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Bibliotheca Alexandrina

early days of Wikisource
I was the first user to register here on 24 November 2003, when Wikisource was called "Project Sourceberg" and had just moved from the Pashto language Wikipedia where it had been squatting for a while. The first days of the project were spent moving pages from the old Pashto wiki and discussing new policies which developed over the following months. At the start of December 2003, I began the first vote where the small community here chose the name of the project; "Wikisource". Luckily, mav had bought the Wikisource domain name, although it wasn't until July 2004 that Tim Starling moved the wiki there. December also saw Yann beginning the discussions about copyright on this wiki. On January 4 2004, I welcomed the project's 100th registered user and created an article at Wikipedia to commemorate Wikisource's first milestone.

separate language domains
Walter was the first person to ask whether Wikisource would include multiple languages, though an anonymous edit on meta in January 2003 had implied that each language would have its own language subdomain. Even in the project's first two days, there was no agreement on this point. However, for the time being, people seemed content to keep all languages together, and I moved the Main Page to Main Page:English, created the first international Main Page, and added a multi-lingual introduction to the Scriptorium. The issue of having separate domain names was discussed for over 18 months, with the first vote on the matter being announced by Tim in October 2004. The vote was inconclusive, but many users, particularly Dovi and ThomasV, pushed for a new, more defined vote, with weighting for active users. This was launched in April 2005 and a vast majority of users voted in support of the proposal. Finally, the community had made the decision to split Wikisource into separate language versions, allowing users to view the site in their own language and build subcommunities for those who speak each language, without needing to log in, and without needing to change their preferences.

the future

sun logo
sun logo

I support the move towards separate language domains, and see this as the new beginning for Wikisource; a project which has huge potential that has largely remained in the background of Wikimedia projects since it was first discussed in 2001. I hope the revived interest in the project from all the contributors who have waited so long for their own language version will lead to improvements across the project. For the future, I hope that translations of source texts will happen more frequently. This should be much easier once the new language wikis are set up next month, and it would be great if the multi-lingual community here could turn Wikisource into something much more than a traditional repository of texts. I hope to see more collaboration with external parties, such as Project Gutenberg, which I first contacted in January 2004. I remain open to the idea that Wikisource could one day merge with the Wikimedia Commons, but I agree with Erik's point that now is not the time to do this. Maybe we'll finally get a new logo too.