What’s new in The Wikipedia Library? (January-March 2024)

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Since its launch in 2011 as a community-led initiative, The Wikipedia Library has been giving Wikimedians free access to paywalled research. We now provide access to over 100 paywalled resources with content in more than 33 languages. As the Foundation’s dedicated partnerships manager for the library, I am constantly working with communities and partners to expand and diversify the content in the library. With so many pending, available, and expanding collections, I wanted to start sharing some regular highlights on what’s been going on with the library recently. With that in mind, here are the highlights from the first quarter of 2024!

(To qualify for access to The Wikipedia Library, an editor must be in good standing with the community, have edited for more than 6 months, made more than 500 edits overall, and been active in the last month.)

Shelves filled with a colourful selection of books recede into the distance. A person is re-shelving a book.
Book stacks of the National Library of The Netherlands
(Koniklijke Bibliotheek, CC BY SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

New partnerships 

Over the last three months we developed partnerships with four organisations, adding a total of six new collections to the library:

  • We partnered with British Online Archives in January, providing access to a wide range of primary sources within the humanities and social sciences. This resource was suggested by contributor Rob Kam and attracted 80 upvotes but it was difficult to establish contact with the Archives. Recently, our friends at The British Library (see The British Library Loves Manuscripts on Wikisource) connected us to the right people. Some of the most accessed collections so far include: Prosecuting the Holocaust: British Investigations into Nazi Crimes, 1944-1949; The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News 1874-1970; and India, Uprising and Reform 1879 to 1910. This partner is in the Library Bundle, so their content is available instantly to all eligible editors. 
  • Mohr Siebeck is an established academic publisher focused on the humanities and social sciences and based in Tübingen, Germany. Wikimedia Deutschland initiated this conversation and convinced Mohr Siebeck to join the library. This partner is also in the Library Bundle, giving instant access to all eligible editors.  
  • Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper, is now providing access to their English and Hebrew editions, as well as The Marker, a Hebrew-language business newspaper. These collections are also available in the Library Bundle for all eligible editors. 
  • Bristol University Press is providing access to books, journal articles and collections from across the social sciences for Wikimedia editors. This partner is also available in the Library Bundle.

If there is a resource that you would like to see in this list in the future, please suggest or upvote it

Extending access

In the last quarter, a few of our partners renewed their partnership, or extended access to more journals and/or volunteers:

  • Having joined the library in August 2023 as a pilot, De Standaard, a leading Flemish daily newspaper published in Belgium, extended access for another year. 
  • Taylor and Francis, a leading publisher of academic journals, has now extended our access to all their journals. In a press release announcing this update, Martin Wilson, Head of Content at Taylor & Francis, said: “Wikipedia is the first port of call for so many of us when we want to find out about a new topic and Wikipedia editors do an amazing job helping to keep it as accurate and up to date as possible.”
  • Finally, one of our most frequently cited resources, British Newspaper Archives and Findmypast, agreed to move to the Library Bundle, giving instant access to all eligible editors. Access was previously limited to just 300 editors for each and had unforeseen complications related to account subscriptions. The EZProxy configuration is in progress for these two collections and will shortly be available in the Library Bundle.

Sharing our progress

In the last quarter, we updated the Suggest partners page in The Wikipedia Library to increase transparency. As suggestions gather more upvotes, we’ll add a linked Phabricator ticket that will allow you to follow our progress towards establishing a partnership. See, for example, the recently closed Bristol University Press Phab ticket. These partnerships can take a long time to materialise, so we appreciate your patience. 

Looking ahead

We recently started a conversation with Research4Life, which provides institutions in low- and middle-income countries with access to around 203,000 leading journals and books in the fields of health, agriculture, environment, applied sciences and legal information. We’re exploring ways we could work together to expand access to paywalled resources. In the meantime, you might find that you already have access to resources via one of their academic affiliations.

I’ll post another quarterly update in July. 

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