In just over a week, the first set of Wikimedia’s individual engagements grants (IEG) will be decided, although they won’t be announced until the end of the month.  IEGs are a Wikimedia Foundation program to “support Wikimedians to complete projects that benefit the Wikimedia movement”.  Some of the proposals requesting IEG money relate to Wikisource, for example the “More books in the Bashkir language at Wikisource” and “Elaborate Wikisource strategic vision”.

The Bashkir proposal is the most straightforward. Bashkir is a language mostly only spoken in certain parts of Russia and currently in decline. UNESCO counts Bashkir as an Endangered Language.

The $15k requested (about £10k) will go towards two participating Bashkir Wikimedians organising the scanning of Bashkir reference texts and putting them on Wikisource, where they will in turn be used to expand the Bashkir Wikipedia. Included in this is a plan to contact some Bashkir authors and request the open licensing of their works.

The result will be along the lines of the public domain encyclopaedia, like Encyclopaedia Britannica’s 11th edition, which gave English Wikipedia it’s initial boost. It might even save a language in the process.

The Strategic Vision is more complicated and will cover all of Wikisource, the Wikisource 3.0 of the title, with some impact on several sister projects.

This proposal won’t actually implement anything tangible but it will provide a plan for something that can be implemented in the near future. The €10k requested (about £8½k) will go towards the fees and travel expenses of two participating Wikimedians (a Canadian and an Italian, who between them will cover their respective continents) and one associate (French, the developer of the EPUB export tool and maintainer of the ProofreadPage extension). There will be analysis, discussion, planning and consensus building.

The stated aim is to move forward with some of the Wikisource Roadmap, which was written during Wikimania 2012 in Washington D.C. The crux of the proposal is better use of metadata and improved integration with other projects (including Wikisource’s sisters like Wiktionary, Wikipedia and Commons).

At the moment metadata, such as title and author, are entered on Commons and they then need to be re-entered again on Wikisource. Every downstream user of Wikisource (be it Wikimedia, OCLC, Textus or whatever) also needs to enter it all again every time it’s used. Integrated, machine-readable metadata can not only eliminate that, it can populate it all automatically in the first place from other electronic sources.

Other potential gains from this project are citation tracking (currently this is rather manual, for instance: this), paragraph transclusion (like Commons’ files and Wikidata’s interwiki links, only with text), and maybe even the layered annotation system mentioned in the roadmap (not directly mentioned but possible). Being reliably machine readable might even get Wikisource texts catalogued in other databases, which would be interesting.

Within the Wikimedia family: Wikipedia will not only be able to cite Wikisource easily, it could transclude extracts and examples; Wikiquote could pull quotes directly from our texts; Wiktionary could cite and quote usage examples; etc, etc.

Anyway, good luck to everyone on their requests.

PS: For the record, I consider Wikisource 2.0 to have begun with the implementation of the Proofread Page extension, which allows one-click access to scans and online proofreading.