Wikimedia Commons is a repository of freely reusable images, videos, sounds and other digital media. Its files can be embedded in other Wikimedia projects including Wikipedia, Wikibooks, Wikisource and Wiktionary.
Commons only includes files that can be copied and adapted by anyone for any purpose.
Dozens of files at once can be uploaded and categorised with the existing upload wizard. Tools are in development for larger bulk uploads.
Advantages of sharing media through Wikimedia Commons
Even if you already making the media available through your own site, sharing through Commons has distinctive benefits.
- Potentially reaching an enormous audience via Wikipedia
- Full attribution and metadata, including authorship and copyright ownership, on each file's description page
- Potential reuse in educational materials on Wikibooks, Wikiversity and other Wikimedia sites
- Long-term archiving
- Crowd-sourced image restoration: Commons makes both the raw scan and restored versions freely available.
- Crowd-sourced metadata: once a file is uploaded, the community can add extra categories; expand or translate the description
- The UK National Archives have shared thousands of images, including many relating to Africa, as explained in this case study.
- The British Library has shared thousands of images from its "Picturing Canada" project.
- The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) has authorised the production of freely-licenced maps from their spatial data relating to species distribution, resulting in thousands of maps which in turn appear tens of thousands of times in Wikipedia articles on species.
Commons has contributions from the National Library of Scotland, the Mary Rose Trust and the Monmouth Museum amongst others in the UK and internationally. See Cultural partnerships/Content partnerships for more reasons and examples.
- If you are in a Jisc-funded project, contact the Jisc Wikimedia Ambassador, Martin Poulter, (martin.poulterwikimedia.org.uk).
- Wikimedia UK is providing in-person training for other partner organisations (glamwikimedia.org.uk).
- The Guide to content partnerships answers some questions from partners.
- Developers may find the Jisc CETIS guide "Wikimedia Commons for UKOER resources" useful.