Wikinews contributor Ilya Haykinson released a tool last month to facilitate the uploading of images to the Wikimedia Commons, the repository of freely licensed images and media used across all Wikimedia projects. The software tool, called Wikimedia Commonplace allows users to drag and drop their files into the interface, and add captions and license information before bulk uploading to the Commons servers. Version 1.1 of Wikimedia Commonplace can be downloaded from http://tiredbrain.com/wikimedia/commonplace/.
The Commonplace tool has become popular among regular users of the Commons and among the English, German, and Italian Wikipedians, primarily for its bulk upload feature. It is a small file, but requires the Microsoft .NET Framework (a 20MB download) to run.
Another utility created by Haykinson is the "Wikinews Flickr License Searcher", which searches for images on Flickr which are released under free licenses. Flickr is a photo-sharing website which allows users to tag their images as released under various Creative Commons licenses, some of which are free, and allows them to tag images with keywords. Any user can tag any other user's images. The License Searcher can search the Flickr database for images with a given license which match a given keyword. It is available for download from http://tiredbrain.com/wikinews/flickr/.
As the name suggests, this tool was designed with users of Wikinews in mind, but it is useful to Wikipedians and other editors searching for images online to illustrate articles.
The Wikimedia Commons has recently been the beneficiary of a large donation of freely licensed scans of 10,000 works of art (see archived story) and is now one of the largest libraries of freely licensed content on the web. It was recently nominated for a Prix Ars Electronica (PAE) award in the Digital Communities category. The prestigious PAE awards are sometimes described as the Oscars of web design.
Last year saw the inauguration of the Digital Communities category, for which Wikipedia itself was nominated. Wikipedia won the top prize, the PAE Golden Nica Awards 2004, jointly with Ugandan sex education website The World Starts With Me.