Wikisource:What Wikisource includes

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Inclusion policy

Wikisource, as the free library that anyone can improve, exists to archive the free artistic and intellectual works created throughout history, and to present these publications in a faithful wiki version so that anyone may contribute added value to the collection. This page outlines the policy used to determine whether or not particular works meet this goal and are acceptable on Wikisource.

Defining what is included


Criteria on this page are in addition to copyright criteria, which are described at Wikisource:Copyright policy.

Different rules apply depending on when the work was created. Although US copyright law provided the convenient transition date, it is still possible that a work created before that date remains protected, or that a work created after that date is in the public domain.

Works created before 1929


Most written work (or transcript of original audio or visual content) published (or created but never published) prior to 1929 may be included in Wikisource, so long as it is verifiable. Valid sources include uploaded scans and printed paper sources. These works are expected to meet copyright requirements using {{PD-old}} or one of the {{Pd/US series}} licenses. They are unlikely to have conflicts with Acknowledged precedent exclusions.

Works created after 1928:


(meaning works created after December 31st, 1928)

Documentary sources


Documentary sources are characterized by one of two criteria:

  1. They are official documents of the body producing them, or
  2. They are evidentiary in nature, and created in the course of events.

These documents may range from constitutions and treaties to personal correspondence and diaries. This category may include material not historically available, such as historical telephone calls, judicial proceedings, and transcriptions of military operations. Documentary sources must be added in their complete form whenever possible, without substantive editorial amendment. The source of these works must be noted in order to allow others to verify that the copy displayed at Wikisource is a faithful reproduction. Expressions of mere opinion are not documentary.

Analytical and artistic works


Analytical works are publications that compile information from other sources and analyze this information. Any non-fiction work which is written about a topic after the main events have occurred generally fits in this category. These as well as any artistic works must have been published in a medium that includes peer review or editorial controls; this excludes self-publication.

Scientific research


Scientific research is acceptable to include in Wikisource if the work has verifiable scholarly peer review from a trusted entity. The work must be free or released under a free license, which precludes most works already commercially published under an agreement that prohibits republishing.

An example of such acceptable research work is a thesis that has been scrutinized and accepted by a thesis committee of an accredited university.

Previously unpublished scientific research, regardless of being peer reviewed or not, is acceptable to include in Wikisource if an author meets Wikipedia:Notability (regardless of the actual presence of Wikipedia article on the author) and the work is released under a Wikisource compatible license.

Defining what is not included


Second-hand transcriptions


Wikisource no longer accepts any new texts from Project Gutenberg, or similar second-hand transcriptions of any sort. This applies even if "scan"-backed by a DJVU, PDF, or any other format accepted by the ProofreadPage extension, created from that text.

Note: The preferred way to contribute such texts is to proofread against a scanned copy of the book so that the Wikisource copy can always be validated against the physical text.



Wikisource does not host partial works or extracts. For details see Wikisource:Extracts

Adding value to source texts


Although Wikisource is not a place for editors to contribute new and original works, there are several ways to make original contributions by adding value to existing publications. Entirely new compositions written by contributors are not appropriate here, though they may have a place at other Wikimedia projects such as Wikibooks.



The English Wikisource only collects texts written in the English language. Texts in other languages should be placed in the appropriate language subdomain, or at the general multi-language website. However, English Wikisource does collect English translations of non-English texts, as well as bilingual editions in which the target language of the translation is English.

For translations, the first priority at Wikisource is the contribution of previously published, public domain translations. However, in light of the fact that there are countless source texts published in other languages that might never be translated otherwise, plus the fact that new, complementary translations can improve on existing ones in many ways, Wikisource also allows user-created wiki translations.

For more information regarding translations, see Wikisource:Translations. Also see Wikisource:Copyright for copyright information pertaining to translated works.



Previously published versions of texts with annotations are the priority here, but these may be unavailable for copyright reasons, out-of-date, or in need of improvement. This is often especially the case for pre-modern texts (such as ancient and classical or medieval texts).

Annotations may include critical data about the source text itself, footnoted commentaries about words or passages, references, sectioning and section titles, introductions, summaries, indices, pictures, et cetera. In all cases, annotations by contributors must be added in such a way that an undisturbed, "clean" source text is available, either through a technical means or by providing a parallel copy.

For more information regarding annotations, see Wikisource:Annotations.

Note that annotations of an instructional nature designed to facilitate classroom study, especially in preparation for a test, belong at Wikibooks rather than Wikisource (see Wikibooks policy on annotated texts).



Multimedia content added to texts can greatly improve the quality and presentation. Such content includes not only published illustrations or photographs from or about the book itself which are out of copyright, but also original contributions of audio recordings, diagrams, or other content.

Note: Multimedia contributions are subject to Wikisource:Image use guidelines.

Acknowledging precedent inclusions and exclusions


Although precedent is not binding, it is worth examining of the most common types of publications which have been found unacceptable at Wikisource. These types of works will not be accepted by the community without a major shift in consensus and are eligible for precedent deletion (addition to Wikisource:Proposed deletions). Largely similar works are likely to be nominated for deletion. Everything here is meant to be based on common sense interpretations of the policy outlined above.

Original contributions



Works created by Wikisource users or otherwise not published in a verifiable, usually peer-reviewed forum do not belong at Wikisource. Wikisource is not a method for an author to get their works published and make them available to other people, nor is it a site to discover "new talent".

Note: There are a few exceptions to this rule, as detailed under Added value to source texts above. Also note that a Wikisource contributor may make their own original work available (within reason!) by placing it within their own user namespace.




Wikisource does not collect advertisements that are not publications themselves. However, advertisements that are part of a larger publication are acceptable. When transcribing a work that includes advertisements, the advertisements can either be transcribed and transcluded, or they can be ignored and not transcluded (as they are not considered part of the work of the author). If a page of advertisements is not transcluded, add Category:Not transcluded to the body of the page. You may also want to add a note on the index talk page explaining that you have chosen not to include the advertising. Finally, be sure to set "advertising not transcluded" in the "Transclusion" field of the index page if you are not including the advertising.

Anonymous texts


Determining copyright status generally requires knowing detailed authorship information. Most source texts have an identifiable author (individuals, groups, governments), but there are texts where this information has been lost. Historical anonymous texts are appropriate at Wikisource, and some are even quite important. However, most anonymous texts should not be added to Wikisource unless they have some historical value and have no ambiguity under the copyright policy.



Random or selected sections of a larger work, are generally not acceptable. When an entire work is available as a djvu file on commons and an Index page is created here, works are considered in process not excerpts.

Evolving works


Wikisource's mission is to collect and preserve works in their published form. In light of this, works whose content is expected to constantly change over time, for the purpose of keeping the work updated, to improve the content matter of what has already been published, or to make the text more comprehensive, are excluded from Wikisource's scope.

A few examples include

  1. Open-ended texts where the author relies upon cooperative efforts by many contributors to finish and improve the work;
  2. Compilations where there are many sources of a particular text, and/or the text is to be constantly updated as more relevant information is found and added;
  3. Lists (see also below).

Reference material


Wikisource does not collect reference material unless it is published as part of a complete source text. Such information has not been previously published, is often user-compiled and unverified, and does not fit the goals of Wikisource.

Some examples of these include

  1. Lists;
  2. Mathematical constants (such as digits of pi);
  3. Tables of data or results;
  4. Cryptographic material;
  5. Source code.

Note: Reference data that is provided as part of larger publication (tables, appendices, etc.) is perfectly acceptable.



Manually entered works where a verifiable source is not available are increasingly deleted when found incomplete and appearing abandoned. While a djvu file at Commons is not currently a requirement, there has been discussion of making it a requirement. Your work will have a better chance of standing the test of time, if it can stand the test of validation to an available scan. Because Commons is a sister site under the same organization as Wikisource, as long as Wikisource, Wikipedia and related sites exist, your work is likely to survive if the page images are stored at Commons.



Some works which may seem to fail the criteria outlined above may still be included if consensus is reached. This is especially true of works of high importance or historical value, and where the work is not far off from being hostable. Such consensus will be based on discussion at the Scriptorium and at Proposed deletions.

See also