Wikimedia Foundation receives $3 million grant from Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to make freely licensed images accessible and reusable across the web

Photo by Ajepbah, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE.
Photo by Ajepbah, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE.

The Wikimedia Foundation, with a US$3,015,000 grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, is leading an effort to enable structured data on Wikimedia Commons, the world’s largest repository of freely licensed educational media. The project will support contributors’ efforts to integrate Commons’ media more readily into the rest of the web, making it easier for people and institutions to share, access, and reuse high-quality and free educational content.
Wikimedia Commons includes more than 35 million freely licensed media files—photos, audio, and video—ranging from stunning photos of geographic landscapes to donations from institutions with substantial media collections, like the Smithsonian, NASA, and the British Library. Like Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons has become a “go-to” source on the internet—used by everyone from casual browsers to major media outlets to educational institutions, and easily discoverable through search engines. It continues to rapidly grow every year: Volunteer contributors added roughly six million new files in 2016.
Today, the rich images and media in Wikimedia Commons are described only by casual notation, making it difficult to fully explore and use this remarkable resource. The generous contribution from the Sloan Foundation will enable the Wikimedia Foundation to connect Wikimedia Commons with Wikidata, the central storage for structured data within the  Wikimedia projects. Wikidata will empower Wikimedia volunteers to transform Wikimedia Commons into a rich, easily-searchable, and machine-readable resource for the world.
Over three years, the Wikimedia Foundation will develop infrastructure, tools, and community support to enable the work of contributors, who have long requested a way to add more precise, multilingual and reusable data to media files. This will support new uses of Commons’ media, from richer and more dynamic illustration of articles on Wikipedia, to helping new users, like museums, remix the media in their own applications. Structured data will also be compatible with and support Wikimedia Commons’ partnership communities, including “GLAM” institutions (galleries, libraries, archives, museums) that have donated thousands of images in recent years. With the introduction of structured data on Commons, GLAM institutions will be able to more easily upload media and integrate existing metadata into Wikimedia Commons and share their collections with the rest of the web.
“At Wikimedia, we believe the world should have access to the sum of all knowledge, from encyclopedia articles to archival images,” said Katherine Maher, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation. She continued:

Wikimedia Commons is a vast library of freely licensed photography, video, and audio that illustrates knowledge and the internet itself. With this project, and in partnership with the Wikimedia community of volunteer contributors, we hope to expand the free and open internet by supporting new applications of the millions of media files on Wikimedia Commons. We are grateful for the generous support of the Sloan Foundation, our longtime funders, in this important work.

 
“We are delighted to continue our near-decade-long support of Wikimedia with this potentially game-changing grant to unlock millions of media files—the most common form of modern communication and popular education, growing exponentially each year—into a universal format that can be read and reused not just by Wikipedia’s hundreds of millions of readers in nearly 300 languages but by educational, cultural and scientific organizations and by anyone doing a Google search or using the web,” said Doron Weber, Vice President and Program Director at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

At a time when the World Wide Web, like the rest of the world, is beset by increasing polarization, commercialization, and narrowing, Wikipedia continues to serve as a shining, global counter-example of open collaborative knowledge sharing and consensus building presented in a reliable context with a neutral point of view, free of fake news and false information, that emphasizes how we can come together to build the sum of all human knowledge. We all need Wikipedia, its sister projects, its technology, and its values, now more than ever.

 
The Wikimedia Foundation is partnering on this project with Wikimedia Germany (Deutschland), the independent nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the Wikimedia projects in Germany. Wikimedia Germany incubated and oversaw Wikidata’s initial operations, and continues to manage Wikidata’s technical and engineering roadmap. The project will be overseen in consultation with the Wikimedia community of volunteer contributors on collaboration and community support. The USD$3,015,000 grant from the Sloan Foundation will be given over a three year period.
For more information, please visit the structured data page on Wikimedia Commons.

Archive notice: This is an archived post from blog.wikimedia.org, which operated under different editorial and content guidelines than Diff.

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Great news for such an enormous worldwide project to gather free media that goes from incredible images of community members to images of high encyclopedic value from institutions. Congratulations Wikimedia Commons and its community!

It is really positive that there are still philanthropic organizations that support and protect the sum of all human knowledge, from an objective and impartial point of view, as fortunately is Wikipedia. I find in Wikipedia the sum of ancestral knowledge, religious and historical written from the most absolute impartiality, trying to shine the truth and without doubt this is something that honors and enriches both Wikipedia and philanthropic organizations that drive honest projects that will serve For our progress and that of our children. There are still honest and impartial people who yearn and shine the rich human knowledge… Read more »

Thanks! Will you publish all the documents, signed agreements etc.?

@Nemo We plan to soon; yes; we have to review the documents and create a version without sensitive monetary and personal information.

[…] “The Wikimedia Foundation, with a US$3,015,000 grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, is leading an effort to enable structured data on Wikimedia Commons, the world’s largest repository of freely licensed educational media. The project will support contributors’ efforts to integrate Commons’ media more readily into the rest of the web, making it easier for people and institutions to share, access, and reuse high-quality and free educational content.” (via Wikimedia Blog) […]

[…] From the Wikimedia Foundation: […]

This is excellent news. I’m especially excited about the potential for new collaborations with cultural institutions to come out of this. Kudos to Sloan, and to everyone working on this!

Why do you say “structured data” instead of the correct term, metadata?

This is an exciting, thoughtful project that will have significant impact on the ability of GLAM institutions to donate digitized content for reuse on Wikimedia projects — and beyond. Wikidata is a crucial and logical component. Such great work in winning this grant. As a Wikipedia editor I am looking forward to seeing this project develop and be implemented. Congrats to all!
Yay!

@jeffrey, structured data is more than just what librarians call metadata. Metadata is a part of structured data in that properties of a thing are recorded. But properties can also have properties, such as being a subclass of another property, or being related to it in some other way. With an appropriate deduction engine more properties can be derived that the metadata recorded for an object. However, “appropriate deduction engine” is not trivial to construct, and the ontologies that describe the relationships of the properties are hairy. Ones that are easy to use in deduction can’t express much; those that… Read more »

Wonderful news! This should finally enable finding images of horses when you search for a horse on Commons. Now it sort-of works if you search in English but you get a lot more than just horses, and you don’t see half the horses that have descriptions in other languages.

[…] Alfred P. Sloan Foundation spendet der Wikimedia Foundation mehr als drei Millionen Dollar, um die Wikimedia Commons mit strukturierten Daten auszustatten. Auf der Medienplattform, einem Schwesterprojekt der Online-Enzyklopädie Wikipedia, sind […]

[…] Wikimedia Foundation projects, Wikimedia Commons is funded through donations, and the organization has now received a chunky $3 million grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, a philanthropic body set up in 1934 […]

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[…] Wikimedia Foundation projects, Wikimedia Commons is funded through donations, and the organization has now received a chunky $3 million grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, a philanthropic body set up in 1934 […]

[…] Wikimedia Foundation projects, Wikimedia Commons is funded through donations, and the organization has now received a chunky $3 million grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, a philanthropic body set up in 1934 […]

[…] Wikimedia Foundation projects, Wikimedia Commons is funded through donations, and the organization has now received a chunky $3 million grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, a philanthropic body set up in 1934 […]

[…] on the topic, Doron Weber, vice president and program director at the Alfred P. Sloan […]

[…] on the topic, Doron Weber, vice president and program director at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, […]

[…] Wikimedia Foundation projects, Wikimedia Commons is funded through donations, and the organization has now received a chunky $3 million grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation , a philanthropic body set up in 1934 […]

[…] The Wikimedia Foundation just received a $3 million grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to make it easier to find and share the 35 million free, reusable images on Wikimedia Commons. The media currently only relies on causal notation and not rich metadata, making it difficult to search for specific images. [Wikimedia Foundation] […]

[…] The Wikimedia Foundation just received a $3 million grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to make it easier to find and share the 35 million free, reusable images on Wikimedia Commons. The media currently only relies on causal notation and not rich metadata, making it difficult to search for specific images. [Wikimedia Foundation] […]

[…] The Wikimedia Foundation just received a $3 million grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to make it easier to find and share the 35 million free, reusable images on Wikimedia Commons. The media currently only relies on causal notation and not rich metadata, making it difficult to search for specific images. [Wikimedia Foundation] […]

[…] The Wikimedia Foundation just received a $3 million grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to make it easier to find and share the 35 million free, reusable images on Wikimedia Commons. The media currently only relies on causal notation and not rich metadata, making it difficult to search for specific images. [Wikimedia Foundation] […]

[…] is getting money to get organized. “Today, the rich images and media in Wikimedia Commons are described only by casual […]

[…] is getting money to get organized. “Today, the rich images and media in Wikimedia Commons are described only by casual […]

[…] The Wikimedia Foundation just received a $3 million grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to make it easier to find and share the 35 million free, reusable images on Wikimedia Commons. The media currently only relies on causal notation and not rich metadata, making it difficult to search for specific images. [Wikimedia Foundation] […]

As John said “Great news”…would be even more great if we know where money will go. Last month, users (photographers) of Wikimedia were collecting money for photographer which couldnt pay for equipement. Also i did send my own camera to some user i dont know. There are people with know-how but they cant help without equipement.
So, where will moeney go is best question.

Thanks a lot to the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for supporting this work, it is really crucial for the mission of the WMF and I hope the community will back it up as well as it did with Wikidata.

” Over three years, the Wikimedia Foundation will develop infrastructure, tools, and community support to enable the work of contributors, who have long requested a way to add more precise, multilingual and reusable data to media files. ” It’s Great

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[…] Wikimedia Foundation receives $3 million grant from Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to make freely licens… […]

[…] with the new Structured Data team in their upcoming work on Commons to make freely licensed images accessible and reusable across the […]

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