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Wikipedia adds export feature
September 18, 2012 12:40 PM   Subscribe

... a new EPUB export feature has been enabled on English Wikipedia. You can use it to collate your personal collection of Wikipedia articles and generate free ebooks. These can be read on a broad range of devices, like mobile phones, tablets and e-ink based e-book readers. ... Collections can be exported in a variety of formats like PDF, EPUB, or OpenOffice.
posted by Egg Shen (24 comments total) 48 users marked this as a favorite

 
I think this makes what was already the greatest self-education resource in the history of the world even more effective.

I found the PDF output attractive.
posted by Egg Shen at 12:44 PM on September 18, 2012


That's pretty cool. Wikipedia is a pretty good quick reference for probability distributions; I might try that first.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 12:49 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Rumours that they got the idea from Amazon bookspammers are probably unfounded.
posted by jaduncan at 12:54 PM on September 18, 2012 [8 favorites]


jaduncan beat me to it. Wasn't it on the blue where I read about the epub scrapers that were selling repackaged electronic or bound wiki content.
posted by k5.user at 1:16 PM on September 18, 2012


Could you create an EPUB version of the entire English wikipedia? How big would that be?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 1:17 PM on September 18, 2012


If you'd like an example of what I was able to do in just shy of 5 minutes, I uploaded my probability distribution reference PDF to scribd...

I created a useful, 250 page reference text in 5 minutes and exported it to a format I can read on my iPad. We live in future, my friends!
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 1:18 PM on September 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


In unrelated news, suddenly the number of self-published titles "authored" and offered for sale by Amazon affiliates has quadrupled overnight.
posted by koeselitz at 1:22 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


and two people beat me to it.
posted by koeselitz at 1:23 PM on September 18, 2012


Interesting. So you can add pages without visiting them, or add whole categories at once. And there's a "Suggest Pages" tool that tells you about things your book is missing.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:26 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Could you create an EPUB version of the entire English wikipedia? How big would that be?

Current revisions only, no talk or user pages. (This is probably the one you want. The size of the 3 August 2012 dump is approximately 8.5 GB compressed.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 1:29 PM on September 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


the number of self-published titles "authored" and offered for sale by Amazon affiliates has quadrupled overnight

If we substitute "compiled" for "authored", why not?

Wikipedia's Creative Commons license doesn't specify "non-commercial". And the exported product includes all the necessary attributions at the end.

So if I was willing to pay Philosopher Dirtbike what they wanted to charge for their expertise in selecting articles on probability distribution, who's harmed?
posted by Egg Shen at 1:30 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I like it and I don't like it. I like it that you can basically package up your own DIY encyclopedia for offline use. I don't like it that it kills one of the coolest features of wikipedia, that it's constantly being updated.
posted by mcstayinskool at 1:44 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't think of these books as permanent objects, particularly for subjects that are likely to change with the passage of time. They're just a convenient way to read Wikipedia on mobile devices. Like when the restaurant packages up the rest of your meal and you eat it later.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:52 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Do any wiki sites that let you sign up for one (e.g., for a class project, etc that is seperate from wikipedia) have this feature? It'd be awesome to let students down an ebook of their collaborate project at the end of the course.
posted by ejaned8 at 2:39 PM on September 18, 2012


Remember Team hate-Wikipedia? They were insufferable!
posted by CautionToTheWind at 2:39 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Could you create an EPUB version of the entire English wikipedia? How big would that be?

Are there really good programs to through very large epubs? I'm pretty sure that hyperlinks work great, but I think I'd really miss tabbed wikipedia trips (and the go-back-one-page). Handhelds/ebooks have longer battery lives and there are more/better options for off-grid recharging than for laptops so this would be a great resource during infrastructure emergencies.

Does anyone know if there is an android/ios version of something like Kiwix which is an offline reader for Wikipedia .zim files (it clocks in at about 10GB)?

... and is there anything like these for TVTropes?
posted by porpoise at 3:09 PM on September 18, 2012


Hey, cool! There are a couple of iOS apps that are "all of Wikipedia cached"; Wiki Offline was the one I liked last I looked. They're enormously useful when travelling; all this background on the places you go. The formatting of the text is nicer than Wikipedia's default web style, but sadly they tend to leave out images and tables for space. I was surprised how much I missed them.
posted by Nelson at 3:12 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


So if I was willing to pay Philosopher Dirtbike what they wanted to charge for their expertise in selecting articles on probability distribution, who's harmed?

Not a problem at all. But if PD was offering to do so every time you attempted to search for something unrelated, you might have a problem with that. Et voila! Bookspam.
posted by jaduncan at 3:40 PM on September 18, 2012


Well, then, so much for my evening.
posted by wintermind at 5:12 PM on September 18, 2012


Very cool. I remember the joy at getting a download of Wikipedia on a 2 GB card on my Palm Treo phone back in 2006 (the memory card cost me $48). I used this, which included everything apart from large images and the talk/discussion stuff.
posted by exogenous at 6:45 PM on September 18, 2012


If we substitute "compiled" for "authored", why not?

The biggest players who are doing it now are doing a shitty job of it and marketing what they've done deceptively. Those people need to stop, and online booksellers need to be more vigilant about getting that shit out of the main search results.

If people actually curated Wikipedia collections and marketed them honestly instead of as a bait-and-switch bullshit bomb, that would be awesome.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:23 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wonder why it's just the English version? I've been trying to teach myself French again, and it would be great to export some of the fr.wikip├ędia articles on French history or geography to my kindle for practice (novels are a bit out of my range for now). Still, pretty cool!
posted by rollick at 7:29 AM on September 19, 2012


Oh, I spoke too soon: you totally can export to EPUB on the French site! (and probably other languages). Awesome!
posted by rollick at 7:35 AM on September 19, 2012


Is this not working in Firefox for other people? I'm guessing it's probably due to some extension I've got installed (Ad Blocker Plus or something like that), but maybe it's just not good with Firefox in general?
posted by Flunkie at 8:03 PM on September 19, 2012


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