Monday, May 26, 2008

Disaster: Logo Copyvio

There has been a bit of a disaster this weekend with the Wikibooks logo selection process. Logo option D, my personal favorite and one of the apparent front runners, was found to be based on a copyvio.

Some of the proposed variants are dissimilar enough that they might not be considered copyvios. However, I'm no expert on this and would like to invite a second opinion from people in the community. The question is, are any of the proposed logo variants in this family dissimilar enough to be considered "safe"?

If not, we have a real problem on our hands. The logo selection process has gotten this far without noticing that one of the favorites was a copyvio. Could there be others hidden in the pack as well? Also, there have been some allegations that logos in the Wikijunior discussion are copyvios as well, although I personally can't confirm this.

We might be in a bad enough position here that we have to declare this whole discussion moot. I would hate for that to be the case, but it's better to stop now if we are running into problems like copyvios and the like.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Utah's Open Highschool

Textbook-l received an interesting email from Brianna Laugher about a new "Open High School" in Utah. Brianna frequently sends interesting information and news to that list, and might be one of the most active people on it. Unfortunately, textbook-l is an oft-unused communications medium.

Anyway, I haven't done any digging yet to see if there is truth to this story (I have no particular doubt that it is true). If anybody has more information about Utah's open high school, or information about what educational materials they are going to be utilizing, I would love to hear about it. If we could find a way to get Wikibooks' foot in the door there, that would be awesome as well.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Logo Discussion: Come and Vote!

It's stage 2 of voting at the Wikibooks logo discussion, and there are some awesome logos to be picked from. The best part is that many of the logos have new and interesting color schemes, far cries from the gray-meets-blue scheme (Wikinews, Wikisource, old Wikibooks) or the red-green-blue scheme (commons, wikispecies, meta) that the other projects use.

During this stage of the vote, logos are broken into "families" of similar images. Right now, we are trying to pick the best individual logo from each family to compete in the final stage. Here is what I want everybody to do:
  1. Go to [[m:Wikibooks/Logo]]
  2. Under the heading "Surviving Logos", there are multiple images. Each image corresponds to a subpage where discussion about that logo is happening. Here is a list of the subpages:
    1. Current logo, and variants
    2. Iconic book-in-circle (almost-winner of the last logo selection process)
    3. Iconic W-and-book in a circle
    4. Colorful stylized textbook
    5. Book with a world above it
    6. Golden Puzzle Book
    7. Wikimarkup Book
    8. Bookshelves
    9. Book with pages fanned out
    10. Stylized Book
  3. On each subpage, pick the logo that you like the best and comment on it.
It's really very simple. By May 15th, all the winners from each family will be selected, and pitted together in head-to-head logo combat to decide the winner. All Wikimedian's should come take a look at the options!

On a side note, I'm becoming concerned about the Wikijunior logo selection process. It isn't drawing a lot of attention, and people don't seem to be too enthusiastic about the available logo candidates. I propose that we abandon the second discussion, and derive a Wikijunior logo from the winning Wikibooks logo. This will help to add continuity between the two projects. Plus, many of the Wikibooks logo candidates are significantly higher then most of the Wikijunior candidates. There are a few gems in the Wikijunior runnings, but none of them are gathering much public support so far. If anybody has any comments or opinions on this matter, please let me know ASAP. I would hate to pick a "winner" for WJ that nobody likes, just because too few people said they disliked it.

Wikimedia2pdf Tool

Textbook-l received a notice this morning from the team at about a new tool that they've been working on: wikimedia2pdf. Apparently the tool was originally titled "Wikibooks2pdf" because of it's focus on creating PDF versions of existing multi-page wikibooks. However, it seems that some changes have been made to allow creating PDFs from Wikipedia as well. I'm not sure about all the details about how this works, so I'm going to spend some time playing with it today or tomorrow.

I tried to make a quick PDF this morning for a new book I've been working on, but the formatting came out a little strange. I didn't have time to really play with the settings, and I'll try it again later hoping for better results.

The website also includes several pre-made PDF versions of books that you can look at. Specifically, they seem to have already made PDFs of all our featured books. I took a look at the PDF version of [[Control Systems]], a book that I wrote most of and the only book that I've authored to become featured so far. I know that Control Systems is about 250 pages long (at least when I created the PDF manually using my own software), so I was surprised to see that the version from Wikimedia2pdf was over 1350 pages! The algorithm used by this tool appears to be a little bit naive. Control Systems has 4 "print versions", pages into which the rest of the pages in the book are trancluded. In a sense, a "print version" is like a book-on-a-single-page. Wikimedia2pdf transcluded the entire copy of all 4 print versions into the PDF it created. In essence, the PDF contains 5 copies of the book, back to back. What would be very cool here would be to provide a list of all the pages that the tool finds, and ask the user to check or uncheck pages which do not belong in the final PDF (like print versions, meta-data pages, etc). If this issue gets sorted out, Wikimedia2pdf will be a very cool tool for us to use.