Wikisource user group meet-up during the Wikimedia Conference 2015 in Berlin. Photo by Micru, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
Wikisource is the free digital library operated by the Wikimedia Foundation. Since 2003, it has been dedicated to gathering sources available in the public domain, like old books or open access articles, and transcribing them onto the Internet in formats that can be easily accessed. In a way, it is similar to Project Gutenberg, although on Wikisource the source used to transcribe the document is always accessible for peer-review thanks to the MediaWiki extension Proofread page.
However, the international community is scattered, and local communities do not have the power or ability to build their own tools or to make a serious and sustainable improvement of the software infrastructure.
To correct this, there was a growing movement from our volunteers, which resulted in the 2013 creation of the Wikisource Community User Group. This user group can be considered an emergent organization, since anyone can participate in its development; its end goal is to improve the Wikisource project, as the volunteers believe it is important to take responsibility for their project’s needs.
Recently, the Affiliations Committee has issued a resolution stating an indefinite renewal of the user organization.
User groups are light-weight organizations meant to aggregate volunteers who share a common purpose without the burden of incorporation or regulatory compliance. This has been ideal for the Wikisource community, since the size and the sparse geographic distribution doesn’t allow a tighter structure. As a user group, the Wikisource community has been represented in different venues such as at Wikimania and the Wikimedia Conference. The main challenge of the user group has been to keep interest in the project alive, as well as to offer incentives to create an international community to represent the particular interests of all Wikisourcers around the world.
In the past, thanks to the activities of the user group, there were some Google Summer of Code projects which made use of the Wikisource project as a subject. The challenge for this year is to continue to create a common understanding of the project, and to improve the involvement of volunteers in the project. For this reason we would like to invite you to fill out this survey and share your thoughts and ideas with us. The survey will remain open until July 22.
During the survey, you will be asked questions regarding your personal involvement with the Wikisource project, your preferences regarding governance and technology, and your opinion on how a Wikisource Conference should be shaped. With the support of Wikimedia Österreich and Wikimedia Italia, a Project and Event Grant proposal is to be presented for such a conference. We would like to involve Wikisourcers in a joint venture both to spread knowledge about the project and to strengthen community bonds. This, in the end, is what brings the group closer as a community for the benefit of all readers.
Micru, volunteer editor and promoterWikisource Community User Group