Contributing to Wikimedia Commons

Editing Wikipedia articles is but one way to participate in its mission of creating shared knowledge. In this activity we learn to contribute media to Wikimedia Commons.

Public domain (CC0) pixabay image by DariuszSankowski edited to include Wikimedia Commons logo (CC BY-SA)

Wikimedia Commons not only houses media used in Wikipedia and other related sites, it is also one of the largest open repositories of media licensed for you to use in you own projects.

Wikimedia Commons is a media file repository making available public domain and freely-licensed educational media content (images, sound and video clips) to everyone, in their own language. It acts as a common repository for the various projects of the Wikimedia Foundation, but you do not need to belong to one of those projects to use media hosted here. The repository is created and maintained not by paid archivists, but by volunteers.

While editing Wikipedia articles is a valuable means to contribute to shared knowledge, a much simpler, yet still valuable ways to add to the general idea of a Knowledge Commons is adding original media, especial photos, to Wikimedia Commons.

But before we start that, it’s a good idea to gain an appreciation of what is presently in Wikimedia Commons (as of this writing over 44,000,000 media files; the odds are there must be something in there of interest to you).

What’s in the Commons?

Spend some time finding some images that catch your eye.

  • Really Good Images: Visit the Wikimedia Main Page where you will find links to see a daily pick as Picture of the Day, some of the best media: Featured Pictures and ones selected as Picture of the Year:

  • Images By Subject: Also from the main Wikimedia Commons Page, look for the categories and select on that is meaningful to you:

    Explore Wikimedia Commons by topic.
  • Explore Media From Mexico What can you find that demonstrates the land, culture, history of Mexico using the ay media is categorized.
  • When all else fails, search Use the search bar at the top to find images by keyword.

Share in twitter (with the #muraludg hashtag) the links to any Wikimedia Commons media you find interesting. Can you use it somehow? Do you know someone else that can?

Adding to Wikimedia Commons

What kinds of media can/should you add to Wikimedia Commons? The main criteria are (1) that it is your own work/creation; and (2) that it might be suitably related to content in Wikipedia. See more details on Scope of Wikimedia Commons (English / espaƱol).

The Wikimedia Commons Upload Wizard offers a step by step process for adding content:

Uploading an image is the first step. And yes, there is a suitable place in Wikipedia for a cute dog.

After uploading a media file, you must ascertain this as original work, agree to the license statement, and then add a title and description of the image.

Once in Wikimedia Commons, it joins the 45,000,000 other items in this shared resource space, and is also available for easily adding to new or exisiting content.

You might want to explore some of the other tools, including mobile apps, for adding media to Wikimedia Commons.

If you do not have access to media you might share, you can also contribute to the Wikimedia Commons by categorizing existing uploaded images.

WikiShootMe: Finding places needing photos

Wikidata is a structured database of information, media that underlies many parts of the Wikimedia ecosystem:

Wikidata is a free and open knowledge base that can be read and edited by both humans and machines.

Wikidata acts as central storage for the structured data of its Wikimedia sister projects including Wikipedia, Wikivoyage, Wikisource, and others.

Wikidata also provides support to many other sites and services beyond just Wikimedia projects! The content of Wikidata is available under a free license, exported using standard formats, and can be interlinked to other open data sets on the linked data web.

In the activity above we were able to add images to Wikimedia Commons; you can also do this via WikiData but associated the media with the geographic location of the subject.

We can use the WikiShootMe tool to show where in our current geographic location (or any other one we are interested in) where there are places that lack articles in Wikipedia or images in Wikimedia Commons.

For example we can look broadly at the Guadalajara region:

WikishootMe Map for Guadalajara

Red dots indicate places in WikiData that lack images. Clicking a red dot (after authorizing against your Wikimedia account) allows you to upload an original image.

If we had a photo of Cinepolis Centro Magno or maybe made a visit to this location, we could add to its data entry in WikiData.

Take Away

Writing articles in Wikipedia is but one way to add information to the commons; media are also important, even for topics as small as a single cinema in Guadalajara. The design of the Wikimedia ecosystem is one that allows for small and large uses of data across the system.

In these activities, you gained an idea on ways to identify possible gaps in the media part of Wikimedia Commons. Can you think of ways in the subject areas you know, to organize people to participate in contributing media? What is the expertise you, and UDG as a system, can bring to expanding this public knowledge commons?

Consider how your team might propose to Acumulador an idea for an activity or project that will fosters the culture of open at UdG.

Add to Acumulador


Featured Image: Public domain (CC0) pixabay image by DariuszSankowski edited to include Wikimedia Commons logo (CC BY-SA)