Wikisource:Tenth Birthday/Interview

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Yann is an admin at French and English Wikisource and a day one contributor, Inductiveload is an admin at English Wikisource, Aubrey is a participant the Elaborate Wikisource strategic vision project and admin at Italian Wikisource, Tpt is the maintainer of the ProofreadPage extension and admin at French Wikisource and Helene and Acélan are admin at French Wikisource, Zyephyrus and VIGNERON are admins at several Wikisources, Le ciel est par dessus le toit is a very active contributor.

Some interviews are also available in French here.

1. How did you first come to Wikisource? What drew you in?[edit]

Yann
I have always been a book lover. In 2003, there was a debate on how we should include whole books in Wikipedia. This lead to the creation of a separate project, which I immediately joined.
Inductiveload
I was uploading images from commons:Category:Deutsche Pomologie as one of my first-ever bot uploads, and then trying to use them on enWS. I got pointed to deWS, who rejected them for not being a complete scan (I only had the images)! In that process, I got talking to the people in the IRC channel, got to know about the WS goals and got involved at enWS.
Aubrey
I actually don't remember :-) I was into Wikiquote, at the time, and also very into Borges. I copied and pasted and formatted all "The Library of Babel", before an admin came and deleted it for copyviol. But he was kind and comprehensive and told me to focus on PD texts instead, and I did. What really drove me in, was the opportunity to build a library, with others, for others. I've always been a reader, and I was grateful to find a place where I could try to make other people read as well.
Tpt
I was contributing to Wikipedia and I saw a link to an unknown website, Wikisource, that proposed scans of an old encyclopedia article about the subject of the Wikipedia article. I proofread it in order to be able to use it easily as a source.
Helene
At first, totally by chance… : I’m a librarian, I read a lot, and in 2010, I got a Booken ereader for my birthday… I was looking for texts to download on it — but Texts on Gutenberg are mainly in English… I found by chance that marvelous site (fr) where I could myself put books online, and I found it was really Great…
At the beginning, I found difficult to understand how it worked, but facilitating tools rapidly developped, thanks to efficient and friendly developpers… and I loved being able to work on novels, as well as scientific books, periodicals, poems, presentation, as much as I want to change…
Acélan
I don’t remember well. I think it was while I was contributing to Wikipedia, where I was a Wikignome. I found it was a very interesting too, as I always had a passion for reading, and the text that could be found on the net frequently included errors, that where very difficult, or impossible, to correct.
Zyephyrus (talk)
"If you want to be happy for a short time, get drunk; happy for a long time, fall in love; happy forever, take up gardening." On January 29th, 2006, I just discovered that Wikisource was a perfect garden with a lot of gardeners and that I could be one of them.

2. What kind of thing are you doing and have you done in Wikisource?[edit]

Yann
In spite of a long term involvement, I did not complete many books in Wikisource. I work in several languages, mainly French, English and Sanskrit, and a few edits in Hindi and Gujarati. I work quite a lot on meta data (creation and uploading of DJVU files, creation of author pages, indexes and portals). My domain of interest includes Indian literature and languages, Gandhi, Leo Tolstoy, John Ruskin, Romain Rolland. My work has also been to link and copy back and forth from Wikilivres, a site I created in 2005 because of copyright restrictions on Wikisource. Finally, I published Rapport Brundtland in French and Brundtland Report in English. I like to start new projects until they reach a mainstream stage, and then I move on some other tasks. ;o)
Inductiveload
Recently not much, due to real-life. Before that, template maintenance, author page organisation, JS and eBook tools, assisting new users on IRC (so much less frustrating for them that a 2-day ping-pong on a talk page, I think!), general tidying up and a few works here and there! My real interest is in making it easier add content at WS, via templates, tools, bottery and so on.
Tpt
I have proofread some French books and written templates. Currently I maintain the ProofreadPage extension that adds proofreading capacity to Wikisource but I also write gadgets and Lua modules.
Helene
At first, I was attracted to the BNF partnership program — then I worked on other books, periodicals… I love to reread and correct books, it’s a very good and relaxing activity to me…
Then, I began to help beginners, who had the same difficulties that I had at the beginning, and I was pushed to candidate for sysop, and I was elected, which greatly amazed me (LOL) — I try to help other contributors as much as I can, and I love to work on vary various works, often at random…
From Wikisource, I also had to learn to contribute on Commons (for importing books), then on wikidata, to complete informations on authors…
For a few months recently, my contributions have been fewer, because my job is very tiring for eyes, but I hope to be able to contribute more next year…
Acélan
I began by the correction and validation of texts that where already installed ; I found the syntax difficult at the beginning, and had a lot of problems. But, as I was becoming more and more familiar with the templates, and tools were developed to ease the correction, I began to diversify my contributions.
I’ve been working a lot on Diderot and D’Alembert’s “Encyclopédie” in particular, with Phe, who eased the work a lot, by the automation of tasks, and by the creation of gadgets ; the first step is finished : all pages (over 16000) have been reread, and articles have been created in the Main space. Now, I’m working on the correction and validation of texts (and sometimes import books on Commons) ; I also take care of small corrections of texts already uploaded, and format them for epub export ; finally, I try to help the beginners, because I remember how it was difficult at the beginning for me.
Zyephyrus (talk)
Three levels : technical dialogs; welcoming newbies; protecting texts.

3. What do you think Wikisource's greatest achievement is so far?[edit]

Yann
Thousands of books are already available in dozen of languages, as well as an active community of great contributors. In French, Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers is certainly one of the biggest project so far. The ProofreadPage system created by ThomasV is a great tool.
Inductiveload
Probably a combination of the DNB and EB1911, out of sheer size. Other than that, having such a range of material and a helpful community in the face of so much to do.
Aubrey
Show that you can create great digital libraries collaboratively. Wikisource does provide scans and transcriptions and tools for transcribe and innovate, for free, in every language. That's pretty badass.
Tpt
Build a powerful way of collaborative proofreading with the capacity for anyone to check if the transcription is correct.
Helene
The possibility to contribute to any text, as long as it is PD… and the efficiency of direct and rapid contribution between members, to solve problems…
I love to contribute to the Trévoux dictionary, and the very little group of regular contributors on this difficult task has elaborated in 2011 (8-handed), a very efficient proceedings, that allows to work much faster and ease the work on that « monk’s task »… (one of them IS a monk (Lol) — we did not have the chance to all meet IRL, but I have the feeling that we form a group of friends, that help each other whenever possible, even on other works, and it is very precious…
Acélan
The possibility to read and correct text by direct comparison with the scan is really the most important and precious tool we have.
Zyephyrus (talk)
Togetherness; all librarians and lovers of texts in the world working together to rescue texts.

4. How do you see the future of Wikisource?[edit]

Yann
The potential is huge. We need to communicate more to the outside world for more readers, to recruit more contributors. A nearly automatic creation of Ebooks and a mobile interface would be a big step in this direction. A partnership with a big library would also be very profitable (f.e. to be able to request new scans).
Inductiveload
I think a focus on eBooks is vitally needed, as we barely register on the public radar, being overshadowed hugely by organisations like Project Gutenberg who, in my opinion, don't provide the same level of "interesting" works, curations or ease of contribution, but have an excellent penetration into the eBook "market", as well as an enviable range of classics. Without that, WS will always be a niche, used by the contributors themselves and as backup to a few Wikipedia articles, which is a great shame as we could be a very accessible source of a lot of material. On a more positive note, as we get more and more well-presented texts and useful tools, it will get easier and easier to add new ones. Additionally, Wikidata gives us a great chance to allow automatic presentation of our works based on metadata, opening the door for simplified front-ends for people who just want to read good books.
Aubrey
As any true wikimedian, world domination. I see Wikisource as a collaborative and free Xanadu, in which you could have millions of texts, in every language, and you can quote them, annotate them, comment them, translate them. With a community twice our actual size, we could do amazing things (we are actually doing them, but, you know, bigger amazing things).
Tpt
In the short term, I see the VisualEditor that will make very easy for anyone to proofread and adoption of a powerful metadata management system based on technologies built for Wikidata. This will revolutionize Wikisource because, as everyone knows, metadata rules the world. Based on that we will be able to have a powerful export tool and interfaces to browse in nice ways all the works preserved by Wikisource.
Hsarrazin
I hope it will be more and more easy to contribute, and we’ll draw more and more contributors… Wikisource is not Wikipedia, and the tools we use are more delicate… and I hope Wikisource will raise it’s Public domain library more and more, in all languages… which is the most precious part of Wikisource…
I think that the easy export of texts to ereaders or phones is a great possibility for development, and should be deployed in the most automated way possible…
Acélan
The development of epub export (that already works rather well) ; easing the collaboration for beginners ; developping the knowledge of the existence of Wikisource in the public.
Zyephyrus (talk)
Succeeding or not succeeding in achieving its purpose: the complete library accessible to all humans on Earth.

5. Have you any message to share with the Wikisource community?[edit]

Yann
Thanks to all contributors for the friendly atmosphere, and the huge amount of works already done.
Inductiveload
Thanks for a great time so far, I hope I can continue to add nice things here for a long time to come. Keep it up!
Tpt
Thanks a lot for having built a such amazing project! Keep up the good work!
Helene
Happy Birthday Wikisource !!! I hope I will still be there for the 20th, 30th and 50th birthday Clin d'œil
I’ve found here a real community, friends, et I cherish it a lot… I know that I can always find someone to chat with, if I need some help or just care… and I wish I will be able to contribute it for a long time, in my own small way…
Acélan
Thanks to all those who created that wonderful tool, to all those who work everyday for improving it, to all those who contribute - in a generally warm, friendly and peaceful atmosphere.
Zyephyrus (talk)
Wikisource can be helped in many, many, different ways, financing is one of them and a very useful one  :)