Month: May 2019

Danish public domain authors publishing after the spelling reform of 1948

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One annoying feature with finding Danish language use examples for Wikidata lexemes is the Spelling reform of 1948 and the requirement of Creative Commons Zero license of Wikidata.

The Spelling reform of 1948 means that old public domain works in Danish, e.g., by Søren Kirkegaard and Hans Christian Andersen are with an old spelling which entails capital first letter for common nouns, the use of “aa” instead of the modern “å” and certain other spelling variations.

Works in Danish published after 1948 might have the new spelling (but verbatim reprints/republications of, e.g., Hans Christian Andersen’s works might still have the old spelling). Unfortunately the copyright law requires the author to dead for more than 70 years before his/her works fall into public domain and we can use it in Wikidata (It is unclear – to me at least – whether the use of short excerpts, e.g., a subsentence from a copyrighted work can be regarded as public domain). Given that we are now more than 70 years away from 1948 we might begin to be “lucky” to see works published after the spelling reform and where the author has died, e.g., in 1949. Such work will soon fall into public domain and we could use these in various context in Wikidata, particularly for the language use examples in Wikidata lexemes. Can we find such works?

My idea was to turn to Wikidata and formulate a SPARQL query against Wikidata Query Service for works published after 1948 and where the author has a death date. Here is one attempt:

SELECT ?work ?workLabel ?author ?authorLabel ?death_date WHERE {
  ?work wdt:P50 ?author .
  ?work wdt:P407 wd:Q9035 .
  ?work wdt:P577 ?publication_date .
  ?author wdt:P570 ?death_date .
  FILTER (YEAR(?publication_date) > 1948)
  SERVICE wikibase:label { bd:serviceParam wikibase:language   
    "[AUTO_LANGUAGE],da,en". }
}
ORDER BY ?death_date
LIMIT 100

The result is available here. Works of Steen Steensen Blicher, Søren Kierkegaard, H.C. Andersen, Meïr Aron Goldschmidt, Ludvig Mylius-Erichsen are in public domain and some of the works have been published after 1948. Some of Ludvig Mylius-Erichsen’s works are available on Wikisource, e.g., Julegæster fra havet. The version on Wikisource is with a modern Danish spelling. It has been used a bit for Wikidata lexemes, see the Ordia page for Julegæster fra havet: https://tools.wmflabs.org/ordia/reference/Q22084925.

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