October 20, 2021

Wikisource is a multilingual digital library, which hosts texts and books in the public domain or with free licenses. The site is part of the Wikimedia foundation and is collateral to Wikipedia, a multilingual project aimed at creating a complete and accurate free-content encyclopedia. The Wikisource project, like Wikipedia, is divided by language and not by nationality. Wikisource hosts monographs, documents, texts of all types and epochs: from philosophy to mathematics, from literature to numismatics. The Italian version, born in 2005, has over 160,000 texts in April 2021.


Wikisource collects and stores in digital format already published texts, including novels, non-fiction works, letters, speeches, historical and constitutional documents, laws and other documents. All the collected texts are in the public domain (for which the previous copyrights have expired) or released under the CC-BY-SA license (the same license used in Wikipedia). Texts in all languages ​​are accepted (as well as translations), each in its own language project.

The origins

Initially called Project Sourceberg (word composed of Source, in English "source" and the second part of the name of Project Gutenberg, the progenitor project of all free online libraries), the site was officially renamed Wikisource on December 6, 2003. The first name the image of the project logo remains associated: iceberg is a word assonant with sourceberg. The project, which began as a branch of Wikipedia, (which being an encyclopedia could not accommodate the various documents, sources and texts that the community was gradually accumulating), was launched on November 24, 2003 with the temporary URL https: // and later moved to the new domain name: Before that, the original texts were placed on, which while misinterpreted as Project Sourceberg, was actually a sub-domain for the Pashto language Wikipedia. All the texts that had been inserted there have been moved to the new official website on the occasion of its opening. In the space of two weeks from the start of the project, more than 1000 pages have been created, of which about 200 are actual articles. At the beginning of 2004, the site had 100 registered users. At the beginning of July 2004, there were over 2400 articles, with more than 500 registered users. Following the voting ended on May 12, 2005, subdomains were adopted for each language, allowing the texts to be hosted in special wikis. The separation was completed in June 2005. Each language Wikisource subsequently began to adopt community-regulated management practices. Since 2007, thanks to an extension of the MediaWiki software (Proofread extension), the Wikisource projects have begun to be able to view each page of a book alongside its scan (conveniently uploaded to Commons). In fact, this method guarantees greater reliability in the transcription of the text, always being able to compare it with the original.

Project progress

Digitization process on Wikisource

Collaborations with libraries and archives

In 2010, Wikimedia France signed an agreement with the Bibliothèque nationale de France (French National Library) to add its scans of the Gallica digital library to the French Wikisource. 1,400 French texts in the public domain have been added to the Wikisource library via upload to Wikimedia Commons. The quality of the transcripts, initially produced by the optical character recognition (OCR) system, has been improved by users of the Wikisource community.


Related items

Liber Liber Gutenberg project Digital library

Other projects

Wikisource contains a page dedicated to W

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