Starting a New Wikibook


The differences between regular books and Wikibooks: Length There is no predefined minimum or maximum length. What is most important is that the book contains the necessary information. Versions Wikibooks do not generally have fixed versions as they are constantly evolving. However, the books can have PDF versions that remain relatively unchanged. Style Many Wikibooks tend to be similar to...


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More about Starting a New Wikibook

The differences between regular books and Wikibooks:

Length

There is no predefined minimum or maximum length. What is most important is that the book contains the necessary information.

Versions

Wikibooks do not generally have fixed versions as they are constantly evolving. However, the books can have PDF versions that remain relatively unchanged.

Style

Many Wikibooks tend to be similar to traditional books in their editorial style, but they do not need to be.

How Much Work Does It Require?

Writing a book does not need to be a tedious task. Advertising can help attract other contributors, who can share the weight of creating a new book. You can advertise at Wikibooks (such as in the Reading Room). Wikipedians are given the freedom to write portions at a time and get help from other authors and editors. Although, before beginning a new book, consider whether you have enough time.

Creating a New Book

Anyone can create a new book. Users need to be able to commit to developing the book. Users can refer to the policies and guidelines about what kinds of books can and cannot be written, before creating one (Wikibooks:What is Wikibooks).

Creating a new book:

  1. Enables you to teach a subject that you are very familiar with.
  2. Enables other readers to learn the subject, without having to but a textbook.
  3. Inspires other Wikibookians to contribute to your book, making it a better resource.

A good book needs to possess several qualities:

  • A Good Plan

A book needs a plan, direction and purpose. Books need to be helpful and informative. The material should be presented in a comprehensible order.

  • Solid Infrastructure

The book should be well structured and easy to navigate. New contributors should know exactly what information should go where. A book should be focused and to the point. Readers should immediately know what your book is about.

  • Broad Scope

Every book needs to have a broad enough scope to cover the topic in full. A good rule of thumb is to break up material into logical subtopics, and have every book cover an entire subtopic.

Is The Book Needed?

Before creating a new book consider whether the book is suitable for Wikibooks:

  • Is it allowed under policy?
  • Is Wikibooks the best wiki to host this material?
  • Will other people be able to contribute to it?
  • Will other readers be able to understand this subject?

Answering ‘yes’ to all theses questions means you are on your way to starting your project.

Target Audience

Writing a textbook means that your target audience will most likely be school students. There are many ways to create a new book for a subject. Either you can make a book tailored specifically towards a single target audience, or you can make a single book that will consider the topic from multiple angles.

Picking a Title

A good title will make a book easy to find and easy to remember. Here are some suggested guidelines that you may follow:

  1. Use a common name for your topic.
  2. Avoid qualifiers such as ‘Introduction to..’, ‘Advanced…’, ‘…For Beginners’, etc. You may need qualifiers if there are other books on your subject, however.
  3. Do not name a book after a particular school course.
  4. Do not give your book a subtitle. If you do, include the subtitle on the cover, not in the link to the book.
  5. Do not number books sequentially. 

How to Start a New Book

Creating a new page is a prerequisite to creating a new book. Go to Help:Pages#Creating and create a new page.

Use the search box on the top right side of the screen to find the title of the book. If a book with that name already exists, you can pick a new title for your book or contribute to the existing book.

It is suggested that Book names use title case. This is where the first letters of the important words are capitalized. Here are some examples:

  • “This is a Good Book Title” (title case)
  • “This is a bad book title” (sentence case)

The first letter of the book title is always capitalised by the software.

The Landing Page

The first page that a new reader sees, is the landing page. It is also where cleanup and organizational templates for your book are placed.

Landing pages are generally thought of in two ways:

  1. The landing page is a cover page, with a link to the table of contents. This follows the layout of a printed book.
  2. The landing page is the table of contents, with a link to an optional cover page and links to all the pages in the book. This is a web-oriented structure that can be easier to navigate.

 

Option #2 tends to be the more popular one.

The Table of Contents

The table of contents is important for a number of reasons:

For Readers

The table of contents lists all the pages in the book, and suggests in what sequence it should be read.

For Authors

The table of contents is an organizational outline of where material should be placed and in what order. When the book is created the table of contents acts like a type of ‘to do list’ showing which pages have not yet been written.

 

Find an Example

Using the format and organizational outline of established books provides a good basis for first time creators. However, creators very often succeed by constructing their own framework.

Hijacking Redirects

Anticipate what readers will be searching for. Consider this when choosing a book title. You want a title that can be easily found. Although, book titles could have many aliases, if they are not being used make them redirect to your page.

Donating an Existing Book

There are often authors that want to donate books that are already written. If you are willing to release your book under the terms of the GFDL license, and if your book meets Wikibooks’ inclusion criteria, then you might be able to donate the book. To learn more about the donation process visit WB:DONATE.

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