[Wikimediaau-l] Bringing the wiki model to digitisation

John Vandenberg jayvdb at gmail.com
Fri Aug 14 15:25:09 UTC 2009

On Fri, Aug 14, 2009 at 1:03 AM, Stephen Bain<stephen.bain at gmail.com> wrote:
> ...
> My own use of archival collections for research has recently got me
> thinking: why don't we bring the wiki model to digitisation?
> 3) Taking the photos and transcribing at Wikisource. As far as I am
> aware, all the various state archives are free to use (if you don't
> use the copying services) so all participants would need would be a
> camera and some spare time.
> Thoughts? ...

In short, we dont need more content; we need more people.

Even if contributors don't stick around on Wikisource, we need more
people who have participated in one Wikisource digitisation project
... so that they have an appreciation of what Wikisource is doing.

e.g. DarkFalls, Daniel, Giggy, privatemusings - these guys have all
come over and done a "bit" of work, and can now evangelise. ;-)

The core of the problem is that very few people are:
1) aware of Distributed Proofreaders and Wikisource, and especially
the potential of Wikisource,
2) interested in transcribing PD works, or
3) competent in identifying PD works (i.e. copyright)

Adminiship is a fairly good indicator of "serious" Wikisourcerors, as
it is liberally granted to anyone who has significantly contributed to
the project - e.g. I nom. people who have 1000 edits, no major issues,
and have touched a few namespaces.  I have successfully nominated
Poetlister, an IP address, and a person who appears to not like
responding to questions on their talk page.  They have all done fairly
well as admins.  Most people accept RtbaAs (requests to be an admin
:-) ) because anyone with 1000 edits has probably sat in despair
watching a vandal go crazy when no admin is around to stop them.  We
have had vandals do there magic for hours.  In 2007 and 2008, the
vandals usually became bored before they were blocked by an admin or a
steward was fetched.  I watched that happen two or three times before
deciding that it would be wrong for me to _not_ offer my services to
be an admin.  So we have very few non-admins-by-choice, and very few

btw, Australians I count 7 Australian admins, of a total of 39 admins,
so we are doing our fair share. ;-)

The en.WS community is probably about 40-50 odd people 'strong' in a
given month, excluding the people who pop in for a visit.  Stats here:



We are gradually catching up to the output rate of Distributed
Proofreaders, however that is largely due to the French and German


The above charts show that there are plenty of pages in need of
proofreading/validating.  Our monthly proofreading project doesnt
always finish a work in the month:


An example of an Australian work scanned overseas:


In a few minutes we can import and initialise a djvu from Internet
Archive ready for transcribing or OCR proofreading.  Here is a list of
the main ongoing transcription projects, most of which are barely
started, and almost all of them are incomplete.


In summary, a large percentage of works are available at the Internet
Archive.  And if a work is not there now, it will properly turn up in
a year or two.  So it is more economical to focus on the works that
are already on IA, except where a specific work is likely to bring in
new contributors and readers.

John Vandenberg
(hopping of hobby horse...)

More information about the Wikimediaau-l mailing list