When I pick up a book I pretty much always go to the computer and take a look at what they have to say about the author and I generally end up reading the wikipedia article, and sometimes using it as an entry point to navigate to external links provided in the references section... if for instance I need a second opinion..
With this in mind, and since a wikipedia article can easily be manually converted to the .epub format and downloaded/added to a given author's shelf/list/folder in the calibre library, I was wondering if anybody had come up with a plugin/extension/script that would automate the process. The point, where I am concerned, is that it would save you (me.. that is..) a trip to the computer when you are looking forward to a long lazy read on your couch/settee.
I was thinking of something where you would only have to click on a button for the download to start, using default settings for such matters as target urls's and language(s) that would only rarely need to be overriden ..
I guess the script or calibre add-on might optionally want to check the wikipedia(s) article once in a while to make sure the local version is current.
The little gadget I had in mind might be even more useful in circumstances where you are not twenty feet away from the computer but rather when you happen to be trekking in the middle of nowhere, or perhaps in a hospital bed and there is no way you can quickly go online.
I have only been looking at e-books for a few weeks, so there are bound to be many implications that I do not see at this point, but I thought that this approach makes more sense than hosting and entire copy of one (or several) wikipedia(s) on an e-reading device--I believe that's possible as well, but I have no idea how you would navigate the copy. I don't own an e-reader, so it's not all that clear in my mind at this point.
My understanding is that while much of the older stuff is in the public domain, this may not be the case for useful prefaces, notes, appendices, timelines, bibliographies, etc. that you find in printed books and that the latter may still be copyrighted.
Not sure if that functionality would be useful to the community at large.. and not sure either if wikipedia would be agreeable in the first place. I have read some of their legalese and they do not look kindly on anything that looks or feels like a bot.. For all I know they might consider such practices an infringment of their policy.. especially if the extension sports a sync'ing feature that would more likely than not result in a bunch of tasks running in parallel happily hammering away at their servers.. (?)
Anyway, I hope I have understood how this thread was designed to operate and that I will not cause the moderator(s) any additional headaches..
P.S. Maybe a bit more info about my setup might clarify what I'm driving at. Over the last couple of weeks or so, I have built a central .epub repository under Calibre that has already grown to c. 6000 books, 1500 authors, in 12 languages, all for private use for family & friends.