Tuesday, February 26, 2008


I tried posting this news to textbook-l, but it seems that subscription rates on that list are very low lately.

I received an email today from Frederick Noronha, a person who helped with the UNDP-APDIP book donation from two years ago. He is helping to set up another book donation from APC.org. I don't have any details about it yet, but it's something to look forward to. As we gain more credibility and more acceptance, I think that more and more organizations are going to turn to Wikibooks to host and develop free books. This kind of publicity is, I think, a good thing.

I'll post more details as I learn them myself.

Friday, February 22, 2008

History of the United States

[[History of the United States]] is an old book at English Wikibooks, and one that is in need of help. Once, it was one of the better books on our site, and was selected as "Book of the Month" in April 2005. However, the standards at English Wikibooks have been rising steadily in the past few months, and books that were once considered the creme de la creme are now merely ordinary, or worse.

History of the United States is a book that has previously been merged with a book called "US History". For this reason, many of the pages are titled differently. Also, many links are redirects to other pages, and there are even a few pages in the book's namespace that aren't linked properly.

Besides structural issues, the book needs a lot of love from dedicated authors and editors. Pages tend to follow the "block of text" style, and there is very little formatting to help keep the reader interested. There is also a relative dearth of images. Many old subjects are glazed over, and many trivial new topics are focused on too much.

This book really needs to be adopted by editors and authors, and it needs some love. This is a book that was once one of the best Wikibooks had to offer, and now it's been nominated to de-feature it and remove it from the main page. Editors and authors who are interested should feel free to jump right in and start fixing this book up.

Friday, February 15, 2008


Short post today, I found a cool-looking textbook site: http://textbookrevolution.org/. It looks like a very cool website (if you're into free textbooks), and would make an excellent collaborative partner to Wikibooks.

Monday, February 11, 2008


Short update today, I have a link I want to share. Book-minded people might want to check out Libsuccess, a MediaWiki-based website that tries to collect best-practices information from librarians. Might be a good source for us Wikibookians to get some assistance or guidance with our constant organizational work.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Computer Magazine

Wikibooks made an appearance in this month's Computer magazine. The article was titled: "Wikis: 'From Each According To His Knowledge'", by Dr. Daniel O'Leary of the University of Southern California.

The article (for which a link to an online version is currently not available) is part of a small series called "The Pervasive Web", and serves as an introduction to and an overview of wikis. It does not focus only on Wikimedia or even Mediawiki projects, but it does have the several obligatory references to Wikipedia. Unlike most articles on the topic of Wikis, this one also includes mention of the Wikimedia Foundation and the various sister projects. It mentions, by name, Wiktionary, Wikibooks, Wikiquote, Wikisource, Commons, and Wikinews. Judging by the references and citations, I estimate that this paper was originally submitted early in 2006 (so it wouldnt include mention of Wikiversity). It also mentions Jimmy's other project, Wikia.

The paper includes a few images: Ward Cunningham's original WikiWikiWeb, SAP Wiki, and an image of Wikibooks. It's significant because he didn't use an image of the more well-known Wikipedia when he wanted to provide an example of a WMF/MediaWiki project. He also includes some information drawn from Wikibooks, including excerpts from our copyrights policy, and our use of graphical progress indicators to demonstrate the progress of our texts.

This is, I think, a great indication of the name recognition and stature that Wikibooks has gained in the past year. Many people, especially professional educators and researchers are seeing Wikibooks as a viable and beneficial project.

Friday, February 8, 2008

March 15th

Only a few people have responded so far to my suggestion that we prepare to move on to the next phase of the Wikibooks logo selection process. 4 People have responded, they are all in favor of moving forward, and some preliminary agreement is being reached on the date "March 15th" as the cutoff for new submissions.

Of course, I would like to see more then 4 opinions on this matter, but it's a good gauge I think of our general timeline at this point. Before we move on to the next phase, we need to work out a timeline for the rest of the process so that it doesnt drag out towards infinity, as such discussions will do if you aren't careful.

The Wikijunior logo discussion is following the same timeline as the Wikibooks discussion, and the submission phase for that will end at the same time. The wikijunior discussion has attracted far fewer submissions so far then the Wikibooks discussion has, but I would hope that this "final call" will help to attract a few late submissions. More is always better, and even if you think your design isn't a good one, you should definitely submit it.

I'm going to spam a few messages to foundation-l, commons, meta, wikibooks, etc. If translators are available who could post notice on other language wikibooks projects about (a) the discussion to end the submission phase and (b) the fact that we are running out of time for submissions, that would be a great help.

I'll post updates as more details are decided upon.

Friday, February 1, 2008

25 Logo Submissions

Just a short update on the logo selection tonight. The Wikibooks logo discussion has received over 25 logo submissions so far. This is a nice milestone for the discussion, and it's also a nice measure of the level of continued interest in this process. We have not yet set a deadline for the open submissions portion of the discussion, but now that we have over 25 logo submissions, maybe it's time we start talking about when to progress to the next stage.

Next week I will probably spam a few messages to the various village pumps and mailing lists. Even though 25 logos is a nice group to choose from, the more we get, the more likely we are to find a logo that everybody will like. We've gotten some excellent ones submitted so far, and if you haven't, you should go take a look at the current submissions.