Monday, March 23, 2009

Wikibookian Survey

Are you a Wikibookian? If so, there's an interesting survey in progress right now that's attempting to gather information about Wikibookians and the demographics of the Wikibooks project. If you're interested and have 10 spare minutes, your input would be much appreciated:

username: motivations
password: wikiproject

It will only take a few minutes, and will help everybody get a better understanding of who we are and what we do.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Updated Wikibooks Store

Did you know that Wikibooks has a store on CafePress? It has had one for a while, but the selection was relatively small and all the things there used the old logo.

Today I'm pleased to announce that, with help from Jay Walsh and Cary Bass, the Wikibooks store has been updated to use the new logo, and an expanded list of Wikibooks products! All the old products with the old logo are still there too, if you're into that vintage look. Proceeds benefit the WMF, of course.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Wikijunior Colors

Wikijunior Colors is one of my favorite books at Wikibooks. It's such a simple concept, and such a fun example of how to quickly and easily create books for young children. It's also a good example for how Wikimedia projects can interoperate, with the majority of the books content being images from Commons.

Well, I saw today that there are at least three translated versions of this book: Romanian, French, and Polish. This makes good sense to me, there is very little text so very little effort is required to translate it into other languages.

If you haven't seen it yet, this is a very fun little book and almost rediculously simple in concept. A perfect way to spend a few minutes with your young children looking at colorful images.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Social Sciences book

I'm finally finished my work reorganizing the Social Sciences books today. I've received a few comments about some of my other work with the Humanities books or the Fine Arts books about how the work I'm doing isn't perfect. That's fine by me, I never was shooting for perfection anyway. One person getting things right the first time isn't what wikis are all about.

What I've been attempting to do is clean out clutter and get human eyes looking at every single book, even if only briefly. Also, I'm trying to turn large lists of books into smaller and more manageable lists, by categorizing and subcategorizing. The result is a series of pages that are more organized, cleaner, and easier to browse through. It's up to the rest of our authors and editors and organizers to fine tune the system to be more perfect. In fact, if somebody out there has an artistic flair and would like to make these subject pages a little prettier, that would be a great start!

So the Social Sciences books are basically finished being organized now. There are a few issues that I still need to tend to, but nothing serious. In my travels I've found a few very good books that I plan on showcasing here as time allows. I don't know where I am heading next. The biggest mess is in the Computing section, where our largest collection of books is jammed into the smallest number of meaningful subcategories. The Science section is looking pretty lousy now too, so I may head there instead. In either case, there's a lot of work to do getting all our thousands of books organized, and I could use lots of help doing it!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Concurrent Engineering

I've been following the work of a new class project here on Wikibooks: Concurrent Engineering. I'm an engineer myself by trade, so when I see books like this pop up I take a special interest in them.

This book is being written by Professor Burke and his ME518 class from Oregon State University. It's a very new endeavor for them, but they are making good progress. There's going to be some work needed to get it cleaned up according to Wikibooks' best practices, but those can wait till the end of the semester.

It's heartening to see that new institutions are using Wikibooks, not just the handful who have used it in the past. It makes me wonder if maybe we need a "Looking for a Class Project?" link on the main page wouldn't be a very useful addition to try to get more information to the students and teachers who browse through our site.