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Midpoint report, Elaborate Wikisource strategic vision[edit]

The following sections are excerpted from the full report.


We could say that this project is mainly about creating a small, dedicated community for Wikisource(s). Activities:

  • Community contact through several means: hundreds of emails, discussions, Skype calls, IRC and IRL chats.
  • Outreach to librarians, scholars, open knowledge activists and developers (also in conferences like: Amsterdam Hackathon, LODLAM, OAI8).
  • Networking people who worked on the same or related subject, but didn't know each other.
  • Leading book metadata implementation in Wikidata. We outreached the wider Wikimedia community with our blogposts on Wikimedia blog.
  • Revitalization attempt of the Wikisource mailing list.
  • Identification of issues that need a technical approach, proposals and assistance to Wikisource-related GsoC projects.


We can drop down our activities dividing them in few categories

  • Communication & outreach
  • Google Summer of Code
  • Wikidata

Communication & outreach

Possible workflow and relationships between Wikimedia projects and Open Library. Version 1
Possible workflow and relationships between Wikimedia projects and Open Library (plus Internet Archive). Version 2

We initiated contacts with several potential organizations: Open Library, Google Books, Open Book publishers, Europeana/Glamwiki toolset, OKFN, plus some initial contacts with national libraries. These contacts have been possible thanks to the participation in several conferences and leveraging existing contacts. Hurdles that we found when developing the contacts:

  • lack of a linked data interface with identifiers to be able to match databases. This will be solved by having the book metadata (and its status) in Wikidata with some identifiers that allow synchronization (i.e. OCLC ID, LCCN number, etc).
  • lack of a "Wikisource brand". People know about other digital libraries and Wikipedia, but not about Wikisource. Hopefully when we start linking with other organizations it will be possible to start building a brand value.
  • missing import tools into Wikitext, which makes importing digital-born documents a nightmare. An TEI -> Wiki prototype tool has been created by Tpt, and it will need more development.
  • missing export tools, mainly a way to integrate the proofread text again into the scan file.

At internal level besides of using the blog posts and the mailing list, we gathered feedback using "Request for Comments" about:

  • Possible interfaces to represent content in Wikipedia (around 50 participants in this RfC)
  • Evaluating potential interest in a musical transcription project (around 25 people participated in the RfC)

Google Summer of Code

Besides of the featured GsoCs, we wanted to offer some Wikisource-centered projects. Looking for mentors and students was not an easy task, two proposals couldn't materialize for lack of a mentor interested in Wikisource or a suitable candidate. It was important to explain to candidates how Wikisource works and which impact their work will have.

The GSoC projects that have been accepted and are currently under development are:

The integration of these projects into Wikisource it is summarized in:


In Wikidata the activities have revolved around the previously mentioned Books task force and the source metadata. This will become a tool for synchronizing works among several projects both internally (for instance citing an existing Wikisource book in Wikipedia, or in Wikiquotes) and externally (so that external organizations can point out to books of their catallogues that have been proofread in Wikisource).

Midpoint outcomes[edit]

Aubrey at OAI8
Micru at Amsterdam Hackathon
  • Wikidata Books task force: the community has been discussing all the book-related properties on Wikidata, as this will affect several Wikimedia projects (Wikipedia, Wikisource, Commons). Many properties (a core set) have now been created.
  • Wikisource User Group: the groups is being presented to the Affiliation Committee, and we have a list of 20 participants so far.
  • The Google Summer of Code grantees are working in their respective projects and they have a clear view how their project relates to the Wikisource workflow.
  • More than 100 people participated directly in the several discussions/rfc/conversations initiated during this project.
  • Messages in the Wikisource mailing list: February: 2, March: 11, April: 7, May: 47, June: 112

Next steps and opportunities[edit]

  • Complete the process for the Wikisource User Group Application
  • Start and complete the Wikisource transition to Wikidata
  • Define a set of projects for future volunteer and grant driven development (these will depend on how far we can get and on community feedback).
  • Continue executing the initial plan :)

Grantee reflection[edit]

We think that one of the core features of being a grantee (thus, one of the main reason to apply for a Individual Engagement Grant) is the fact that you get an official approval for a specific project, which has previously been evaluated. You are not a single, rogue Wikisource user who is speaking for himself only: you carry on a project for the WMF, which has a budget, an evaluation and an audit. We think it is very important to highlight how this recognition acts on people and users, who actually listen to you and allow you and your project to make an impact.

Monetary resources are of course important, but not as much as the fact that your thoughts and projects now have a shape, they have a well-defined goal, and this has been recognized.

In our experience, money (not too much) is important as a motivation for your work as a volunteer, as an appreciation of the additional commitment and responsibility, and as a budget for offsetting possible conferences/meeting/real life event expenses, that allow social networking and sharing of information and ideas.


The new Wikivoyage logo

HTTPS enabled by default[edit]

Most Wikimedia projects were converted to using HTTPS by default in late August. This is a response to the US National Security Agency's (NSA) XKeyscore project and fears over Wikimedia users' privacy. HTTPS was already planned as a future upgrade, so this was not very difficult to implement.

XKeyscore is a computer system used to search and analyse internet data about non-United States nationals across the world. Due to the amount data it collects, it can only be held for a few days (in some cases, only for 24 hours) before it needs to be deleted to make space for newly collected data. The current database can be searched by NSA personnel and it is claimed that this system was responsible for the capture of over 300 terrorists by 2008.

HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is a communications protocol for secure communication over a computer network created in 1994 for the Netscape Navigator web browser. It was largely used initially for financial transactions over the internet because it encrypts data and provides authentication of the web site, and associated web server, with which a user is communicating.

This change only affects logged-in users. Those reading and editing as IP numbers will access Wikisource and its sister projects by the normal insecure HTTP route. Logged in users who do not want to use the secure connection can also opt out by changing their user preferences. Users from some nations, such as the People's Republic of China and the Islamic Republic of Iran, are also exempted from this scheme as the use of HTTPS in these areas is either not legal or subject to official blocking.

This has caused some small problems on Wikisource. The authority control gadget, which retrieves data from VIAF, is currently broken as VIAF only feeds data in insecure mode.

Featured text for September 2013[edit]

Front book cover of "The Yellow Wall Paper" (1901)
The Yellow Wall Paper (1901)

The featured text for September is "The Yellow Wall Paper" (1901) a short story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman originally published in the January 1892 issue of The New England Magazine.

The story follows the narrator's descent into madness after her Doctor husband confines her to the upstairs bedroom of a rented house after diagnosing female hysteria. The title refers to her growing obsession with only source of stimulation in the room. This is an early piece of American feminist literature which condemns the treatment of women by the 19th century medical establishment.

This work was transcribed as part of a proofread-a-thon at the GLAM Boot Camp, which was held at the National Archives in Washington D.C. during April 2013. Prior to that it existed as only an unsupported import from Project Gutenberg. During the proofreading process it was discovered that the previous version contained numerous errors, including a missing line of text. The current and featured version is fully supported by page scans and has been validated as matching the text of the 1901 printed edition.

IT is very seldom that mere ordinary people like John and myself secure ancestral halls for the summer.

A colonial mansion, a hereditary estate, I would say a haunted house, and reach the height of romantic felicity, — but that would be asking too much of fate!

Still I will proudly declare that there is something queer about it.

Else, why should it be let so cheaply? And why have stood so long untenanted?

John laughs at me, of course, but one expects that in marriage.

John is practical in the extreme. He has no patience with faith, an intense horror of superstition, and he scoffs openly at any talk of things not to be felt and seen and put down in figures.

John is a physician, and perhaps — (I would not say it to a living soul, of course, but this is dead paper and a great relief to my mind) — perhaps that is one reason I do not get well faster.

You see, he does not believe I am sick!

And what can one do?

If a physician of high standing, and one's own husband, assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing the matter with one but temporary nervous depression, — a slight hysterical tendency, — what is one to do?

Collaborations for September 2013[edit]

The Proofread of the Month for September 2013 is focused on requested texts. The first selected book was Precious stones considered in their scientific and artistic relations. With a catalogue of the Townshend collection (1905) by Arthur Herbert Church. However, due the discovery of some missing pages in the chosen scan, this has been switched to First Voyage Round the World (1874) by Antonio Pigafetta.

The Maintenance of the Month task for September 2013 is Move to the Translation namespace. The English Wikisource has long been hosting user-made translations, but there used to be no agreed policies. A few months ago, the community decided to host those translations in a dedicated namespace.

Administrator confirmations[edit]

Five administrators were confirmed in August 2013:

One administrator resigned their position in August 2013:

An administrator will have their confirmation discussion in September 2013:


There was only one Wikisource related milestone last month. Indonesian Wikisource reached 2,000 text units (content pages) on 29 August.