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Guide to the use of comparative pages on Wikisource. Comparative pages show the similarities and differences between two or more works.

Comparative pagesEdit

The main namespace can be used to show different versions of the same work on the same page for comparison. However, each version should be clearly labelled and no attempt should be made to misguide the reader.

General notesEdit

If necessary, information for the reader can be given in the header template's notes field, or through footnotes or similar system. The comparative texts do not need to be annotated, however; they can be presented to the reader without comment, leaving conclusions to be drawn independently.


Serial comparisonEdit

The easiest method of comparison is to put each version in series, under different headings. The headings can be used to indicate the version of the text being used for comparison. This is more appropriate for shorter works and for comparing more than two versions.

For example:

== 1850 British version ==
Foo Bar Baz

== 1901 American version ==
Foo Bar Baz

== 1920 Australian version ==
Foo Bar Baz

Parallel comparisonEdit

A slightly more complicated method of comparison is to show two (or possible more) works in parallel, alongside each other. This allows individual lines to be easily compared with each other in addition to the comparison between the works as whole.

This can be done in two ways. First, tables can be used to hold the two works in the correct layout. Second, if you a re familiar with HTML, <div> .. </div> tags can be used to create the same effect.

This is more appropriate for slightly longer works. It may not work well if more than two works are being compared, however.

For example:

{| {{table style|full width}} 
! {{table style|half width}} | 1750 edition
! {{table style|half width}} | 1850 edition
| Foo Bar Baz
| Foo Bar Baz


  • Another use of comparisons to evaluate OCR qualities: see here.


  • Comparison is easier with shorter works or a comparison between specific extracts or lines. It may be difficult to usefully show a comparison between two full, longer works. (If attempted, however, parallel comparison would be the most appropriate.