Tuesday, March 11, 2014

#Wikidata - the lord of the wikis

Like #Commons, Wikidata is intended to provide a service. All Wikipedias, Wikivoyages, Wikisources are serviced at this time for inter language links. They all have the option to use data from Wikidata as information in their project. In a similar way they can use media files from Commons.

The plan is to make use of Wikidata for media files. So far this is only considered for the media files at Commons. Expanding the scope to consider all media files seems obvious.
  • only one technology to manage all media files
  • improvements in technology and data will be shared everywhere
  • search will become possible in all supported languages
  • media files need to be stored only once
  • it will simplify the administration of media files a lot
  • it will compartmentalise any license and community issues
The existing technology for managing media files is functional for using media files in articles. It is good enough for uploading new images and it is nasty when you actually want to find something. What Wikidata will bring to the management of media files is the ability to use multiple languages, finding images based on multi-lingual tags and potentially a hierarchy of licenses that determines its use in different projects.

When it is the considered opinion at Commons that a file is not freely licensed, that image will become unavailable everywhere. Often there are good arguments why that same file can still be used; fair use is just one valid reason. With Wikidata it will be just a matter of appropriate settings to make a file generally available or not.

When for whatever reason a media file cannot be used anywhere, it is still important to recognise this file whenever someone decides to upload it again. When the data about all files is stored in one place, we can recognise such an upload easily and apply whatever policy to that file.

Technically the current management of media files will be surpassed by what a Wikidata approach will offer. People will expect the same quality of service for media files in any Wikimedia project. Wikidata has the potential to forge a much improved user experience. There is no alternative that will bring an improved, multi lingual user experience that is so badly needed to media files.

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