Wikibooks (previously called Wikimedia Free Textbook Project and Wikimedia-Textbooks) is a Wiki hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation for the creation of free content textbooks and annotated texts that anyone can edit.
In April 2010, Alexa ranked wikibooks.org as the 2,462nd most popular web site in the world. Compete.com estimates that Wikibooks had 576,838 unique visitors, and Quantcast estimates 646,500 unique visitors, from the United States in that month.
Wikibooks was launched on July 10, 2003, in response to a request made by Wikipedia contributor Karl Wick for a project to host and build free textbooks on subjects such as organic chemistry and physics. Two major sub-projects, Wikijunior and Wikiversity, were created within Wikibooks before its official policy was later changed so that future incubator type projects are started according to the Wikimedia Foundation's new project policy. In August 2006, Wikiversity became an independent Wikimedia Foundation project.
Wikijunior is a subproject of Wikibooks that specializes in books for children. The project consists of both a magazine and a website, and is currently being developed in English, Danish, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish. It is funded by a grant from the Beck Foundation.
While some books are original, others began as text copied over from other sources of free content textbooks found on the Internet. All of the site's content is covered by a Creative Commons license. This means that, as with its sister project, Wikipedia, contributions remain copyrighted to their creators, while the copyleft licensing ensures that the content will always remain freely distributable and reproducible.
Wikibooks differs from Wikimedia/Wikisource in that content on Wikibooks is expected to be significantly changed by participants. Raw source documents such as the original text of Shakespearean plays are hosted on Wikisource instead.
The project is working towards completion of textbooks on numerous subjects, which founders hope will be followed by mainstream adoption and use of textbooks developed and housed there.
- Ben Crowell (2005). "All Systems Go: The Newly Emerging Infrastructure to Support Free Books". http://www.lightandmatter.com/article/infrastructure.html. Retrieved June 18, 2006.
- Michael F. Shaughnessy (2009-07-14). "An Interview with Curtis Bonk: A Look at Wikibooks and Wikibookians". EducationNews.org. http://www.ednews.org/articles/an-interview-with-curtis-bonk-a-look-at-wikibooks-and-wikibookians.html.