Wikimedia press releases/Facts & Figures/Wikisource

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Wikisource — The Free Library — is a Wikimedia project to build a free, wiki library of source texts, along with translations into any language and other supporting materials.

Wikisource focuses on material published elsewhere. Wikisource can be viewed as a library of public domain works.

Wikisource – originally called Project Sourceberg as a play on words for Project Gutenberg – began in November, 2003, as a collection of supporting texts for articles in Wikipedia. It grew rapidly, reaching a total of 20,000 text units in various languages by May 18, 2005.

In August and September of 2005, Wikisource moved to separate subdomains for different languages.

Wikisource is an online library of free content publications collected and maintained by the community

  1. Source texts previously published by any author
  2. Translations of original texts
  3. Historical documents of national or international interest
  4. Bibliographies of authors whose works are in Wikisource

Wikisource, as The Free Library, 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.

Documentary sources

Documentary sources are documents that are created in the course of events. These documents may range from constitutions and treaties to personal correspondence and diaries. More events are being recorded than ever before and this category includes material not historically available, such as historical phone calls, judicial proceedings, and transcriptions of military operations. Documentary sources must be added in their complete form unless a portion of the document is damaged, lost, or unintelligible. The source of these works should be noted in order to allow others to verify the copy displayed at Wikisource is a faithful reproduction.

[edit] 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.

[edit] Free-content

The Wikimedia Foundation, which hosts Wikisource, is very concerned about intellectual property rights. Not only are copyright violations prohibited, but also those works which do not allow others to freely re-use them. All publications at Wikisource must be licensed in a manner which allows commercial uses as well as the creation of derivative works. Texts which do not comply with Wikisource's copyright policy will be quickly removed. See Help:Copyright and Wikisource for general help finding copyright information


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.

Wikisource collects and stores in digital format previously published texts; including novels, non-fiction works, letters, speeches, constitutional and historical documents, laws and a range of other documents. All texts collected are either free of copyright or released under the GNU Free Documentation License. Texts in all languages are welcome, as are translations.

Wikisource does not host "vanity press" books or documents produced by its contributors

Project Sourceberg started officially when it received its own temporary URL on November 24, 2003 (; all texts and discussions were moved there from A vote on the project's name changed it to Wikisource on December 6, 2003. Despite the change in name, the project did not move to its permanent URL (at until July 23, 2004.

Within two weeks of the project's official start (at, over 1000 pages had been created, with approximately 200 of these being designated as actual articles. On January 4, 2004, Wikisource welcomed its 100th registered user. In early July, 2004 the number of articles exceeded 2400, and more than 500 users had registered.

On April 30, 2005, there were 2667 registered users (including 18 administrators) and almost 19,000 articles. The project passed its 96,000th edit that same day.

Hebrew version of Wikisource ( was created in August, 2004. The need for a language-specific Hebrew website derived from the difficulty of typing and editing Hebrew texts in a left-to-right environment (Hebrew is written right-to-left). In the ensuing months, contributors in other languages including German requested their own wikis, but a December vote on the creation of separate language domains was inconclusive. Finally, a second vote that ended May 12, 2005 supported the adoption of separate language subdomains at Wikisource by a large margin, allowing each language to host its texts on its own wiki.

An initial wave of 14 languages was set up by Brion Vibber on August 23, 2005[1]. The new languages did not include English, but the code en: was temporarily set to redirect to the main website (

At this point the Wikisource community, through a mass project of manually sorting thousands of pages and categories by language, prepared for a second wave of page imports to local wikis. On September 11, 2005 the wiki was reconfigured to enable the English version, along with 8 other languages that were created early that morning and late the night before.[2]

Three more languages were created on March 29, 2006,[3] and then another large wave of 14 language domains was created on June 2, 2006.[4] Currently, there are individual subdomains for Wikisources in 50 languages,[5] besides the additional languages hosted at, which serves as an incubator or a home for languages without their own subdomains (31 languages are currently hosted locally).

On November 27, 2005 the English Wikisource passed 20,000 text-units in its third month of existence, already holding more texts than did the entire project in April (before the move to language subdomains).

Special projects


   * 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica
   * The New Student's Reference Work (proofreading of scanned texts)
   * Annotated Books:
         o The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde
         o Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes


   * Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie
   * Meyers Blitz-Lexikon