figures or the transclusion data accessible via the "edit" tab, and can fix them in the pagespace version. These corrections (caching permitting) then will be found in the article.

To complete the picture, the auxiliary pages divide into those that provide listings, and templates: firstly

  • listings by volume (the volume ToCs);
  • listings by author, on each Author page for a contributor.

Each single biography has been listed in both those places. The project has created an Author page for each DNB contributor: See Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/List of Contributors, and a reference for the abbreviations.

There is a template for each contributor, such as {{DNB AA}}, and each article uses the correct template. (A small proportion of unsigned articles exist in the DNB).

Style Manual[edit]

We aim for a "letter-perfect copy" of the original DNB. but what exactly does this mean when we transform a set of 63 nineteenth-century books into pages on Wikisource? The project members have found a reasonable way to do this, and we have documented it. See Wikisource:WikiProject DNB/Style Manual. If you encounter a problem that is not covered on the style manual, use its talk page to discuss your problem. We can then add the solution to the style manual. You should consult the style manual if you are proofreading.

Using transclusion[edit]

Few (normal) people read a volume of a long biographical dictionary from cover to cover. It is a reference work, and the natural unit for the reader is the article. To do the two things at once (reproduce the paginated text, produce single articles) is quite possible, using the transclusion of whole or partial pages into articles. For one fundamental aspect of the activity of the project, checking the text against the image of the original in our djvu files, this has a clear advantage: correction of an error found with the text next to the image will propagate into the free-standing article. And then anyone can go and verify a spelling or date (say), and make a change if one is needed.

The technical requirements to do the transclusion are twofold: markup in the Page: namespace, which is simple and something of which the reader will not be aware; and the transclusion syntax applied by the article creator, which lives on the article page. The transclusion infrastructure should already exist for all articles, so proofreading corrections should only be needed in page space.

Early in the project some pages were created simply by article text plus header only. If you encounter such a page, please mention it on the talk page here so we can re-create it using transclusion. See /Transclusion.

Reporting and requesting[edit]

Scale is an issue for this project, and the need for collaboration on the creation from rough raw materials of approximately 30,000 articles hardly needs stating. We developed structures to ensure that anyone who becomes aware of issues relating to the work of the project can report them.

  • Category:Problematic is used across Wikisource for tagging pages that are obviously defective; we now use its DNB subcategories systematically. Defective pages in the Page should be categorised, to aid cleanup of djvus and text. For example, for the notorious "interleaved text", for example, where the two-column format has defeated the scanner which has read across the whole page, please report bad cases of this text problem by adding Category:Problematic DNB pages, text.
  • /Progress has tabulated information relating to the 63 volumes and their issues. This is the place to leave reports of "bot hiccups" or other problems with the initial postings of djvus.
  • /Data capture is really an automated version of "Most wanted" designed to pick up needy Wikipedia articles, those that could use article creation here to provide a good Web reference. This page now carries links to Wikipedia pages that track the template use.

Participants[edit]

Add your name here with ~~~~ if you wish to join the team!

  • created stub project -Arch dude 02:44, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
  • created several entries before it became a project. Eclecticology 08:43, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
  • happy to type and reference, and done bits already. Would suggest that we would at least want to add WP:PDATA components Billinghurst 15:35, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Well done you guys... I don't know I'll be as active as you but I'll definitely try to lend a hand Dsp13 (talk) 04:57, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Charles Matthews (talk) 12:36, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
  • working on volume 11 sporadically --Magnus Manske (talk) 11:42, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Working on a small part of volume 34 initially. Mark.s.shaw (talk) 10:41, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
  • I'll do a bit, Magna Carta leaders led me here Innotata (talk) 00:13, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
  • Starting at the beginning. Jan1naD (talkcontrib) 23:19, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Would like to give it a go. Daytrivia (talk) 19:06, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Stumbled here by accident. Looks like fun...I'll spend time on volume 28.JamAKiska (talk) 13:05, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
  • I'm de facto working on it, might as well list meself here. MLauba (talk) 10:46, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
  • P. S. Burton (talk) 20:54, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
  • If it's helpful, I can cut and paste from an electronic version of the DNB, which should save transcription from images.--Longfellow (talk) 17:17, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Tommy Jantarek (talk) 00:59, 23 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Senra (talkcontribs) I have referenced this project in my wiki editing without realising it. Met the nice Charles Matthews (talkcontribs) at the recent Cambridge 8 meet-up. I would be glad to help --Senra (talk) 12:44, 25 July 2010 (UTC)
  • George Burgess (talk)
  • Bob Burkhardt (talk) 17:59, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
  • Guess I've been in for some time ... Rich Farmbrough, 23:11 9 October 2011 (GMT)
  • I will certainly try my best to help out with this one.--Inobtanium (talk) 13:59, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

Index of project internal links[edit]

External links[edit]

  • Wikisource DNB links to Magnus Manske's statistics and maintenance tool. (The detailed readout is now more complicated than in the past, because the /DNB author subpages are causing some unproblematic pages to register in both of the main cleanup lists.)
  • Articles requiring a direct DNB link at Wikipedia

Finding aids[edit]