Wikisource:For Wikipedians

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Wikisource for Wikipedians

A quick guide to Wikisource for users more familiar with our big sister project Wikipedia.

Wikisource is Wikimedia's library

Welcome to Wikisource, the free library that you can improve.

As a Wikipedian, you understand what a wiki is, how it works and how to edit; this page focuses on the important differences between Wikipedia and Wikisource, to help you get acquainted with how things work here. Wikisource is not about creating new content; this project involves recreating published works to make existing knowledge and literature easily available for all.

Key differences between Wikipedia and Wikisource[edit]

Wikipedia Wikisource
Article Work
Notability Published
Referenced Scanned source file
Citation Source
Articles for Deletion
(Also: CfD, TfD, etc...)
Proposed deletions {{delete}}
Copyright discussions {{copyvio}}
Namespaces Extra: Author, Index, Page, Translation
Fair use Public domain/free licence only
Disambiguation pages Disambiguation pages
Versions pages
Translations pages
Style Spelling should match the original
Headers on every page
  • Works – Pages in the main namespace are usually referred to as "Works" instead of "Articles". Wikisource often uses subpages for chapters or sections, which are not common on Wikipedia.
  • Notability – Wikisource does not use notability as a basis for inclusion. Instead, professional publication is necessary for a work to be added to Wikisource.
    • Wikisource also hosts source documents of historical importance, regardless of publication history. This is the only instance in which notability matters.
  • Reliable references – Where Wikipedia uses references to maintain reliability, Wikisource uses scanned versions of the original publication (see Technology differences).
  • Deletion – Wikisource has two different deletion processes. If deletion is due to copyright infringement, it is covered by Wikisource:Copyright discussions. All other deletion discussions are covered by Wikisource:Proposed deletions.
    • Wikisource is a smaller community than Wikipedia. Therefore, the following are all also covered by Wikisource:Proposed deletions: Templates for Discussion (TfD), Files for Deletion (FfD), Categories for Discussion (CfD), Redirects for Discussion (RfD) & Miscellany for Deletion (MfD).
  • Namespaces – Wikisource has four extra namespaces not used by Wikipedia. The Author namespace contains pages for each author on Wikisource. The Index and Page namespaces are used by the Proofread Page extension (see Technology differences). The Translation namespace is used for hosting user-generated translations of non-English works into English. The main namespace is only used for hosted texts (fiction and non-fiction); no original works or supplementary material should be created here.
    • Most supplementary material, including lists and collections of related works by different authors, should be in the Portal namespace. Anything related to a specific author should either be on the appropriate author page or a subpage of that page.
    • The Portal namespace is used slightly differently on Wikisource than it is on Wikipedia. Here it acts as a subject index or for organising and navigating the works in the main namespace.
  • Fair use – Nothing on Wikisource should be under copyright, even if it qualifies as "fair use". Everything must be either in the public domain or freely licensed.
  • Disambiguation – Wikisource mostly uses {{disambiguation}} pages in the same way as Wikipedia, for different works or authors with the same name. However, Wikisource also has an additional special type of disambiguation pages: {{versions}} pages. Versions pages disambiguate different versions of the same work; for example, different editions of Dulce et Decorum est by Wilfred Owen.
  • Spelling and grammar – should not be "fixed" on Wikisource. If the error was part of the original, it should remain in the version held by Wikisource. Spelling corrections may be shown in a tooltip by using templates like {{SIC}}.
  • Headers – Wikisource uses header templates on almost every page. In the main namespace, {{header}} is used. Pages in the author namespace use {{author}}, the Wikisource and Help namespaces use {{process header}}, and the Portal namespace uses {{portal header}}. All headers have equivalent versions for use in subpages, see Category:Header templates. The closest Wikipedia equivalent to headers are infoboxes. For works transcluded from an index, the header can be automatically generated by the software.

Cultural differences[edit]

The preferred method of adding works to Wikisource is with the Proofread Page extension, which permits a side-by-side comparison of the text and a reproduction of the original document. It is possible to add works by transcribing the text directly from a physical book. This method is acceptable if necessary but not optimal. The aim for Wikisource is that eventually all works will be proofread within Wikisource and therefore backed up with source scans.

Technology differences[edit]

Wikisource uses the Proofread Page extension to add proofread texts with associated scans.

This extension can function with PDFs and DjVu files as well as some other file types (though other file types are more complicated for multipage works). The file is held on Wikimedia Commons and a matching page is created in the Index namespace (both pages should have the same page name; only the namespace should be different). The extension will automatically create links in the Index page for each page in the file. These pages will be in the Page namespace. The pages are then transcluded to the main namespace in a similar manner to that used for templates on Wikipedia.

The extension allows for each page to have a different "proofread status" (most commonly "not proofread", "proofread" and "validated"; with "problematic" and "no text" for special circumstances). At least two users are required to approve each page in the Page namespace. Each status is colour coded. This status is visible in the Page namespace, on the parent page in the Index namespace, and shown in a collective ribbon at the top of each page in the main namespace.

This system ensures the reliability of texts on Wikisource. It not only provides fully proofread works for the project, it also makes the original page scans immediately available to any user so any errors that do make it through the process can be corrected later (or verified as being part of the original). Further, in terms of principle, the extension incorporates the Wikimedia concept that anyone can contribute with the process of proofreading sources; everything is open and available to all.

Display options[edit]

Where a work is transcluded into the main namespace there are a number of means to easily change the display options. The controls for these are available in the sidebar. The options are:

  • Layout
    Toggles through a variety of available layouts that may improve readability. Cookie remember your last layout used. Noting that a default layout can be set by contributor of the work.
  • Page links
    Toggles display page links/markers on and off—links through to the actual transcription of the work and the scan image of the page. Used for editing the displayed text.
    Toggles display position of page links—either left hand margin or within the text as page breaks.

How to add a work to Wikisource[edit]

A Venn diagram of the inclusion criteria for works to be added to Wikisource. The three overlapping circles are labelled "Sourced", "Published" and "Licensed". The area where they all overlap is shown in green. The areas where just two overlap are shown in yellow (except the Sourced-Published overlap, which remains blank).
The intersection of these three requirements is shown in green in the Venn diagram as the best possible case. Two intersections are shown in yellow as acceptable but not necessarily ideal. Wikisource will accept source documents that are of notable, historical importance; in this case, it must be sourced and licensed but not necessarily published. It is also currently acceptable to add works without a scanned source as long as the offline source is stated on the talk page; in this case, it must still be published and licensed. Note that works without a scanned source are at greater risk of being deleted.

New works to be added to Wikisource should normally be in the form of a scanned copy in DjVu format uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. Works without scans added to Wikisource are acceptable in some circumstances but may face deletion in the future. There are three main requirements for a work to be added to Wikisource, as shown in the Venn diagram to the right.


Works on Wikisource must be sourced. Ideally, this should be with a DjVu file (a computer file format designed primarily to store scanned documents) and the Proofread Page extension mentioned above. Works can also be transcribed from an original source by one user and proofread by another user. In the latter two cases, source information should be recorded on the work's talk page with the {{textinfo}} template. (In the first case, the extension will provide this information). Works without scans and without the {{textinfo}} template risk being deleted.

  • To add a work without a scan, new pages can be started in the same manner as with Wikipedia.
  • To add a scan for proofreading, the scanned copy must be uploaded to Commons (or, in some cases, directly to Wikisource) and an Index page created in Wikisource. See Help:Beginner's guide to Index: files for greater detail.


In almost all cases, works on Wikisource must have been professionally published. Wikisource does not host original or vanity press works; everything in our library must have been previously published. The only exception to this is for source documents of historical importance; in this case Wikipedia-style notability requirements apply.


Works on Wikisource must be licensed. Often this means that the work is now in the public domain but works released under a free licence, such as Creative Commons, are also acceptable. The licence should be displayed at the foot of the work using the appropriate template.