The Wikipedia Library (TWL) is a place for editors to find and do research more easily and collaboratively. Every language community can adapt the Wikipedia Library model to their own community's needs. Many new branches will start small and grow in different directions than English TWL. That's good!
While each branch will be unique, you are not alone in setting it up. The Wikipedia Library team is ready to help you with setup, communications, outreach, organization, management, and building a network of collaborators.
We encourage you to work as a team, but it's a good idea to have at least one main contact in your community to manage the setup process.
This guide will help you:
- Find existing resources and projects on your wiki
- Tell your community about TWL, and learn how it can best help the community get better access to reliable sources
- Get people signed up to help you start a TWL branch on your wiki
- Set up pages for library services
- Start one of the Wikipedia Library programs with your community
If you have questions or problems at any point, please contact the team at wikipedialibrarywikimedia.org
You can also learn more and get your questions answered at our FAQ!
Here's a brief outline of what you'll do as part of this process:
- STEP ONE: Explore — Visit and browse through an existing, well-developed Wikipedia Library branch. Notice the different types of resources and projects. Discover the equivalent resources in your own community, where they already exist.
- STEP TWO: Community Consultation — Gather feedback at your main community portal about other resources in your community and most importantly, which resources your community would like to have. Let interested editors sign up to help and offer a space for general discussion about starting a library branch.
- STEP THREE: Making basic pages — Create an on-wiki "home" and a few important pages to help your branch run smoothly from the start. As you make these basic pages, you will also create a "navigation template" to help keep your pages organized and help editors find them.
- STEP FOUR: Enlisting Volunteer Support — Enlist participants from the community consultation and others to volunteer for specific tasks and projects.
If this feels like too much for you, check out our even simpler TWL Light Branch setup guide, which is especially designed for smaller or less active wikis.
- You just got an overview of the process. Congrats! Done
Step 1: Explore an existing Wikipedia Library
Take 30–60 minutes and go exploring through these Wikipedia Library pages. See what already exists in your community, what you can adapt from what you see here to your own needs, and what additional pages that may be unique to your community are needed. Many of these example projects you won't end up needing (at least not yet) — they're just here to give you ideas.
Arabic Wikipedia Library's homepage
Chinese Wikipedia Library's homepage
These links link to English language projects; if you are interested in exploring other branches, check out their projects via their global branch pages.
- Research access
- Branch development
Here are some questions to guide you through existing pages and projects in your community. If you don't have one of these, or any of these, don't worry. That's what this guide is here to help you create!
- Do you have a place where editors trade or share online resources?
- Do you have a program that buys or sends books to editors?
- Do you have collaborations with journals or research databases to give editors access?
- Do you have a program digitizing books or journals?
- Do you have a gathering place for librarians and reference professionals?
- Do you have a place for people to ask research questions?
- Do you have pages listing available free/open access resources?
- Do you have a community outreach portal for librarians, archivists, or GLAM professionals?
- Do you run events at libraries or with librarians, such as editathons, training sessions, or editing classes?
- Do you have relationships with universities or university libraries through education programs in your region?
- Do editors give talks or presentations to library professionals at conferences and events?
- Do you have any other relevant resources or projects not mentioned above?
- Which journals, books, publishers, programs, projects, pages, partnerships, databases, resources, or services would be most useful to your community?
- You are now familiar with an example of a Wikipedia Library branch. Done
- You have created a page on your wiki listing the resources identified via the questions above Done
- You have created global branch page (see sample) linking to this inventory and with space for recording future branch development. Enter your language in the box below and click the button. You will then be taken to a preloaded page.
Your next step is to present to and engage with your community to help you better understand what the Wikipedia Library can do. Tell your community about the Wikipedia Library and why it's useful, and ask:
- What library resources or services does the community already have?
- What library resources or services would the community like to have?
- Are there other interested editors who would like to be involved in creating a branch?
- Is there general support for the project, or other comments and concerns?
Consider linking your initial self-inventory page to help the community understand what you have found already. You may not get a lot of detailed responses to the questions, and that's fine--its' important to ask them and be transparent from the start anyway.
For each of these resources you want to learn:
- whether the resource is being actively used by editors
- which resources are not being maintained even though there is demand for them
- who are the key editors active in supporting these services online
- who are the key editors active in outreach and collaboration with libraries
Listen for broader trends as well:
- Does community interest in particular types of resources indicate other library needs on your wiki?
- Consider: What will be the most low-effort but high-impact services?
- Where is the greatest interest and need for research support?
- Which already established programs would benefit from more time and energy?
You can use a translated version of the Wikipedia Library Community Consultation Message to start that conversation in your community on a highly-visited page or project where people gather. Make sure to invite active editors and groups to participate.
Keep a close eye on the discussion and encourage participants to share details or explain comments (but don't challenge every criticism). If you run into concerns about Open Access vs. paywalled resources, this guide may be helpful.
When the conversation has ended, at the talk page of your branch page here on Meta, summarize the conversation, and create a prioritized list of the kinds of resources the community wants. This new prioritized list and summary will act as a plan for growing your library branch.
- Completed community conversation Done
- Report back to the Wikipedia Library team about the level of interest and offers to help, and the highest priorities for projects Done
- Improve and expand the list of existing library resources Done
- Start to find a few volunteers to help set up and support your branch Done
Step 3: Set up pages
Your Wikipedia Library branch is now ready to set up. This involves copying, translating, and creating some pages where people will find and use your Wikipedia Library's resources. Look at the examples, but translate from the setup kit If you think one of these isn't needed in your community, it's ok to leave it out, and if you think your library would be best with only a few of these pages, feel free to focus just on them.
If this feels like too much for you, check out our even simpler Light Branch setup guide, which is especially designed for smaller or less active wikis.
As you set up these pages, make sure to engage the interested community members identified in the community consultation. Volunteers can help with translation, setting up pages, and promoting use of those pages.
- Main — Your Main homepage links to your library projects and services (feel free to change the order)
- setup kit: The Wikipedia Library/Kit/Main
- example: en:w:Wikipedia:The Wikipedia Library
- About — This is a basic information page that describes your Wikipedia Library Branch — why you do it, how you do it, and who you are
- setup kit: The Wikipedia Library/Kit/About
- example: en:w:Wikipedia:The Wikipedia Library/About
- Journals — A place for editors to get access or request access to journals and databases. If you don't have any journal donations yet, it might help to translate descriptions of what is available elsewhere, or to have a place for people to suggest publishers to partner with
- setup kit: The Wikipedia Library/Kit/Journals
- example: en:w:Wikipedia:The Wikipedia Library/Journals
- Share — A space for Wikipedians to exchange resources they already have access to, sometimes called a Resource Exchange
- Setup kit: The Wikipedia Library/Kit/Share
- example: en:w:Wikipedia:WikiProject Resource Exchange
- Community Library — a space for Wikipedians to share information about their own access to hard-to-access materials
- Setup kit: The Wikipedia Library/Kit/Community library
- example: English Wikipedia
- Free and open resources — This page lists free or Open Access resources and databases, and outlines how editors can do research while supporting more open content
- setup kit: The Wikipedia Library/Kit/Free resources
- example: en:w:Wikipedia:The Wikipedia Library/Resources
- Reference desk — This page is for people to get help with a research question
- setup kit: The Wikipedia Library/Kit/Reference_desk
- example: en:w:Wikipedia:Reference_desk
- Coordinators — This is a place for volunteers to create profiles and to get new volunteers to sign up to help
- setup kit: The Wikipedia Library/Kit/Coordinators
- example: en:w:Wikipedia:The Wikipedia Library/Coordinators
- Navigation box — This is a template that collects all the links to Library pages in one place
- setup kit: Template:The Wikipedia Library/Kit/Navigation
- example: en:w:Wikipedia:The Wikipedia Library/Navbox
- Feel free to change the text on the pages to fit your community. They are a good starting point, but you do not have to copy them exactly. Make them your own!
- On your home wiki, the URLs should leave out /kit/ and be in the "Wikipedia:" namespace (not the main article namespace), for example 'Wikipedia:The Wikipedia Library/Books". For the home page, you can take off "/main/", like "Wikipedia:The Wikipedia Library".
- Make sure that in addition to translating all the text, you also update all of the wikilinks on each page.
- It's a good idea to create a Wikipedia Library category so you can track all of your pages.
- You don't have to name your page "The Wikipedia Library"; either translate that into your language, or adopt a name that makes sense for your community.
- Note that editors sharing sources may assume some fair use rights; if your community's culture, policies or legal environment does not support such fair use, modify the advice where needed.
- Journal sign up notes
- Once the library is functioning and active, coordinators will likely have to create archives to store old requests
- We are trying to keep journal signup criteria (6 months and 500 edits) consistent across all projects
If you get stuck or have questions, please contact one of the TWL organizers at wikipedialibrarywikimedia.org
- You now have a group of core pages needed to run your library branch. Looking good! Done
- You built a navigation template which collects your library's pages together Done
- You began collaborating with your volunteer team Done
There's no single best way to run your Wikipedia Library. We do have a few suggestions about how to be really effective.
- Start small: a program grows best over time
- Don't try to do everything at once: focus on one or two projects at a time
- Don't try to do everything by yourself: a project needs a team to grow and to last
- Learn from what others have done before you: ask for help from people with experience doing what you are trying to do
- Do what works in your community: every community has different needs, so your library doesn't need to look exactly like anyone else's
- Make allies outside of Wikipedia: connect with librarians and cultural professionals , and develop partnerships with libraries, universities, or publishers
- Talk: regular communication is key to preventing problems and making sure little misunderstandings don't turn into big issues
The pages you set up will hopefully do a lot of good in your community. If you are seeing growth and seeing more opportunities, you might be ready to start setting up other projects. Here are some ideas for what and how to implement them. You might invent your own!