2009-10-12

Create Books Easily: New Version of the Book Creator is live on Wikimedia Projects

Last week, the new version of the Book creator interface has been deployed within the Wikimedia projects. We are very excited about this new step, it's a bit like a new start for books on Wikimedia projects.

Bringing Wikimedia contents offline

The Book creator is now deployed on many Wikimedia projects, and we're still working at making it suitable for all languages and all wikis. On most wikis, it is available both to anonymous readers as well as to logged in users. You access the Book creator by clicking the link "Create a book" on the left sidebar. On the English Wikipedia, it is available to logged-in users only at this stage (unless you know the direct link to start the book creator ;-)). For those who don't know, the Book creator (technically: the Collection extension for Mediawiki) allows readers to very simply browse a collection of their favorite articles and bring it to print, be it in PDF, ODF or in a real printed book. A good way to bring Wikimedia contents offline. The new version of the Book Creator is much more practical. Let's face it, the previous version was a bit geeky in its implementation, not exacty a model of usability (scrolling down to add a page, anyone?) and also not very sexy (all text and no images). The new version implements several features in a much nicer and much more practical way.

Easy to see, easy to use

The Book creator is easy to reach: when you start it by clicking in the left sidebar, it is displayed as a box at the top of your articles. The box stays while you are browsing articles, allowing you to add pages easily. You can also display the state of your book at any time and add chapters, or reorganize articles.

Add pages quickly and easily

The Book creator now makes adding pages to your book very easy with a whole set of improvements.
  • Once the Book creator is started, you just need to click the link "add an article" at the top of the article to well... "add an article" :)
  • Add a whole category to a book in a breeze. Simply browse the category and the "add article" link will change into an "add category". Clicking it will add all the articles in that category (note: at this stage, the book creator will only accept a maximum of 200 articles from a given category).
  • You can also add a page by simply hovering above an internal link, clicking on the link shown in the popup that appears. This speeds up the collection process by enabling you to add articles without having to open them.

The Creative Feature: Suggest pages

The Book creator now gives you ideas to make great books. The new version introduces a new feature, called "Suggest pages". When you have added at least one article in your book, clicking on the wizard wand in the Book creator box allows you to let the tool suggest articles to add to your book. The "suggest" features uses the links and the frequency of keywords associated with links in the article, and with some normalization and magic calculations, it will give you a list of articles which might be interesting to make your book more complete. Try it. Start a book with your favorite article, click the suggest article link, and let the tool take you in creative directions you might not have thought about!

2 comments:

rihatum said...

Hi
Thanks for a great tool, i can't seem to find a way to install / integrate this into our existing wiki (mediawiki 1.15.4)

Will be grateful if you could provide a step by step blog post or point me into a direction I can get it working - I will then document my steps and email it to you.

Kind regards
Rihatum

Delphine said...

Hi rihatum. Thanks for your thanks :)

You will find all relevant info concerning the collection extension here:
http://code.pediapress.com/wiki/wiki
andto help you install it, you might want to join the googlegroup on the subject, which has members who should be able to answer your questions:

http://groups.google.com/group/mwlib?pli=1

Looking forward to seeing your content in books!