Wikibooks:Wikibooks for Wikimedians

Wikibooks is one of many Wikimedia Foundation projects. Wikibooks is different from many of the other projects in that Wikibooks focuses on writing books rather than single pages. Wikipedia, Wikiquote, and Wiktionary can each be thought of as hosting a single book for instance. Keeping this in mind should help you to understand many of Wikibooks' differences. This page is intended to help answer some frequently asked questions that people familiar with other Wikimedia projects ask and to help you become more familiar with Wikibooks' policies, guidelines and culture in the hopes that you might become a Wikibookian as well.


The most striking differences between Wikipedia and Wikibooks have to do with the nature of the projects. Encyclopedia articles and textbooks simply aren't the same things.

Textbooks vs. articles

  • Wikibooks are supposed to be Textbooks, meaning that they are intended to facilitate teaching an area of knowledge.
  • Textbooks are self-contained, meaning that the chapters link to each other internally, but not to other wikibooks.
  • Textbooks have chapters, subchapters, and pages. A textbook should have navigation between its pages, a Table of Contents, and other book-like resources (glossary, appendices, etc).
  • Textbooks are not supposed to be collections of individual articles, but are supposed to have a unifying theme and narrative.
  • Textbooks shouldn't just include facts. A book needs to present those facts in a way that will be understandable by its target audience.
  • As a general rule, Wikibooks pages don't contain as many links as Wikipedia articles. This is because a book is supposed to be a self-contained resource with a contiguous narrative. Links to all sorts of outside places can, furthermore, serve as a distraction. Links to other resources should usually be placed in a separate resources or bibliography section at the end of the book or page.
  • Avoid making red-link references on Wikibooks. While it may sometimes be useful on Wikipedia to make red-links to articles that aren't written yet but would make a useful reference, on Wikibooks they should only be made to pages that fit in with the overall structure of that book.
  • External linking should also be exercised sparsely. If technical terms are used which may be unfamiliar to the book's target audience, you may link to an external source about the term. Note, however, that Wikibooks are not created only for use on this medium, but may be published in other forms (such as off-line or printed) where these links will not work. Please also be careful when doing this, as a link to a non-existent or misspelled Wikipedia article will not come up red on Wikibooks. Make sure to follow the link, see that it works properly, doesn't lead to a disambiguation page, etc.
  • To link to a Wikipedia article, use the form [[:w:Article title|text you want]], where "w:" is the prefix for Wikipedia. (There are other prefixes for other Wikimedia projects). Do not use the external link form ([ Any text after the pipe will render as linked text. The previous example renders as "text you want".
    • If the text you want to display is the same as the linked article title, then you can use the pipe trick. Type [[:w:Article title|]]. When there is a link to an article, but no text after the pipe, the name of the page will be displayed (without the :w: prefix). The previous example renders as "Article title".
    • The templates {{Wikipedia}} and {{Wikipedia-inline}} are also helpful. For more information on interwiki linking, see Help:Interwiki linking.

Wikibookians take a different approach to many things

Where is the village pump?
See the reading room.
Where are the WikiProjects?
Some can be found at Wikibooks:WikiProject. For ones that do not exist, a place to start a discussion on creating one would be the projects reading room.
Why do my pages need to be "de-wikified"?
[[Any]] [[old]] [[word]] is unlikely to point to anything because Wikibooks' naming conventions differ from Wikipedia's. Also, books tend to collect most external links and resources together into a centralized bibliography. See Wikibooks:Dewikify for details.
What are the naming conventions?
The main page of a book is generally named "Book Name", while subpages are generally named "Book Name/Sub Page", or "Book Name/Chapter/Sub Page". Wikibooks does not use the Wikipedia-style disambiguation convention of "Book Name (Page Name)"
Where are the disambiguation pages?
Disambiguation pages are only used in a limited way in the Cookbook. Organizational pages (such as shelves) are used to list similar books.
What are Wikibooks' policies? How do policies differ from Wikipedia's?
There are many differences, some big, some small. If you are interested in policy, see The complete list of current Wikibooks policies. Wikibooks tends to be more minimalist than Wikipedia is, so the number of policies that we have is far smaller than Wikipedia.
What is the recommended style for making and editing books?
There is no single style, but we do have some recommendations that we suggest for new Wikibookians. Look them over, but remember, these are just guidelines. As an author or an editor, you are given many freedoms in designing your books. Where authors disagree, you must work towards consensus. Some of our books have individual style guides (local manuals of style) to try to keep things consistent within one book.
Who decides the format/layout/audience/style/navigation/etc of a new book? Is there a single "right way?"
Who makes the decisions about a book? You do! Authors are given a broad range of freedoms and liberties when it comes to writing books. We ask that all the pages in a single book are formatted the same, in order to give the book unity and continuity. Different books have different target audience, and the style of each book should be adapted for its particular target audience, so different books adopt different styles.
What is the policy on importing articles from Wikipedia to Wikibooks for use as textbook chapters?
Request the article be imported, then follow the instructions that will be added to the imported page.
How do I cite sources or include references?
Most books, if they cite sources at all, gather all citation references in a single biographical type page, similar to what is commonly done in dead-tree books. See Wikibooks:Manual_of_Style#Footnotes_and_references.
Why do some books look a lot like Wikipedia articles?
Some pages have been imported from Wikipedia, but not yet rewritten into proper books. You can help!

How you can help

What kinds of cleanup tasks are there to do here on Wikibooks?
Wikibooks has many of the same tasks as Wikipedia does. Pages can be categorized, pages can be improved (edited, corrected, expanded), vandalism can be reverted, double-redirects can be removed... and the list goes on and on. For a listing of tasks that you can do, see Wikibooks Maintenance.
How can I get involved?
There are many ways to get involved at Wikibooks. Most discussions about policy and structure can be found in the Reading Room where people can ask and answer questions. There are always good books to look through in Featured Books, where the community gets together and focuses on what books should be considered good models for other books to follow. Most of our debates about acceptable content on Wikibooks take place on the requests for deletion page.