Project grants/Bodleian Library, Oxford

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Basic information[edit | edit source]

Project details[edit | edit source]

Full project name
Photographing the Bodleian Library, Oxford
Project start date (include month, day, and year)
8th of March 2015
Project completion date (include month, day, and year)
10th of March 2015 for the photography. End of March 2015 for processing and uploading the images to Commons.
Please describe the project in 1–2 sentences
Over the course of 2 days, I intend to photograph the interior spaces of the Bodleian Library and various other notable subjects in Oxford, such as the numerous colleges and museums.
Amount requested

Project lead details[edit | edit source]

Are you an individual or an organisation?
Are you currently a member of Wikimedia UK?
Project lead name
David Iliff
Project lead username or email

Project description[edit | edit source]

The main aim of the project is to photograph the historic and notable interiors of the Bodleian Library, in Oxford. Although many images exist of the exteriors of this library, there are virtually no quality interior images available with a free license. I have been in contact with Samuel Fanous, Head of Publishing at the Bodleian Library and he has been kind enough to obtain the necessary permission for me to photograph them with a tripod. Photography using tripods is usually restricted in most of the rooms, and photography in the Duke Humfrey's Library is normally completely forbidden so images of it are rare, of low resolution/quality and were probably taken quite surreptitiously on a camera phone when nobody was looking. However, Samuel will be escorting me outside of regular opening hours and these restrictions will not apply.

My aim is to take high quality, professional looking photos (hopefully of the level that would be featurable on Commons or the English Wikipedia) of the following interiors. Links are to the Commons category to show the limited imagery we currently have:

This is the main aim. However, I will only have a two hour window of opportunity in the early morning in which to photograph these buildings before they are opened to the public, so for the remaining time in Oxford I will photograph the colleges and museums. My plan is to arrive in Oxford on Sunday and leave on Tuesday, with two night stay in a local hostel.

Goals and measures of success[edit | edit source]

Project goal[edit | edit source]

Project goal
The quality of the imagery of the above subjects (and probably a number of other subjects relating to the Oxford colleges and museums which I have not yet identified) will be dramatically increased, and visibility of these images should be significant as they will illustrate the relevant articles on Wikipedia.

Measures of success[edit | edit source]

Measures of success
There is a significant chance that the photography I take will be featured pictures on Commons and the English Wikipedia. My previous English Cathedrals project resulted in 35 English Wikipedia featured pictures, and 28 Commons featured pictures. I don't expect to get so many featured pictures from this project as the scope is much smaller, but I would hope for a couple, at least.

Budget and resources[edit | edit source]

Project budget breakdown
The grant would cover:
  • Two nights accommodation in a local hostel (£40)
  • Travel from London to Oxford by train (£30)
  • Miscellaneous: Estimate of entry fees to the various colleges, museums and churches, some of which charge somewhere between £1 and £7 for entry. (£20)
Non-financial assistance requested

Impact and benefits[edit | edit source]

How will this project support Wikimedia UK's Outcomes, charitable objects and vision, values and mission?
  • G1.2 The quality of open knowledge continues to improve.
My images will almost certainly be used in articles in both the English Wikipedia and in other languages and will be a huge improvement on the limited existing imagery currently available with a free license. The Bodleian Library is for the most part not very accessible or open, particularly for photography. The once-off arrangement to photograph it using a tripod will enable these beautiful and historic interiors to be open to a much wider audience than would otherwise be the case.

Discussion[edit source]

I've just spotted this. I am definitely in favour as David's images are frequently stunning and beautiful. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 17:13, 27 February 2015 (GMT)

  • Thanks Stevie. You 'just spotted it'? Your comments came just 10 minutes after I submitted it, don't worry about being late to the party! ;-) Diliff (talk) 18:40, 27 February 2015 (GMT)
  • Incidentally, I'm having the same problem as in my previous grant application - the discussion on the talk page doesn't seem to be transcribed onto the project page in real time. Currently, I see Stevie's comments on the project page but not my reply to him even though it was 25 minutes ago that I submitted it. Is this a known bug? Diliff (talk) 19:07, 27 February 2015 (GMT)
    Yes, sort of. It takes the server a short while to update transclusions. CT Cooper · talk 20:26, 27 February 2015 (GMT)
    The job queue processing on this wiki is being painfully slow at the moment. In the meantime, you can give the page a purge and it'll update. -- Katie Chan (WMUK) (talk) 11:41, 2 March 2015 (GMT)
  • I've reviewed this request and I'm happy to give it my support. You are trusted user with a strong record of producing high quality images for the project, which are clearly in demand when it comes to the Bodleian Library. I note the expenses being claimed are round numbers, so I presume these are estimates. This isn't a problem though as there is flexibility available and I wouldn't loose sleep if the total cost went a little over £100. CT Cooper · talk 13:47, 1 March 2015 (GMT)
    • Yes, the expenses are estimates. I haven't booked anything yet as I was waiting for confirmation, but they were based on a quick search of what the likely costs would be. I will of course provide receipts so it's not a question of just asking for £100 and not justifying where it went. My guess is that it's more likely to be slightly under £100 than over. I assume that you'll be happy for me to take this as a confirmation that I should book transport and accommodation? I don't want to wait too long as accommodation will fill up and train tickets may get more expensive. Diliff (talk) 01:59, 2 March 2015 (GMT)
      • Please wait for [[::User:Katie Chan (WMUK)|Katie Chan (WMUK)]] ([[::User talk:Katie Chan (WMUK)|talk]]⧼dot-separator⧽[[::Special:Contributions/Katie Chan (WMUK)|contribs]]) to comment, because it'll come out of a budget she has responsibility for. I will drop her a note to make sure she sees it soon. Richard Symonds (WMUK) (talk) 11:09, 2 March 2015 (GMT)
      • Indeed, I'm glad we're on the same page with expenses. I'm a member of the Grants Committee so I scrutinise requests and make recommendations, but I can't approve or reject requests unilaterally – that's a decision made by the CEO on the advice of Katie Chan. Now that this is happened, I'm wish you luck with your project. CT Cooper · talk 15:26, 2 March 2015 (GMT)

Approval[edit source]

Given David's past record and the supporting comments so far, this grant application has been approved. As with all other photographing supported by the chapter, please tag all resulting images with commons:Template:Supported by Wikimedia UK as you did last time, along with nominations to VI, QI, and FP on Wikimedia Commons and Wikipedia as and when appropriate. -- Katie Chan (WMUK) (talk) 11:40, 2 March 2015 (GMT)

Update: Project completion and results[edit source]

Hi all,

Apologies for being a bit slow to report back. I've finished uploading and processing the photos from the project and a gallery of the photos is displayed below:

Unfortunately, an unforeseen problem did result in me having to reduce the resolution of the images of the interior of the Duke Humfrey Library to approximately 4 megapixels, as per the wishes of the Bodleian Library for security reasons (there are many irreplaceable items in their collection and they feared that a high resolution image could be used to identify and steal them). However, all other images are of very high resolution. As it stands, nine images from this project have been made Featured Pictures on Commons and there is potential for more to be featured given time. Diliff (talk) 18:15, 21 May 2015 (BST)

Very nice as far as they go, but they are nearly all basic standing-at-the-back-looking-at-the-front shots. More shots, more details, and more shots straight up at the very fine ceilings would have been nice. These detail shots are often more attractive to use in WP articles, where the scale is tiny. Johnbod (talk) 21:37, 21 May 2015 (BST)
I know what you mean, but my photography and my interest is largely architectural, and architectural photography, particularly in symmetrical interiors like churches, tends to be straight down the middle. I disagree that detail shots are more attractive for WP articles though. Yes, it's not always possible to appreciate images like these in a thumbnail image, but I think we have to expect that people will click on the images to view them at 100% if they're interested in knowing more. Also, if you look at the articles for these subjects, you'll see that they are quite sparse with respect to the subject matter I've photographed, and not really large enough to accommodate lots of images of the details. Some college articles don't even contain any real amount of information on the chapels at all. Yes, a gallery could be added, but images without any corresponding article text to explain them aren't very useful. My involvement on Wikipedia is primarily as a photographer, secondly as a basic copyeditor, and a very distant third as an article researcher and contributor. To bring the articles up to a standard where detail photos could be adequately explained in an article is beyond my knowledge (or patience). My focus on this project was to create a small number of high quality images for each subject that would be useful in illustrating the interior itself - quality rather than quantity. To photograph these interiors at a professional level is quite difficult, and not many people have the expertise or the equipment to do it well, so that is my niche. However, most people with a point and shoot camera can take a photo of details like plaques, statues, etc, and they often do. So I feel my time was better spent on images that will serve to give the viewer a good, fundamental understanding of what the building looks like, rather than shooting a large number of detail images. Diliff (talk) 01:09, 22 May 2015 (BST)
Thank you for your hard work; your images are very impressive. CT Cooper · talk 14:44, 26 May 2015 (BST)

Thank you Diliff for these excellent photos. Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 15:26, 9 July 2015 (BST)