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Submissions/Wikisource and the US National Archives: a case study

From Wikimania 2012 • Washington, D.C., USA

This is an accepted submission for Wikimania 2012.

Submission no. 245
Title of the submission

Wikisource and the US National Archives: a case study

Type of submission (workshop, tutorial, panel, presentation)


Author of the submission

Dominic McDevitt-Parks

E-mail address




Country of origin

United States

Affiliation, if any (organization, company etc.)

Wikipedian in Residence, National Archives and Records Administration

Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)

There are other sessions which will deal more generally with the state of GLAM and how and why Wikimedians and/or institutions can get involved. Instead, I'd like to present a case study of how the US National Archives (NARA) has been working on Wikisource over the past year. It is hoped that this will spotlight the Wikisource project for any interested editors, while also contributing to the breadth of the discussion about possible GLAM activities. I will provide a brief introduction to Wikisource for Wikimedians and non-Wikimedians alike (even most Wikimedians will be unfamiliar with the project), an overview of NARA's involvement, ideas on how others can get involved, as well as a discussion of potential pitfalls and needed improvements.

Wikisource, "the free library", is a Wikipedia sister project. A repository for texts, Wikisourcerors are primarily engaged in transcribing, proofreading, and arranging documents. Its wiki ethos, customized proofreading interface, and pre-developed community vetting processes make it an ideal platform for these activities. This kind of activity is ideal for GLAMs with textual materials to contribute, especially if they are unsure of where they might fit into an encyclopedia.

In June, 2011, NARA established a WikiProject on the English Wikisource to help coordinate transcriptions of textural documents from its mass upload of digital content. In July, I blogged about Wikisource for NARA, introducing the project to more people from the archives world. Since then, hundreds of pages of American historical documents have been transcribed by both Wikisource editors and members of the public. This is a first-of-its-kind project on Wikisource which relies on Wikisource's home-grown procedures for transcribing and validating transcriptions. In August, after a number of successful transcriptions, the National Archives began adding links to validated Wikisource transcriptions directly to its catalog records. Finally, at the start of the year, the National Archives launched its Citizen Archivist Dashboard, which invites members of the public to use Wikisource to transcribe its documents.

We've learned a lot how to work with Wikisource, and we've also learned about some of the project's shortcomings (it definitely needs more love from the developers!). I'd like to share these findings with the community!



Length of presentation/talk
25 Minutes
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?


Slides or further information (optional)
Special request as to time of presentations
Not to conflict with other session(s) with NARA folks.

Interested attendees

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  1. HstryQT (talk) 16:45, 21 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Kippelboy (talk) 07:03, 22 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Daniel Mietchen - WiR/OS (talk) 09:01, 22 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
    Do you have any plans to inject any of your technical suggestions into the hackathon? -- Daniel Mietchen - WiR/OS (talk) 22:57, 18 June 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  4. Djembayz (talk) 13:50, 19 April 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  5. ~~~~
  6. Blue Rasberry (talk) 01:02, 6 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  7. Boite-en-Valise (talk) 18:42, 10 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  8. Your name here!