Grants:PEG/Mind of the Universe: open video commons

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This Wikimedia Foundation grant has a fiscal sponsor. Wikimedia Nederland administered the grant on behalf of Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision.

Mind of the Universe: open video commons
Mind of the Universe: open video commons is a groundbreaking initiative that (1) will make a content donation of high-quality broadcast content (2) actively encourage the use of this material by the Wikipedia community (3) highlight potential and provide practical support for setting up collaborations between public broadcasters and the Wikipedia community.
targetEnglish Wikipedia, Dutch Wikipedia.
strategic priorityIncrease participation
start date1 December
start year2016
end date31 October
end year2017
budget (local currency)29,360 EURO 10,600 EUR
budget (USD)32,592 USD 11,240 USD
grant typeOrganization
non-profit statusYes
organization• Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision
created on02:54, 27 June 2016 (UTC)


Mind of the Unverse: open video commons is a groundbreaking initiative that (1) will make a content donation of high-quality broadcast content (2) actively encourage the use of this material by the Wikipedia community and (3) highlight potential and provide practical support for setting up collaborations between public broadcasters and the Wikipedia community.



Public broadcasters and Wikimedia are more similar than one would think. At their core, they both have a strong public mission which is to inform and empower a wide and diverse audience. From this point alone, it’s easy to see how a collaboration between the two would be widely beneficial. Together Wikimedia and public broadcasters can increase impact and engagement with public media content, all for the sake of increasing freely accessible knowledge. However, today, only a few examples of collaborations between the two exist. The Mind of the Universe: open video commons aims to stimulate the dialogue between the Wikimedia community and public broadcasters by donating high-quality public media content to Wikimedia Commons, stimulating the use of this new material and, by defining a set of recommendations, further stimulate collaborations between public broadcasters and the Wikimedia community. We will use the “Mind of the Universe” - a television series that will be broadcasted in early 2017 - as our foundational use case. The project is coordinated by the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision in collaboration with VPRO broadcasting. Wikimedia Netherlands support this initiative, notably by their involvement in event organisation and their outreach capabilities to other Wikimedia chapters.

About the television series “Mind of the Universe"[edit]

Segenet Kelemu
Guy Consolmagno

Human knowledge is evolving at a rapid pace and is growing exponentially. On average, our shared knowledge is doubling every 13 months. The Mind of the Universe is a unique international open source project based on the rapid evolution of our knowledge. The ten-part television series from Dutch public broadcaster, VPRO will show tomorrow's world through the eyes of the greatest thinkers and scientists of our time. They look beyond the boundaries of their discipline towards the future state of our knowledge. The way the series is edited enables each broadcaster to remake the series with its own presenter. In the Netherlands the presenter will be Prof. Dr. Robbert Dijkgraaf, current director of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University. The Dutch version of The Mind of the Universe will be broadcast in early 2017 and due to the international and global nature of of the show as a laboratory of ideas and as an open forum for dialogue, UNESCO has given the project their full support (in Dutch). As integral part of the production, and in the spirit of the human knowledge accumulation theme of the programme, VPRO broadcasting makes all raw material that forms the basis of programme available under a Creative Commons - Attribution Share-Alike license. Thus explicitly encouraging the reuse of this body of raw video material about science and knowledge. For instance by open knowledge projects run by the Wikimedia community, and hence - very much in line with the subject matter of the series - contributing to the goal of providing free access to the sum of all human knowledge that Wikimedia aims for. Other communities are also encouraged to reuse the material, for instance for inclusion in open educational resources and investigative journalism. The material that is made available includes interviews with highly esteemed scientists, among others:

Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision[edit]

The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision has been requested by VPRO Broadcasting to lead the delivery of material to Wikipedia, liaising with the Wikimedia community and subsequent engagement activities. Sound and Vision, has been a long term collaborator with and contributor to Wikimedia Commons as an open video advocate. Recently, a “Wikimedian in residence” was employed by the institute, laying a structural commitment to the Wikimedia projects. Since then, contributions to Wikimedia projects have been an integral part of the institute’sstrategy (see the GLAMwiki projectpage for activities). Sound and Vision is part of the Video and the Commons working group, which is aimed at increasing the quantity of video available to the Wikimedia Community as well as providing tools (popcorn.js) that make it easier to integrate videos in Wikipedia pages. Caitlin Virtue, the Director of Development for the Wikimedia Foundation is amongst the experts in this working group. The support of the Project and Event Grants program will deliver results alongside the following three strands of work:

[1] Donation of a unique body of high quality broadcast content to be used as source material.[edit]

All the source material from the television series is made available as open video content, under a CC-BY-SA license. More specifically, these four types of content are made available on Wikimedia Commons:

  1. Interviews with world-renowned thinkers and scientists. They are split into several fragments, as they are used in the programme.
  2. The full, raw, interviews. This includes material not used in the programme (2 hours per interview, 30 interviews in total, some still to be determined);
  3. Interior and exterior shots (b-roll) made by the crew on location. Examples include: Dubna, Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Russia where no ‘western’ camera has been before; the Vatican Observatory; stone inscriptions in the Jordanian Desert near Syria; the Virology Department at The Erasmus University Medical Center; paraplegics exercising in exoskeletons in Brazil; the PAX gaming convention, one of the largest gaming events in Boston; ecological and biological experiments in Kenya.
  4. Stills that are used in the programme (150 photographs).

The contribution of a broadcast quality collection of raw video material to Wikimedia Commons will follow a standardised procedure in order to make sure the content is published in a way that makes reuse by the international Wikipedia community as easy as possible. The procedure follows four steps. First, the material will be viewed by an editor who will determine meaningful segments of material. Second, each segment will be uploaded to [ Open Images]. In the process, material will be transcoded to various open media formats (WebM and Theora). The primary online publication of the raw material under the CC-BY-SA license is facilitated by the platform. Third, using the existing re-distribution workflow of Open Images (based on OAI-PMH and the MediaWiki extension GWToolset), content and metadata will be mass uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. As a fourth step Sound and Vision - in consultation with the programme editors and the Wikimedia Commons and Wikidata community - will ensure greater reusability of the open video content, by seeding the clips into relevant Wikimedia Commons categories and by linking them to relevant Wikidata entries. Each interview section will be accompanied with English language transcrips files that can also be used as basis for new transcripts through services such as [ Amara]. In order to further open video reuse in the wider Wikimedia community, the selection, annotation and upload procedure will be documented extensively and shared through appropriate channels, notably the project pages on Commons.

[2] User engagement activities to kick-start reuse of the material.[edit]

An international online video-contest wil be organised, much like the successful ‘Videosprint’ that was organized by Sound and Vision with the Dutch Wikimedia community. The aim is to encourage the inclusion of footage from the Mind of the Universe collection in articles across different language versions of Wikipedia. Focus will be on - but not limited to - topics related to science, research and the history of knowledge and innovation. Three edit-a-thons will be organised, aimed at both long-time and new editors, such as researchers, students and journalists, to improve articles related to the themes covered by the television series. Between Sound and Vision and VPRO a broad and engaged network of potential participants from both academics and journalism is easily accessible.

An edit-a-thon at the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision

The edit-a-thons will be thoroughly prepared, building on the experience gained from past edit-a-thons and the handbook which Sound and Vision wrote for the Europeana Fashion project. In consultation with interested Wikipedians from the international community, lists of new and existing articles that need to be written or improved upon will be made as a guide for participants and relevant literature and other sources will be provided during the event.For less experienced participants and to ensure conformity to Wikimedia standards, experienced Wikipedia-editors will be on hand to provide guidance.The handbook will be updated with lessons learned from these edit-a-thons, specifically focussing on the reuse of (contemporary) video content, and will be shared with the Wikimedia community through the project pages on Commons of Meta, collaborations with Wikipedia Chapters and relevant mailing lists. The manual will also be shared with broadcasters and Sound and Vision will assist other broadcasters that are interested to initiate comparable collaborations. International participation during the edit-a-thons by international (non-Dutch) participants will be encouraged. All the relevant information and source materials will be made available in English as well the circulating calls for proposals through relevant mailing lists and through contacts of Wikimedia Chapters. Also, specific attention will be given to the inclusion of international students (e.g. Erasmus). For instance by connecting the project to the volunteer programmes organised by the Dutch division of the Erasmus Student Network. If broadcasters outside the Netherlands are motivated to host an edit-a-thon, Sound and Vision will provide tailored support and Wikimedia Netherlands will serve as liaison with the Wikimedia chapter in the host’s respective country.

[3] Sharing of best practice regarding the potential for public broadcasters and Wikimedia to collaborate.[edit]

This project provides an example of applying open distribution strategies to newly produced public media content and provide a relatively easy workflow for parties that want to contribute open video to Wikimedia Commons, through our Open Images platform (if desired). This has at least three ramifications that this project will bring brought to the fore with the aim to inspire and support future collaborations between the Wikipedia and public broadcasters: First: this all means that a free media form is joining the commons - like free textbooks. And, it's something very meaningful - from a major broadcaster with major talent involved on the production as well as in the series itself. Second: It's not a clearing old/legacy media project - it's new: a new production. With this project we can show public media producers the possibilities and potential of open distribution for new and upcoming productions. Third, to effectively openly license this material, staff dealt with considerable paperwork with the rightsholders - from the people to the images to the music and more. These steps are documented to serve as best practice. To maximise impact, a white paper will be delivered, highlighting the potential for contributing professional (contemporary) broadcast content to Wikipedia, also looking at earlier work. The white paper will give a number of practical recommendation for both broadcasters and the wiki community to support future collaborations. In a dialogue with Wikimedia Nederland and the Video and the Commons working group, Sound and Vision will prepare a discussion paper for Wikimania 2017 which will discuss how to drastically increase the number of public broadcasters contributing to Wikipedia. To increase international impact and engagement, we will actively liaise with broadcasters (contacted through the International Federation of Audiovisual Archives) and invite them to participate in a webinar where the project will be introduced and where a pre-final version of the white paper (see below) will be discussed. The aim is to gather deep insight into the potential and interest within the broadcast domain. It is the explicit aspiration of Wikimedia Netherlands and Sound and Vision for Mind of the Universe: Open Video Commons to mark a seminal initiative that will further the collaboration between public media and Wikipedia. If there is enough interest, the project partners will develop (also in discussion with Wikimedia Foundation) follow-up projects with the explicit aim to galvanise on the results from this project. Either projects that concretely built on the results of the current project, for instance to host edit-a-thons in other countries with Mind of the Universe materia. Or, projects that have a more ambitious and fundamental aim to support the donation of material by other broadcasters.


Target readership[edit]

The global Wikimedia community is the primary readership. Because of the location of Beeld en Geluid there will naturally be a specific but by no means exclusive focus on the Netherlands. Secondary, Mind of the Universe will reach out to ‘’’public broadcasters’’’ (through the International Federation of Television Archives), ‘’’journalists’’’ (through the European Journalism Centre) and ‘’’developers of open educational resources’’’ (through Commonwealth of Learning. Sound and Vision and VPRO broadcasting will work closely together with Wikimedia Netherlands to: Explore how Mind of the Universe can be linked to the Wikipedia Educational Program by using relevant connections in the academic field to engage students and educators in the online and offline writing activities developed around Mind of the Universe and the topics the project touches upon as a result of the activity. Reach out to Wikimedia chapters in other countries. Specifically to disseminate the recommendations in the white paper. Ensure the results of the project will inform strategic decisions made by the Wikimedia Foundation.

Fit with strategy[edit]

In line with the strategic priorities, Mind of the Universe: open video commons contributes signicanty to two strategic goals. Namely (1) to increase the quality and (2) increase participation.

To increase the quality. First, Mind of the Universe contributes to the strategic goal to “Increase accessibility to reliable sources for editors” through the donation of high quality broadcast material. We anticipate that Mind of the Universe can increase participation of public broadcasters and public audiovisual archives in Wikimedia projects. Sound and Vision has already donated 4,000 newsreel items, 750 items of raw nature footage, 2,500 photographs and 2,000 field recordings to Wikimedia Commons, and will continue to contribute. Second, “increasing participation by subject matter experts”, specifically researchers, students and journalists that have have an interest in the subject matter of the documentary series. To increase participation. Specifically participation of public broadcasters. To our knowledge, only a few broadcasters have contributed to Wikipedia projects. Most notably, the BBC contributed a number of radio broadcasts in 2013 and the Australian broadcaster ABC donated 80 items from their collections in 2012. . Outside the public broadcast realm, but certainly relevant to be mentioned here, TED has recently announced a collaboration with Wikimedia that will make hundreds of TED talk available on Wikimedia Commons. From the annoucement: “By adding TED metadata to Wikidata, Darnell and Mabbett are documenting what knowledge is available from TED talks and making it easier for that information to be found and used across Wikimedia projects. They are also using the data from TED talks to identify gaps in knowledge on the Wikimedia projects.“ Mind of the Universe will reflect on these existing cases (their successes, lessons learned etc.) in the white paper.

Measures of success[edit]

The measuring of success for this project will consider the global metrics, as proposed by the Wikimedia Foundation. It will be primarily based on (1) the two user engagement activities: the three edit-a-thons and the online video contest. We will use both quantitative and qualitative criteria to determine the success of the project. Secondly we will measure (2) the increase of high quality broadcast video content added to Wikimedia Commons, to be able to determine the (re-)use of this material in the user engagement activities.

1. User Engagement activities

Indicators Measurement method Tools Comments Goals
Total # of participants headcount Gathering Wikipedia Event metrics checklist
# of female participants headcount Gathering Wikipedia Event metrics checklist
# of return participants headcount Wikimetrics 20% per edit-a-thon
# of new users headcount Wikimetrics We expect new users in the areas of journalism and science 25% per edit-a-thon
# of articles created, updated or improved Article count GLAMorous, BaGLAMa 2 25-30 per edit-a-thon
# number of different languages articles are updated, edited, or improved Article count GLAMorous, BaGLAMa 2 Dutch, English and at least five secondary languages
# number of views that articles created during the edit-a-thon received afterwards Page view statistics GLAMorous, BaGLAMa 2 Within 6 months, articles that feature MotU material are consulted on average 1500 times per month
# of good and featured articles created or improved article count 10
# of participants editing X months after the event headcount Wikimetrics 10% after two months
# of amount of times the project is mentioned in blogs and the media mentions Google analytics, social media monitoring 150
Increased awareness of potential of Wikipedia collaborations under public broadcasters. % of surveyed individuals indicate an increase in awareness since the start of this project Survey under members of FIAT-IFTA, AMIA, EBU, EUscreen. 75%

Online video contest goals:

  • Improving categorization of the donated materials
  • Increasing the amount of media from the collection donated to Wikimedia Commons used in Wikipedia articles
  • Increasing awareness of possibilities of using (fragments of) video in Wikipedia articles

2. Goals of donated broadcast video material on Wikimedia Commons

Indicators Measurement Method Tools Comments Goal
Number of pictures / media files uploaded Count of the number of files in a given Commons category (before/after) Category page, GLAMorous Category: Media from Open Beelden 150-200 broadcast quality videoís and 150 photographs
Number of Wikipedia articles featuring the uploaded pictures / media files Article count GLAMorous, BaGLAMa 2 250 articles within 3 months of uploading
Number of re-use of the uploaded pictures / media files Count of the number of use of the uploaded material in articles GLAMorous, BaGLAMa 2 Within 6 months a re-use of 25% of the donated Mind of the Universe material in 1 or more articles on Wikipedia
Number of language version in which the uploaded pictures/media files are re-used Count of the amount of language versions Within 6 months re-use in 10 language versions

[2] Goals of donated broadcast video material on Wikimedia Commons

  • Increase of high quality broadcast video content on Wikimedia Commons
  • Increase in re-use of the donated Mind of the Universe material

Resources and risks[edit]


The Mind of the Universe: open video commons can only be executed with support from the Wikimedia Foundation. Next to the requested budget, the Foundation for Dutch Public Broadcasting supports the project with a financial contribution of 13.200 EURO. Sound and Vision contributes 12.000 EURO in kind to support the organisation of the edit-a-thons, through offering rooms, technical support and lunches at no costs. Wikimedia Netherlands provides further organisational support for the edit-a-thons.


Risk impact likelihood mitigation
Not being able to apply CC-BY-SA licenses for the content high low VPRO broadcasting has legal expertise. For this series VPRO had kept the conditions for releasing the material under an open license in mind from the get-go. This means they have agreements with the interviewed persons, their own (freelance) staff. All additional material like music they are using for the episodes, it also openly licensed and compatible with the CC-BY-SA license they are sharing the material with.
Not enough community engagement and interest for edit-a-thons high medium Sound and Vision and Wikimedia Netherland have executed a range of successful edit-a-thons and hence have significant expertise in reaching out to user groups. Also VPRO broadcasting has considerable communication power.
No interest in the wider public broadcasting domain to engage in Wikipedia collaborations medium low Sound and Vision has good connections with broadcasters (and audiovisual archives) across the globe. Information will be shared through appropriate channels from the beginning of the project to the end.
No technical knowledge to share video files in the various open video formats medium low The Open Images platform is used, built to transcode videos in multiple open video formats.


Project budget table[edit]

Budget categories and item descriptions Unit Number of units Costs per unit (in Euro's) Total cost per line item (in EURO's) Total requested from WMF Notes on how line items were calculated A separate column for funds requested from other sources
Donation of broadcast content Pre editing (production assisent) hours 240 55.00 n/a 8 hours per interviews 13.200 requested and granted by the foundation "Dutch Public Broadcasting"
Metadata enrichment (editorial support) hours 280 52.00 14,560.00 6 hours per interviews. 40 hours for the other material.
Transcoding and upload to Commons and quality assurance hours 40 52.00 2,080.00 Using
User engagement activities Preparing three edit-a-thons hours 136 45.00 6,120.00 1,400 Updating the handbook (32 hours), selecting acticles (32 hrs) inviting volunteers and coordinating the edit-a-thon (24 hours for each event). Note: Wikimedia Nederlands will be actively involved in organsing the edit-a-thons. Their contribution falls outside the requested Funds for this Projects and Events grant.
Upload-a-thon editing stations 6 200.00 2,400 2,400 2 volunteers per station
Lunch per person 16 10.00 160.00 160.00 12.000 (in kind contribution Sound and Vision)
Sharing of best practice White paper hours 120 55.00 6,600.00 6,600.00
Presentations n/a In kind contribution Sound and Vision
TOTAL (excl. VAT) 29,360.00 10,600

Total cost of project[edit]

54,560.00 EURO (= 60,546.32 USD)

Total amount requested[edit]

29,360.00 EURO excl. VAT (= 32,581.38 USD)

10,600 Euro / $11,240 USD

Additional sources of revenue[edit]

  • In kind contribution Sound and Vision: 12,000.00 EUR
  • Grant by the Dutch Public Broadcasting Foundation: 13,200.00 EUR

Non-financial requirements[edit]



Community notification[edit]


Do you think this project should be selected for a Project and Event Grant? Please add your name and rationale for endorsing this project in the list below. Other feedback, questions or concerns from community members are also highly valued, but please post them on the talk page of this proposal. You can add your name below by logging in and typing four tildes (~):

  • ...we need to look more into multimedia projects. It is one way to stay relevant.Thelmadatter (talk) 10:55, 1 July 2016 (UTC)
  • The Institute for Sound and Vision is one of Wikimedia Nederland's most active and enthousiastic GLAM-partners and I welcome this new approach. It is already mentioned in the application that WMNL wants to cooperate with Sound and Vision on this project - so yes, I endorse this proposal. Sandra Rientjes - Wikimedia Nederland (talk) 12:59, 1 July 2016 (UTC)
  • I'm particularly drawn to the 3th goal "the potential for public broadcasters and Wikimedia to collaborate", as a way to stimulate publically financed broadcasters to work with Wikimedia and open up more... OlafJanssen (talk) 15:58, 1 July 2016 (UTC)
  • I certainly support more multimedia, especially video. The $32,000 budget is low for what we'd get, but fairly high for this avenue of funding. Is there a better place to ask for funding? My main concern is whether this is by nature an ongoing project that requires ongoing funding. If so, I'd insist on wider publication and funding approvals. But there is an end date given and I'll take that on good faith. If they really mean that this is a one-time project then by all means, let's do it. Smallbones (talk) 16:08, 1 July 2016 (UTC)
  • I endorse this project, taking into account the comments I posted on the talk page (which, believe me, are only intended to be constructive and to sharpen our approach). Spinster (talk) 09:20, 2 July 2016 (UTC)
  • We need this. Natuur12 (talk) 11:43, 3 July 2016 (UTC)
  • This is a wonderful opportunity to get more openly licensed content of high quality. I support this proposal. Husky (talk) 19:05, 4 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Interesting proposal --Kippelboy (talk) 07:14, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
  • The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision is a long time and leading partner of Europeana and, as part of this project proposal, they will also be using the GLAMwikiToolset for the Commons uploads (a tool built by Europeana). On this basis, Europeana would be pleased to support this project with practical [non financial] assistance. Personally, I would hope that this project would help to demonstrate a proof-of-concept for the use of high quality documentary film under free licenses that other institutions could follow in the future. Wittylama (Europeana) 09:21, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
  • This is a great opportunity to share open content from around the world. We at Hawaii Open Data support this proposal. --Bytemarks
  • To me this sounds like a unique and timely opportunity to channel resources into developing multimedia authoring in the open ecosystem. I would want to see even more emphasis on it. And I support the collaboration of public broadcasters and Wikimedia warmheartedly. --Susannaanas (talk) 18:36, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Support Support - Why not? Wikicology (talk) 19:17, 8 October 2016 (UTC)