Grants:IdeaLab/Attractive and original Wikibooks
What is the problem you're trying to solve?Edit
Many wikibooks are unfinished, not pleasant to read, do not have pages, index, coherence, not as attractive as a real book. This is really a shame as one can do much more with electronic books than with printed books. - cf. also the idea "Import and adapt open textbooks" of User:Bluerasberry
What is your solution?Edit
- One needs to understand why there are so few wikibooks, while there are plenty of classical books. There are many motivated people (who write books) but they will not put it in wikibook but will rather turn to established publishers, or put it on their own webpage. So one needs to reckonize and (a minimum) protect the work and the style of the authors (collaboration is really great and of course should be kept). There must be a finished, completed, mature, coherent content.
- Secondly, a wikibooks should not take the form of a wikipedia article. I wish to have something that looks like a real ebook that I open with some epub reader or a pdf file, where I can see the pages, bookmark, make comments, highlight. One may keep it openable within the web browser, but it should really not look like a usual website page, the text should really be central, the only thing that one concentrates on and well presented, it should be something pleasant to read.
- Finally, we can do much more with electronic texts (there should be a reason to publish ebooks rather than books):
- as with wikipedia articles, one could have translations or different versions (like "simple english", in form of slide for a lecture, in the form of revision notes, understand something actively through exercises etc... A very common problem that one easily forgets is that of the convention of notation/ some old but very important books have unconventional definitions or notation, one can update them to the tast of the reader (starting with the majority of them))
- Have internal links e.g. easy access to the table of content and jump to another section; or links to discussion about a particular paragraph of the book, answers to questions related to that section (on a separate page, outside of the book, like the discussion page for each article, but more in the style of stackexchange) + searchable texts + cloud with the prerequisite notion for reading some section. i.e. making books interactive
- Of course the possibility of immediat update of the book by contributors under agreement or in collaboration with the author.
- "thumb up" like votes or the possibility to recommand the reading of sections of the book. One can probably use the idea of tags as in the stackexchange sites, attached to the texts, e.g. "very concise style", or very "detailed" one, or "hard" excerpt vs. "easy level", or "general intuitive idea" vs. "formal mathematical rigorous formulation" etc...
- Offer several presentation of the books, like different fonts, styles and orders of reading (a little bit like music lists). More specifically, in mathematics, one can imagine texts where the proofs and examples can be displayed or hidden, same for paragraphs intended for a second reading. i.e. personnalize the books according to our "style" or our goal: e.g. create a specitif text corresponding to "30 minutes to understand a given notion" which would gather the prerequisite and the main definition and theorem associated to that notion.
- As an extra idea: unify books that cover the same subject by creating a "skeletton" book which is a coherent and readable ebook by itself, but in which to an idea (definition, theorem, construction) is associated a list of all the books (with the exact edition and page) where this idea appears. One can order the list by votes of the readers. As a first step, one can start by making an index that covers the content of several books.
- A related idea showing how an ebook can be more than a book is to start with a classical, reckonized book in some subject and add links in an electronic version of the book, at every paragraph where something is unclear for a beginner reader. The link will head to a page where the difficulties are clarified in details.
- The solution is of course to somehow enroll the people who write textbooks, i.e university professors. Many times, one can read in the preface of their book that they benefitted some grants from such and such institution so I guess one should also turn to them.
- As a long term project, one can certainly involve artificial intelligence in order to implement some of the ideas mentionned above
Who will you be doing outreach with?Edit
University professor, science institutions
About the idea creatorEdit
finished a master in theoretical physic, started another one in math
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