Commons:Library back up project

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In 213 BCE, Qin Shi Huang destroyed all privately-held unorthodox books in by fire. In 206 BCE, Xiang Yu set a fire on the governmental library containing unique copies of the books, sounding the death of ancient Chinese thoughts and history.


Yongle Encyclopedia was finished in 1408. It comprised 22,937 chapters in 11,095 volumes and 917,480 pages. Only one copy after that original copy was made. Most of them are lost in history and only about 800 chapters survive today.


In 1932, 463 thousand Han Fen Lou rare books were burned in war.


To prevent such regrettable things that destroy the memory of mankind ever happen again, let's systematically back up the world's all surviving books in public domain to Wikimedia Commons.


Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge.

—Jimmy Wales



We hope, eventually, all ancient books will be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, transcripted in Wikisource and cited in Wikipedia.


500948 files for BOOK SAVED
as of 20:46 16 August 2022.


  1. One more back up, one more hope that the books can be saved. This could benefit the preservation of our civilisations. Wikimedia Commons allows web crawlers. Interested readers could easily back up another copy.
  2. More accessible to readers around the world. Some library website could be very slow to foreign readers.
  3. The books can be transcribed by user in Wikisource.
  4. Pictures of the whole page can be directly used as illustration in Wikipedia. If one needs to be cropped first, it can be easier categorised and be found later.
  5. The books can be linked as references in other Wikimedia Projects.
  6. The books can be easily annotated and categorised by volunteers in this site, as it uses the MediaWiki system.



To preserve history, books should be saved in their highest quality available from the source website.



The name of the book file should contain 3 parts:

  • Source abbreviation.
  • Source ID.
  • Name and volume of the book.

For example:

CADAL02079034 明史(一).djvu


Books should be categorised in names of their original language. Categorisation is necessary because many books have many volumes or several editions. For unity, books currently only have a single volume and a single edition should also be categorsied, as they could have derivations in the future. The categories should contain {{Category for book}} or {{Category for book series}} so that they can be identified as such. The category for genres of the book should be placed in the category page rather than the book page. However, if a category only applies to certain volumes of a book, then they can be placed at the file pages.


  • img2pdf - Convert JPG to PDF without re-encoding nor losing quality,


Project Country List of files Description Source characteristics Uploading status
CADAL China 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 China Academic Digital Associative Library, , is a book digitalization project in China. The project was initiated by China and US computer scientists and began in Dec. 2000 as Million Book Digital Library Project (MBP) and later as Universal Digital Library (UDL). In Sept. 2002, the project was renamed as the China-America Digital Academic Library (CADAL). In Aug. 2009, it was renamed as the China Academic Digital Associative Library. A million books were digitalised in 2001-2006 and another 1.5 million books were digitalised in 2007-2012. Visit project background. Both old and new books were digitalised in CADAL. Volunteers would like to upload public domain content to Wikimedia Commons to make the books more accessible. The initial uploads (Nov. 2019) were from files found in a web drive, which presumably obtained before the official website started to control for file downloads.
It is now difficult to get newly digitalised books from the site, since users are allowed to "loan" only 3 books for a period of time.
The initial uploads from the netdrive were completed.
NAJDA Japan 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 National Archives of Japan preserve Japanese government documents and historical records and make them available to the public. The site includes many digitalised documents and books. Most can be directly uploaded by url, while large (>50MB) often fails and needs to be downloaded to PC and then upload. Chinese and Japanese books from the Cabinet Library scanned before mid-2020 have been completely uploaded.
WUL Japan 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 Waseda University Library is one of the largest libraries in Japan. Can be directly uploaded by url. Symbol redirect vote.svg Completed
NCPSSD China NCPSSD National Center for Philosophy and Social Sciences Documentation is a digital book project initiated by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Most were downloaded from a netdrive and could be downloaded in the website. Some files are are not available from the website and are skipped. Symbol redirect vote.svg Completed
Harvard-Yenching United States 1 2 3 failed Harvard-Yenching Library, Harvard University. Symbol redirect vote.svg Completed (Note, there are occasional incomplete jpg download and such images are shown as blurred in the pdf. The uploader only realized the issue when the upload were almost finished. Welcome to report files affected and the uploader will fix them.)
NLC China (mainland) 宋人文集 Ancient books scanned by or kept in the National Library of China, Peking. Symbol wait.svg In progress

Note, even for completed collections, updates should be checked and update here.