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Elaborate Wikisource strategic vision

project contact:



Micru - from Catalan Wikisource
Aubrey - from Italian Wikisource


Research new integration paths between Wikidata, Wikisource, Wikipedia and Commons. Create a mockup of a simpler user interface that will allow users to interact with this projects more easily. Define an user-friendly "information flow" for metadata usage.

engagement target:

Wikidata, Wikisource, Commons, Wikipedia

strategic priority:

Improving Integration, Quality, User Interface, Metadata usage

total amount requested:

10000 EUR

2013 round 1

Project idea


Wikisource is a sister project with a huge growth potential. It's a collaborative digital library which crowdsources proofreading of books and documents in the public domain, allowing its users to read directly from the scanned source. It's a primary source for Wikipedia, and it is one of the few hypertextual digital libraries which can provide both the reliability of the scanned page images and the readability and comfort of HTML text. But Wikisource has many issues, mainly technological and procedural. Wikisource has always needed a proper and reliable metadata management system, to import bibliographic data from external and public sources (eg. Online Computer Library Center (OCLC), Open Library (OL), Europeana or Library of Congress). It could also allow reuse of its own metadata for external projects (which would be absolutely interesting for GLAM collaboration). It needs a new workflow for metadata insertion, because right now these data are scattered between Commons, Wikisource and sometimes Wikipedia, along with a new upload process where the user can upload books directly to Commons without switching sites. Wikisource would need to be interoperable with external tools and projects, for example Textus for highlighting and annotation. It would need a system for stating subject tags and the aboutness of books, which would be the first to accomplish this as a digital library. Citations are another feature that could be improved: metadata from external sources could be used not only to increase reliability, but also to offer the possibility to automatically link Wikisource materials if they exist. Moreover, a new system for paragraph linking and transclusion would make Wikisource a unique and extremely useful digital library, for other wiki projects (eg. Wikiquote, Wikipedia) and websites in general. Also, if we know which materials are being cited and on which articles, it will be easier to update the references or correct the information that they support once they are invalidated or updated.

Many of these issues are listed in the Wikisource roadmap that some Wikimedians wrote at Wikimania 2012, and kept expanding in later months.

We want to create a detailed and strategic vision to show what Wikisource could become if it had all its potential unleashed.

The technology necessary to accomplish all this can be reused from new tools currently in development: Wikidata and Visual Editor.

To do this we would like to involve the Wikisource community in a global task to identify the hurdles (both technological and procedural) and to draft a plan to eliminate these barriers. Moreover, we would to engage in a discussion (and possibly a collaboration) with other projects, as Open Knowledge Foundation, to make Wikisource more interoperable and integrated with external tools.

Project goals

Phases for goals that require community involvement

We want to engage the wikisource community in a process to elaborate a stragic vision for Wikisource in two different time-frames. Actual implementation will happen afterwards, involving the community and (hopefully) the WMF. We will also consider applying for a second grant once we know in detail the resources needed to implement them (see diagram on the right).

  1. Plan short term tasks that can be accomplished without support from WMF Tech
  2. Plan long term tasks that would require a commitment from the WMF

An example of short term tasks that won't need support from tech are:

  1. Uploads must reuse existent metadata on the web
  2. Content from WS must be available to external sources
  3. Re-think citation system


  • Skype/irc/chat interviews with at least one representant of the 10 major wikisources by number of proofread pages (fr, en, de, it, pl, es, sv, no, ru, ca). Organize discussions in language projects and in a central location.
  • Creation of document "Wikisource Strategic Vision" (similar to "Wikimedia Movement Strategic Plan Summary"). Set community priorities.
  • Technical drafts of the features to be implemented to accomplish the vision defined by the community.
  • Process drafts on how to implement the features with available resources (volunteers, mentorships, future IEGs, etc).
  • Proposal on long-term goals that eventually will need WMF involvement
  • Assessment of costs and benefits of a deeper involvement with OCLC. Possible in-person meeting.
  • Technical assessment of possible collaboration with external organizations (initially the Open Knowledge Foundation). Possible in-person meeting.
  • Presentation during Wikimania

Project plan


Scope and roadmap:



  • till end March/April: Finish the detailed description of the basic goals. Metadata handling, drafts about citation, define a strategy with OCLC that would allow WS a similar collaboration with their partners as ws-fr has with BNF (either by OCLC membership or partnership).
  • During April: set up a "Wikisource Vision" page (maybe in meta?), contact language communities, ask for a local coordinator, present the drafts to the communities.
  • Till end of May: consensus building, priority setting, assess resources (who can volunteer to code?). By then we should know if we can count on Wikidata for short term goals or if it is more for the long term that needs WMF for code reviewing.
  • During June: Create the main Vision document (like this one)
  • During July: Rally for support.
  • August: Wikimania, present vision, approach WMF.
  • September: split the tasks between: a) tasks that can be done by Wikisource developers and volunteers, b) tasks that can be done by mentorships (if so, look for mentors), c) tasks that could be done by paid developers on a second IEG.
  • October: final report

Short term planning


Some of the needs have already been identified by volunteers on the Wikisource roadmap, however an in-depth analysis is necessary to define a way to solve these problems without the need of using WMF Tech resources. The initial draft will be presented to the communities in April for community discussion, and that discussion will be distilled into an action plan.

For this IEG we require no WMF tech staff involvement. The short-term plan that we will draft will be focused towards on-wiki tech work (templates, user scripts, gadgets) and completely standalone applications without a hosting dependency.

The execution of these short-term plan will be a task of future IEG projects or of our volunteers.

Long term planning


For goals requiring a higher technical support, we will draft a long-term plan that we expect that will be taken into consideration by the WMF once the technical resources are available again.

Goal 1: Uploads must reuse existent metadata on the web

Relations between Wikisource spaces

When uploading media to commons, the user should have the option to import metadata from external trusted sources (initially Online Computer Library Center (OCLC), Open Library (OL), Europeana and Library of Congress). Some work has been done with the Library of Congress (MARCsman) and with Internet Archive (import tool), which also imports metadata. The challenge is to create the workflow to disturb users the least and spread the information to Wikidata. If the upload is relevant to WS this data must spread additionally to the relevant pages in WS (index, and author). (Check if it would make sense a Namespace “Subject” to reuse “aboutness” field data).

Goal 2: Content from WS must be available to external sources (OCLC, OL)


Some technical work has been done by Tpt by creating an OAI-PMH generator. However, this should work should be part of Wikibase development, and there is the need of (internal and external) advocacy to promote partnerships between WMF and external metadata providers (OCLC and OL initially).

Goal 3: Re-think citation system


In conjunction with the Visual Editor, conceive a citation system that a) re-uses existing metadata b) automatically links easily to wikisource materials c) provide feedback in wikisource about which materials are being cited d) allows paragraph citation and transclusion.



Total amount requested


Maximum amount of 10000 EUR, less expected, see below.

Budget breakdown


Statement: After a project member meeting we consider that some clarification is needed about the Project management concept. We are already heavily involved in the Wikisource project, so we don't expect any retribution for our work. If the grant is considered as an extra gratification for heavy focus and energy on pursuing the stated goals, then we consider that 2000 EUR per participant for 6 months of work would cover that concept and possible contingencies.
This project might involve a big deal of traveling expenses to organize in-person meeting with external organizations and the presentation in Wikimania. In order to minimize costs, User:Micru (resident in Quebec, Canada), would take care of the issues that need addressing in North America, while User:Aubrey (resident in Italy) would cater for issues in Europe. To cover these expenses, we request the allocation of 3000EUR per participant in a common fund that would be used as suited, and the remainders would be given back to the WMF once the project is over.

Intended impact:


Target audience


Final users will have a better way to access Wikisource books and transcriptions, the upload process will be streamlined and data entry simplified (no more redundant pages).

Fit with strategy

  • Improving Integration: It brings together the parts that for the common user seem an unsolvable jigsaw puzzle.
  • Improving Quality: Reduces data redundancy, and therefore repetition errors. Indirectly, it creates a better and reliable framework for GLAMs metadata, which would ease collaboration.
  • User Interface: increases the productivity. Less time to accomplish the tasks, less frustration.
  • Visibility: Metadata usage on the web means more exposure of the work done.



With the information generated we expect that the Wikimedia board takes action and pushes this project into the list of new developments.

Measures of success

  • Engage at least 10-20 people across all Wikisources during vision drafting
  • Support of the vision document by at least 50 volunteers
  • Finish all documents on time
  • The drive generates at least 1 new IEG application, 1 mentorship, and 1 volunteer-driven project for implementing short-term goals
  • The vision is presented to the Wikimedia movement and the general Open Knowledge movement: is established a commitment by one or more entities (i.e. chapters, associations, foundation) for long term goals.


  • Micru (focus on usability/workflow): robotics engineer, conducted usability studies before about man-machine interactions. Solid international work experience as developer, project coordination and some experience as product manager.
  • Aubrey (focus on metadata): bachelor in mathematics, working as digital librarian for open access journals at University of Bologna. Presentation during Wikimania 2012



Collaborating with the project:

  • Tpt (focus on WS system architecture): maintainer of the Proofread Page extension and a sysop of the French Wikisource and now of Wikidata. Developer of the Wikisource EPUB export tool and the Internet Archive import tool. Some work already in progress about Wikidata integration. This position doesn't make it, of course, unable to continue to maintain MediaWiki extensions related to Wikisource (Proofread Page and Double Wiki). Presentation during Wikimania 2012



Community Notification:


Please paste a link to where the relevant communities have been notified of this proposal, and to any other relevant community discussions, here.


  • Check the updates here

Endorsements to the first draft


Do you think this project should be selected for an Individual Engagement Grant? Please add your name and rationale for endorsing this project in the list below. Other feedback, questions or concerns from community members are also highly valued, but please post them on the talk page of this proposal.

  • Support, There is no question that success of this project could greatly improve crosswiki performance and make improving the Wikisource Library much easier. The plan has distinct and attainable goals, with a reasonable possibility of success. Previous works that can be leveraged on to increase the potential of success have been identified and integrated into the plan. JeepdaySock (talk) 11:46, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

Endorsements to the second draft

Comments can be found on the Talk page.
  • Although I've not gone through the budget and plan in detail, facilitating a strategic plan for Wikisource is a great project. Wikisource is one of the WMF projects that huge potential but has realized only a little of it, in part because of its awkward fit into a technical system designed for writing encyclopedias. A clear vision of what the project could and should become, including what kind of technical systems would be needed to get there, would be very valuable.--Ragesoss (talk) 17:06, 21 February 2013 (UTC)
  • I would be very interested in reading a strategic vision for Wikisource document. I think it would be very good to have a document that explained Wikisource's aspirations to the broader Wikimedia community. I whole-heartedly support this proposal provided the Wikisource community is on board Bawolff (talk) 03:14, 22 February 2013 (UTC)