You likely know of WikiPedia as a giant online encyclopedia edited openly by people on the internet via wiki software. You may be aware that the media you see in entries are housed in WikiMedia Commons itself a wiki based library of images, audio, and video files, all public domain or openly licensed. These are both examples of an internet based information commons.
A much lesser known but related commons is Wikidata:
a free and open knowledge base that can be read and edited by both humans and machines. Wikidata acts as central storage for the structured data of its Wikimedia sister projects including Wikipedia, Wikivoyage, Wikisource, and others.
By structured data, it means that information in Wikidata can be used as reference to provide content in other web sites, but it also defines relationships between items. For the purposes of this quest, we look at how Wikidata organizes information about places in the world- map locations, geographic entities (like a city being related to the state/province that contains it, and that itself related to the country), connections to Wikipedia articles… and photos.
Many of the geographic entries in WikiData lack associated photographs, which is where the WikiShootMe tool comes in to play- it helps you locate entries in WikiData that are in need of photographs. Your quest is to identify one of these locations that you have your own photos, and are willing to share them in a data commons.
Let’s get started.
When you visit WikiShootMe it should open a map of your current location (if it can detect where you are in the world). It does not always work, so you can enter in the search box the place name of somewhere you know you have taken photographs. I enter the name of my home town:
You should then zoom out to see what the status is for WikiData place names in the region:
Green circles indicate locations that already have photos in WikiData; the red circles are locations needing photos. Now you need to explore them to find ones where you may taken your own photographs. I looked at several near where I live, and found that Fossil Springs Wilderness has a red circle.
I have hiked there and taken photographs several times, and I make sure I have a copy of the photo I can upload. Yes, I do!
The first time I click the blue Upload Photo button in WikiShootMe I will be asked to log into or create an account (if I do not have one) for MediaWiki Commons. Hopefully after doing this, you will be redirected back to your map, but you may have to find the location again.
Now you should be prompted to locate the image, and once selected it is added to both MediaWiki Commons and WikiData. The circle on the map will now be green, and I see the photo I uploaded.
Now when I go to the WikiData entry for this location, Fossil Springs Wilderness (Q5473504), there is an active link under the Image label to my image which now resides in MediaWiki Commons at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fossil_Springs_Wilderness.jpg.
So I have actually contributed to two different commons! The image is in MediaWiki Commons, and it’s relationship to the location is in WikiData.
Below the image in MediaWiki Commons we see this information:
- The Description is listed as the geographic name from WikiData, Fossil Springs Wilderness, and links to its entry there.
- My user name is listed as author and it is noted that it’s my own work.
- The geographic coordinates are pulled from Wikidata.
- And below it is the Creative Commons By-Attribution Share-Alike License that is automatically added to everything uploaded to MediaWiki Commons.
Now, other information systems that use WikiData (perhaps a map of all Wilderness locations in Arizona) will be using my image when it builds content from the data stored there.
Adding photos to WikiData may seem small and perhaps barely noticeable in the world of information, but collectively and potentially it is a powerful information commons.
Are you ready to add one or more photos to WikiData? Start by visiting the WikiShootMe site and looking for places where you may own photos that are needed of places listed there. Once added, visit the WikiData entry for th eplace you picked, then follow the link under image for the artifact you should share as a demonstration of your work on this quest.
Example for "WikiShootMe: Add a Photo to WikiData Commons":