Wikisource talk:Wikisource and Wikibooks

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Annotated texts (moved from Scriptorium)[edit]

The main problem is documentation/annotation. Sometimes, I think that Wikisource is meant to be much more than just a reference library of texts: we should all be creating and working together on annotated versions of the text, something that the wiki can help. Otherwise, using a wiki system has very few benefits. We need to reconsider our mission.[…]Ambush Commander 01:42, 23 May 2005 (UTC)

Ambush's comment in the section just above caught my interest. I am deeply interested in annotated texts (wikis style), and I just finished writing a policy page about where to draw the line (if there should be a line...) between Wikisource and Wikibooks for annotated texts:

I tried to write very conservatively on that page, and still hope to get feedback so that we can make necessary changes. However, my own personal opinion is it would be much better if we kept our collective attitude towards this whole topic very open and very liberal.

What I mean is this: We should recognize that, on the one hand, it is OK if some source texts with planned annotation are held on Wikibooks, even though their annotation hasn't happened yet. But on the other hand, there are texts at Wikisource whose natural development can and should eventually lead to their annotation, in order to make them more useful and reader-friendly. Many translations (which we include here at Wikisource) will eventually lead to annotations as well. If and when this happens, it shouldn't mean that the text must be moved from one project to another!

Instead of enforcing rigid policies for which texts should be on which project, I think it would be better if both projects acknowledged that there is legitimate overlap in the realm of annotated texts, and that texts with annotations may in principle be included on either project. The decision should mostly be left up to the contributor(s) at work on the text in question.

Wikibooks has had an inclusive policy for annotated texts for a very long time. I recently "cleaned up" the material there on annotated texts. A summary of the current situation and links can be found at:

One final thought: There are different kinds of annotated texts. Some are meant for students preparing for tests on literature (that is very much up Wikibook's alley). Others are more scholarly in nature, or meant for individual study, but are mostly unconnected to classrooms and examinations. Here, too, it may not always be possible to draw a clear line between the two, and I once again suggest we be liberal about this whole thing.

All that is really needed for the liberal policy I suggest (i.e. that texts may in principle be included in either project) is for people on both projects to agree to it! Do people here agree with it? Shall we ask at Wikibooks? Dovi 08:21, 23 May 2005 (UTC)

It's a great job you have done there, it is clear that you have thought a lot about the subjekt. I generally support that we should accept annotated versions here, but I think that wikisource should still supply an edition without annotations. That is, if annotations are to be made, they should be made in a separate "annotated version" like text name (annotated), especially for texts with "in text"-annotations. I often prefer to read a text as it was written, and we should continue to provide such "clean" text versions. --Christian S 14:12, 23 May 2005 (UTC)
I too support the idea of providing a "clean" version. the mission of wikisource is to provide primary "sources".
It remains unclear to me if "annotated" versions should go here or on wikibooks. Since they already provide annotated versions, I think the matter should be discussed with them first. we do not want to duplicate their efforts, it would be counter-productive. in other words, I do not support the idea that wikibooks and wikisource should overlap.
ThomasV 07:57, 24 May 2005 (UTC)
Hmm... Then I ask this question: what exactly is the point of having Wikisource as a Wiki? Ambush Commander 20:08, 24 May 2005 (UTC)

Hi everybody. The text I wrote at Wikisource:Wikisource and Wikibooks more or less reflects ThomasV's attitude. What I mean by "conservative" is that it reflects the status-quo at Wikisource/Wikibooks. Even that status quo has some undeniable (and legitimate) ambiguity, and the page tries to give guidelines for dealing with borderline cases. I think even Thomas would agree that there are some borderline cases that have to be dealt with. So even if we stick with the conservative status-quo, I think we should still honor any reasonable decision by the contributor(s) of a borderline text.

There are also some places where the need for annotations is obvious even on Wikisource: Many translations will require at least some annotation, textual variants in source texts will require it. Maybe the best thing to do, then, is to stick with the status-quo, allow (and even encourage) any appropriate and limited annotation activity that remains within reason (i.e. without clearly crossing the line into Wikibooks by creating resources good for classroom use).

Is there any objection to my moving this whole discussion to the talk page of Wikisource:Wikisource and Wikibooks? Dovi 20:44, 25 May 2005 (UTC)

I wouldn't have a problem with that. In fact, I'll be bold. Ambush Commander 00:46, 26 May 2005 (UTC)
Would it be possible to create an extension to MediaWiki that allows for one page to overlay another or be displayed next to another? That way, Source could maintain the clean text and Books could maintain just the annotation. A user could view the text and overlay it with various annotations. If there were some way of marking line numbers on wiki pages, I think this could be done with a greasemonkey script which iterated through the page and inserted annotated content on the fly. Another possibility would be to narrow the article window and stick an iframe on the right side that contained the text annotation pulled in from Books. Again, this is all dependant on some method of marking the position in the source text. CSN 23:46, 25 May 2005 (UTC)

Annotated translations[edit]

Should translations always be annotated? (This was asked on the "about" page.)

Reply: of course not. Certain kinds of translations of certain kinds of texts require annotation by their very nature, but not all translations! The great majority of translations at Wikisource will probably be "straight" translations without any notes. Dovi 08:49, 26 May 2005 (UTC)

my pov[edit]

First of all, let me make one thing clear: I suppose what you guys are talking about are FOOTnotes, not notes inserted in the body of a text. I absolutely oppose to people inserting notes in the body of texts on wikisource. And I believe everybody here agrees on that. So, what follows is about footnotes, or notes gathered in a different page, and accessed through hypertext links.

I agree that there are limit cases to be dealt with, such as translations performed on the wiki. However, before we discuss the limit cases, let me talk about the general case. The mission of wikisource is to provide original texts, in a reliable and accurate way. (somebody mentioned that wikisource should redefine its mission... great idea, but let me remind you that such a decision would not belong to us, but to the wikimedia foundation. just as we have no right to decide that wikisource will now sell pizzas).

This "mission" is not incompatible with adding footnotes to the texts we provide. However, I want to avoid people adding random notes of variable quality to texts written by great authors (not to mention npov issues). Because readers have a right to a clean version.

I would like to make the following point: footnotes, or hypertext links, added to a text, are not neutral. The break the reading rythm of the reader. They have a disturbing effect. Instead of giving its full attention to the ideas exposed by the author, the reader has to perform a choice: to follow or not the link that is provided. The footnote steals a part of the reader's attentional resources. This disturbance was not wanted by the writer. The addition of a footnote is always unfaithful to the author. (and please, don't tell me that adding hypertext links in a text from the XIXth century is "creative")

Because of that, and because a text on wikisource should be faithful to the author, I believe footnotes should not be added randomly by contributors. I see three distinct types of footnotes:

  • footnotes that were added by the author: we always want them.
  • footnotes that were added later, by some editor, and published: we want them, if they are in the public domain. the fact that they have beed published is a guarantee of quality. however, we may also want to provide a footnote-free version to the reader. (when I added Les Femmes savantes to wikisource, I did not include the notes, because I did not know if they were public domain; the empty links remain).
  • footnotes added by wiki contributors: I think they belong in wikibooks. but that is not really the issue, we could as well have them here, if the people at wikibooks do not want to have them. For me, the problem is the point I made above: if we add links to these notes the texts that are here, whatever the quality of these notes, these links will disturb the reader. (so too will notes added by an editor, but the fact that they have been published makes them eligible for wikisource). For that reason, I think that we should at least provide a footnote-free version of all texts. Another possibility would be to find a technical way to hide these notes (and that would be the default).

ThomasV 09:34, 26 May 2005 (UTC)

Yes. I think all of us agree that annotations would mean notes appended to the text, plus other notations "surrounding" it (introductions, summaries, indexing...)
I think the decision does belong to us, i.e. to people at both Wikisource and Wikibooks. I don't think the foundation or anyone else would have a problem with us agreeing on a way to handle borderline cases between the two projects, or even on the exact scope of the projects, as long as the basic idea remains.
Thomas wrote:
This "mission" is not incompatible with adding footnotes to the texts we provide. However, I want to avoid people adding random notes of variable quality to texts written by great authors (not to mention npov issues). Because readers have a right to a clean version.
In this I (and I think all of us) agree 200%. We would have to be very careful: For any text project that might get some annotation, it should be decided in advance what kind of annotation, what standards, etc., especially if there is going to be any marking within a source text (even just a footnote number). And anyone who makes such a mark should explain clearly what s/he is doing on the talk page, otherwise it should be reverted.
Furthermore, as Christian S suggested earlier, there should be a parallel unmarked text. Because footnotes are disturbing (especially if we have added them, rather than a previously published edition).
In general, for texts (especially pre-modern ones) which can be published in a number of different editorial formats, I think we should have parallel versions when we can. Annotations are really just a subset of this more general problem. The only think making annotations a unique issue is that it is also shared by another project (Wikibooks).
A technical solution to hide notations would be an ideal tool to have in many cases. Though I would guess that even if we had it, I think we would still want to provide a "clean" text separately.
Note that many of the above concerns are not a problem for wiki translations. I.e. when you do your own translation, if you add a footnote you are not interfering the great work of an original author. On the contrary, the footnote will usually provide the basis for the chosen translation and/or offer an alternative translation. These are attempts to properly present the author's own text, and so much less of an interference! (Notes such as these, or any other kind, also be represented without any footnote numbers at all, but rather by quoting the snippet of text discussed in bold, and then adding the note on it.) Dovi 13:59, 26 May 2005 (UTC)

Use of templates: "Clean" text and options for presentation[edit]

Hi everyone. I want to let people know about an ongoing process that is being discussed and experimented with at Hebrew Wikisource. It may have a lot of relevance to the annotation discussion.

Above we discussed the need for a "clean" text. I.e. even allowing a certain amount of annotation, there must be a way to view the plain text without those annotations interfering. The user must always have the option of a clean source text.

At Hebrew Wikisource, this was compounded by a further problem: There we are working on a literature that is composed of source texts that include numerous commentaries (source texts, not our own annotations) on each and every passage. The problem was: How is it possible to present different selections of commentaries according to the preferences of the user? And how is it possible to present the "clean" text of one commentary in running form on all the passages, without the primary text or the other commentaries?

This could be done, of course, by duplicating the source text numerous times, but that opens a Pandora's box filled with lots of other problems. And then we realized what the solution is: The use of templates! Each commentary on each passage is its own template. This makes it easy to present the various commentaries on a single passage on one page, a "clean" running commentary on another page, and any other combination of texts that users may find useful.

Furthermore, the templates provide a way to completely isolate the source text from any organizational or presentation features, or annotations, that may be useful within a page.

Plus, by isolating each passage as a template, it is easier to keep track of the edit history. The use of templates also helps counter random vandalism by denying the user direct access to "edit" on the original source text.

There is, of course, a disadvantage to this system: It involves more work! And it is more complicated for new users. But where and when it can be usefully implemented, it provides a tool that can solve a number of problems. Like any tool, it is best used only when it can help get the job done well. Dovi 19:23, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)