Sunday, February 05, 2012

#Wikisource should be big

At #Fosdem you meet people from all over Europe. I met with one Wikisourcerer and we had a talk about this project. Even though it is an official Wikimedia Foundation project, it is very much a Cinderella; an  unloved daughter that is blossoming into beauty.

The one thing Wikisource is lacking is a bit of TLC. Compare it with the attention showered over GLAM, the contrast could not be starker. We all love GLAM (I do), it has had a global WMF fellow and now there is a person doing the works for the USA and it has the attention of many chapters. Wikisource is what some people do.

Actually what these people do, particularly when they are organised is very relevant and it supports one of the pillars of what we do; the public domain. The public domain is strengthened because it fulfils the role industry does not. It ensures the availability of works that are considered to be of no commercial interest. It brings attention to works that have a timeless value and for many languages it actually ensures that schools have books for kids to read.

There are several projects where people are digitising books, transliterating them. The one thing lacking is learning from best practices. The best source projects organised the acquisitions of books, the scanning, the transliteration, the distribution. The Malayalam Wikisourcerers for instance published a CD that was send to all schools in Kerala.

Wikisource is a project where our chapters are particularly well positioned to engage in Wikisource. It is practical and when done well it will help us in preserve and strengthen the public domain.
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