Pulps, letters and science fiction fans

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In the process of my ongoing work to put Weird Tales and other pulps on Wikisource, I have found letters pages one of the more awkward things to transcribe. One of my recent tweaks is adding author pages for every published letter writer.

In the past have found published authors and notable people among these epistoleans, many of whom I did not know prior to this. Some were found by idly googling their name; some listed on the Internet Speculative Fiction Database (ISFDB); some only turned up when I wikilinked their name and it wasn’t red.

In any case, they are all technically published authors and Wikisource has no notability restrictions. Besides which, I’m not able to pick out just the “important” ones.

Therefore, author pages for all of them.

On the downside: A lot of these author would be treated as trivial and certainly wouldn’t make it on Wikipedia. Fortunately, as mentioned, Wikisource’s criterion is generally being published over notability. It is also going to be difficult if not impossible to get a much metadata beyond anything noted in the letter.

On the upside: There is a certain democracy to everyone getting an author page for writing a letter to a pulp magazine in the 1930s. This also serves to create a record of fans and readers of these magazines, with at least a little metadata, not to mention a historic record of people who may not otherwise have one. More practically, it enables tracking of people with multiple published letters, especially if over different magazines.


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I was googling not so long ago and found there was a lack of coverage of Wikisource in the blogosphere.

Sometime later the obvious solution occurred. So here is a brand new blog devoted to Wikisource. Primarily the English Wikisource but other flavours may be covered.

If you don’t know what Wikisource is, it is one of Wikipedia’s little sisters. A digital library of public domain and freely licensed works that anyone can help to build, mostly by transcribing scanned copies of paper-and-ink books to create electronic versions available online.

I have some ideas for future posts and I’m sure (or at least, hope) I’ll come it with more over time. As it stands, I intend to highlight the best parts of Wikisource, try to promote the project, try to make some issues better known and generally cover as many facets of the project as I can. I may also branch out into occasional sister and cousin projects that affect Wikisource.

I’ll start posting soon.