fundamental idea is solid, but there should be no need for a
separate project. It is really just a matter of good research
practice. Defining a "good" reference is not always a productive
exercise. We can end up with NPOV disputes and edit wars just as much
over the validity of references as over content.
It should be a separate project, it has its own technical challenges
and it is clearly a separate database, since its content is more
restricted, and its format different. More over, there is a need for
lineages of sources in a way which there is not among wikipedia
articles. It might well be piggybacked on wikisource - but the concerns
are different. The major technical challenge for wikicite would be
creating cards, creating descent for editions of the same book, and for
then annotating those cards. As for administrative divisions, that I am
not clear on the relative merits of creating a separate people
structure for it, so will defer to others who know more than I, which
on this point is almost everyone.
It would be integrated in with wiktionary, wikipedia, wikiquote and
wikisource - each one having citation needs - and therefore a community
of users who would want to have access to a catalog, and to annotate
the reliability of sources in it.
This process will not end the need to search for consensus, the
problems of POV writing. What it will do is tie information in wiki
projects more closely to the sources, and therefore make users and
editors more capable of making decisions about those sources. After
all, the scholarly community has arguments, discussions, conversations
and fights over the validity of source material, we aren't going to end
What we can do is making it much easier for people to have well cited
and comprehensively referenced articles, which tie information together
in ways that allow people to make judgments. By lowering the amount of
work to reference and cite, it will make new articles better cited,
make it easier to provide citations for existing articles, and allow
the body of published knowledge to be at least linkable, even if the
actual text is unavailable.
At the risk of stating the obvious, journal articles
are shorter than
books. One Wikisource contributor has recently begun work on a 1917
National Geographic issue. That should be an opportunity for getting
some of the bugs out of that approach, and developping standards for
the way we enter journal articles. Some journal articles may be more
important than others to include. but the simple fact that they are
each individually shorter may be an encouragement.
But far more are published. Having a citation available for every
article published in every journal is probably out of our reach.
However, if we could get some kind of feed from the major journals,
that would dramatically improve the quality of citations on wiki
be able to keep track of all things
published. It would also be useful to keep track of
books and their printing date to know when things
enter the public domain to know when to put them on
There is already a considerable overlap between Wikisource and
Wikipedia over the matter of bibliography. For now I see it as fair
game for both. I believe that Wikisource should be carrying the
fundamental information that helps in determining the copyright
status, but that's only going to be there if people put it there.
Whatever one might think of long copyright terms it is still much
easier to calculate expiry based on the year of death than on the year
of publication. It's going to be another 40 years before that becomes
the norm for US publications.. For them we still need to consider
such issues as copyright renewals. A 1923 US publication whose
copyright was not properly renewed in 1951 is now in the public
domain. There is no need for a new wedge project somewhere between
Wikisource and Wikipedia.
Wikicitations would not deal with the copyright issue, since the
citation is a card. That card might include the original source, if
available to wiki, but need not, the work of determining availability
should be wikisource, which wikicite uses. The best analogy is that
wikicite is to produce a card catalog on line, and a system by which
citations are made available live to other.
"Fair game for both" means substandard implementation for everyone.
Textual apparatus is fundamentally a different process than either
writing articles, or providing correct sources, instead, it ties these
two together. Currently there is no mechanism for providing textual
apparatus to written sources in wikiprojects - which is to some extent
why people often over-rely on web sources, because it is easy to link
to them. Lower the barrier to citing paper works in articles until it
is no higher than linking to a web site - that is search, copy, paste -
and this problem will be fixable with education and leading by example.