Saturday, June 19, 2010

Creating Books from Wikipedia

Most of us all know a bit about Wikipedia but did you know that you can create your own books from Wikipedia pages?  And since you can add to existing pages or add pages yourself, this is an interesting and new way to create and publish books.

How do you do this?  Go to and get to any article or the Main Page  Then look for the option on the left tools menu that says Create a Book.  You may have to click on and open the Print/export submenu.   You have three options here, Create a book, Download as PDF and Printable Version.  The latter two options are also useful and self-explanatory but it is the first that is really interesting.

After clicking on Create a book option, you will see the Book Creator page with directions to follow. Essentially you just need to click on the Green button that says "Start Book creator"  Then you go and look for articles that you want to have in your book.  When you find one you click on "Add this page to your book" button that you will now see at the top.   Add as many pages as you like. There is no limit that I have found.

When you have added all of the pages you want for your book, you can click on the Show Book button and look at the pages you selected.  Oh, if you need help finding pages, click on the Suggest Pages button and Wikipedia to suggest some pages based on the pages you have already selected.

Once you have clicked on Show Book, you should now see the Manage your book screen. This is where you can do the following things with your book:

  • Give your book a title and subtitle
  • Remove a page
  • Change order of the pages
  • Order hardcopies of your book to be printed and sent to you. This costs but you can see how much before you commit. 
  • Best of all, you can download you book into a PDF file that you can then distribute to your students or whoever you want to receive your book. 
  • You can even choice to have it downloaded in Open Office Writer format that you can then edit afterwards.   
I also learned that if you sign up for a user account on wikipedia and make 10 contributions, you get extra privileges with your books.  Namely, you can save your books on the site and have more than one book in development.  And naturally you can then share access to your books so you can share them while they are still in development. I haven't tried that yet but I believe you can contribute 10 photos to the Media Commons and get the credit for that. 

Applications for teaching: 
  • You can create your own book, reading pack or textbook and provide it to your students in PDF for free. 
  • Your students could create a book as part of a project or assignment. 
If you have tried this, please post a comment about how it went. 


1 comment:

Leon Cygman said...

That's was the biggest surprised I when I attended your seminar on WikiPedia. It is a very useful tool for educators that would like to have a custom-made resource available for their students.