Wikipedia and the deep backfile

We’re continuing to add serial information to the Deep Backfile project that I announced here last month.  I’m adding some of the existing information in The Online Books Page serials listings and our first serial renewals listings that hadn’t initially been linked in when I made the first announcement.  I’ve added journals with deep backfiles from a couple more publishers (Oxford and Cambridge). I’ve started adding some new information on a few journals that I’ve heard people be interested in.  And I’ve heard from some librarians who are interested in contributing more information, which I welcome, since there are a lot of journals with information still to fill in.

But we needn’t stop with librarians and journals.  I’ve seen many kinds of serials written about online that potentially have public domain content, or the otherwise offer free online issues.  Many of them have articles about them in Wikipedia, sometimes short summary stub, and sometimes more extensive write-ups.  I’m most familiar with English Wikipedia, the largest and oldest, and recently wondered how many serials had free online issues or were old enough to potentially have public domain issues.  So I decided to answer that question by building a table for that set of serials.

It turns out to be a very big table:  over 10,000 serials with English Wikipedia articles that have free or potentially public domain content.  That’s bigger than the combination of all the other publisher and provider tables I currently link to from the Deep Backfile page.  There are lots of serials in it with no copyright or free issue information available, and it would take any single person a very long time to find such information, verify it, and fill it in.

But I think it’s still useful in its current state.  You can use it to find out about a lot of public domain and open access serials you’ve probably never heard of, as well as many that you have.  You can click through serial titles to see their Wikipedia articles, and improve on them if you have more information.  You can click on their Wikidata IDs to see and add to their metadata.  (As you can see from the relatively small number of end dates shown in the “coverage” column, there is limited information currently in Wikidata for many of the serials.)  You can see what we know about their copyrights, and about free online issue availability, and follow the “Contact us” links if you want to contribute more information about either of those.  (Last month’s post included instructions on how to research serial copyrights. Links to the two main resources you need to research them– the first renewals listing and the Copyright Office database— are now provided directly from the form you get to when you select a “Contact us” link.)  And when a new English Wikipedia article and Wikidata entry on a serial gets added that shows it was published before 1964, it will be automatically added to this table the next time we generate it.

Whether you’re a Wikipedian, a librarian, or just a reader interested in journals, magazines, newspapers, comics, or other serials, I hope you find this information useful, and I invite you to help fill it in as your interests and time permit.  Let me know or comment here if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions.

 

About John Mark Ockerbloom

I'm a digital library strategist at the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia.
This entry was posted in copyright, libraries, open access, serials, wikipedia. Bookmark the permalink.

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