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Publishing Images on Wikimedia Commons

About This Document

This document describes how to publish photographs or other images on Wikimedia Commons.

Note that this document can be read in conjunction with the following documents:

What is Wikimedia Commons?

You’re probably familiar with Wikipedia – an online encyclopaedia which anyone can contribute to. Wikimedia Commons is a service which hosts media resources (such as images, video or sound recordings) which are used in Wikipedia articles. In addition the media files can be freely downloaded and reused elsewhere.

Why Should I Upload an Image to Wikimedia Commons?

If you wish to include a image in a Wikipedia article it will need to be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. In addition, Wikimedia Commons can be a valuable repository for media resources of educational or cultural value which you would like others to be able to freely used. It can be particularly useful for use in an educational context.

Figure 1: Example of the many images freely available in Wikimedia Commons

How do I Upload an Image?

To upload an image it’s best if you have a Wikipedia account (note the same account name and password is used for logging in to both Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons). Once you have an account you should go to the Wikimedia Commons home page and click on the Upload options, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 2: Accessing the Upload option

You should read the information about uploading images – in brief:

  • You should upload images or videos which you created entirely yourself.
  • You will give permission to others to freely reuse your image.

You should then click on the Upload option to upload an image from your computer and confirm that it is your own work (if the image belongs to someone else there s another process to be completed – for the sake of simplicity we suggest you only upload your own images). You then assign an appropriate open licence.

You should provide a meaningful title, caption and description, which will help people (including non-experts) to find the images if they are searching for an appropriate image.

You can also provide a meaningful Category to help people who are searching for images for a particular topic. Possible appropriate categories for the morris community include Morris dance, Morris dance in England, Rapper sword and Sword dance. When you begin entering a category the names of existing categories which match will be displayed as illustrated below.

Figure 3: Possible category matches will be displayed

Note that Categories can be somewhat confusing, so feel free to simply use a single category if you are unsure. Note if you wish to use location categories you may find it confusing as to whether the location is where the dance took place or where the dance is from, and also the county location may be uncertain.

Also note that new categories can be created but this is beyond the scope of this document.

Further Notes

As described uploading an image should be quite a simple process (the only slightly confusing aspect should be choosing an appropriate category for the images – but this can be done at a later date).

Some further notes:

  • The user interface may differ on different platforms (e.g. Apple Macintosh, MS Windows, etc)
  • You can also use a dedicated Wikimedia Commons app on your smartphone, which will have another interface. This may be easier to use, and a better solution if you wish to upload images directly from your phone. It can also be useful for editing image descriptions.
  • As with Wikipedia articles, anyone can edit the descriptions of images uploaded to Wikimedia Commons.
  • Again as with Wikipedia articles images can be flagged for deletion by anyone and subsequently deleted if they infringe the rules or guidelines for images which can be uploaded. This might include images which are not felt to be of educational or cultural merit or are of low quality.

If you want further information on Wikimedia Commons the following resources may be useful:

Status of this Document

Document published: 6 Oct 2021
Document updated: 18 Oct 2021

Licence for this Document

This document is available with a Creative Commons Sharealike (CC-BY) licence. In brief, this means you can copy and make changes to this document provided you give acknowledgements to the author/publisher. A suggested wording for acknowledgements is:

This document is based on the "Publishing Images on Wikimedia Commons" document by Brian Kelly, Comms and IT volunteer with the Morris Federation.

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