Jump to content

Grants:IEG/Elaborate Wikisource strategic vision/Final

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki

Welcome to this project's final report! This report shares the outcomes, impact and learnings from the Individual Engagement Grantee's 6-month project.

Part 1: The Project




When we started devising the plan for the IEG project, the only certainty was that we were starting an uncertain endeavor, with many hidden variables and unknown dangers, which didn’t let us make as many specific promises as we would have liked. However, 10 months after these initial steps, we can state confidently that our aim of generating a community momentum has been successful. Future successes will depend on how much the community decides to get involved on a common Wikisource path.



In a few short sentences, give the main highlights of what happened with your project. Please include a few key findings or learnings from your project in bullet points, for readers who may not make it all the way through your report.

  • Community contact through several means: hundreds of emails, discussions, Skype calls, IRC and IRL chats.
  • Outreached to the wider Wikimedia community with our blogposts on Wikimedia blog.
  • Outreach to librarians, scholars, open knowledge activists and developers (also in conferences like: Wikimania, Amsterdam Hackathon, LODLAM, OAI8).
  • Networking people who worked on the same or related subject, but didn't know each other.
  • Establishing initial contacts with potential global partners (Internet Archive, Open Library, Google Books and others)
  • Leading book metadata implementation in Wikidata, with now a fixed date for deployment: Jan 2014
  • Revitalization attempt (successful) of the Wikisource mailing list.
  • Identification of issues that need a technical approach, proposals and assistance to Wikisource-related GsoC projects.
  • Foundation of the Wikisource Community User Group, which led to a community survey and an international proofreading contest.



In your midpoint report, you told us about the setup and background for your project. Do you have anything else to add to your methodology from the second half of your project? If so, please add it here.

On our midpoint report we stated that we based our work in some fundamental principles:

  • pragmatic approach: what can be done is done *now* and if it cannot be done is because the moment is not there yet.
  • bottom-up approach: instead of dictating what to do, we have been acting as a magnifying glass, collecting and concentrating all the wishes into the point where it can ignite action.
  • blend into the community: we are just two more people of the hundreds, and if something was accomplished the merit is not ours, it is the communities‘.

In addition to this, we must say that when interacting with external organizations the fact that we presented ourselves as volunteers with the “WMF/IEG seal of approval“ was regarded very positively. This kind of recognition also gave us self-confidence to act as “soft representatives” of the community wishes. We hope that with the WCUG we can, not only make this feeling last, but also transfer it and empower other members who want to get involved representing Wikisource all around the world.



We have explained them in the midpoint report. We can drop down our activities dividing them in few categories

Furthermore, we developed a survey for the Wikisource international community, we deployed it in November and we analyzed it. We also finalized the creation of a Wikisource Community User Group.

Outcomes and impact


What are the results of your project?

Please discuss anything you have created or changed (organized, built, grown, etc) as a result of your project.

Some of the results are:

  • Wikidata Books task force: the community has been discussing all the book-related properties on Wikidata, as this will affect several Wikimedia projects (Wikipedia, Wikisource, Commons). Many properties (a core set) have now been created. Integration with Wikidata will happen in January 2014. A study of the integration has been done.
  • Wikisource User Group: the groups has been accepted by the Affiliation Committee, and we have a list of 40 participants so far. Via the User Group, two main accomplishment has been made:
    • Wikisource community survey: in order to get to know what the community considers prioritary for Wikisource and its user group, everybody was invited to take this survey. The idea of the survey started on the Wikisource mailing list on Sept 19 (see initial message by Aubrey) and after a lengthy discussion and it being translated into 11 languages by volunteers, it went public on Oct 14 2013 for 2 weeks (see message). For the results see: Wikisource survey report
    • Wikisource 10th anniversary proofreading contest, run by volunteers in Italian, Catalan and English Wikisource, from 24th Nov 2013. More information in this blog post. The results of the contest still have to be validated, but for the Italian project this was a huge and unexpected success: over 4000 pages, in only 7 days, have been validated. The Catalan edition has also *exploded* all expectatives. Being centered around proofreading instead of validating, the participants have proofread durint a week almost as much as communities 10 times larger.
  • The Google Summer of Code grantees were working in their respective projects and they had a clear view how their project relates to the Wikisource workflow.
  • Reviving the number of messages on the Wikisource Mailing list (see the archives): February: 2, March: 11, April: 7, May: 47, June: 112, July: 23, August: 18, September: 32, October: 50, November: 95.

Progress towards stated goals and targets


Please use the provided table to:

  1. List each of your original goals/targets (measures of success) from your project plan.
  2. Next to each goal/target, list the actual outcome that was achieved.
  3. Explain how your outcome compares with the original goal. Did you reach your planned targets? Why or why not?
Planned measure of success
(include numeric target, if applicable)
Actual result Explanation
Goal 1 - reuse metadata from the web in progress this became the work of the Wikidata books task force, devising a schema that could be used to represent bibliographic information from many sites and not only Wikisource. It also became a GsoC project that allows entering metadata on file upload (its deployment is currently stalled by a RFC on template data organization on Commons, but it is likely that can be deployed in the near future).
Goal 2 – make Wikisource content available to other orgs in progress this transmuted into talks with external organizations to evaluate their needs. It also involved a promotion effort (for many it was the first time that heard from the existence of Wikisource) and we gained contacts and understanding about how these organizations work and plans for future interaction tests once the transition to Wikidata is completed.
Goal 3 – re-think the citation system in progress this became 2 RFC’s (broad community discussions) on Wikidata. The first one lasting two months became the foundation for sourcing statements. The second one determined the wish of the Wikidata community to support bibliographic information, also from Wikipedia sources. Of course these accomplishments are thanks to the fantastic Wikidata community and we are glad that we had the chance to become part of it.

A first comment could be: results are very good, but the initial goals of the project were not properly met. This is probably because we aimed for too high goals. We are pleased about what we achieved, also because all was done thanks to the interaction between Wikisource and Wikidata communities, however the goals, as they were stated, are not completed: progress is ongoing.

Comments on stated measures of success


These are our comments on the initially stated measures of success:

  • Regarding “Engage at least 10-20 people across all Wikisources during vision drafting”: in the end, instead of working towards a document, we decided to work towards action. More than 20 people have been engaged in talks, discussions, etc. and around 40 people joined the application process for the WCUG.
  • Regarding “Support of the vision document by at least 50 volunteers”: since we shifted our initial goal, then we consider the participation in the survey as equivalent to this. Around 250 people answered it.
  • Regarding: “Finish all documents on time”, well, we hope that we are on time :)
  • Regarding: “The drive generates at least X projects…” there have been 4 GsoC, plus 2 IEG applications related to Wikisource, additionally volunteers have shared new scripts on the mailing list (thanks to Alex Brollo, and to Joan Creus).
  • Regarding: “The vision is presented to the Wikimedia movement…” this is a task for the newly founded WCUG and we are sure that it will be done since it is the wish of the community too.

Strategic impact


Please reflect on Wikimedia’s strategic priorities. We've provided 3 options below for the strategic priorities that IEG projects are mostly likely to impact. Select one or more strategic priorities that you feel your project has had impact on. Answer the question related to the priority you've selected by sharing any measures of success you have that point to this impact.

Option A: How did you increase participation in one or more Wikimedia projects?

Option B: How did you improve quality on one or more Wikimedia projects?

Option C: How did you increase the reach (readership) of one or more Wikimedia projects?

We can say we worked mainly on necessary condition for A, B, and C to happen, which is the coordination of Wikisource language communities, with the aim of fostering the creation of an active group of international Wikisourcers. This has been a success: we took the first steps for the recognition of the community-supported Wikisource Community User Group, and thanks to this, also the communication on the offical Wikisource mailing list increased. Only time will say if the actual participation or quality or readership on Wikisource will increase. For sure, all the actions undertaken by this IEG project were aimed to all three of the objectives.

  • Google Summer of Code, Wikisource survey and anniversary contest were directed to ease the work on Wikisource, thus increasing participation. For example, the Italian Wikisource contest brought in more than 160 new editors.
  • Outreach activities and discussions were aimed to increase quality of the content (via GLAM parnerships).
  • The Wikisource anniversary competitions, the use of Facebook and Twitter, and the blogposts on Wikimedia blog were done with the intention of increasing readership (and some of them also participation). In the Italian Wikisource, the readership increased of thousands of visitors, same as with the Catalan contest.

Additional impact


Did your project have any other kinds of impact you had not anticipated when you planned your goals and targets?

  • We did not anticipate to have impact on software development. The Google Summer of Code projects started few very interesting projects, and we hope those could be finalized and will provide a better infrastructure for Wikisource. The refactoring of Proofread Extension will be deployed soon.

Key Learnings


The best thing about trying something new is that you learn from it. We want to follow in your footsteps and learn along with you, and we want to know that you took enough risks in your project to have learned something really interesting! Think about what recommendations you have for others who may follow in your footsteps, and use the below sections to describe what worked and what didn’t.

What worked well


What was successful? What would you recommend doing again? Please list these as short bullet points.

As stated during the midpoint report:

  • GsoC proposed projects, although only one is going to be deployed so far
  • Blog posts announcing Wikisource progress
  • Wikidata involvement, a key partner for many future plans

Also during the second term we think that the conducted survey, started by the WCUG and supported by us, will help reach a better understanding of who are wikisourcerors and what they want. Whoever who wants to “do something for the community”, now can take a look to their answers and gain legitimate insights about what is acceptable and what is really wished for. Also, by asking the participants about some topics, we raised awareness about what is coming and what could come.

However, we are also aware that this “excitement-building” is a two-edged sword. If the WCUG and the wikisource mailing list keep being used as a tool to empower its members and learn from each other, it will gain traction up to the level that keeps its activity over time independently of our participation, which is what we hope.

It is critical that we communicate to the users effectively about how to use these “invisible” tools and, if possible, extend the trust and reliance on each other that is already happening at a small scale, to a larger extended family of deeply involved Wikisourcerors.

Yet to improve


One of the pending issues that we have is extending the familiarity links between communities that have no links, or that had no opportunity to develop them. We believe that a way of improving this would be to advocate for involved users of each community to travel and meet at Wikimania 2014. The health and diversity in our community only can be reached if we do an extra effort and take care of big and small communities that have not been involved participating at international level, maybe for this lack of trust and for not knowing the people who are on the other side. As the Wikisource vision unfolds, there are more and more topics to talk about, and to learn from each other. We discovered fun activities, like celebrating contest or nagging for advertisement, and that knowlege can be shared with each other to improve upon.

What didn’t work


What would you not do again or recommend that others do differently in the future? Please list these as short bullet points.

In the midpoint report, we explained in detail which were the major challenges for us. Those remained, even if, truth to be told, the Survey and the Contest helped a lot gathering people around and getting things done.


  • lack of communication between Wikisource language communities is still one of the major problem. This is intertwined with the fact that global Wkisource userbase is small, especially compared to the Wikipedia one. This is not an easy issue to solve.

Things are slowly changing, we'll see how much.

  • lack of communication between cross-project communities is again something not easy to fix, but Wikidata is helping in that way. But, at least in the Catalan and Italian case, Wikipedia communities agreed to use the sitenotice to promote the proofreading contest, which led to a huge increase or readers and participants. Things like this can help boost Wikisource events, and we hope also collaboration and trust between projects.

Other recommendations


If you have additional recommendations or reflections that don’t fit into the above sections, please list them here.

Next steps and opportunities


Are there opportunities for future growth of this project, or new areas you have uncovered in the course of this grant that could be fruitful for more exploration (either by yourself, or others)? What ideas or suggestions do you have for future projects based on the work you’ve completed? Please list these as short bullet points.

This projects accomplished some of its purposes, as setting up a team of dedicated Wikisourcerors, and make them start collaborating. Now there is a formal Wikisource Community User Group, there is an active mailing list, there is a date for the integration with Wikidata, there are data from which start and develop a strategy.

  • A new IEG could take everything from here, and directly work for major improvements, backed up by the results of the survey.

We steped up as "promoters" (meaning: those who signed the contract) of the Wikisource Community UG, and could facilitate the conversations about the direction of the group.

Other things are:

  • Organize community meet up for next Wikimania, bring at least one internationally-involved member from each community
  • Help to coordinate the migration of 20th-century based Wikisource-tech into 21st-century Wikidata tech. Identify weaknesses, help build new processes
  • Involve the community with the interconnection with external libraries, start an effort to add identifiers to book editions that help to cross-match with other important systems (Internet Archive, Open Library, etc)
  • Refurbish the Wikipedia "Template:Infobox book", so it can transition to use the new data model, work with Wikipedia book community to find the best suited solution.
  • Support the Wikidata endeavor of centralizing Wikipedia’s bibliographic information
  • Find organizations that wish to tackle any of the biggest identified problems by the community
  • Keep proposing GsoC projects, find mentors

Project resources


Please provide links to all public, online documents and other artifacts that you created during the course of this project. Examples include: meeting notes, participant lists, photos or graphics uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, template messages sent to participants, wiki pages, social media (Facebook groups, Twitter accounts), datasets, surveys, questionnaires, code repositories... If possible, include a brief summary with each link.

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

Part 2: The Grant




Actual spending


Please copy and paste the completed table from your project finances page. Check that you’ve detailed all approved and actual expenditures. If there are differences between the planned and actual use of funds, please use the column provided to explain them.

The finances were budgeted as follows:

Expense Approved amount Actual funds spent Difference
project leadership, to be divided equally among 2 grantees 4000 EUR 4000 EUR 0
travel 6000 EUR Micru: 3354.47 Aubrey: 1589.55 Total: 4944.02 EUR 1055.98
Total 10000 EUR 8944.02 EUR 1055.98 (to be returned to the WMF)

Our funds have been spent according to the plan. All the budget has been spent for travel to hackathon and conference, and discussed with Siko as well.

  • Wikimedia Hackathon, Amsterdam: David
    • Total expenses: 1194.22 EUR
  • LODLAM conference, Montreal (Canada): David
    • Total expenses: 153.09 EUR
  • Wikimania 2013, Hong Kong (China):
    • David total: 2007.16 EUR
    • Andrea: EURO 1.286,09 + 152 (registration and dorm accomodation) + 104.07 hotel accomodation + 34.39 assurance + 13 shuttle = 1589.55 euro

Remaining funds

Remaining funds from this grant have been returned to WMF in the amount of 1055.98 EUR.

Do you have any unspent funds from the grant?

Please answer yes or no. If yes, list the amount you did not use and explain why.

  • Yes, it is detailed on the table of expenses.

If you have unspent funds, they must be returned to WMF, please see the instructions for returning unspent funds and indicate here if this is still in progress, or if this is already completed:



Did you send documentation of all expenses paid with grant funds to grantsadmin(_AT_)wikimedia.org, according to the guidelines here?

Please answer yes or no. If no, include an explanation.

  • Aubrey: yes. I've sent Winifred and Siko my receipts. Will check with them on Monday if everything is OK.
  • Micru: yes. I've sent Winifred and Siko my receipts. Will check with them on Monday if everything is OK.

Confirmation of project status


Did you comply with the requirements specified by WMF in the grant agreement?

  • Yes.

Is your project completed?

  • Yes. And no. The project was open and incomplete by design. We aimed to certain results, but we had them vague on purpose, as we wanted to boost the Wikisource movement and gaining momentum, and set up a bit of "infrastructure". We consider this IEG as a success, but the aims for which we've started it are not all accomplished at all (the ultimate aim being world domination).

Grantee reflection


We’d love to hear any thoughts you have on what this project has meant to you, or how the experience of being an IEGrantee has gone overall. Is there something that surprised you, or that you particularly enjoyed, or that you’ll do differently going forward as a result of the IEG experience? Please share it here!

Aubrey: I very much enjoyed doing this project, because I was perfectly aware that it was needed. I deeply believe in Wikisource, and in his potentiality to be the best digital library in the world. I do want to make it happen. Wikisource it's just in the initial phase of his life: we can accomplish much, much more. This is why a project like this had to happen: we need community coordination and collaboration, we need software development and maintenance, and we need to be recognized and engaged by the wider Wikimedia (and Wikipedia) community. Many things in this IEG project could have been done differently (and probably better), but I am satisfied by the results we accomplished. Probably the best thing, for me, has been to meet Micru: we didn't know each other before starting this, and it was a big leap of faith to begin a funded project with a "stranger". We found out very soon that our competences and skills were complementary, and I enjoyed very much working with him. We collaborated almost seamlessly, and this is not trivial, nor granted.

We just expressed our opinion on the "WMF Seal of Approval", and I confirm that, especially in the first part of the project, it was very useful. But in the second part, we had the Wikisource Community User Group, and I think that that was even better. We had a group that was collective, and other people felt more comfortable collaborating within that group (at least, this was my feeling). I find this to be a delicate but valuable balance: being able to serve the community for what the community doesn't want to do, for the dirty job (being crunching the data of the survey, or just drafting it, or writing a blogpost every month, or go with the bureaucracy of creating a User group).

Finally, I really enjoyed the fact that the WMF helped us with the Qualtrics software. And it struck me as a very good way to help the wider community: provide sofwtare and tools for evaluation, surveys, analytics, whatever. I feel that this could be scaled further: single users or chapters can't afford softwares or tools like that, or they don't even know the existence of it. Maybe the WMF could make them available for more people and more widely: for example, if they bought a version of ABBYY Finereader OCR for enterprise (we should check the prices, of course) and integrate it within Wikisource, that could be very appreciated (OCR software request was one outcome of the Wikisource survey).

Micru: I share Aubrey's satisfaction about how effective and pleasant the teamwork between us two was. From not knowing each other, we started to work together and to communicate almost every day, and I'm really thrilled about how well it went. I also want to thank Tpt for all the support that he offered us with his technical knowledge and his readiness to evaluate new ideas. And of course, if this project advanced at all, it was because the community at large reacted positively to this initiative.

As many others, before of this grant I was never involved in any similar international effort. It was a great revelation to step out of those constraints and to collaborate at a larger scale than that I was used to. I also found my own answers to questions like "how is that this so simple hasn't been fixed yet?", as for things that look easy on the surface are in fact complex problems that require not only technical solutions, but also social approaches to build consensus, and to foster discussion up to a point where adequate action might be triggered. The grant was great for being committed to a well-defined goal over a short span of time, but of course some of the problems being addressed require of longer time-scales.

We not only see Wikisource as a continuation of what it is today, it might take a larger role on the ecosystem of existing free knowledge harbors around the world, if the community is up to the task of self-improvement and of communicating effectively how Wikisource efforts contribute to build the sum of all human knowledge. And there are other challenges too, like attracting diversity, and giving a voice to under-represented groups that share a common goal with us.

I appreciate the support given by the IEG team, from the volunteers that evaluated our initial application and helped us to shape it, passing by the logistic, economic and emotional support, since from our relative frame of reference it was not always clear if we were advancing in the right direction. That Siko was always there with helpful advice is something that we appreciate greatly, and we hope that both WMF involved people and stakeholders are satisfied with what was accomplished thanks to this grant, which we are aware that it is complex to evaluate.