3,000 new medical illustrations on Wikimedia Commons – this is how you can contribute

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In the first larger project supported by the Helpdesk of the Content Partnerships Hub, 3,000 medical images have been uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, in collaboration with Netha Hussain, who started the project as a volunteer and ended up requesting the support. In this blogpost, we will explain how you can make use of the images.

Laboratoires Servier CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

On 6 September 2022, Netha Hussain sent a formal request to the Helpdesk of the Content Partnerships Hub. 

She and Olaf Janssen had previously started working on a project to upload medical images and illustrations from the repository Smart Servier, with over 3,000 freely licensed files, but due to a lack of time, resources and experience, the project was stalled. This is why she reached out to the Helpdesk, by simply sending an email to helpdesk@wikimedia.se

The Helpdesk is guided by an Expert Committee of Wikimedians experienced in working with content partners. They prioritize the requests based on how the requestor(s) justify the need for support. Netha Hussain, in this case, wrote like this:    

“In receiving help for doing this project, I will be able to acquire the skill sets required for batch uploading similar images from medical repositories. I maintain a list of open access medical repositories here, and the skills I learn from doing the SMART SERVIER project will eventually be helpful for other content partnership programs, particularly those of which I have named in the repository.”

The Expert Committee was happy to see that Netha both had a willingness to learn herself, and a path forward to fill even more gaps. But it is important to note that the Helpdesk can support projects no matter their size or scope. The important thing is that the content fills a gap, and that the requestor is willing to learn.

Anyway, the Expert Committee approved the project, and the Helpdesk team started to work closely with Netha Hussain to execute it. And the result is 3,000 licensed medical illustrations from SMART Servier on Wikimedia Commons. 

The SMART Servier collection contains uniformly styled elements that can be used in harmony to create flowcharts, diagrams, posters and other visual aids to illustrate complex biological processes and concepts. Some of the use cases are as follows:

  1. To illustrate concepts where actual photographs are very hard or impossible to create, such as illustrating phenomena happening at the molecular or cellular level.
  2. To illustrate concepts where using original photographs of body parts/organs would be disturbing (as in illustrating phenomena related to genital organs) or offensive (as in illustrating conditions such as obesity).
  3. To illustrate concepts where a representative image of a person or an organ is more ideal than a real photograph, as in illustrating the method for measurement of arm circumference.
  4.  In projects where simple representations are preferred over complex diagrams or photos, such as in Simple Wikipedia or Wiktionary. 

In collaboration between the Helpdesk and Netha, the upload is now finalized, and all of the more than 3,000 medical art illustrations can be found on Wikimedia Commons.

But how can you contribute?

Add the images to Wikipedia pages

It’s great to have the media on Commons, but the real value arises when the files are reused. 

Improve the metadata of the images

The images from the SMART Servier collection have structured data, but they are sometimes generic. The Wikimedia community is invited to add more structured data to the images, for describing the contents of the image more accurately. Additionally, the community is also welcome to add labels to the images. 

You find all files in the category that have a depict statement on this link: https://w.wiki/7eZ4 
All files in the category without a depict statement can be found on this link: https://w.wiki/7eY$

Eric Luth, Netha Hussain and Alicia Fagerving

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