Wikisource:WikiProject DNB/Errors and errata

Wikisource:WikiProject DNB Errors and errata

The project to post the first edition of the DNB here on Wikisource has to contend with the imperfections of the 1885-1900 text. These include superficial matters, such as typos and format errors, but also serious factual errors. This page is to explain how to reconcile the objective of textual faithfulness to the original, with the wish to be helpful to the reader who seeks factual information as well as knowledge of what the first edition text comprised.

Annotation policyEdit

Wikisource:Annotations forms a proposed part of the Style Guide for the site. At Wikisource:Annotations#Methods of annotating we read "The exact method of annotating the text is up to the editors involved." It goes on to discuss options on annotating texts. One purpose of this page is to enable the DNB project to come to a consensus on our approach.


Given that the primary aim of the project is to post DNB articles as they stand in the first edition, the secondary aims can range over:

  • incorporating in some form in our work errata produced by the DNB publishers, such as the 1904 Errata volume;
  • alerting the reader in the way a sic flag does (yes, the text really does say that, surprising though it may be), and thus asserting the faithfulness of our copy;
  • pointing out that serious changes were made in later versions found in subsequent editions.

There is a whole gamut to worry about here, from a typo to massive confusions (two people treated as one, for example).

Linking to updated informationEdit

Where a corresponding Wikipedia article exists, the simplest usual solution to the DNB's inaccuracies will be to link to it. A Wikipedia article can summarise the current state of knowledge, including changed views.

It is also possible to place some later versions on Wikisource, and organise the versions using the {{similar}} template.

In both cases the "extra notes" field can be used to alert the reader, in cases where the DNB00 article is seriously flawed.


On a way to a consistent approach for this project, we should therefore take into account:

  • the use of the "extra notes" field for small-scale annotation on the fly (e.g. side notes);
  • what we could do otherwise to define a consistent annotation style;
  • placing the DNB Errata volume(s) on Wikisource, in the Page namespace, and transcluding text where it is needed;[1] For an example, see Atkins, William which makes use of {{DNB errata}}. A simple annotation in the extra notes alerts the reader to this article revision.
  • the need to deal with the Wikipedia linking backlog, and/or checking over the DNB missing articles on WP, so as to know better how well we can offer the reader updated information as well as original text;
  • the handling of versions later than the first edition.

On the last point, some articles exist showing the "diff" to later versions by strikethrough. These can be kept in some form but are not suitable as articles with suffix (DNB00) as they stand.


  1. Some paste-in errata can be seen in various volumes in the djvu; without an idea of where those come from, it is difficult to know precisely how to treat them.