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Guidelines for using versions pages and for adding different editions of the same work.

Wikisource hosts specific editions of original works and it can host multiple editions of the same work. These are managed through the use of versions pages and specific templates.

Different editionsEdit

There is no restriction on the number of editions of the same work that can be added to Wikisource.

Note that Wikisource should not have index pages or individual name-space presentations drawn from more than one copy of a specific content-entity of any work. The phrase "content-entity" is used to attempt to avoid confusion or misapplication of this guideline. In printed works, different content-entities, or editions, are usually defined by publisher and year of publication. For example, the 1878 first edition of a book published by a London-based publishing house and the 1881 second edition of the same book published by a New York-based publishing house are different content-entities.

Wikisource is not paper and will not run out of space to "print" works, so there is no practical reason to exclude different versions of the same text.


Some reasons why it may be worthwhile to add multiple editions to Wikisource are:

  • Editing. Different editions of the same work will probably have been edited by different editors and may have different wording, additions, removals and other changes. Having access to all editions is useful both for personal preference and academic study.
  • Illustrations, front matter and other embellishments. Different editions may have added value associated with the publication. New and different illustration and artwork may have been commissioned. New introductions and forewords may have been written. Wikisource (and the rest of Wikimedia) benefits from having these available.
  • Revisions. An author may have amended their own work over time. As with the work of different editors, this is useful both personally and academically.
  • Collections. Smaller works, such as short stories, poems and articles, may be reprinted as part of larger works, such as collections and periodicals. While adding these collective works to Wikisource a duplicate of an existing work may be added. This duplicate edition should not be ignored, as that misrepresents the collective work. (The collective work is itself a content-entity.)

Why not?Edit

Some reasons why it may not be worthwhile to add multiple editions to Wikisource are:

  • Redundancy. Some editions might be [re]printed by different publishers, in different countries, in different decades and still be largely identical.
  • Resources. While Wikisource has no space limitations, proofreading a text takes time which may be better spent on new and unique works.

No synthesisEdit

Works on Wikisource should not be syntheses of works. Each work on Wikisource should be directly linked to a specific publication of a specific work, in order for it to be verifiable as an accurate copy of that work.

Do not create synthetic versions of works by mixing or combining elements from different content-entities, even if attempting to "repair" a scanned copy. Sometimes scans are missing pages due to errors in the scanning process or because they have been made from damaged or incomplete print works. If it is not possible to find a complete alternative scan, it is permissible to repair one scan by inserting/replacing any missing or corrupted individual pages from a different scan but only if both scans are based on the same content-entity. If an alternative replacement scan of the same content-entity cannot be located, insertion of blank place-holders for missing pages is also preferred and must be noted as such in addition to be statused 'Problematic'.

Similarly, do not transclude two or more scans into the same page in the main namespace and attempt to pass this of as the original content-entity.[1] Each version of each content-entity must remain separate and be clearly identified to the reader. Creating fake, synthetic works, either through editing the scan or misattributing the transclusion, harms the reliability of the Wikisource project.

Derivative worksEdit

In certain specific cases, Wikisource hosts altered, derivative versions of works, as generated by Wikisource users. This guideline does not touch on such derivative works, except that the original source(s) for each should be made clear to the reader.

Please see one of the following for details:

Versions pagesEdit

Different versions of the same work are listed on "versions pages." Such pages are only for different versions of substantively the same work. Different works should not be listed together on the same versions page, even if they have the same title and/or author; they should be listed on disambiguation pages. This applies even to works that are reviews or analysis of the work. For example, Charles Lamb's prose retelling of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare) is a version of that work, and belongs on a versions page with it. The entry entitled "Romeo and Juliet" in the The New Student's Reference Work is a work about, rather than a version of, Shakespeare's play, and therefore should not be included on a versions page. (Works that share the same title are listed on disambiguation pages; works that share the same subject are listed on portal pages.)

Version pages are created using the {{versions}} template as a header, and followed by an (ideally chronological) list of versions. Versions pages are automatically categorised into Category:Versions pages.

Each entry on a versions page lists a textually unique version of the work. Such versions are generally located at a title with a disambiguation term in parenthesis. A disambiguation term uniquely identifies the version, distinguishing it from other versions of the work. Schemata for disambiguating versions include:

The works listed on a version page should have the {{other versions}} hatnote template applied above their header. This links back to the versions page, allowing the reader to identify other versions of the work.


The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is a versions page that lists the following versions:

* The 1st edition, published in three volumes by T. C. Newby around 1 July 1848. T. C. Newby was renowned for poorly supervising the printing and correction of the novels that he published. This edition is no exception; it contains many errors.
  • The emended 1st edition, published in three volumes by T. C. Newby later in July 1848. This edition incorporated many corrections into the unsold sheets of the 1st edition.
  • The 1st American edition, published by Harper Brothers on 28 July 1848. Newby misled Harper Brothers as to the authorship, resulting in the 1st American edition being attributed to "Acton Bell, author of Wuthering Heights". This edition was heavily edited by the Harper Brothers house-editor, and is therefore not regarded as authoritative.
  • The 2nd edition, published mid-August 1848, incorporating more corrections and an author's preface, but also introducing some new errors.
  • The Parlour Library edition, published by Thomas Hodgson in 1854 as issue 106 of the Parlour Library series. Hodgson condensed the book into a single volume by omitting large amounts of material including, most notably, Markham's opening letter to Halford. Other material was rearranged to compensate for the omissions. This edition is therefore regarded as corrupt or "mutilated".
  • Numerous subsequent English editions based upon the mutilated 1854 edition; for example, the 1920 John Murray edition, from which the Project Gutenberg transcription is taken.
  • The Clarendon edition, published in 1992 by The Oxford University Press. This is based on the English first edition, but incorporates the English second edition's corrections and author's preface. This is now regarded as the canonical edition.

Naming conventionsEdit

A versions page will usually have the title of the work. If there are different titles associated with the same work (this can happen, for example, for publications in different countries) any of the titles may be used for the versions page but it would normally be the original title, or most commonly used title if different. The other titles should be redirects to the versions page.

Different versions with the same title should be disambiguated in the page name, usually with an identifier in parentheses/brackets after the title. There is no fixed rule on how to select a disambiguation identifier; something simple and obvious is recommended. For example, two versions of "My Book", published in 1895 and 1920, could have the page names "My Book (1895)" and "My Book (1920)". Two versions published in the same year but in different countries could have the page names "My Book (British edition)" and "My Book (American edition)", or "My Book (publisher's name)". Different translations may use the translator's name.

The title in the {{header}} template used on each version should match the title used in the published content-entity and not the page name. (That is, there is no need to disambiguate within the header itself. However, if desired, a note can be added in the notes parameter of the header template.)

Selecting editionsEdit

When searching for a scan to use for proofreading and transcluding for Wikisource a user can sometimes find multiple editions of the same work. As a guideline to choosing between different scans of different editions of the same work, the earliest possible publication is usually preferred. Generally, if available, select the first edition.

That said, there can be specific reasons to choose later editions. If you are seeking some advice, we encourage you to ask at Wikisource:Scriptorium. Please detail the rationale behind a later-edition selection on the appropriate Talk: page(s) for the work whenever possible.

See alsoEdit


  1. The opposite, transcluding one scan into two or more pages on Wikisource is acceptable, however. For an example, please see Wikisource:Serial works.