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The current Wikisource logo
Slogan The free library
Commercial? No
Type of site Library of source texts
Registration Optional
Owner Wikimedia Foundation
Created by User-generated

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

Library contents

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digital format previously published texts; including novels, non-fiction works, letters, speeches, constitutional and historical documents, laws and a range of other documents.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.

Early history

Wikisource had an eventful early history (2003-2005) that included several changes of name and location (URL), and the move to language subdomains in 2005.

The project was originally called Project Sourceberg during its planning stages (a play on words for Project Gutenberg). It then began its activity at a mistaken location, when source texts were placed at The contributors understood "PS" to mean either "primary sources" or Project Sourceberg, and they erroneously took over the subdomain of the Pashto language's Wikipedia.

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.

Language subdomains

A separate 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)

During the move to language subdomains, the community requested that the main website remain a functioning wiki, in order to serve three purposes:

  1. To be a multilingual coordination site for the entire Wikisource project in all languages. In practice, use of the website for multilingual coordination has not been heavy since the conversion to language domains. Nevertheless, there is some policy activity at the Scriptorium, and multilingual updates for news and language milestones at pages such as Wikisource:2007.
  2. To be a home for texts in languages without their own subdomains, each with its own local main page for self-organization.[6] As a language incubator, the wiki currently provides a home for over 30 languages that do not presently have their own language subdomains. Some of these are very active, and have built libraries with hundreds of texts (such as Esperanto and Volapuk), and one with thousands (Hindi).
  3. To provide direct, ongoing support by a local wiki community for a dynamic multilingual portal at its Main Page, for users who go to The current Main Page portal was created on August 26 2005 by ThomasV, who based it upon the Wikipedia portal.

The idea of a project-specific coordination wiki, first realized at Wikisource, also took hold in another Wikimedia project, namely at Wikiversity's Beta Wiki. Like, it serves Wikiversity coordination in all languages, and as a language incubator. But unlike Wikisource, its Main Page does not serve as its multilingual portal (which is not a wiki page).

Logo and slogan

The original Wikisource logo

Since Wikisource was initially called "Project Sourceberg" in a play on words for Project Gutenberg, its first logo was a picture of an iceberg. Two votes conducted to choose a successor were inconclusive, and the original logo remained current until 2006. Finally, for both legal and technical reasons – because the picture's license was inappropriate for a Wikimedia Foundation logo and because a photo cannot scale properly – a logo-style iceberg inspired by the original picture was mandated to serve as the project's current logo.

The first prominent use of Wikisource's slogan — The Free Library — was at the project's multilingual portal, when it was redesigned based upon the Wikipedia portal on August 27, 2005 (historical version). As in the Wikipedia portal, the Wikisource slogan appears around the logo in the project's ten largest languages.

Clicking on the portal's central images (the iceberg logo in the center and the "Wikisource" heading at the top of the page) links to a list of translations for Wikisource and The Free Library in 60 languages.

Subsequent milestones

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).

On February 14, 2008 the English Wikisource passed 100,000 text-units. [7]

Special projects



All Projects will be proofread by scanned texts.


  1. Server admin log for August 23, 2005; a fifteenth language (sr:) was created on August 25 (above).
  2. See the Server admin log for September 11, 2005 at 01:20 and below (Sept 10) at 22:49.
  3. Server admin log for March 29
  4. Server admin log for June 2, 2006
  5. See the organized lists at Wikisource's Multilingual Portal and Meta's numbered, sortable list of Wikisources by size.
  6. For an automatic list of local main pages, see Category:Main Pages; for a formatted list, see the section of the Wikisource portal.
  7. [1]

See also

External links


About Wikisource:

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