Wikisource:What Wikisource includes

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What is included[edit]

Source texts[edit]

The primary function of Wikisource is to collect source texts. These texts are verifiably published elsewhere, and are not created from scratch by Wikisource contributors (unlike many of our sister projects such as Wikipedia). Most texts should be published in a medium that includes peer review, such as a newspaper or published book; a Usenet posting or blog entry does not qualify.

Examples of source texts:

  1. Books, short stories, and poems;
  2. Historically significant works, such as national anthems, constitutions, legal documents;
  3. Speeches;
  4. Songs and hymns;
  5. A thesis or dissertation approved by a recognized academic institution.

Anonymous texts[edit]

Generally, source texts have an identifiable author—individuals, groups, governments—but there are also texts whose authorship has been lost over the centuries. Historical anonymous texts are appropriate at Wikisource, and some are even quite important. However, most anonymous texts should not be added to Wikisource unless they have some historical value and have no ambiguity under the copyright policy.

Added value to source texts[edit]

One original contribution that Wikisource does accept is added value to existing texts through translations, annotations and multimedia.

Note that these are exceptions to Wikisource's exclusion of original and unpublished contributions. This is because they add value to a previously existing source text, rather than contributing an entirely new text. Entirely new compositions written by contributors are not appropriate here, though they may have a place at other Wikimedia projects such as Wikibooks.


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.


Previously published versions of texts with annotations are the first priority here, but these may be unavailable for copyright reasons, out-of-date, or in need of improvement. This is often especially the case for pre-modern texts (such as ancient and classical texts, and medieval texts).

Annotations may include critical data about the source text itself, footnoted commentaries about words or passages, references, sectioning and section titles, introductions, summaries, indices, pictures, et cetera. In all cases, annotations by contributors must be added in such a way that an undisturbed, "clean" source text is available, either through a technical solution or by providing a parallel copy.

Note that annotations of an instructional nature designed to facilitate classroom study, especially in preparation for a test, belong at Wikibooks rather than Wikisource (see proposed Wikibooks policy on annotated texts).


Mulitimedia content added to texts can greatly improve the quality and presentation. Such content includes

  1. pictures of the book covers or authors;
  2. images from the book itself;
  3. audio recordings of the works (e.g. someone reading a story, or an actual recordings of the work when delivered by the author).

Note that images of authors or book covers should often be uploaded to the Wikimedia Commons, as they may be useful to sister projects. Images from the work itself or audio recordings should be uploaded to Wikisource, as they are often too specific to be useful to other projects.

What is excluded[edit]

Original contributions[edit]

Works created by Wikisource users or otherwise not published in a verifiable, usually peer-reviewed forum do not belong at Wikisource. Wikisource is not a method for an author to get his or her works published and make them available to other people, nor is it a site to discover "new talent".

Note: There are a few exceptions to this rule, as detailed under Added value to source texts above. Also note that a Wikisource contributor may make his/her own original work available (within reason!) by placing it within his/her own user namespace.


Wikisource does not collect advertisements concerning any type of work, as they are not source texts themselves. This includes works that have just recently been published or are protected by copyright, or even those that are in the public domain. Instead of being advertised, they should instead be placed on Wikisource so that users can read the work instead of just hear about it (unless copyright).

Advertisements can take on a number of forms, but the most common ones are written comments or external links.

Copyright violations[edit]

The Wikimedia Foundation, which hosts Wikisource, is very concerned about intellectual property rights. Texts which do not comply with Wikisource's copyright policy will be quickly removed. See also Help:Copyright and Wikisource for general help finding out if a text is copyright.

Evolving works[edit]

Wikisource's mission is to collect and preserve works in their original form. In light of this, works whose content is expected to constantly change over time (possibly for the purpose of keeping the work updated), to improve the content matter of what has already been published, or to make the text more comprehensive), are excluded from Wikisource's scope.

A few examples include

  1. Open-ended texts where the author relies upon cooperative efforts by many contributors to finish and improve the work;
  2. Compilations where there are many sources of a particular text, and/or the text is to be constantly updated as more relevant information is found and added;
  3. Lists (see also below).

For more information about static texts, see Wikisource:Text integrity.

Reference material[edit]

Wikisource does not collect miscellaneous information unless they are part of a source text, as such information has not been previously published, is often user-compiled and unverified, and does not fit the project's goals of archiving the artistic and intellectual works created throughout history.

Some examples of these include

  1. Lists;
  2. Mathematical constants (such as digits of pi);
  3. Tables of data or results;
  4. Cryptographic material;
  5. Source code.

Note that reference data that is published as part of a source text is perfectly acceptable.

See also[edit]