Wikisource:WikiProject Catholic Encyclopedia Upgrade

Catholic Encyclopedia Upgrade

WikiProject to get a more perfect copy of the Catholic Encyclopedia (1913) posted here.

Text from the Catholic Encyclopedia (1913) (CE) is posted on at least five websites, including this one.[1] Despite this variety of sources, it cannot be said that a complete version is available anywhere as proofread text.[2] The point of this WikiProject, simply said, is to change the situation, into one where the Wikisource version is clearly superior, rather than being (as at present) a mirror replete with errors and gaps that are found elsewhere.

Why an upgrade?Edit

Now that text can be proofread opposite djvus, there is no reason to be content with the current state of affairs. As of early 2010, around 3% of the articles are missing from the CE here as it is. That alone would not be enough to justify starting a formal project, since the gaps could gradually be filled. Consider though that for the text of the CE, whatever one may think of its editorial line,[3] the existence of online versions has put this material back into circulation. In particular the English Wikipedia references it thousands of times, and very many articles there include text from the CE. Clearly:

  • as far as possible text copied into Wikipedia should be accurate;
  • where Wikipedia articles reference the CE, it should be an accurate and complete article that is referenced;
  • as far as possible Wikipedia articles should reference the Wikisource version

The last point is an ambition that is all the more justified if the articles here are proofread well, offer the chance to verify text against the original, and are also supported by author pages explaining something of the author's background, and have added hyperlinks that really help the serious reader. Those four points are not yet fulfilled, and would not be simply by adding the missing articles, important as that is.


The following need to be addressed:

  • At least 300 missing articles, with one big block under letter E still mainly absent. There are many other individual cases of articles missing, apparently caused by human error.
  • Some articles are posted incomplete, with a big chunk of text dropped.
  • Very many of the articles have had the references section clipped off. This is a big loss from a scholarly point of view, and naturally makes the CE look less convincing as a source.
  • Greek and Hebrew text has been romanised, and should be replaced in the original form.
  • Editorial interventions of an arbitrary kind can be found quite easily. Format changes have likewise been imposed.
  • Some of the format, in particular the ersatz {{sc| }} created like S<small>MITH</small>, interferes with the onsite search in a grievous fashion.
  • The titling of articles is inconsistent, and numerous mistakes of title can be found.
  • Author pages should be posted, and articles linked to authors.
  • Where possible, articles should link to Wikipedia equivalents, and use {{similar}} to link to related reference material here.
  • The volume ToCs do not correspond to the actual contents of volumes, and should be corrected in conjunction with correction of "previous" and "next". Volume TOC is aligned with OCE indexing and prev/next in article are aligned with TOCs.

Project pagesEdit


The following pages are meant as a support to define TOC for volumes. Article sequence in is used for reference; each article provide link to scanned page for quick navigation.

/CE Vol 01 /CE Vol 02 /CE Vol 03 /CE Vol 04
/CE Vol 05 /CE Vol 06 /CE Vol 07 /CE Vol 08
/CE Vol 09 /CE Vol 10 /CE Vol 11 /CE Vol 12
/CE Vol 13 /CE Vol 14 /CE Vol 15 /CE Vol 16

Points about the workEdit

In common with other encyclopedic projects here, the work required can only be described as "painstaking": the material will be used for reference, rather than recreational reading. There is the difference that the bulk of the text has been posted already. The method of work will be to create the pagespace by copying text into the pages there. But it all requires care:

  1. First create the text layer and save it, so it is there for all time in the history. Do this for each page corresponding to any part of a given article.
  2. Only then paste in existing text, over the corresponding places. Proofread and adjust the format.
  3. Transclude back to the original article.
  4. There is the option of not restoring the original references section at this point, if it was missing. In that case comment it out for the present with <!-- -->. Add Category:CE articles missing reference sections to the article. In this way restoring the reference sections can be treated as a separate cleanup operation.

Volumes postedEdit

Now completed:


  1. Others are,,, and
  2. At there are good page scans, but the text posted is deficient in some ways. There are scans posted at
  3. The Catholic Encyclopedia is very much of its period, post-Vatican I, and reflects strongly some tendencies such as neo-scholasticism and ultramontanism. It was written with a clear memory of the Kulturkampf in Germany, and just a few years after the sharp struggle between French republican secularism in government and the Catholic Church. It was not intended as neutral, but (as the introductory material makes clear) an alternative to existing encyclopedias of the early twentieth century, discussing the 'Catholic world' from the orthodox Church view. There are some factors in its favour, such as the global reach that reflects the historical fact that Catholic missionary activity, measured by the creation of apostolic vicariates, had come to cover effectively the entire populated world by just this period.