Wikisource:News/2013-03

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Winners of the Picture of the Year 2012 contest on Wikimedia Commons[edit]

Winner: A pair of European Bee-eaters in Ariège, France. The female (to the left) awaits the offering which the male will make.
Second place: On August 31, 2012 a long filament of solar material that had been hovering in the sun's atmosphere, the Corona, erupted out into space.
Third place: High-speed photography of a light bulb shot with an airsoft pistol (positioned right of the lamp).

Dictionary of National Biography first edition completed[edit]

Sepia toned three-quarter-length portrait of a seated man
Leslie Stephen, first editor of the DNB
Black-and-white bust length portrait of a man
Sidney Lee, second editor of the DNB

On the morning of Sunday, February 10, the final biography of the Dictionary of National Biography (1885-1900) was transcluded to the mainspace, completing the 63 volumes of the first edition.

The Dictionary of National Biography (DNB) was the idea of the London-based publisher George Murray Smith; its first editor was Leslie Stephen, replaced by his deputy Sidney Lee in 1891. At first, the plan was to produce a collection of biographies on people from throughout world history. Stephen persuaded his publisher to limit the scope to the British Empire. After the initial idea in 1882, the first volume was published in 1885 and the last fifteen years later. Three supplements followed in 1901, which have yet to be transcribed in full.

The DNB became a standard work of reference on notable figures from British history. In 1992 work began on an updated replacement, the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, which was released in 2004 in 60 volumes or online via subscription. Most UK holders of a current library card can access the latter free of charge. The Wikisource edition, however, represents the first time a fully proofread electronic version has been available to the global population for free and in a format indexable by Google and other search engines. Furthermore, the original edition includes genealogical and bibliographic information dropped from later incarnations.

The WikiProject working on this series has been operating since 2008, spending five years on the transcription; only a third of time it took to write originally. The WikiProject has since been cleaning up and wikilinking the biographies. A sister WikiProject on the sister project Wikipedia is also making use of this information to create new biographical articles for its encyclopedia.

Featured text for March 2013[edit]

The Art of Nijinsky is the featured text for this month. It was published in 1913, making this year its 100th anniversary.

The Art of Nijinsky was written by Geoffrey Whitworth CBE, founder and director of the British Drama League and an important figure in the history of British theatre. Ten colour illustrations are provided by Welsh artist Dorothy Mullock. Whitworth examines the art and career of the Russian ballet dancer and choreographer Vaslav Nijinsky, who has been described as the greatest male dancer of the early twentieth century. As part of its coverage of Nijinsky, the book also touches on Russian ballet in general.

Excerpt

The last edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, published in 1910, contains an excellent little essay on the Ballet, which ends, after bewailing the modern degeneracy of the art, with these ill-omened words:

"It seems unlikely that we shall see any revival of the best period and style of dancing until a higher standard of grace and manners becomes fashionable in society. Only in an atmosphere of ceremony, courtesy, and chivalry can the dance maintain itself in perfection."

Well, it is a dangerous thing to be a prophet; and that this particular prophet has proved most happily at fault will be plain to everyone. The passage is quoted here, however, not at all for the simple pleasure of refuting it, but rather because it aptly indicates some of those more than ordinary difficulties which lie in wait for any English critic of the Russian Ballet. For it must be remembered that our author of the Encyclopædia was hardly, if at all, behind the times in which he wrote. M. Diaghilew's company did not make its first appearance in London till the summer of 1911, and though before then there had been considerable evidence of a revival in individual dancing, concerted dancing on a definite theme (which we may take as a practical definition of the ballet) had seldom reached a lower stage of insignificance. In those days, few even of the best informed among the critics were aware of what was going on in Russia, and it is scarcely strange that London's first experience of the Russian Ballet took the majority of us utterly by surprise.

Collaborations for March 2013[edit]

The Proofread of the Month theme for March 2013 is Japanese theatre. We will focus on two books: Japanese Plays and Playfellows by Osman Edwards and Tales from Old Japanese Dramas by Asataro Miyamori.

Most of the works about Japan that we hold are focused on the Second World War and we have very little about Japanese culture. These two works will start to fill a hole in our coverage of this area of the world. The first book covers the history of actors and stage performance in Japan, while the second covers the plots, themes, and stories of Japanese drama. The second work is also well illustrated.

The February subject for Proofread of the Month, classic English novel Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray, was completed on February 24. Other works were rotated for the remainder of the month.

The Maintenance of the Month task for March 2013 is Portal classification review.

Wikisource portals use an adapted version of the Library of Congress Classification. Review ensures that they are classified in the relevant classes and subclasses.

New WikiProject for the Gerald Ford Library[edit]

"Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum" with United States flag design
Official logo of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library

A new WikiProject started in February to coordinate work on transcribing texts from the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum in Michigan, USA. This project has sister projects on Wikipedia and Commons.

The Library is an American federal agency and part of the Presidential Libraries System of the US National Archives and Records Administration. This system is a network of similar institutions, one for every President of the United States since Herbert Hoover, that serve as repositories for preserving and making available the papers, records and historical materials of each President. Michael Barera is Wikimedian in Residence at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum.

Lua rolled out[edit]

On February 18, the Scribunto extension was enabled on Wikisource, which allows the Lua scripting language to be used in special templates. As part of this roll out, the new namespace Module: was created to house Lua code. Lua templates are expected to be similar to existing templates from a user point of view. However, the scripting language means that these templates will be far more flexible and powerful than was possible before, with the additional benefit of not causing the performance issues that have been a problem in the past with complex templates. English Wikisource was one of the first batch of twenty projects to have this extension enabled; in which the only other Wikisource was Czech Wikisource. It will be rolled out to the remaining projects on March 11.

Strategic vision grant request[edit]

An Individual Engagement Grant (IEG) request has been made by Micru (Catalan Wikisource) and Aubrey (Italian Wikisource) for an "elaborate Wikisource strategic vision". This project will create a plan to implement some ideas based on the Wikisource roadmap written at Wikimania 2012 in Washington D.C. These mostly involve improved use of metadata and integration both with Wikisource's sister projects and external agencies.

Individual Engagement Grants is a new process to support individual Wikimedians or small groups on projects that benefit the Wikimedia movement. This particular proposal is for €10,000 for the two listed participants, each at €3k for travel expenses and €2k for other costs. To minimise travel costs, Micru, based in Canada, will cover North America while Aubrey, based in Italy, will cover Europe. French Wikisourcer Tpt, currently maintaining ProofreadPage amongst other projects, is an associate in the proposal. All IEG proposals are currently under review; decision will be made this month and the grantees announced on March 29.

The three long-term goals of the proposal are:

  1. Uploads must reuse existent metadata on the web
  2. Content from Wikisource must be available to external sources (OCLC, OL)
  3. Re-think citation system

The expected development phases are shown in this diagram:

Proposed development phases

Steward elections, 2013[edit]

Six new Wikimedia stewards were elected in February. None are heavily involved with any Wikisource and most appear to be European. Stewards have complete access to all Wikimedia projects and handle technical matters (use rights management, for example). They are roughly equivalent to global administrators but usually only become directly involved in extreme circumstances.

The new stewards are:

  • Amqui (accounts): A Canadian editor from French Wikipedia
  • BRUTE (accounts): A Georgian editor from Mediawiki (with many edits on Georgian Wikipedia)
  • Jon Harald Søby (accounts): A Tanzania-resident Norwegian editor from Norwegian Wikipedia (with a strong presence on Wiktionary & Wikidata)
  • Mathonius (accounts): An editor from Dutch Wikipedia
  • MF-Warburg (accounts): A German-speaking editor from Tetum Wikipedia (although most active in the Incubator)
  • QuiteUnusual (accounts): An English editor from English Wikipedia (and almost as many edits on English Wikibooks)

NB: All new stewards are described as "from" their home wikiproject; this may not be their primary focus and many operate on several projects in several languages.

Administrator confirmations[edit]

Four administrators have been confirmed in February 2013:

Four administrators will have their confirmation discussions in March 2013:

Milestones[edit]

On February 15, English Wikisource reached 900,000 text units, almost seven months after reaching 800,000. This number varies from our stated number of texts because a text unit includes, for example, individual chapters of a novel where they are each held on separate subpages. Milestones on other Wikisources were Tamil Wikisource reaching 2,000 units on the 3rd, Assamese Wikisource reaching 500 units on the 15th (a month after the project officially launched in that language) and Armenian Wikisource reaching 5,000 units on the 16th. Portuguese Wikisource also welcomed its 10,000th Wikisourcer on February 22.

Further to last month's report that the English Wikisource had reached 5,000 locally uploaded files, the total passed 8,000 in February. The majority of these uploads are temporary images related to the {{raw image}} template. This template partially replaces {{missing image}} and involves bot-uploads of unprocessed page scans containing images. When the illustrations, diagrams, etc have been extracted and cleaned up by users they can be exported to Wikimedia Commons.

Wikimedians in Residence[edit]

Australia and the United Kingdom are looking to employ new Wikimedians in Residence (WiR).

Wikimedia Australia has approved a proposal for a group of WiRs working with a range of Australian GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) institutions on the subject of Australia during World War I. They are aiming for 15 WiR working one day a week across the country.

Wikimedia UK are working with Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums to create a WiR post to work with the institution's collections on shipbuilding, maritime trade and technology. The post will last for 24 days between March and June 2013.