The Signpost

News and notes

Institutional media uploads to Commons get a bit easier

Contribute  —  
Share this
By The ed17
The promenade deck on the German steamer König Albert, newly uploaded from the Library of Congress thanks to the new GLAMwiki Toolset Project.
This video of a Eurasian spoonbill is now used in over 50 Wikipedia articles.
From the Rijksmuseum: Katsukawa Shunei, a Japanese samurai who died in 1819.
Alexander Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia, seen between 1890 and 1900.

Galleries, libraries, archives, and museums (GLAMs) today are facing fewer barriers to uploading their content onto Wikimedia projects now that the new GLAM-Wiki Toolset Project has been launched. The tool, which is the fruit of a collaboration between Europeana—the Internet portal providing access to millions of digitized files from all over Europe—and several Wikimedia chapters, relieves GLAMs from having to write their own automated scripts and gives them a standardized method of uploading large amounts of their digitized holdings.

Despite the large amount of work involved, Commons has a long history of partnering with outside institutions for media donations. The largest include the Dutch Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed, the US National Archives, and the first mass image donation, Germany's Bundesarchiv.

In an email to the Signpost, Europeana's relatively new GLAM-Wiki coordinator Liam Wyatt noted that "the current system", which forces these GLAMs to write customized scripts or find a rare editor willing to do all of the work for them, "is not sustainable." The toolset, "for the first time", changes that dynamic, allowing "the reasonably-technically competent and motivated GLAM to share large amounts of multimedia to Commons ... this is a giant leap forward in giving GLAMs the ability to share with Commons on their own terms."

They will still need editors to donate their time to facilitate these partnerships, as someone needs to explain the value of Wikimedia projects and overcome objections. Still, as Wyatt says, both sides will no longer have to "spend considerable time managing the technical side of uploads ... all built by themselves by hand."

On the GLAM side, there is a fairly large amount of work that needs to be done prior to uploading any images, most of which revolves around the media's metadata. While a simple concept, it is exceedingly complex in practice; as a previous Signpost op-ed noted, "there will be no single unifying metadata 'standard' ... lists just under 200 metadata standards for experimental biosciences alone. ... any solution to handling digital objects must have a mechanism for handling a multiplicity of standards, and ideally within an individual object". Between that and the MediaWiki software, which does not natively come with simple methods of uploading metadata, much of the toolset's multiyear development was spent on this problem.

Wyatt told us that the tool's overall impact will be to make Commons more palatable to GLAM managers who are deciding between Commons and its chief competitors, Flickr and Google Art Project. "If you're a busy GLAM multimedia manager, both of those platforms are significantly more user friendly in their upload usability to a non-technical person", Wyatt says.

"We can talk about the value of free knowledge and the massive visibility that Wikipedia provides until the cows come home, but if we can't enable those GLAMs that do want to share their content with us to do it by themselves, with their own metadata, at their own pace... then we are placing ourselves at a significant disadvantage."

While still in its infancy, the toolset has already allowed , a London-based Wikimedian and former trustee of Wikimedia UK, to upload hundreds of thousands of images from the New York Public Library, Library of Congress, Rijksmuseum, and historical American Buildings Survey. The Nederlands Instituut voor Beeld en Geluid (Dutch Institute for Sound and Vision), the first GLAM to use the tool, uploaded 500 videos of Dutch birds (cf. press release).

Four Wikimedia chapters (Netherlands, UK, France, and Switzerland) provided funding for the project, which Europeana has spent four years developing. It was first announced in 2011.

How does it work?

The toolset's software developer, Dan Entous, told us that the toolset:

From the New York Public Library: a 1700s map of what they called the "Far East". In contemporary terms, you are seeing India, China, Indonesia, Brunei, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, and other nearby countries.

In brief

+ Add a comment

Discuss this story

These comments are automatically transcluded from this article's talk page. To follow comments, add the page to your watchlist. If your comment has not appeared here, you can try purging the cache.

The Content translation tool hasn't been deployed to any Wikipedias. It's still only deployed to beta labs. Note the "" in the urls in the blog post. Legoktm (talk) 05:44, 26 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]

New Yorker archive

I love the New Yorker, but I guess the summer-long "free-for-all" is not so free for all, because I just tried to access the open archive and got stuck at a pay wall here. Jane (talk) 06:42, 26 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]

@Jane023: You're correct and The Signpost was not - I've changed the Signpost article accordingly. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 02:28, 27 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks John Broughton, and my apologies to Jane. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 04:28, 27 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
I also opened a ticket at the New Yorker, so far three replies about the administration of the ticket, but no response about whether their archive is indeed supposed to be open for everybody. Re-reading their announcement, it looks like their archive is behind a paywall for current subscribers, so this summer the current subscribers can access it for free, that's all. Jane (talk) 07:12, 27 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
"Non-subscribers will get a chance to explore The New Yorker fully and freely, just as subscribers always have. Then, in the fall, we move to a second phase, implementing an easier-to-use, logical, metered paywall." Let's wait until August. DS (talk) 19:20, 27 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]

My understanding is some articles are still randomly blocked behind a pay-wall; and they may also have a limit to how many can be viewed per day or month (like the NYT method). -- GreenC 22:34, 27 July 2014 (UTC) I got an answer from the ticket I opened, and here it is: "Thank you for your inquiry regarding the Archives. The Archives is still a subscriber based benefit, which has access to issues as far back as 1925. Access to our website is what is free at the moment. The website is updated daily with new articles, information, blogs, cartoons, etc. The Article you are referring to is one that is speaking about the Author only. " So no free archive access (bummer), but access to the website, which is still nice I suppose. 20:56, 30 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]

I am pretty sure the free access articles are only those posted on their website from 2007, rather than the full archive from 1925. May be good to amend the story to clarify this. -- Shudde talk 11:01, 31 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Tag missing

File:"Konig Albert," Promenade Deck, North German Lloyd, Royal Mail Steamers"-LCCN2002720829.jpg, presented at the top, appears to lack a German PD tag, btw. Hchc2009 (talk) 14:18, 26 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Good spot Hchc2009, thanks for mentioning it. As the chromolithographs are almost entirely already in country specific categories, it would be a fairly easy and neat systematic improvement to add local licences for where each original photo was taken, as well as the one for the USA.
 Done This one fixed (PD-old-70 looks sufficient, with the photographer unknown), adding the others to my backlog, non-Germany maybe after Wikimania, as there is quite a lot of stuff to get done. -- (talk) 11:27, 27 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]

ArbCom Media Viewer case

Although there is less than one day left to comment on the evidence page, and less than a week left for any public participation in the workshop page, there have already been calls to desyssop User:Eloquence. The opening salvo was fired by Dennis Brown, who states, "This has a demoralizing effect on the admin corps, knowing we are one hissy fit away from being desysopped by a disgruntled employee." —Neotarf (talk) 15:45, 26 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]

GLAM Wiki Toolset demo at Wikimania 2014 in London

For anyone going to the Wikimania conference in London 6-10 August, at wm2014:Submissions/Using the Mass upload tool to copy GLAM collections to Commons there will be a presentation Sunday 11:30 – 12:00 on the toolset. Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:46, 28 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Not just that, but there will also be a hackathon session about it, but immediately before the one you mention (which is more of a demonstration) there will also be this presentation: "GLAMwiki Toolset: Bringing the cultural sector and Wikimedia together". Finally, there will also be a Europeana/GLAMwiki Toolset stall in the main foryer of the conference. Wittylama 09:30, 4 August 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Just a minor clarification, my presentation (Sunday, 11.30) is focussed on the "how" but it is not actually a demonstration. I'm planning on running through real case studies of large uploads that rely on the GWT, along with how common issues that arise when "pre-processing" (structuring the xml input) and "post-processing" (handling with all sorts of house keeping problems). Hopefully the sort of material that gives current and future users and project teams a running start, along with up-front planning of what support and skills they will need, without it becoming a user manual walkthrough (which everyone can do as homework afterwards). -- (talk) 11:49, 4 August 2014 (UTC)[reply]


The Signpost · written by many · served by Sinepost V0.9 · 🄯 CC-BY-SA 4.0