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Wikibooks, previously called Wikimedia Free Textbook Project and Wikimedia-Textbooks, is a wiki for the creation of books. It is a Wikimedia Foundation project.


[edit] History

Image:Wikibooks growth.png
Growth of the six largest Wikibooks sites (by language), July 2003 – May 2006

Started on July 10, 2003, the project is a collection of free textbooks and annotated texts that are written collaboratively on the website. The site is a wiki, meaning that anyone can edit book modules without their contributions being subject to review before modifications are accepted.

The project was opened in response to a request by Wikipedia's Karl Wick for a place to start building open-content textbooks such as organic chemistry and physics in order to reduce the costs and other limitations on learning materials.

[edit] Content

While some books are original, others began as text copied over from other sources of free-content textbooks found on the Internet. All of the site's content is covered by the GNU Free Documentation License. As with its sister project, Wikipedia, contributions remain the property of their creators, while the copyleft licensing ensures that the content will always remain freely distributable and reproducible to allow for further collaboration.

Wikibooks differs from Wikisource because content on Wikibooks is expected to be significantly changed by participants. Raw source documents such as the original text of Shakespearian plays is hosted on Wikisource instead.

The site is working towards completion of several textbooks in numerous languages, which founders hope will be followed by mainstream adoption and use of texts developed and housed there.

[edit] Textbooks only or more than textbooks?

Starting in November 2005, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales wrote in the Staff Lounge that some content was unacceptable on Wikibooks and had to be removed. Due to implied inaction, some of this content was subsequently deleted by Mr. Wales, and then restored in a minor bout of wheel warring. All of the content that Wales criticized as inappropriate was subsequently brought up for discussion at the Wikibooks deletion page and the community agreed ultimately with Mr. Wales.

At the same time that these books were deleted, some minor changes with significant implications to a major project policy were also made by Mr. Wales, and this resulted in some considerable discussion about the mission and future of Wikibooks as a project. Still unanswered is if Wikibooks should be strictly a textbook-only project or if content other than strictly something that appears like a college textbook should be included in Wikibooks. There are several schools of thought about this concept, and major proponents of each view.

[edit] Video games guides

In March 2006, Jimmy Wales wrote a general message to Wikibooks users expressing his view that Wikibooks should not be used specifically for video game walkthroughs. This issue had been previously addressed in a proposed policy for Wikibooks, but this message posting was mis-interpreted by some Wikibooks administrators as a general order to delete all Wikibooks related to video games or Wikibooks that even talked about video games. This issue was further clarified by Mr. Wales as mainly a concern about content that was strictly a video game walkthrough, although there is still some confusion by Wikibooks participants about how far to take those instructions and what constitutes a Wikibook that should be kept or what should be deleted on these grounds. No official policy was ever codified about this issue.

Wikibooks users who want to delete all video game Wikibooks argue that there are no university courses on video game play. Defenders demonstrated evidence that more than a dozen different major accredited universities offer advanced degrees in video game design. The current consensus on Wikibooks is to permit books about video games but to perhaps hold them to slightly higher quality standards than other Wikibooks.

The portions of Wikibooks that had been removed due to violating the video game walkthrough standard were moved to StrategyWiki and other wikis.

[edit] Criticisms

Wikibooks has many incomplete texts, and many argue that even the comprehensive texts (books rated at the highest level) are of poor quality. The wiki model encourages the creation of abortive book projects that linger indefinitely without being improved or deleted, and it can be extremely hard for a visitor of the Wikibooks site to find any high-quality, completed books. The HTML format of the compiled Wikibooks is not suitable for the traditional printing of books with fixed page-width and page-length, and the Wiki syntax is considered ill-suited for professional book editing. Wikibooks also inherits all the criticisms levelled towards wiki-style editing in general.

The counter arguments to these criticisms are that Wikibooks content is available for almost continuous peer review, and thanks to the wiki-style editing, this project also inherits all of the strengths of Wikipedia. For popular titles and items that gather interest from several participants, the quality of the content tends to improve rapidly. Noted books that have achieved this are all highly technical books, especially related to computers and the internet, as well as linguistic books related to (human) language learning.

[edit] Project Incubation

There are two major subprojects within Wikibooks that have used Wikibooks as an incubator:

Wikijunior, a youth print and online content project.
Wikijunior has been proposed as a full Wikimedia sister project. Some discussion for its creation as a sister project reached the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees, but it was an incomplete proposal. Its internet domain name ( was registered by the Wikimedia Foundation in anticipation of its becoming sister project at some point in the future.
Wikiversity, a free, open learning environment and research community.
Wikiversity became a beta project in 2006, when the English Wikiversity ( became an independent wiki development environment. Content on English Wikibooks was moved to the Wikiversity project as seeding material. As of August 2006, Wikiversity is now a separate project. Currently, there is an effort to move wikiversity material to the new server.

These projects were grandfathered as sub-projects. Since their creation, Wikibook's policy was changed so that future incubator type projects are started according to the New project policy of the Wikimedia Foundation and the proposal added to Proposals for new projects. This also became the official Wikibooks policy on the subject.

[edit] References

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[edit] Other languages

Wikibooks with over 1,000 textbook modules:

Deutsch (German) - English - Español (Spanish) - Français (French) - Italiano (Italian) - Polski (Polish) - Português (Portuguese)

Wikibooks with over 100 textbook modules:

العربية (Arabic) - Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian) - Български (Bulgarian) - Català (Catalan) - 中文 (Chinese) - čeština (Czech) - Dansk (Danish) - Englisc (Old English) - Esperanto - Galego (Galician) - עברית (Hebrew) - 日本語 (Japanese) - 한국어 (Korean) - Magyar (Hungarian) - Македонски (Macedonian) - Nederlands (Dutch) - Norsk (Norwegian) - русский (Russian) - Slovenska (Slovakian) - Suomi (Finnish) - Svenska (Swedish) - தமிழ் (Tamil) - ไทย (Thai) - Türkçe (Turkish)

Wikibooks with over 10 textbook modules:

Հայերեն (Armenian) - Беларуская (Belarusian) - Bosanski (Bosnian) - Basa Sunda (Sundanese) - Чӑваш (Chuvach) - Cymraeg (Welsh) - Dorerin Naoero (Nauruan) - Eesti (Estonian) - فارسی (Persian) - Ελληνικά (Greek) - Interlingua - Interlingue - Íslenska (Icelandic) - Kurdî / كوردی (Kurdish) - Latina (Latin) - Lietuvių (Lithuanian) - മലയാളം (Malayalam) - मराठी (Marathi) - فارسی (Persian/Farsi) - Română (Romanian) - Simple English - српски (Serbian) - Shqip (Albanian) - Slovenščina (Slovenian) - Tatar - Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese) - українська (Ukrainian)

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

ar:ويكيبوكس ca:Viquillibres cs:Wikiknihy da:Wikibooks de:Wikibooks es:Wikilibros eo:Vikilibroj fr:Wikilivres ko:위키책 id:Wikibooks it:Wikibooks he:ויקיספר lt:Vikiknygos hu:Wikikönyvek ms:Wikibuku nl:Wikibooks ja:ウィキブックス no:Wikibooks nn:Wikibooks pl:Wikibooks pt:Wikilivros ru:Викиучебник sco:Wikibooks sq:Wikibooks simple:Wikibooks sl:Wikiknjige fi:Wikikirjasto sv:Wikibooks th:วิกิตำรา vi:Wikibooks yi:וויקיביבליאטעק zh:維基教科書


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