From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Warning Please do not post any new comments on this page. This is a discussion archive first created in November 2007, although the comments contained were likely posted before and after this date.
See current discussion or the archives index.




The huge leap[edit]

Dear coworkers!

Wikisource can't keep up with professionally financed digitalisation projects. Google is scanning thousands of books in various languages all over the world, libraries and scientific academies create state funded e-texts.

Our work therefore won't be useful until we present our content sophisticatedly and thoroughly based upon scientific standards. I kindly ask you to visit the thread at the multilingual Scriptorium and participate. It's about our future!

Sincerly yours, 19:12, 19 September 2007 (UTC)

Also, for those familiar with German: Read my blog entry. 21:01, 19 September 2007 (UTC)
Technically, Google,, Project Gutenberg...not one of them comes anywhere close to our Author:Leo Tolstoy, I just feel the need to point that out ;) We also offer the unique ability to wikilink so that you know what Burton is talking about when he says "the 1874 campaign", and of course - we separate things into separate works - so you can read each speech by a person, not just dig out Big Book of Speeches and hope to find the one you want by Napoleon that doesn't appear anywhere else - PG, Google and IA all fail in that aspect, you have to dig through 800 pages of crap to find a little-known letter or speech. Sherurcij Collaboration of the Week: Author:Richard Francis Burton 03:21, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

That's but one aspect of our potential. Despite this, we need to point out strict style guidelines, as discussed yesterday in the IRC channel. Maybe we should summon another IRC meeting soon. Jonathan Groß 14:34, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

The basic premise is certainly sound. I was aware of the problem from the very first day of Wikisource. The competition may be fierce, but much of it really does not involve doing a lot of work. I continue to maintain that for Wikisource in particular among the sister Wikimedia project adding value is the most important thing we can do. Without that we might as well just be monkeys standing in front of a scanner. The "strict style guidelines" that you suggest are not particularly important. It's far more important to have people buy into the idea of the project, and actively contribute to the project without feeling to constrained by a lot of technical rules. Leave it to those concerned with standardisation to spen time on that. There's plenty there for everybody to do. Eclecticology 07:51, 21 September 2007 (UTC)
Jonathan's point is that Wikisource cannot keep up with big competitors if we do not raise our quality standards. The german wikisource has established very strict quality rules, which imply that practically each text on their subdomain has to be backed with scanned images. This allows them to provide readers with a guaranty of reliability. I believe that this is the way to go, and I have launched a similar initiative on the french subdomain, in order to catch up with the quality standards of the german wikisource. I think that a torough effort should be made here as well, in order to:
  1. identify the source of each text.
  2. provide scanned images for all texts.
  3. move texts to the 'page' namespace.
As a first step, I propose to create a category for all texts that have no scanned source, and to mark them with a dedicated template, in order to warn readers and contributors that the consistency between these texts and their sources cannot be checked publicly.
ThomasV 10:30, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
Quality standards are not just about backing everything up with scanned images, and even if that were so, that won't be near enough to keep up with the big competitors. Keeping ahead of the competition depends on the kind of innovation that can be brought to the project. When the stable version software is finally implemented that will obviously make keeping track of honest copies easier.
It's all very nice to be able to compare the Wikisource text with an online version, but a version that's checked against a paper copy is still just as publicly checked. Feel free to design all the templates you want, but please try to avoid adding the implication that an unscanned text is unreliable by virtue of that alone.
The success of this project depends on respecting the rights of ordinary members to contribute. As a by-product of this we will end up with a lot of material with doubtful value, or valued material that is sadly incomplete. Some material may be added in a format other than what we would expect. That's life. Valuing and respecting our contributors (including newbies) is much more important than imposing a lot of technical rules. It is after all a wiki.Eclecticology 00:17, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

Bad syntax in headers[edit]

The bot upgrading the standard headers is finding many pages with bad {{header}} formatting syntax. Because the header's format may change with future upgrades, extra formatting in parameters may break pages. Bot parseability and future support for metadata also require that only plain text and wikilinks be used in parameters other than notes. If you'd like to more closely approximate the original formatting, you can do so below the header (see example).

If you see any header using line-breaks, bold, or italics in any parameter other than notes, please fix them. Pathosbot will try to correct most of these in its next run, but that will be heuristic at best. —{admin} Pathoschild 02:15:49, 21 September 2007 (UTC)

It would be an improvement if author names in headers were entered in normal wiki style. That would make it easier to enter multiple authors, or to show that the person is the editor, compiler, translator, etc., as the case may be.
I would also recommend adding another line for translated works to include the translator, as well as the original author. Some questions have recently arisen where there have been uncertainties about the copyright status of the translation when the original version is undoubtedly in the public domain. Eclecticology 08:31, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
Author names can be entered in normal wiki code using override_author (for example, "|author= |override_author=edited by [[author:foo|]] and [[author:bar|]]").
There are a few advantages to linking by default. The majority of works have only one author, and new editors are not usually aware that we have author pages (let alone where they are); they'll simply enter the author's name in the intuitively named parameter, and the template will automatically link to the correct place. Further, one of the primary purposes of the {{header}} is to gather metadata; currently, most author pages would correctly be labeled in metadata as "author: Foo", but pages with the override would incorrectly be labeled as "author: by [[author:foo|foo]]" (with no hyperlink). This makes script parsing more difficult for generated information (such as automated indexes), since a script would not be able to recognize the author as being a subset of the given author parameter.
The translator and date of translation should be in the notes along with any other information on the edition provided (as with Chaucer's "Balade to Rosemounde"). —{admin} Pathoschild 14:30:11, 02 October 2007 (UTC)
Your "override" technique is much less obvious than author pages, which have been with us from very early stages.
Why do you need to attach so much importance to metadata? I regard the headers as primarily cosmetic and for the benefit of human users. Who will benefit from the automated indexes that you envision? Where are we keeping the "generated information"?
The translator is an integral part of identifying the work. So is the fact that the "author" is really the editor, or that there are more than one authors, or that the particular writing is from a specific issue of a magazine. Eclecticology 16:32, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure what your comparison with {{author}} is meant to show; the two templates format metadata for very different subjects, and the {{author}} has an override of its own anyway. The overrides (documented at Template:header) are for exceptions; only a small minority of works need them. The benefits of simplifying usage for the majority of works outweigh those of simplifying exceptions.
The {{header}} is a Wikisource microformat that formats metadata in a way that can easily be read by both humans and scripts. This is particularly useful in combination with XML microformats and and OCLC. Some planned uses:
  • creating a Wikisource search database, so users can easily search any combination of titles, authors, dates of publication, section titles, page content, and any other defined metadata (even editorial notes). It's currently only possible to search by page title and content, and we can't even choose to only search by title.
  • automating maintenance of the indexes, which at present are done manually and laboriously.
  • allowing dynamic script maintenance, such as updating license templates for all works falling into a more general public domain criteria each year (for example, {{PD-1923}} -> {{PD-old-100}}).
  • any other operation or function possible with script-accessible data.
If you think a translator parameter would be useful, start a new discussion proposing that particular change. —{admin} Pathoschild 17:52:16, 02 October 2007 (UTC)
It did not refer to {{author}}. It was about the author line in {{header}}. Clearly a person who is the author of one work can be editor for another. The presence of multiple authors, or modified author roles is not as uncommon as you would have us believe. These do remain a minority, but not a small minority. Simplification should accommodate any significant minority.
These are only "planned". How many are really being done? They are all very geekish in nature, but still secondary to our primary purpose of hosting source texts. Eclecticology 19:05, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
Metadata for an online library is as important as catalog cards and organized shelves in a library. Of course it's secondary to the texts themselves, but it is a critical part. We're the only serious online project without it; compare Project Gutenberg's search page to our search page.
Anyone with the technical skills could make any of these tools right now, but the first priority is to finish implementing the header. We started seriously standardizing pages just 15 months or so ago, and only a small minority of Wikisource pages are left. —{admin} Pathoschild 22:23:31, 02 October 2007 (UTC)

Consequent proposal[edit]

If you think a translator parameter would be useful, start a new discussion proposing that particular change. —{admin} Pathoschild 17:52:16, 02 October 2007 (UTC)

That {{header}} be modified to

  1. More easily allow for the entry of multiple authors,
  2. More easily allow to append qualifications such as "editor", "translator", "compiler", etc. to the name of the author,
  3. To include the name of the translator in addition to author in the heading, and
  4. To include magazine sources, or any other information essential to identifying the work as part of the header.

Eclecticology 19:05, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

Please be more specific. We'd all love everything to be done "more easily". Are you suggesting the addition of new parameters, or changing existing parameters? If the latter, in what way? Would your suggestions break plans for metadata? —{admin} Pathoschild 22:13:20, 02 October 2007 (UTC)
To identify it as a work in a magazine, or the New York Times, or somesuch, that's what |previous= New York Times is for...or at least how I use it. Sherurcij Collaboration of the Week: Author:Christopher Marlowe 22:20, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
Agreed. Depending on the work, sometimes the "title" parameter can link to the serial instead with the article name in the "section" parameter. Sources should be noted in the editorial "notes" parameter. —{admin} Pathoschild 22:29:59, 02 October 2007 (UTC)
It would make things easiest to simply enter the authors as "John Smith and Jane Jones" or as "[[Author:John Smith|]] and [[Author:Jane Jones|]]" or to have two lines as author 1 and author 2 and to be able to add as many others as one wants. Putting "Author:" is certainly more understood than an obscure override
For editors, etc. we could simply enter "John Smith (editor)" Whether it's a matter of new parameters or changing existing ones doesn't matter. I feel no concern about metadata; those who consider it important will make it work.
"Translated by" would be just a matter of adding one more line in the green part of the header. If a Conan Doyle story is taken directly from its magazine appearance why would one want to treat it as "previous"? Why should these important pieces of data be buried in the notes? Eclecticology 08:30, 4 October 2007 (UTC)
I have added a translator parameter, placing it on the same line as the author for the moment. see Elevation and Correspondences. John Vandenberg 03:27, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

more header suggestions[edit]

On Template talk:Header, there are a few new/renewed proposals:

  • add a publication year param to header2
  • adjust override_author so that it prints "by " automatically
  • allow wikilinks in the author param, which should reduce the need for override_author

John Vandenberg 00:14, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

To which I would add split the header to move "sequencing" and Notes out. Notes may not even need to be templated because what they contain is highly variable and free form anyway. The sequencing would effectively place an article in relation with its parent or sibling articles. As things now stand the "Previous" parameter is ambiguous because it can either refer to the parent or earlier sibling. All this would leave the header template for what is necessary to identify the work.
Limiting the number of parameters in a template will inevitably make it easier to use. Eclecticology 04:30, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
Removing sequencing from the default template is not simple from a technical point of view - the HTML for the previous/next links is currently placed within the header region. As a result, changing the sequencing is a huge change, and needs to be well thought out. Any proposal to change a layout that affects 70,000 pages really needs to have a mockup of how it would look.
Another way to address the ambiguity is to add an "up" parameter to the current template, or to design new templates for specific scenario's.
Removing the notes is technically simple - as far as I know, not specifying a value for the notes parameter has that effect anyway. There is a small advantage in having a notes field available - it provides a simple way to control how it appears on the screen or on paper. The contributor can of choose to not use it, and place the notes in the page or sprinkle other templates like {{Wikipedia}} in the page. John Vandenberg 05:46, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
Your comments about the Notes are well taken.
For the sequence template I was looking at something similar to the succession boxes used for kings and political figures in Wikipedia. I tried to do something to prepare an example, but there it is such a complex of nested transcluded templates that it is impossible for the more low-tech among us to work with. (I guess that's just part of my ongoing whinge about templates.:-() A further advantage of sequence templates is that an article can have more than one. The Jack London short story Grit of Women is now a part of The God of His Fathers collection where it is a part of a particular sequence. The story previously (originally?) appeared six years earlier in McClure's Magazine where it would have been a part of a different sequence. Perhaps it may have again appeared later in a third sequence. There should be no reason for not showing all of these sequences. I don't see how an up parameter could handle multiple sequences.
Any changeover need not be as onerous as you fear. As with the notes, when "previous" and "next" are left blank nothing appears. Many existing articles have no immediate need for sequencing. The first step then could probably be moving the sequencing to the new box and simply blanking the corresponding parameters. Under those circumstances there would be no rush to amend the header template. If the change becomes acceptable through practice removing the parameters from the header template could come later at the same time as some other future more necessary change. Eclecticology 17:47, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

Helping to sort stuff[edit]

I'd like to propose we rename Wikisource:Miscellaneous material (which is useless right now) to Wikisource:Unsorted materials and run a bot to list everything under {{unlinked}} onto that page. Indices are the way to allow a casual reader to find things, and they'll ultimately be more helpful in the long run for maintenance purposes, since we can add a name, description or date that can't be seen with a quick glance at the category listing. Sherurcij Collaboration of the Week: Author:Stratemeyer Syndicate 22:28, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

The rename sounds good, however I think the moving of texts onto Wikisource:Unsorted materials should be done by humans so that unlinked texts have a set of eyes on them to also add {{no license}} and if the text looks worth the effort, finding a better home. I'm happy to take on the task of updating any links to Wikisource:Miscellaneous material, which would be a redirect if nobody objects. John Vandenberg 10:55, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

New PD template[edit]

I have started a discussion over at Wikisource talk about a grey area. John Vandenberg 12:05, 3 November 2007 (UTC)

Other Discussions[edit]

Consensus check[edit]

My understanding of current consensus is that the "free content" content which can be freely viewed, used, distributed, modified, and exploited by anyone, in any form, and for any purpose (including commercial exploitation) without exception and without limitation (except for simple attribution and transmission of freedoms) part of the inclusion policy is only determined by the laws of the United States. I think this was solidified during all the discussions sparked by the "rule of the shorter term", although my own opinion about how to handle UK authors was over-ruled even earlier than that. Can we please take a quick straw poll on this and see exactly where current opinion is. (Looking for personal opinions of what policy should be; not opinions of what consensus is currently)

A "Free content" should be determined more strictly than the laws of the United States (lesser number of texts would be acceptable)[edit]

  • BirgitteSB 18:29, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
  • "free cultural works" is an important principle of Wikisource and the Foundation, and it is more limiting than the laws of any one country. In my opinion the "Free Cultural Work" logo would be inappropriate on "{{PD-nonUK}}" and some of the "{{PD-US-no-renewal}}" texts. Exemptions under the EDP are necessary as we do currently, and should continue to, include works that are not yet unequivocally free-libre in a majority of nations who access Wikisource. John Vandenberg 03:54, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
  • Benn Newman (AMDG) 12:42, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

B "Free content" should be determined only by the laws of the United States[edit]

  • Zhaladshar (Talk) 23:25, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
  • I am not a US citizen and I do not live in the US but the Wikimedia Servers and the Foundation are situated in the US and must meet the requirements of US law. Wikisource should not try to comply with the laws of every single country and state in the World that is far too difficult. John Cross 19:40, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

C "Free content" should be determined less strictly than the laws of the United States (greater number of texts would be acceptable)[edit]

  1. (Wikisource should recognise the difference between "commercial works" (novels, poetry, etc) which represent financial loss (and potential lawsuits)...and "public documentary" works (speeches, legislation, etc). Also a big fan of "If public domain in the United States or its home country..." - but c'mon, we all knew how I was going to vote. Sherurcij Collaboration of the Week: Author:William Gordon Stables 19:28, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
  2. I'm relating this to superficially apparent US law. This issue of course depends on having some sense of clarity about just what the United States law is, and that has wide latitude. If the law were clearer, the decision would be clearer. I'll add more detail in the discussion section. Eclecticology 01:14, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
  3. In addition to US law, I think we should allow orphan works and some non US works even if they are not in the PD in USA (see discussion below). Yann 16:45, 26 October 2007 (UTC)


I think that it is within the spirit of Birgitte's intent to subdivide this discussion into sections based on each person's opening position. There is nothing wrong with responding to the comments of others within that person's section, but it is also good for each person to have a starting position. If I have broken wrongly I'm sure someone will fix it. Eclecticology 05:02, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Birgitte's opening[edit]
  • I don't think C is kosher legally even though some works seem intentionally meant for the public at large. While I believe B is a valid opinion of how to do things, I do not think follows the spirit of "The free library". I would personally like to see us do better to fulfill that spirit and support A.--BirgitteSB 18:29, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
I am not sure about what we are suppose to vote:
  • On a definition of "free content"?
  • On what rules we should apply on the English Wikisource?
  • On something else?
Yann 19:59, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
On what rules we should apply on the English Wikisource WMF gave us the definition of free content. How do you think we should determine the freedoms in the that definition on en.WS? Strictly according to US law? Or differently (I added clarifications above)--BirgitteSB 20:09, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
Even Commons, the "be-all, end-all" of WMF "free content repository" doesn't live up to the exact letter of the law, the way some propose WS must. I may take a photo of Britney Spears, and I can put it on Commons - but people can't take that photo and put it on a billboard next to their beverage choice, or even on an internet ad banner for their website. Ultimately, "intellectual property rules and laws" say that everything boils down to Common Sense. If Wikicommons allows hosting of works which cannot "be used in every fashion, under any circumstance", then so should we. Sherurcij Collaboration of the Week: Author:William Gordon Stables 22:08, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
This isn't Commons, and there is no need to make the rules on this project identical to the ones on Commons. Common sense, and Commons sense are not identical. As for your Britney Spears photo (which I see no reason to include here) your inability to use it in the places that you note has nothing to do with intellectual property rights. It may be a question of privacy rights or publicity rights, but that's not intellectual property rights. Eclecticology 05:34, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
What are your responding to that I have said that you put this rant here like it is a response to me? First of all there is nothing Common Sense about copyright. It is Arbitrary which is the opposite of Common Sense. Second of all no one (much less me) has ever suggested that things should be able to "be used in every fashion, under any circumstance". I am not following you at all--BirgitteSB 03:04, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
You're the one that quoted the definition of "content which can be freely viewed, used, distributed, modified, and exploited by anyone, in any form, and for any purpose (including commercial exploitation) without exception and without limitation" - I am challenging that definition, as well as your (below) claims that we cannot deviate from it since, as I point out, every single WMF project deviates from it. Sherurcij Collaboration of the Week: Author:William Gordon Stables 03:14, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

I think you are misinterpreting what Brigitte is presenting. Quoting that definition does not in itself imply either support or opposition. It's an ideal that is very strongly supported by one Board member in particular who has sought to centralize media on Commons from the day he was involved in putting Commons together. Challenging that definition of free works, and whether and to what extent we can deviate from it (as well as from U.S. "law") are very different questions. I see the latter as very much the purpose of this discussion. It is a very difficult and important question that is not helped by taking firm positions and defending them. Eclecticology 05:34, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
The defintion does not say "be used in every fashion, under any circumstance". It does not mean "be used in every fashion, under any circumstance". It means that there are no limitations or exceptions on the freedom of X content to be freely viewed, used, distributed, modified, and exploited by anyone, in any form, and for any purpose (including commercial exploitation) (except for simple attribution and transmission of freedoms). That means X content cannot have any of the specified limitations or exceptions attached it. If limitations and exceptions are attached to other content that prevent you from combining X content with other content that is not in opposition to this definition.
Also I did not say " we cannot deviate from it". I said it is the terms under which the project operates. We enacted the definition into policy months ago. It is not at all a matter blindly following the definition without deviation, because the definition is too poorly written to that even if we wanted to. There are areas were the definition is unclear and where it is open to interpretation. That is what we have to figure out. I don't think we could say: we don't like the "modify" bit and let us start excepting Crown Copyright. But we do have to decide how to apply the definition. This discussion is intended to about which jurisdiction we want to use to apply the definition.--BirgitteSB 12:27, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

(outdent) The question of jurisdiction wrt the Free Cultural Definition seems to be covered by There must also not be any limit on who can copy the information or on where the information can be copied. In my opinion, that means a text that is not PD in all jurisdictions, it cant be considered a "free cultural work". John Vandenberg 13:23, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

But does that mean that WS (and indeed, all WMF projects) must shut down completely when, let’s say, w:Vanuatu enacts a perpetual copyright? That approach effectively gives an absolute veto to the most restrictive jurisdiction in the world, doesn’t it? Tarmstro99 13:36, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
I think this is an area that is not covered and instead unclear. The definition is clear about a "free content license" not being able to attach such limits. It is unclear about "free works" with such a legal status declared by governments . This is not just about about the public domain, but also moral rights and censorship. There are parts of the definition written very well to describe a free content license, that do not translate into describing works not covered by a license. This is one reasons I said it was poorly written. What you quote from above is actually under "Defining Free Culture Licenses" NOT " Defining Free Cultural Works". So it seems you were confused by this issue. Please read over the definition again watching the change in language between these sections closely.--BirgitteSB 14:25, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
I don't see the ambiguity there. The preamble says "This document defines "Free Cultural Works" as works or expressions which can be freely studied, applied, copied and/or modified, by anyone, for any purpose"; and the first line of the section Defining Free Cultural Works states: "In order to be considered free, a work must be covered by a Free Culture License, or its legal status must provide the same essential freedoms enumerated above" (bold added), and the quote in my comment above is one of those essential freedoms. John Vandenberg 15:25, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
I still disagree with you interpretation. By your interpretation, the moral rights in France alone would prevent any works from being "free". All works in France including everything in the Public Domain cannot be used in any way that would not protect the honor and reputation of the creator. So no work exists that can be used by anyone (in France) for any purpose, and therefore no work exists that can be used by anyone (everywhere on Earth) for any purpose. So I do not believe that to be a valid interpretation of the defintion--BirgitteSB 16:00, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
I was primarily trying to isolate the wording in the FCD that is relevant. As far as I can see, the intent of the FCD is to be international, and ensure free-libre use for all people/purposes, and the wording doesnt leave gapping hole when it comes to PD. As moral rights cant be waived by a license, there is nothing special to PD in the French example you provide. All Free/Open source software, and all free content projects have this problem, and they usually deal with it by not explicitly mentioning it, because nobody has figure out a way to avoid them anyway. (This is the best legal attempt to do so, as far as I know)
It is not my interpretation that we should take the words "all" literally - just that we don't take the word "all" lightly.
"Licenses" is worth a read, especially the section on "Worldwide applicability". John Vandenberg 19:45, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
I agree about worldwide applicability of licenses. After all, when you are creating/choosing a license you have a choice in what the license allows. I disagree that this translates to works not covered by a license. I don't think it is possible to translate it this way, and I don't think it was intended based on discussions from back when the WMF resolution was announced. Honestly this is the first time I have ever heard of interpreting this to mean a Public Domain works must have no restrictions anywhere on the planet (and there was alot of discussion at the time). We are just going to have to agree to disagree about this issue.--BirgitteSB 20:13, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
(replying to Tarmstro99) A country enacting perpetual copyright would not effect most of the free content/software licenses, as they are drafted in order to take advantage of the strength of copyright. As a result, the content on Wikipedia is not perturbed by increases in the copyright laws of nations. On the other hand, Wikisource (and Commons to a lesser extent) depend on the limitations of copyright. The result is that I think the FCD pushes us to only readily accept expired copyrighted content when it is permissible in any jurisdiction (I am going to have to read it again a few more times before I am confident about that).
If the FCD does push us in that direction, the scenario you point out means that it can be interpreted in ways that go against the spirit of the definition - we need to work out how we will interpret it, or work with to revise their definition a little to better cater for varying copyright expiration.
I would prefer that we use a strict interpretation of the FCD, excluding only insane copyright provisions. That way, we are not watering down the definition of "free". We can then add an exemption for works that are PD in most jurisdictions, and perhaps another for works that are only PD in the US, requiring that they are clearly tagged so that people who reuse the Wikisource content are aware of the limitations on use. John Vandenberg 15:25, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
Trying to define "insane" may itself be insane. :-)
What definition are we referring to? The one on our policy page or the one elsewhere? The one on our page defines "Free content". It does not define "Free Culture Licenses", or "Free Cultural Works". If we refer to the definition from one place and use one from another there will be no end to the confusion. Contradictory as it may appear to some, I have no problem with the definition as written. I would object to it's strict application as a basis for what we include or exclude, because any strict application can lead to absurd results, especially in the edge cases. Ignoring the pit known as moral rights, we can say that a specific contribution conforms fully to the definition, doesn't conform at all (and is deletable), or deviates from the definition within stated acceptable parameters. Eclecticology 20:55, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
Sherurcij's opening[edit]
I think some confusion over the term "free library" will always exist, as many instinctively go "okay, I agree with that", thinking it means that we do not charge subscription fees, or even host anything that would require royalties. But then they're ambushed by a veteran popping out going "aha, caught ya! "free" means I can quietly insert the word "son of a bitch" throughout the text and still claim that it was Tolstoy/Kennedy's original work and then sell copies of it in Wal-Mart", causing a bit of a double-take.
Ultimately, our goal should definitely to be more useful than library in every small town. And while we can't carry the latest Harry Potter in the same way they can, we should be making up for that by carrying Gandhi's letters, or the ransom note from the w:Lindbergh kidnapping. Claiming that an unknown felon from 1932 holds proprietary rights preventing us from showing people the note simply fails common sense - even if the US Congress is not willing to impose common sense and a drive towards preserving and showcasing items of historical importance, Wikisource definitely should. Sherurcij Collaboration of the Week: Author:William Gordon Stables 20:31, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
I think there is important distinction between claiming an unknown felon from 1932 holds proprietary rights over a document and claiming the document is free content. There are many works which I cannot be sure who owns the copyright, but I can also be sure it does not meet the definition of free content. It is a matter of "Copyrighted until proven free". It is not enough for us to say "you probably won't be sued for re-using this"; we must be able to say "You can re-use because of XYZ law". --BirgitteSB 20:54, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
Again a small detail of feigned authority, it's not true to say we "must be able to", it would be more accurate to say "you would like to see a project that does". Which is perfectly valid, we both have our own visions of the project, but there is no obligation hanging over our heads that says a library *must* be able to cite an international treaty whenever we host something. You/we want to. Sherurcij Collaboration of the Week: Author:William Gordon Stables 21:10, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
I think it is obvious that this is all in my opinion. I specifically asked for personal opinions of what we should do. I am not trying force my views on anyone, and I think you should know me better than that.--BirgitteSB 21:25, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
[moved that discussion to userpages]. ...if we accept that WS's purpose is to advance knowledge, provide free access to information and preserve history...then I feel it is imperative that we host documents "that do not have a copyright holder", rather than restrict ourselves to an 'activist' stance of only accepting a very narrow definition because it fits a specific and narrow ideology. The only way I can justify the notion that "we should only host works that are "free content according to the definitions laid out by the following activists..." is if we only exist to advance that agenda. We should be advancing agendas to increase our ability to preserveHistory/informPeople/giveContext, not preservingHistory/informingPeople/givingContext to allow us to advance an agenda. Sherurcij Collaboration of the Week: Author:William Gordon Stables 08:44, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
re:works that are "free content according to the definitions laid out by the following activists... Do you think the definition I gave above from WMF board resolution is one of these "definitions laid out by the following activists..." that you think we should not follow?--BirgitteSB 13:38, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
It is not that I do not believe in the good of the definition, but I do not believe we should allow a dogmatic fascination with a single definition to override common sense. Sherurcij Collaboration of the Week: Author:William Gordon Stables 20:17, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
First am all I am not the biggest fan of this definition. I would prefer one that answered more questions than it raised, but I don't want to get side-tracked. But this definition is the card we have been dealt. It is the terms under which the whole project operates as long as it is supported by WMF (until WMF amends it).--BirgitteSB 03:09, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
I think that you're letting yourself be boxed into a catch-22. To start with a definition by itself is not a policy; it helps to describe a policy. If we want to get somewhere we first need to figure out what we want, then compare it to the policy. Only when that is done do we compare that position with the supposedly limiting policy. Perhaps what we agree may come easily within policy, or may fit within some interpretation, or, if it doesn't fit we can seek a policy change. But unless we know what we want, we can't know what policy changes we want. Even as regards to US law, we have begun with the working presumption that we know what US law really is. That is not a very strong presumption. Anyone who pays attention to laws in a common-law tradition quickly learns that there is more to law than the literal statutes. Eclecticology 06:13, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
I disagree. The definition is already policy here. However parts of the definition are open to interpretation. The key one I am trying to discuss here is what jurisdiction. The definition does not state what jurisdiction the "anyone" in the definition is in. So we have to decide how to interpret that. I honestly don't think the using the definition or not should be on the table.--BirgitteSB 12:10, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
You misunderstand my point. There was a reason why I emphasized the words "by itself". Consider a mathematical expression that defines X; f(X) is then a function that describes what you do with X. Similarly, policy states that contributions must be "compatible with" X. Without that instruction about what to do with X, X itself is a functional nullity. What we mean by "compatible with" strikes me as a far more important question than determining the jurisdiction. "Anyone" should be read as plain English, and should not depend on jurisdiction. "Jurisdiction" only matters when whether or not we are sued is our most important consideration. It's clearly something that needs to be kept in mind, but it is not the basis for establishing principles. The Berne Convention provides a much better reference point than the rules of any country or group of countries that see themselves as above the law. Eclecticology 18:35, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
I suppose my point is that you need to place "anyone" in a jurisdiction to determine if the work is free. It can not be done in a vacuum. I understand that this is not important in your point of view since you wish to disregard legal determinations altogether and instead use ethical ones. However you cannot make any sort of legal determination of copyright without knowing what laws to use. I for one am still stuck on the idea of using existing laws instead choosing something entirely different.--BirgitteSB 19:04, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
We can certainly agree to disagree on that general philosophical point. My specific point had to do with definitions being a part of policy rather than policy in themselves. Or policy is a kind of meta-vessel which includes definitions. Eclecticology 20:22, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
Ah, OK. I do see that.--BirgitteSB 01:10, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
Yann's opening[edit]
What about "you may reuse it because there is no copyright owner"? Copyright exists to preserve the right of somebody, a person or an organisation. If that somebody doesn't exist, the purpose of copyright becomes non existent. If in addition, the work is more than a few years old, the copyright becomes completely meaningless. So the issue is, in my opinion, a bit more complicated than just "which law we should apply?" The upper limit to what we can host is not creating any legal risk for the Foundation or any potential re-users. This criteria is obviously too vague to be of practical use, so we need to define more precise rules. On the other end, we could apply the strictest copyright law (France? Mexico?) because some works won't be free in these places. Our decision is somewhere in between. I know I am not very helpful, but... Yann 21:17, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
I would not want to apply the strictest copyright law, but would for the most part like to consider UK copyright on UK authors and the same with other English speaking countries. I also think it would be easy to follow Commons policy of US plus native copyright. But the English-speaking countries are what I feel strongest about. I said above B was valid although I preferred A. This is because I think B is upper limit where we are not creating legal risk for WMF. Re-users I think can be protected by full disclosure of the copyright situation in outside the US even though we would still host the work. --BirgitteSB 21:49, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
Again, there is no legal risk for WMF in hosting (to use the same example) the Lindbergh Baby's ransom note. Since there is no verifiable author who could claim copyright over it in a US court, and since our "infringement" would be in the civil domain rather than the criminal domain, there are no parties that could bring a suit against WMF. Ergo, no legal risk (We are much more likely to be eaten by a mutant lizard from Japan!). Sherurcij Collaboration of the Week: Author:William Gordon Stables 00:05, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
I am not talking about any particular work here but the context of how to evaluate the works. To repeat what I actually said: I think B "Free content" should be determined only by the laws of the United States is upper limit where we are not creating legal risk for WMF. How you can determine legal risk for WMF by something not the laws of the United States, I cannot understand. So I think you must of imagined whatever you thought I said above, since I did not say anything about the risk or non-risk of any ransom note.--BirgitteSB 03:17, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
I at least agree to the extent that the ransom note is an edge problem. Edge problems cannot be generalized into broad policy because of the highly individual circumstances. If risk is the issue, how do you define risk in the first place, not just the risk of legal action but any kind of risk. What is the risk that if you build a home in the wrong place it will be swept away by a fire, hurricane or earthquake? What is the risk that you will be seriously injured if you do not wear a seatbelt? The downside in such circumstances can be far more severe than from a possible copyright infringement, that has safety valves already built into it. Eclecticology 06:37, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
To Birgitte When talking about legal risks, there are of two kinds: for the WMF and for re-users. US law is not enough to limit the legal risk for the WMF nor for re-users. Publishing works which are PD in USA but not elsewhere might be safe for the WMF (although there is still a hypothetical court case outside the USA), but does not bring any safety for re-users. In contrast, orphan works create much less risk for re-users, and I would argue, even less for the WMF. I agree with Eclecticology on his explanation about orphan works (#7). Then there is the question of the rule of the shorter term. I think we should use this rule for some types of works, even if we consider that US law doesn't allow it. We should use the rule of shorther term, at least for works unpublished in USA (i.e. that's what we do in the French Wikisource). I think there is little legal risk in allowing these. And actually that's what we do up to now.
So, in short, in addition to US law, I think we should allow orphan works and some non US works even if they are not in the PD in USA. Yann 18:44, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
John Vandenberg's opening[edit]

The definition of "free content" accepted by the Foundation is very sane, and doesnt leave much room for interpretation. I wasnt involved in previous discussions, so I am guessing that this straw poll is over the vague use of "legal status" in this:

"..or its legal status must provide the same essential freedoms enumerated above. ..."

My opinion is that "legal status" should refer to the host country and the country of origin (which puts me with one foot in A above..), but only when legal status is known/knowable in each country and the laws of those countries are sane (..and a big toe in B). By that I dont mean that the U.S. laws should be disregarded simply because they can be a little insane, but where the laws of the country are ridiculously written or draconian or lacking, I dont think we should bend over backwards to also comply with their laws. For this reason, perpetual copyrights should not be respected, and "All rights reversed" is clearly "Public domain".

In my opinion, the meaning of "free content" is orthogonal to the question of what should be acceptable on Wikisource (long term). At the same time that the Foundation passed the resolution to use that definition of free content, they also defined an Exemption Doctrine Policy (EDP) which each project can use if it furthers the objectives of that project. I believe that defining some exceptions will be of great value to the Wikisource project. The reason for this is that copyright law is primarily designed for works of commercial value (they are the stake holders pushing for clear laws and they are usually the ones taking cases to courts), so there is often a gap between what is clearly copyright, and what is potentially PD.

The main criteria for exceptions on Wikisource should be where case law has been made it clear that the stake holder is dreaming if they think they could mount a case against Wikisource, or where there is no closely related case law to clarify because stake holders have not been bothered to try. This shouldnt be taken so far that it characterises our project as a trailblazer, as that would tempt some copyright holders to dream a little too hard, and we dont want to be the subject of frivolous law suits. The most useful exception that comes to mind immediately is public records and other documentary texts where reproduction is granted, but the integrity of the work is protected. This is one area where the credibility of Wikisource as an accurate and authoritative source of such texts would accumulate over time and bring in new contributors who realise that putting an important text on their private web host is no where near as useful as hosting it on Wikisource where there are many eyes checking for utility, provenance and integrity. Another useful exception is for works without a clearly defined copyright holder, in spite of reasonable attempts at finding them - this exception would allow us to keep texts where the copyright status is disputed but not conclusively.

This last point is more or less the usual definition of orphan works. Eclecticology 07:56, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

In practice, we are also limited to what administrative resources can deal with, and even in the time I have been contributing to the project, I have seen these resources stretched. As a result, I think we need to limit the inclusion criteria to ensure it is easy to police. As participation increases, we will have more hands on deck to research each case. But therein lies a catch-22: allowing exceptions will increase participation. John Vandenberg 04:01, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

I think it is bit sidetracked to get into when the legal status isn't known/knowable. We are always going to be debating what the legal status of X is. I am really wanting to figure out what consensus is for context of these inevitable debates. Is the context just the status in the US? Is it in the US and something more? I am just trying to clarify the ground rules of these debates, not overrule the need for future debates altogether. I disagree that allowing exceptions will increase the net participation. I think the more complicated the rules become with determining exceptions; we will decrease participation among a different set. Some people like to be secure in what the rules are to feel comfortable participating. Others don't care what the rules are; so long as we allow X they will participate.--BirgitteSB 13:59, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
Just to clarify, I dont mean exceptions in the sense that individual works may be given special consideration - that way does lead to madness and reduced participation. I meant well defined and sanctioned exemptions; i.e. new classes of acceptable works under the foundations EDP. These need not be complicated, and I am pretty sure that they will be less complicated than copyright law is. I think that defining these desirable classes which are not clearly "free cultural works" will reduce the number of debates we need to have. John Vandenberg 16:05, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
That makes more sense. But to have exemptions there must be the ground rules that they are exempt from. Where do you want to see the ground rules be?--BirgitteSB 03:19, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
I would like the ground rules to be legally sound in all sane jurisdiction (and I have put my name against "A" above), and where we can not definitely state that a text is free-libre, we should attempt to accurately report it's legal status in a way that it is meaningful to the reader, whatever country they are in. i.e. {{PD-US-no-renewal}} works need sufficient metadata around them so that I can know whether it is also free-libre in my country of Australia (author pages help here).
In my opinion, (quoting from the FCD) "The freedom to distribute derivative works" is not critical to our mission, and should not be used to prevent us hosting texts so that our readers have "The freedom to study the work and apply the information". John Vandenberg 04:17, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps instead of looking for a legal consensus, we should look for an ethical consensus that is less dependent on law. Eclecticology 06:49, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps the place to be is both legal and ethical, if at all possible. Easy to say but hard to reduce to practice, though. Our project should not be a trailblazer either, I'm not sure we're big enough/well funded enough to be that, just yet. ++Lar: t/c 03:44, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
An ethical basis makes one better able to interpret law. I don't think anyone is suggesting that we be trailblazers, nor that we do anything that would require additional funding. What I would hope for is a common sense approach to law that avoids far-fetched and paranoid interpretations. Eclecticology 07:44, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
Eclecticology's opening[edit]

I think that there are a number of areas where we can be more aggressive than we have been. There is a wide range of points where the copyright law is filled with uncertainty. This is not simply a question of saying we should go ahead because nobody will sue us, but of concluding that nobody is likely to sue us because our position is reasonable and sound. When faced with reasonable legal uncertainty there is nothing illegal with giving oneself the benefit of the doubt. This brings me to what I believe should be out first principle.

  1. Where we have included material with uncertain copyright status we should be prepared to take it down promptly when asked by a person with the standing to make such a request. Standing means a person has a legal right to make the request rather than a stranger with an officious nature.
  2. Where we include a work with uncertain copyright status, the nature of those uncertainties must be expressed.
  3. "Free" is a verb as well as a noun an adjective. Thus our efforts should include efforts directed at making works free.
  4. The theory that the United States does not support the rule of the shorter term should be viewed with extreme suspicion. Let's remember that any author for which this is a factor has already been dead for at least fifty years, during which time there has been no positive effort to protect the work in the United States.
  5. General copyright terms that are less than life plus fifty years should be viewed with suspicion, and we should perhaps act as though those rights were upgraded. This would not override existing rules in the United States about United States authors.
  6. What to do about authors from countries with protection terms greater than 70 years after death is a question that can be addressed later.
  7. In common law countries copyright is a property right in contrast to civil law countries where it is a personal right. The effect of this is that in common law countries when there is no owner for the copyright there is no copyright. Thus, we should allow orphan works, subject to our developing a set of criteria for determining when a work has been orphaned.

I may have other points, but I can add them later as I think about them. Eclecticology 06:11, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

For what it's worth, I agree absolutely on your first three points - I think is the ideal direction for Wikisource to take - we are not prepared to step on any toes, but we are not going to refuse to take steps due to a fear of invisible toes. However I do feel it's wrong to say that we should "upgrade" Iran's death+30 rule to death+50 just because we somehow 'magically' believe that 'our' arbitrary number of decades is better than theirs. I'm curious though, if you agree with John, on the issue of "perpetual copyrights"? And your opinions on whether WS should recognise a difference between "commercial" (novels, poems) and "documentary" (speeches, legislation) works? Sherurcij Collaboration of the Week: Author:William Gordon Stables 08:35, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
Your suggestion to be suspicious of copyright durations of less than 50pma also concerns and intrigues me. Commons accepts copyright durations of lesser length. Do you have a few specific countries in mind? John Vandenberg 08:50, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
To the best of my knowledge there are only eight countries where a term shorter than 50 years is a factor:Afghanistan, Djibouti, Iraq, Libya, Seychelles, Sudan, Iran and Yemen, and some of these have been changing. Of these only Seychelles is English speaking. My view is based on the principle that an author should not be disadvantaged simply because his country has not done the right paperwork needed to make itself compliant with the Berne standard. If all countries were to reduce their term to something more reasonable than 50 years I would be very happy, but at this stage we want to make sense of things rather than play to either long tail. Still, I'm a strong believer in flexibility. Our arguments should not be based on what we can get away with. I'm mildly amused that the one point to be singled out in what I said is the one where I would be stricter than existing law.
I do not support perpetual copyrights at all.
I realize that the kind of commercial/documentary is one of the four factors in the US legal provisions for fair use, though I am definitely not want to leave the impression that we should be encouraging fair use, nor do I even want to get into that debate. In other fora that excuse tend to be used to excess. I suspect that the distinction may open more problems than it solves. Just looking at the examples for the two classes begs the question: "What do we do with scientific material, or other articles from studious journals?" I very much agree with the US view that what was paid for by taxpayers belongs to taxpayers, but there are difficulties in applying this to other countries, and that by itself merits a full discussion.
I think that the basic idea in this discussion is how much risk is acceptable risk. Coming to an agreement on this should still leave room for specifics that have not yet been considered. Eclecticology 18:39, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
BirgitteSB's secondary comments[edit]

I never imagined that opinion on this would be so varied or so far-ranging. John and EC have both widened the field far past my expectations, and both tempered their "radical" ideas with interesting subtleties. I am a bit at a loss now and honestly I haven't given everyone's ideas full consideration. So I guess for right now I am switching from talking to thinking. Unless I need to clarify a misunderstanding.--BirgitteSB 01:21, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

Request for clarification[edit]

This discussion is starting to be picked up by participants of other Wikimedia Projects and is being viewed with quite a bit of unease. I'm not entirely clear from reading the above what move it is that it is proposed be made, but these statements in particular seem out of step with the goal of hosting free content:

  1. Where we have included material with uncertain copyright status we should be prepared to take it down promptly when asked by a person with the standing to make such a request. Standing means a person has a legal right to make the request rather than a stranger with an officious nature.
  2. Where we include a work with uncertain copyright status, the nature of those uncertainties must be expressed.

This effectively means that most unfree material cannot be challenged and in the bulk of cases is passing that risk to downstream users. If the position arose where Wikisource could no longer be relied upon to be taking all reasonable steps to (independent of challenge) verify the copyright status of its content, it may be that other projects would need to stop linking to it. For example, Youtube operates a similar "wait until we get the DMCA notice" approach and is not an acceptable link on most Wikimedia websites for that very reason. Wikisource does not exist as an island, and I hope you will bear in mind the fact that (a) this project's reputation will suffer if the provenance of its content is not rigorously checked and (b) Wikisource relies a lot on readers being refered from other projects - we can only do that while you are hosting demonstrably free content. Will (talk) 14:26, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

  1. Where did you find that "Youtube is not an acceptable link on most Wikimedia"? If it is true, which I doubt, this is wrong. We are not here to decide if other web sites infringe copyright or not.
  2. I think that most Wikisource projects actually follow the rule "ok if it is PD in the country of origin". With a strict interpretation of US copyright law, some of these works are not in the PD in USA (i.e. works published after 1922). That's one of the case we need to have clearer rules.
  3. Do not presume from this is a discussion of the rules which might be decided. Yann 16:39, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
I am slightly reassured by your third comment - also I am not nearly as concerned by the suggestion of broadening the PD rule to PD in the country of origin even where there may be some uncertainty as to the US law position, especially with orphan works. What really concerned me were the parts I highlighted, which seemed to preclude 3rd party challenge to the validity of the copyright of hosted materials. That would seem to stop Wikisource being a site whose determination of copyright could be trusted and require it to be individually investigated in each case - as is the case with sites such as youtube where people are understandibly reluctant to believe the uploader holds the copyright (or the work is free). Will (talk) 22:28, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
There is no logical connection between precluding 3rd party challenges and being a trusted site. And why shouldn't each case be individually investigated. The opposite to that is robotic application without regard to individual circumstances. Eclecticology 01:28, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
Will's POV seems unduly alarmist. Taking two clauses in a list of seven proposals out of context distorts the entire sensitive discussion. Those of us who do support wider inclusions also believe that there need be cautious limitations, and defining those limitations is as much a part of the discussions. If, for example, we agree in general to allow orphan works that would almost certainly lead to a discussion about what we mean by "orphan works". The bit about the project's reputation is pure drama. Eclecticology 17:21, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
My POV? My post you can describe how you like, but unless you can read minds I wouldn't presume to be able to known what my POV is. And it isn't your expansion to cover orphan works that bothered me (or I would have commented on that) but the proposition about who would be able to bring a goodfaithed challenge to the copyright status of materials here. Will (talk) 22:42, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
If your weren't expressing your POV, what were you trying to express. Mind-reading would be if I said that you believed something entirely differen from what you said. How is anything that a person says different from his POV? There is more to challenging copyright status than blind good faith. Anybody should still be able to raise that possibility about anything. Goodfaith is still different from good knowledge. There are any number of occasions where goodfaith claims are made, which do not take into account the factual landscape. There is a very good reason why a formal takedown order requires the claimant have the right to make his claims.
  • I agree with what EC says and also think that the obviously large chasm between the positions above as well as the equally obvious lack of consensus makes your request for clarification laughable. I cannot believe you actually read this discussion in whole and think that we can offer some sort of clarified position on the matter. So please read the full discussion. Also I would like to know who you are speaking for when you say we can only do that while you are hosting demonstrably free content?--BirgitteSB 17:42, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
I am speaking as a contributor to Wikimedia projects - I would seriously challenge the validity of Wikisource as a link if it adopted the approach of not allowing third party challenge to whether its content was actually free, which is what #1 seems to be proposing. That strikes me as a pretty irresponsible attitude to take within the context of a free content project. I read the discussion and there seemed to be growing support for this idea which struck me as out of step with the approach of other projects. If you find my comment alarmist, it reflects the surprise that reading the proposals (and the apparent assent to them) engendered. Will (talk) 22:23, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
The projects are autonomous, and I'm sure that whatever policy comes out of this discussion there are enough people here who will see to it that it is applied responsibly. I realize that there are free content purists who like an extreme interpretation, but one must still distinguish compatibility with free content from free content beyond reasonable doubt. In a reasonable context there should be enough safeguards to not need 3rd party challenges. Eclecticology 01:28, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
It is quite ridiculous to compare Wikisource potentially hosting an anonymous ransom note from the 1930s under the pretense of "We'll take it down if anybody brings forward a legitimate complaint" with Youtube or similar sites hosting say, Disney movies, until they get a DMCA notice. Your argument, as others have said, is alarmist and tries to sound as though you speak officially for other projects (which you do not), and refers to things like "assent" which clearly do not exist in this discussion. As Birgitte said, it is clear this is under discussion and being debated, if you want "clarification" of a single point, ask that author. Don't make out like Wikisource has gone mad and you demand a single concise one-sentence summary of our as-of-yet undecided future just sours the air. Sherurcij Collaboration of the Week: Author:Ivan Turgenev 01:32, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
I am utterly amazed by this rampant hostility to someone raising questions and worries about a proposed policy mood. I do not speak with official authority as I do not hold any, nor have I claimed any - I simply asked for an explanation of what seemed like a dramatic statement out of step with "free content" that had started comment around other project that Wikisource was planning to abandon the rigorous commitment to free content of other projects. I asked for clarification because your discussions so far are unclear to outside readers and "it now seems" have been misinterpreted- Yann and Jayvdb have been helpful in explaining the context and extent of some of those statement I highlighted. The response from others has been rather less helpful. Will (talk) 03:21, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
And somehow I suspect if a similar situation happens in the future you would once again be amazed to find hostility in the people you choose to confront rather than adopting a more diplomatic approach yourself.--BirgitteSB 17:17, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

Will, this has ended up being a free flowing discussion about how we wrestle with "free content" and the many complexities of copyright law, which is not sufficiently qualified in the "Free Culture Definition". I dont think anybody intended for their comments to be leading towards a policy change without being rationalised and proposed properly.

Firstly, What we include? already excludes 99% of all of the material of questionable copyright status, and our requirement that all works have a license tag ensures that we can chase down the other 1%. We do chase them down, and this discussion is about how people feel about the 0.01% where there is good reason to say that a work is "free", but also doubt that it is "free". We will never be anything like youtube, poemhunter or any other site with lax inclusion rules. That interpretation of this discussion is pure hyperbole.

In addition, this discussion is highly contextual to other discussions that didn't appear on the Scriptorium. We have recently been discussing some very difficult copyright problems, such as #Emergency evacuation and Wikisource:Proposed deletions#Unenforceable copyright. Both of these result in a clash between "free" and "PD" - as I understand it, this discussion was to work how established users feel about these problems, but in a more general sense. We have also seen a large number of frivolous copyright disputes spring up with demands that the works are deleted post-haste; these have usually been masking the persons real reason for wanting the work to be removed. Ultimately, if nobody of good standing defends a "possible copyright violation" with quality research, I am sure it would be deleted by everyone who has contributed to this discussion, irrespective of their personal opinions on the work.

Specifically addressing your concerns about the two bullets from Eclecticology's opening; it is a laughable misunderstanding that the wording was meant to prevent others from disputing the freeness of a work. As I understand it, the first bullet was primarily about works that, after much discussion, are considered "uncertain", such as orphaned works, and in that context "if we have assessed a work to be uncertain (i.e. orphaned/whatever), we shouldn't delete it unless someone brings quality information to the table; someone merely raising a concern is not enough. If the copyright holder comes to us, we would immediately respond." This is to prevent frivolous discussions by disruptive peoples, and I doubt that Eclecticology was intending that we shouldnt also respond to good faith disputes or disputes from people in good standing. The second bullet follows from this; again it is primarily about orphaned works or other scenarios that the project may decide, in the future, are sufficiently "free" to fit the definition of free content for most peoples definition of "free". Over at Wikisource talk:Copyright policy#Rule of shorter terms there is another general discussion about a class of works where copyright is uncertain.

In the event that any classes of uncertainty are permitted onto the site, they will be properly tagged and catalogued in order to allow proper criticism. John Vandenberg 01:47, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

Thanks John, that's by far the clearest and most helpful response - the statement about third party challenge is much clearer if it is solely in the context of works independently deemed to be orphan works. It is not apparent from the part that I refered to (and for that matter from parts of these discussions that I have seen quoted elsewhere) that what was being discussed was so limited. If it remains the fact that anyone can challenge where the source is free up to the conclusion that "it is an orphan work" or a similarly problematic borderline category - and it is one at that point that the exclusion is applied unless the actual rights-holder comes forwards, the approach seems much less extreme. Certainly my concern was that this was meant to be a general policy applicable to all categories of works where the copyright had not been fully accertained, which would seriously hinder the ability to challenge content on Wikisource. That's obviously very much lessened by your response. Will (talk) 03:31, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
Your request for clarification is about a possibility that Wikisource regulars are all implicitly considering to be an impossibility. As a result, your request is being taken as an affront to our meticulous commitment to free content, so it isnt surprising that it isnt being welcomed.
The confusion probably stems from the question "why is so much hot air being expended on this", which to the uninitiated makes more sense if we are talking about radical changes to our filtering process in order to increase the number of works we want to take on board. We are not.
We have to deal with a lot of very strange copyright issues. One ongoing discussion that will help you see the extent of the gray area is #Undeletion requests?. There we have access to the text of an edition that is possibly copyright - the original foreign language text is certainly free, the original US translated edition is certainly free; but the edition we have has probably been slightly modified and was published in the UK - trying to 100% verify it is free is not easy. The translator is virtually unknown, so we cant pin down when he died in order to verify when the UK edition became PD. Trying to get a copy of the original US editions is even more difficult. Sadly, unless we do a bloody lot of research, it wont leave this gray area. This is an enormous time sink. But in my opinion, Eclecticology's third bullet should hit home more than all of the others: "Free" is a verb as well as a noun an adjective.. In my opinion, we need to spend the necessary time to figure out these problems out in order to better define free.
Another problem is that so much "very free" content is not free in all countries, for all purposes. I am surprised there hasnt been as vigorous discussions on commons about this; if anything, this should be interpreted that Wikisource is more meticulous about its inclusion policy. I am quite certain that any decent analysis of content on Wikisource and Commons will find that Wikisource has less copyright issues. I am concerned that you (and unnamed others you elude to) have assumed that this discussion was attempting to change that - it feels like someone has actively tried to sow seeds of distrust about the people who contributed to the discussion. John Vandenberg 05:07, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
I've corrected my own error in what you quoted. ("noun" s/b "adjective") :-( It doesn't change the intent, but I should have caught that stupid mistake in the first place.
Your comments were well put. One point that did strike me as I was reading what you say. The pop culture, manga cartoons and movie-star photos that can be such a plague for Wikipedia just don't materialize here. We also have little need for the illustrations in isolation that could be a problem for Commons. For the most part our illustrations have a close connection with a larger work, and their copyright status will also be tied to that of the work in which they appear. What those unfamiliar with Wikisource easily fail to notice is that most of the material here is from a different time frame. That can have a profound effect on perceptions. Eclecticology 07:05, 1 November 2007 (UTC)


Images uploaded here[edit]

The following discussion is closed: deleted

I noticed that a new user uploaded a group of images here without a license and per my understanding against Wikisource policy. Without licensing information I don't think we can move them to Commons. Could someone take a look and speedy delete them if appropriate? Thanks, FloNight 11:50, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

P.S. I left a message on the user's talk page explaining the situation and inquiring about where they want to use the images on Wikisource. If they are properly licensed I will be happy to help move them to Commons. FloNight 12:04, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
They are related to the w:Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. See [1] and [2]. Im not sure about copyright yet. John Vandenberg 12:22, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
I cant find the source of the images so there is no obvious way that these is free. They are likely to be post-1986. It might be more fruitful to leave a message on Enwiki, or send an email. John Vandenberg 15:57, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
I emailed Monchelsea. FloNight 17:42, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
I've left a note at w:User talk:Monchelsea#images on wikisource. John Vandenberg 14:45, 12 November 2007 (UTC)
Good idea. :) I was looking here to see how long ago I started this discussion. I don't want to rush a closure of the discussion but also don't want it to get lost in the archives unresolved. FloNight 18:55, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

I've deleted them as the user hasnt responded. John Vandenberg 12:48, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

Disambig policy?[edit]

What is the policy on disambiguation pages on Wikisource? At present when you search for Robert Burns using the "Go" button, you are taken to Robert Burns, (a poem about him) not Author:Robert Burns (which lists his works). Should Robert Burns be a disambig page, or just have a title-disambig (This article is a poem dedicated to the author, for the author himself, see [ [ Author:Robert Burns ] ]? Csmiller 21:10, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

That's true of any author, since "Go" only goes to the main space. Maybe that behavior could be changed, but with the current behavior I don't think a disambig link would be helpful. -Steve Sanbeg 21:55, 23 October 2007 (UTC)
It's an interesting problem since a writer of any importance at all will also have things written about him. I wonder about the possibility of having a third, "Author," button beside the "Go" and "Search" buttons. Eclecticology 03:37, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
That will be easily possible with JavaScript once the upgraded search engine supports custom namespaces (bug 11753). —{admin} Pathoschild 08:41:44, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
The bug Pathoschild referred to has been closed. I (mistakenly) created a redirect for Rabbie Burns. Could an admin delete it for me? Csmiller 20:11, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
I've deleted "Rabbie Burns". John Vandenberg 15:07, 12 November 2007 (UTC)
I think the bug only applies to the "search" button. But adding an author button doesn't sound feasible; that would clutter the intrface, and since the buttons are hard-coded in the software, any changes we make would have to be reasonably applicable to other projects. Maybe something like have "go" check all content namespaces, and bring up a list in case of multiple matches, would be more generic & intuitive. -Steve Sanbeg 16:36, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

Special:Search/Author:Aristotle and fulltext search both work, so we can easily add Wikisource specific buttons. If we were to only add one button, I think an Author button that does the fulltext search would be the more useful of the two. John Vandenberg 15:07, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

Sudan and copyright[edit]

Looking for clarification on Sudan's copyright, if anybody can take a minute to help. The immediate issue before me was whether a work was inherently copyrighted the instance it was created, or if Sudan required registration. The scholarly article at Arab Law Quarterly (hosted at JSTOR) says Two steps in the creation of copyright will then be examined: the expression of ideas in tangible form or the subject matter, and the registration and deposit of copy of a work. These two features or constituents of copyright are important given that they ought to exist together before a copyright owner can assert his right. which implies that there is no "inherent protection". However, in 2000, Sudan became a signatory to the Berne Convention, which I believe requires inherent protection? So ultimately, the question becomes whether an unregistered/unpublished work from Sudan pre-2000 would be copyrighted retroactively. I am leaning towards "no", but wanted reassurance. Sherurcij Collaboration of the Week: Author:William Gordon Stables 09:00, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

It would seem that until recently Sudan followed the old UCC rule that copyright lasted for life plus 25 years, and that by virtue of joining the Berne Convention this became life + 50. (Unfortunately, the article that you cite from the Arab Law Quarterly is not available for most people unless they pay an outrageous $29.00) My tendency is to presume that life + 50 applies unless there is a good reason to accept a shorter period. Are any Sudanese authors under active consideration? There are two other issues in your brief quotation. In the matter of registration the effect of the Berne Convention is to require inherent protection without registration. This was a problem for the United States where registration is now a requirement only if one wants to pursue legal action against an infringer. It is also important to remember that copyright applies to the expression of ideas, and not the ideas themselves. Eclecticology 17:25, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
My specific question arises from the fact Osama bin Laden wrote some of his declarations while living "in exile" in the Sudan - they wouldn't have been registered, so if that's still a requirement, then they're definitely public domain - but if Berne is retroactive (and makes "inherent copyright" mandatory) then we could be on slightly shakier ground.Sherurcij Collaboration of the Week: Author:William Gordon Stables 18:07, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
Were the letters published in Sudan or written there and publish elsewhere? I am nearly certain that copyright is determined by the country of first publication, not were the work was created.--BirgitteSB 18:37, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
They were letters sent from bin Laden to the House of Saud in the 1990s, copies were seized and translated by the US Department of Defence post-9/11. While he wrote at least one seemingly "open letter", there's no indication it was ever published in any formal matter, and was just something distributed amongst his followers. Sherurcij Collaboration of the Week: Author:William Gordon Stables 18:53, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
Ibn Ladin's rights as an author would not be the best example for general policy. There is something unique about the man's position in history. It would get even stranger with his recent pronouncements. Is he living in Pakistan with its life + 50 law or Afghanistan which has no apparent copyright law at all? There is the legal maxim that hard cases make bad law, and this situation is on a par with the w:George Carlin skit where the boys would go into the confessional with questions about hypothetical and far-fetched sins. I don't even think that country of first publication is definitive; it is also arguable that country of citizenship may be a factor. In these situations it's probably a good idea to use the Berne Convention as a bronze standard when we have nothing else to go by. Eclecticology 19:17, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

New Title[edit]

I wish to add a book (original [only] copyright was 1901).....the title of the book is "Magic".....there's a play already listed here with (essentially) the same title......two separate do I start my book and have it listed as a separate title?? Buddpaul 03:54, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

Magic is now a disambiguation page. You will need to select a name for your book. If you can find the book in WorldCat, we could make some suggestions on the naming, but feel free to come up with a sensible name and go with it. John Vandenberg 06:05, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
I expect that we will have more works with this common title in the future. If, like the Chesterton play, your contribution has a sub-title use that in the name. Failing that often works is using the author's surname as disambiguating term thus: Magic (Surname) Eclecticology 07:23, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

Towards a Global Ethic[edit]

Text can be found here. If it can be added, please do so, and link to from wikipedia articles w:Parliament of the World's Religions and w:Global ethic. w:User:TShilo12 07:11, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

Who is the copyright holder of this text? It appears to have been delivered in 1993, which makes it copyright to someone, unless they have released it into the PD. John Vandenberg 09:11, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
Quite so. In this case the person who wants the text added seems to expect one of us to add it for him. People who are not committed to adding the text don't want to spend time investigating something that isn't there. Eclecticology 17:50, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

Undeletion requests?[edit]


I didn't find any undeletion requests page, so I put my request here.

The Natural Economic Order from Silvio Gesell was deleted in 2006, see Wikisource:Possible_copyright_violations/Archives/2006-04. However there is no mention of copyright anywhere. It was first published in 1929 and the date of death of the translator is unknown. [3] [4] I think we could undelete this work. Regards, Yann 19:06, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

I understand from reading the archive that our copy of the work was incomplete and the uploader long gone. What is the UK law on the rights of a translator? For now I'm inclined to reserve opinion on this specific item. It may very well fit into an orphan copyright category, but we have yet to find an agreement on what to do with these. It's also probably safe to assume that it would be more difficult to track translators than original authors. Eclecticology 18:05, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
There is no renewal record for the edition published in 1934-6 OCLC:3643615all editions by the "Free-economy Publishing Company". Does the deleted text give publishing details so we can work out which translation/publishing we have? has at least one edition[5], but its bib record is rather scant. The PDF has a filename of 1920, it is the translation by Philip Pye M.A, includes a preface by Silvio Gesell to the third edition, and a preface to the fourth edition dated May 5th, 1920. It also includes an appendix which lists works by Gesell mentioning translations as late as 1958, and published references to his theory, as late as 1958. This looks like a web version of that PDF, and this is a slightly better PDF that doesnt contain the appendixes. These last two sections with recent dates may have been added to the PDF but not in the original, but it probably means it is one of the three 1958 editions: OCLC:920780all editions OCLC:309749all editions and OCLC:5257696all editions. Some expensive info is available at jstor; Google snippets leads me to believe it was first published in 1929. More pdfs. Unless there is a good reason to believe otherwise, I think this is PD in the US where it was first published. John Vandenberg 00:04, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
The good news is that I get JSTOR for free, the bad news is what it says. "See Currency Reform as a Bridge to the Social State, which Philip Pye translated into English in 1951.", and "The different editions of the Natural Economic Order give different periods and different depreciation rates. The book was translated into English by Philip Pye and published in 1929, 1934. and 1951." which implies was certainly alive as of 1951, so UK copyright is out of the question, right? Sherurcij Collaboration of the Week: Author:Ivan Turgenev 03:46, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
Free copy of the article [6]. John Vandenberg 12:45, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
Does it say whether the 1951 edition was published in the US or UK? If it is the former, wecan assume that the PDFs lying around are very close to a US publication which wasnt renewed. John Vandenberg 03:54, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
Not so fast and not necessarily. What is the UK law relating to translations? Were the changes for the 1951 significant enough to create a whole new work that would require a new translation? The UK law should be easy enough to look up, but this is as much a fact driven problem. Not having the right facts makes this a more difficult problem.
It makes me wonder whether a project to track down the copyright ownership for deceased authors would be a worthwhile effort, perhaps with some kind of arrangement with the genealogical community. Eclecticology 06:34, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
(offtopic) To increase participation by the genealogical community, add an obituary to Wikisource! John Vandenberg 06:41, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
The more specific thing that I had in mind (using Pye as an example) was that someone there who had traced the family might know when he died. Eclecticology 08:20, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
w:Copyright law of the United Kingdom does not mention "translation". John Vandenberg 06:44, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
I was just looking at the UK Act and couldn't find anything there that would give a translation a new copyright. It makes me wonder whether this treatment of derivatives is unique to the U.S. Eclecticology 08:20, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

FWIW, w:The Natural Economic Order is an atrocious article, and on its talk page is my research into this "Free Economy Publishing Company". John Vandenberg 19:48, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

That's even more interesting. I thought that 1920 was the publication date of the original German edition. But if the first English translation was published at that date, then it is PD in USA anyway. Yann 21:31, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
That assumes that Pye was the translator for the 1920 edition. Eclecticology

Reference material[edit]

Seeing List of passengers onboard RMS Titanic speedy-deleted despite being a heavily referenced list (and one that belongs somewhere on WMF, WP will say WS, WS will say WP, nobody beter say WB)...I'm left to ponder WS:WWI#Reference_material where it says we don't publish lists that haven't been published elsewhere. But my question is, if this list was published in the 1998 "Titanic: Women and Children First" by Judith B. Geller as it seems to indicate...the list itself isn't copyrighted as purely information (we may have to rearrange layout?), it is previously published as per our need and thus fits was it truly a case for SpeedyDelete, or is there a place for lists like this on Wiki, or even Wikisource? I'm not married to the idea, I'm just trying to understand the "We don't include reference works, unless they're previously published" disclaimer of WS:WWI. Sherurcij Collaboration of the Week: Author:Ivan Turgenev 16:17, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

I'm certainly one that would say that this belongs on Wikipedia and not on Wikisource. I don't see this as a copyright issue. This is information rather than original writing, and IIRC such a list was published in the earliest books published on the matter within a month after the ship went down in 1912. Had someone chosen to add such an early book to Wikisource it would have fit into the criteria for inclusion. Apart from that I think it is outside the scope of this project to host random lists other than of author's works. On the other hand, I don't see this as an appropriate use of Speedy Deletion. As long as reasonable arguments for keeping it are conceivable we should encourage discussion instead of knee-jerk reaction to someone's impatience. Eclecticology 17:07, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
How is this any different from an anon/new user creating page with a URL or brief note to say that we should have a text for 'blah', with the expectation that we snap it up as a wonderful project that we had clearly overlooked and will remedy immediately? See also #Towards a Global Ethic. John Vandenberg 17:41, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
Whatever opther problems Global Ethic may have there does exist a single clearly identifiable source text. Eclecticology 19:08, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
This content still lives at w:List of passengers onboard RMS Titanic. We jumped on this here at Wikisource in order to ensure it wasnt pushed here and then deleted there. Note that this wasnt sourced from a book, but is sourced almost exclusively to this. John Vandenberg 17:41, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
Correct me if I am wrong, but you are also asking about whether we want to include "extracts" (tables/lists/whatever) of books. The deletion discussion regarding Gospel of the Hebrews (ignoring the copyvio aspect) also touches on this. I think this is a reasonable path to walk down where the content is real published material, and isnt wikiquote/pedia material. Even if it is wikibook material, if we can do the same using strictly old published material, I think we should try to do it to bring the richness of historical documents to our readers. One list that I started which is sort of similar is Contribution to a Bibliography of Chess Periodicals (incomplete). John Vandenberg 17:41, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
I think that the issue is one of original compilation. In general these go beyond the mandate of the project. The one key exception should be for lists that are ancillary to our purposes such as bibliographies or other proposals for works that we might include. I see no such intent in the Gospel of the Hebrews or the list of Titanic passengers. I do see it in the chess bibliography. Eclecticology 19:08, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
  • The exact wording of the policy is Wikisource does not collect reference material unless it is published as part of a complete source text. Just to clarify, not only does it have to be previously published, but Wikisource also has host the larger work it is part of. Before this was policy Wikisource had works like Methionylthreonylthreonyl...isoleucine, Sequence:Fibonacci numbers, Diceware word list (en), and Astronomical events in 2007. (If anyone wants a temporary restoration to have a look, leave me a note) These are all things that could likely be included if we only required "previously published". Personally I think en.WP is much more accepting of lists than it was in the past and that List of passengers onboard RMS Titanic would fit in there. IMHO including reference data was tried and it failed overwhelmingly with the conclusion that such works are extremely hard to maintain and attract no dedicated contributors.--BirgitteSB 19:14, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
As long as it's not facing deletion at WP, I'm fine with it being there - I just know that often these things are deleted there with the intention of moving them to WS...then we don't want them either. I don't particularly care about this instance, other than, as I said, I'd like to see that kind of information collected "somewhere" on WMF. I'm not sure it's fair to say we only host complete works, when something like Essays on Russian Novelists or Tolstoy letter to Crosby (where we don't host the book that held that essay/letter). Sherurcij Collaboration of the Week: Author:Ivan Turgenev 19:24, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
Whether something is facing deletion on WP should not be a criterion for what we do here. The people at WP can use the Transwiki process to offer the works to Wikisource, but Wikisource is under no obligation to accept them. The kinds of things that Birgitte mentions were fine at an early stage when we were trying to determine the scope of the project. They weren't the only things deleted. I remember getting some flack when I deleted lists of zip codes. The software code snippets were completely useless. Eclecticology 21:00, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
(edit conflict)I certainly don't think these are obvious exclusions. If we hadn't already tried including Reference Data, I would probably not object to it in theory. Actually I think I was for keeping it the first time the issue came up and only experience dealing with at an admin made my opinion become opposed to it. Consensus can always change. When the project is bigger it may not be such a burden. But I do think we will always need a source to proofread these things against. I used to do text search int the en.WP deletion discussions for "WS" or "Wikisource" and step in and say if moving it here would be acceptable. But for some reason I sopped and now there a lot more deletions than back then. If you are interested we could split it up, I could check odd days and you could do even ones.--BirgitteSB 21:15, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
Long ago I started off by accepting Reference Data too, election data, statistical tables, and the like. This stuff can too easily become unmanageable with such things as miscellaneous changes in Pi to 1,000,000 places disguised as corrections. Articles like that are usually from minds with a serious need for a reality check. Sure, consensus can change, but I don't think that a bigger project will make dealing with the reference material any easier unless we have contributors dedicated to such a task. There would just be more of it. Even with narrower inclusion criteria, and a stagnant 1923 copyright limitation, we aren't about to run out of work soon. Checking WP's deletion discussions may be one way to find things to add if we were desperate about finding more things to add, but if you look at our own transwiki log there's a lot there already that has not yet received serious consideration. Presumably anything there more than six months old could just be deleted for lack of interest. I'm still very conservative about what I consider a speedy deletion. Eclecticology 00:20, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
Checking en.WP deletions has nothing to do with finding works to add. It is about letting them know that WS will not accept the so they do not all support deletion because they think the work will find a home here.--BirgitteSB 18:42, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
From a quick scan of the transwiki log, it is full of good texts, all interesting. It is lack of eyes and effort that keep them there. That is probably because people that know about the transwiki process, have thought about the appropriateness of a text for Wikisource. That is in stark contrast to the thought process that went into dumping List of passengers onboard RMS Titanic here. John Vandenberg 13:06, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
Although we really should be avoiding the transwiki process and importing now that we have the ability to preserve the history.--BirgitteSB 18:22, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

Here is a passenger list with a source. Some digging might be required to obtain images for the entire newspaper article. John Vandenberg 02:13, 3 November 2007 (UTC)

User:Forestfarmer/sandbox is an interesting work in progress that I think falls into the bucket of "previously published, but not a source text". The same information can be found at w:Deep Blue versus Garry Kasparov#1997 Game 1, Kasparov vs. Deep Blue. John Vandenberg 21:18, 27 November 2007 (UTC)


Is there a way to see stats on the number of visits to a given Wikisource page? -- Mathieugp 21:58, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

Not that I know of--BirgitteSB 18:53, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
German wikisource has got. Look at this link. It is part of the WikiCharts project. -Aleator 15:40, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
Great. So I presume the same is coming for the other languages? -- Mathieugp 20:10, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

Top 10 incomplete/unfinished texts[edit]

I was thinking it would be nice to have a top ten list of texts needing competing, I dont know how to would be chosen. I geuss there could be one per subject that could be voted on like wikipedias featured pictures and acticals. This could help get things moving and get more texts %100 done. unsigned comment by Chris (talk) 16:10, 30 October 2007.

Wikisource:Proofreading is supposed to help get works to 100%. However 100% here doesn't mean "complete" but "proofread". Getting works to "complete" is only 50% of the work.--BirgitteSB 18:46, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

Question author pages[edit]

Hi. In contrary to some other domains (like de.source etc.) you decided to establish the name space Author. I'd just like to know if there has been any discussions on this matter later on here. Thx, -jkb- (cs.source) 11:28, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

I don't know what discussions took place on this Wikisource regarding the Author namespace, but I strongly support it. In the old Wikisource I had a lot to do with developing the idea, though at that time the software was not flexible enough to easily permit new namespaces. Author pages work very well to bring the works of one author together, and to put them in a broader perspective. They also serve as a bibliographic root so that you can know what still needs to be done, or to provide ;inks to other sites which may host the works of the author, even when for various reasons we cannot host those works on Wikisource If the author wrote in an other language it can be used to show that you would like a translation of that work. It can also provide links to biographical material or to works about the author. Author pages are not limited to authors in the strict sense of the work. The authors can be corporate or institutional authors, they can also be translators, illustrators, editors or other people whose contribution is important. Author pages can also be a vehicle for tracing the copyright status of an author, including tracing these rights for dead authors. Eclecticology 17:35, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
No recent discussion about the general idea. We have talked about technical solutions to make it simpler to search the Author namespace alone.--BirgitteSB 18:19, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

Question: texts in other languages[edit]

Can somebody tell me if there have been any discussion on the following problem I have now to solve in the cs.source: in the past (i.e. in previous centuries) there have been many politicians (+kings, bishops etc.) or writers in Bohemia who did not used the Czech languaqge but either the Latin one or the German one. Their texts are dominantly close to the Czech history or literature or politics. How to handle them here in Wikisource?

  • to publish them in oldwikisource? - I do not prefer this idea
  • to publish them in say either la.source or de.source, might be with a special category?
  • to publish them in cs.source although the language is not the Czech one?

And, not to forget: say, the present president of a country (CS) visit another country where he helds a very important speach in another language (the speach is, say, PD), and there is no translation. What to do with this? Thx, -jkb- (cs.source) 11:28, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

My understanding is that the original should go on de.WS, la.WS, etc (with categories), and a translation is put on cs.WS (with categories like "works originally in latin"). John Vandenberg 13:00, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

Well that is exactly that I would propose. I would follow the principle language to language - or in other words: wikipedias (and wikisources etc.) are made by languages not by countries. The solution would be in creating some category on the "foreign" wikisource like "texts from xxyy-country"; if there is no translation so we can redirect from the author's page or from similar ones. I am just wondering that I could not find some discucssion on this as it is surely not only a case of Bohemia but also of other countries, even some English scientists wrote formerly in German etc. and many old texts are in latin anyway. -jkb- (cs.source) 14:40, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

What about Category:Works by country? -Aleator 15:29, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

Yes, sure, something like that, in this case I would made an agreement with the la.source or de.source, but I was not quite sure that such documents should be posted on the Czech Wikisource when not in the Czech language. -jkb- (cs.source) 15:37, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

The primary distinguishing factor between Wikisources remains language, not nationality. On English Wikisource a number of regulars don't think we should host foreign language texts at all, though I personally think that there is room for exceptions. If the Czech Wikisource decides that it is culturally important to host key texts in Latin or German it is really up to the Czech community to decide. Eclecticology 17:18, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

OK, it is "up to us" - sure, I am free to make exceptionally decisions and host that and that... but here? I mean: to avoid chaotic circumstances a general rule would be better. And secondly, when I speak about documents made in Bohemia in Latin - I do not mind some crude sentences which will be searched for by some Czech scientists only. For instance, the whole work by w:Comenius has been written in Latin or other languages - so should we support a duplicity or strange solutions? Should we take all his works to the Czech WS, and on the Latin WS we shall have a redirect "well we are sorry, this document is in Latin, but was written in Prague, so have a look...!". I am really not sure, but I guess the language sollution could be the best. -jkb- (cs.source) 17:46, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

Titling question[edit]

I've just transcribed a chapter of History of Washington: The Rise and Progress of an American State (1909), and placed it for the moment at History of Washington. I assume that is not where it should go, but I'm not sure about the conventions for titling a piece that is a single chapter of a larger work. Can someone either give me some guidance or just move it to the appropriate title? Thanks. - Jmabel 18:19, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

It's probably better to use the full title (in anticipation that there may be other histories of Washington) followed by "/Volume 4/Chapter n" assuming that it has a chapter structure. You could probably forego the volume number if the chapters are continuously numbered across the volumes. Any plans to add further chapters? BTW I notice that even though it is a 1909 work it is in the category for 1911. Typo? Good to see you're back from Romania. Eclecticology 01:11, 5 November 2007 (UTC)
Yes, typo, I'll fix that. Unfortunately, when I photocopied these pages I didn't write down a chapter #, but I'll remedy that. (DONE - Jmabel 04:29, 6 November 2007 (UTC))
I think the whole book would be worth having; I'm not willing to transcribe a book, though. I did this part because I'm interested in the relations between whites and Chinese in the 19th century Pacific NW. - Jmabel 18:30, 5 November 2007 (UTC)
Jmabel, if the scans are high resolution, my OCR software stands a good chance of extracting the text from the images with little errors. If you want, upload the scans somewhere and when I have time (weekends are the best bet, and if you don't mind waiting until mid-December to have it OCR'd that's even better) and tell me where they are so I can download them. I'll OCR them as time allows.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 16:06, 6 November 2007 (UTC)