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SIA Spring Workshop 2014: Wikimedia Commons

Resources for the Society of Indiana Archivists Pre-Conference Workshop for Spring 2014.

Uploading Images to Wikimedia Commons

What kind of images/media should be added to Wikimedia Commons?

  • Must be freely licensed or public domain
  • Must be realistically useful for an educational purpose
  • Must be a media file
  • Must be an allowable free file format

--from "Project Scope: Summary" on Wikimedia Commons

GLAM on the Commons: Checklist for Getting Started

Image by Wikimedia Foundation, used under CC BY-SA

File Limitations

  • ImagesSVG (for vector graphics), PNG (lossless format), JPEG (for photographs), GIF ("semi"-lossless format, but PNG is preferred), TIFF (lossless format, but PNG is preferred), XCF(allows layers and text).
  • AudioOgg-container (using FLACSpeexOpus or Vorbis codecs with file extension .oga), MIDIWAV (16-bit PCM format and 32-bit IEEE uncompressed format) or FLAC (.flac).
  • VideoWebM using the VP8 video codec with Vorbis for the sound, or Ogg using the Theora video codec. New software supports file extension .ogv for Theora video without or with Vorbis audio, RFC 3534 .ogg is still usable instead of RFC 5334 .ogx for Theora video with other Ogg audio codecs - Help:Converting video.
  • AnimationGIFAPNGAnimated SVG.
  • Multipage documents (books, journals, magazines, etc.)PDF and DjVu. 

--from "Project Scope: Summary" on Wikimedia Commons


"All copyrighted material on Commons (not in the public domain) must be licensed under a free license that specifically and irrevocably allows anyone to use the material for any purpose; simply writing that "the material may be used freely by anyone" or similar isn't sufficient. In particular, the license must meet the following conditions:

  • Republication and distribution must be allowed.
  • Publication of derivative work must be allowed.
  • Commercial use of the work must be allowed.
  • The license must be perpetual (non-expiring) and non-revocable.
  • Acknowledgment of all authors/contributors of a work may be required.
  • Publication of derivative work under the same license may be required.
  • For digital distribution, use of open file formats free of digital restrictions management (DRMmay be required."

Well-known licenses such as CC BY and CC BY-SA and GNU Free Documentation License are acceptable licenses for materials uploaded to the Commons. Works in the public domain are always acceptable. Please see the Hirtle chart for more information on when materials come into the public domain.

--from "Acceptable Licenses" in Wikimedia Commons: Licensing Policy

Adding Images to Wikipedia Pages


Email Butler University Libraries
Irwin Library: 317-940-9227
Science Library: 317-940-9937
CAT: 317-940-8575

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