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Wikimedia Commons

  1. REDIRECT Template:Infobox website
Wikimedia logo mosaic

Wikimedia Commons (or simply Commons) is a repository of images, sound and other multimedia files.[1] It is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation, from which uploaded files can be used across all Wikimedia projects[2] in all languages, including Wikipedia, Wikibooks, Wikisource and Wikinews, or downloaded for offsite use. The repository contains over 4.7 million media files.



The project was proposed by Erik Möller in March 2004[3] and launched on September 7, 2004,[4][5] A key motivation behind the setup of a central repository was the desire to reduce duplication of effort across the Wikimedia projects and languages, as the same file had to be uploaded to many different wikis separately before Commons was created. The technical feature to use any file from Commons on any Wikimedia project was implemented and enabled in October 2004,[6] which led to rapid adoption of Commons as a repository. The project logo was created by Reid Beels, who had initially submitted it to a logo contest for Wikinews. It was entered into the Commons logo competition, which it won, and was officially adopted in November 2004.[7]

In April 2005, Directmedia Publishing, a Berlin company which also publishes a German language edition of Wikipedia on DVD, donated a collection of 10,000 reproductions of public domain paintings to Wikimedia Commons, which were uploaded together with metadata about the art and its creators.[8]

On May 24, 2005, Wikimedia Commons reached a milestone of 100,000 uploaded media files (excluding thousands of weather and market data images for Wikinews). It also received an honorary mention at the 2005 Prix Ars Electronica awards in May 2005.[9] On November 30, 2006, it reached the one millionth uploaded file. A "mosaic" of the Wikimedia Foundation logo was manually created by the site's editors to celebrate the milestone.[10]

Wikimedia Commons has also received donations of images from various third-parties, including two donations from German photo archives (an 100,000 image donation from the German Federal Archives[11] and a 250,000 image donation from Deutsche Fotothek)[12]

As of June 2009, the Wikipedia community and Wikimedia Foundation board approved the adoption of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA) license as the main content license for Wikipedia and other Wikimedia sites. Compatibly licensed media files (including much of the content of Wikimedia Commons) also became available under the new license.[13].


Given its primary function as a supporting project for the other Wikimedia web sites, the main content policy for files uploaded to Commons is that they must be potentially useful on any of the Wikimedia projects. This excludes material such as purely personal pictures and artwork, in contrast to image sharing repositories like Flickr, Facebook and DeviantArt. Nevertheless, large numbers of files hosted on Commons are not used directly on any Wikimedia project and likely never will be; as such, the project has grown into a repository of multimedia in its own right, which is frequently linked to from articles on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia websites to provide supplemental materials.

Most Wikimedia projects still allow local uploads which are not visible to other projects or languages, but this option is meant to be used primarily for material which local project policies allow, but which would not be permitted according to the copyright policy of Commons, such as fair use content. Wikimedia Commons itself does not allow fair use or uploads under non-free licenses, including licenses which restrict commercial use of materials or disallow derivative works. Licenses that are acceptable include the GNU Free Documentation License, Creative Commons Attribution and Attribution/ShareAlike licenses,[14], other free content and free software licenses, and the public domain.

The default language for Commons is English, but registered users can customize their interface to use any other available user interface translations. Many content pages, in particular policy pages and portals, have also been translated into various languages. Files on Wikimedia Commons are categorized using MediaWiki's category system. In addition, they are often collected on individual topical gallery pages. While the project was originally proposed to also contain free text files, these continue to be hosted on a sister project, Wikisource.


Over time, additional functionality has been developed to interface Wikimedia Commons with the other Wikimedia projects. Daniel Kinzler wrote applications for finding appropriate categories for uploaded files ("CommonSense"), determining the usage of files across the Wikimedia projects ("CheckUsage"), locating images with missing copyright information ("UntaggedImages"), and relaying information about administrative actions such as deletions to the relevant wikis ("CommonsTicker").

Specialized uploading tools and scripts such as "Commonist" have been created to simplify the process of uploading large numbers of files. In order to review free content photos uploaded to Flickr, users can participate in a collaborative external review process ("FlickrLickr"), which has resulted in more than 10,000 uploads to Commons.[15]


File:Broadway tower edit.jpg
Wikimedia Commons Picture of the Year, 2007

The site has three mechanisms for recognizing quality works. One is known as "Featured pictures", where works are nominated and other community members vote to accept or reject the nomination. This process began in November 2004. Another process known as "Quality images" began in June 2006, and has a simpler nomination process comparable to "Featured pictures". "Quality images" only accepts works created by Wikimedia users, whereas "Featured pictures" additionally accepts nominations of works by third parties such as NASA. A third image assessment project, known as "Valued images", began on June 1, 2008 with the purpose of recognising "the most valued illustration of its kind", in contrast to the other two processes which assess images mainly on technical quality.

In January 2007, the site held its inaugural "Picture of the Year" competition, for "Picture of the Year 2006". All images that were made a Featured picture during 2006 were eligible, and voted on by eligible Wikimedia users during two rounds of voting. The winning picture was a picture of the Aurora Borealis over snowlands, taken by a member of the US Air Force. The practice has continued; to date, Wikimedia Commons has completed Picture of the Year Competitions for 2006, 2007, and 2008.

See also

  • Creative Commons – a project providing a set of content licenses and a directory of works using them
  • Internet Archive – an online collection of videos, documents and webpages
  • Project Gutenberg – the largest freely accessible collection of documents (including books and sheet music)
  • Ourmedia – a community media archive


  1. Endres, Joe, "Wiki websites wealth of information". International News on Fats, Oils and Related Materials : INFORM. Champaign, Illinois: May 2006. Vol. 17, Iss. 5; pg. 312, 1 pgs. Source type: Periodical ISSN: 08978026 ProQuest document ID: 1044826021 Text Word Count 746 Document URL: Proquest URL ProQuest (subscription) retrieved August 6, 2007
  2. "Embedding Commons’ media in Wikimedia projects". Wikimedia Commons. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:First_steps/Reuse#Embedding_Commons'_media_in_Wikimedia_projects. Retrieved 2007-08-07. 
  3. Möller, Erik (19 March 2004). "[Wikipedia-l] Proposal: commons.wikimedia.org". http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikipedia-l/2004-March/014885.html. Retrieved 2007-08-07. 
  4. "Main Page". Wikimedia Commons. 7 September 2004. http://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Main_Page&oldid=50. Retrieved 2007-08-07. 
  5. "Wikimedia Commons: Über 100.000 freie Bilder, Töne und Filme" (in German). Golem.de. 25 May 2005. http://www.golem.de/0505/38234.html. Retrieved 2007-08-07. 
  6. Möller, Erik. "Wikimedia Commons support enabled". Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Village_pump_%28news%29&diff=prev&oldid=6980571. Retrieved 2006-03-13. 
  7. "Commons:Logo/Vote". Wikimedia Commons. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Logo/Vote. Retrieved 2007-08-07. 
  8. "10,000 paintings from Directmedia". Wikimedia Commons. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:10,000_paintings_from_Directmedia. Retrieved 2007-08-07. 
  9. "100 000th file uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, a free media repository". Wikimedia Commons. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Press_releases/100K. Retrieved 2007-08-07. 
  10. "One millionth file uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository accessdate=2007-08-10". http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Press_releases/1M. 
  11. "Wikipedia Receives German Pictorial History". Deutsche Welle. December 6, 2008. http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,3851534,00.html. 
  12. Press release Deutsche Fotothek, March 31, 2009
  13. http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/15411
  14. See Creative Commons licenses, of which "NonCommercial" and "NoDerivs" can not be used on Wikimedia Commons.
  15. FlickrLickr image upload count

External links

af:Wikimedia Commons

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