I have long thought that it would be a good idea to have a sister site to WikiTree for sources.
FamilySearch is free, but now you have to create an account and give them your birthdate before you can see anything. Since way too many banks still use your birthdate as a security question, I never give it to web sites, and I'm not going to start now.) I'd give them a bogus birthdate, except they say they'll throw you off the site if they find out you lied to them. Besides which, FamilySearch wants us to use their particular citation format, which is not the same as Evidence Explained, which is supposed to be our standard.
So I think that it would be extremely helpful to set up a parallel site to WikiTree that is only about sources: no chat, no family trees, just sources. And, once you find the record you're looking for, the site provides you with the source citation in Evidence Explained format, ready for you to copy and paste into WikiTree.
- Some stuff, like US census data, is not copyrighted, and can be obtained on CD or as a download, and then indexed and put up on a free, advertising-supported sources site like this.
- Some countries (or Canada, anyway) make census data available online, and some jurisdictions (the ones I know about are British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, West Virginia, and Yukon -- there are undoubtedly others) make BMD records available online (to varying degrees) and might be willing to make it available to a site like this through APIs. That way, as the typos in the data (and there are many of them) get caught and fixed, the updated data should be available automatically.
- Australia has Trove, which I adore, because fixing up typos in the scanned documents is crowd sourced. Every time I find and use an Australian newspaper article in Trove, I proofread, not just the article I use as a source, but the ones before and after it, as a "thank you" for giving me the source I needed.
I imagine that such a site would probably start out small, and then slowly add more sources over time as different jurisdictions come to trust it. But I really see a need for a free site without a paywall or a password wall or anything that keeps people from being able to look up their ancestors. I'm mightily sick of different pay sites trying to hold my ancestors for ransom (and, in my opinion, FamilySearch asking me for information they don't need, and that could be used to steal my identity if their servers ever get hacked, isn't a whole lot better).