In May, we finally finished the project of transferring American English-language poets' articles from Wikipedia to PPP. Before that was completed, though, Penny or I discovered that a large bunch of the Canadian transfer project had been skipped; and it took the rest of May and most of June to finish that as well.
The last bit of June was spent going in a new direction. Rather than transfer (and bring up to standard) more articles, on more obscure writers, we began reviewing and upgrading the articles already on PPP.
Beginning with 19th-century poets, we are reviewing every poets' article, with the aim of bringing it up to standard in these areas:
- Bibliography: We are adding publishers' information, new books, or even entire bibliographies as needed, to each poets' publications. In a few cases we've found good bibliographies, in Poetry Foundation articles or individual fansites; but those aren't always available. One invaluable source of information has been WorldCat, which in many cases allows one to compile one's own list of the poet's writings. (That doesn't work for the most successful, as libraries usually have more recent editions of their works, but those are the most likely to be in PF anyway).
- Links to books: We are not only updating bibliographical information, but in many cases live-linking the books. Which is why we started with 19th-century poets: being in the public domain, they are the most likely to have whole books online at Project Gutenberg, Internet Archive, or some other site. All these books can be accessed and read with just a few clicks: something that can't be done from any other site.
- External links: Besides books, we are also linking sites of these poets' poems. Most of them have poems on PoemHunter, often in the three digits. As well, many of them have poems in anthologies published on Bartleby.com There are also a lot of biographical sites (like NNDB and the Cambridge History of English and American Literature) that we add if we can find them.
- Authority control info: This is a new Wikipedia initiative we're trying to incorporate. Authority control assigns each poet a new, universally used # for use in and by libraries. Not everyone there has one, but if there's one on Wikipedia, it'll soon be on PPP, too.
- Random cleanup. In some cases (especially for articles needing little of the above), we've been doing more: adding categories, eliminating red links and adding blue links, and even doing some rewrite. Not in every case, but in quite a few.
- Photos: We're trying to put an illustration on each author's page. If there's no picture of the poet, we'll use a community plaque; if that's not available, at least everyone has a published book the title page of which can be used as an illustration. Which reminds me to credit the books at Internet Archive as a new, and very important, source of new and possibly unique photos; we still use (and supply) Wikimedia Commons, of course, but don't depend on them as much any more.
By the end of June we had finished the letter "A", leading to hope that we'll complete this new project by year-end. During this period, we probably will not be adding new poems; but in the process of updating poets' articles we are encountering articles on some of their poems, and updating those by adding the poems to them. To get an idea of what that looks like, check out our new poem / article on Coleridge's "Kubla Khan".
We probably won't change the message again until September. The monthly updates were beginning to sound both padded and repetitive. Giving them in two-month intervals takes much of the pressure off. So, until then ... have a great summer!