Monday, March 29, 2010

Demographics and content dynamics of #Wikimedia #Commons.

Commons is the repository of media files for all the projects of the Wikimedia Foundation. In addition to this, MediaWiki installations can be easily configured to use Commons as well.

When you analyse the content of Commons, you will find that it is supplied by a community that largely follows the demographics of the traffic of the Wikimedia projects. A community that understands and communicates in English.

Wikimedia license texts

This issue is well understood; Multichill harnesses the power of translatewiki.net to provide improved multi lingual support. The CSS of Commons provides the best right to left support of all the Wikimedia projects.

Layla and Majnun
As the content of Commons has a distinct western bias, the illustrations bring this bias in to the Wikipedias. This issue is well understood as well; many of the media files that have been digitally restored have a subject that is not western.

However, much of the original material is from western archives like the superb Library of Congress. Its content represents an American taste but at the same time it is the best we have and we cherish the LoC for this. What the LoC does not offer is contemporary material.

Given this line of thought, we need more media files from Afrika, Asia, South America and some parts of Europe. In order to get both contemporary and historic material we need to make it easier for people to contribute.

I welcome Guillaume's blog post that explains a need for improved tooling to manage Commons. Given that this will be implemented in software, we will engage our localisation community in order to make Commons easier for everyone even for those that do not speak English.
Thanks,
     GerardM
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