Sunday, December 10, 2006
This afternoon when I got up, I retuned to the James Thurber page on Wikiquote, having discovered late last night that I do have a copy of Further Fables for Our Time after all. Most of the epigram "moral" taglines to Thurber's fables make great quotes, and so people have quoted them. Then I discovered a few more sources for the long list of unattributed Thurber quotes. By the time I was done, I had tracked down the source for a total of 50 quotes, and added the infoto the entry.
There was a problem, though. Eight of the quotes are from the same obscure essay, called "From I Believe" in one book and "Thinking Ourselves Into Trouble" in another. They're big chunks of text, too, not one-liners are most quotations are. If the idea is to create an online database of well-sourced, familiar quotations while still avoiding copyright problems, then these particular quotes fail on two counts, even with the publication data I added for them. For one thing, they aren't familiar, except possibly to someone who has kept up with all of Thurber's major posthumous collections of the last two decades. They didn't even appear in a Thurber book until 1989, 28 years after Thurber's death. For another, and more important, they add up to a good chunk of this copyrighted essay, too much to pass scrutiny as fair use under copyright law.
So I sectioned these off in a heading of their own, and expressed my copyright concern on the article's Talk page. The Talk pages on any Wikimedia articles are for discussing improvements to articles. In this case, getting rid of problematic text would be an improvement, but I was reluctant to do so unilaterally. Tonight someone had added a header that says,
This page has been flagged for a review of its copyright status, as it may contain too many quotes from a copyrighted source. See Wikiquote:Copyrights for more information on Wikiquote copyright policy. Please do not remove this tag from the talk page of the article until it has been checked by a user familiar with the fair use provisions of U.S. copyright law and edited down if necessary.
With all that done, I went out for pizza with John, and then checked my Wikipedia watch list. I was a little shocked to see that the brand new page for the tv version of A Wrinkle in Time, which somebody spun off from the novel's article on Friday, was already tagged as "unreferenced." Huh? First of all, it seemed awfully soon to complain that the stub article wasn't full of inline citations. Second, what citations did the thing need to establish its facts? It didn't make any claims except for basic credits, and the differences between the book and film, which anyone could see just by reading the book and watching the movie.
So I asked the guy who tagged it why he felt it necessary to do so,so arly in the article's history. Turned out the "source" he wanted was a citation to show that the tv movie existed at all. "a page on Internet Movie Database (IMDB) will work," he added. Oh! okay. The IMDB link was in the novel article, but nobody had thought to paste it into the film one. So I added that, and an "infobox" with the film's credits, and a scan of the DVD cover (above), and a brief discussion of the delays in the thing coming out at all, and a couple of citations and links, and some more stuff on the differences from the fook. Whew! No wonder it's 4 AM!
And I have to wash my hair yet, so good night!
Posted by Karen Funk Blocher at 12/10/2006 02:25:00 AM