Grants:Project/Coffeeandcrumbs/National Film Registry

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statusnot selected
National Film Registry
summaryThis project's goal is to obtain copies of films in public domain from the Library of Congress and upload them to Wikimedia Commons. The National Film Registry includes scores of classic films selected by National Film Preservation Board, believed to be "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant films", many of which are in the public domain.
targetCommons and all Wikipedia languages, especially the English Wikipedia
type of grantonline programs and events
type of applicantindividual
this project needs...
created on08:21, 4 October 2019 (UTC)

Project idea[edit]

What is the problem you're trying to solve?[edit]

  • The Library of Congress (LOC) has in its collections many films that are of historical importance. Most of these films have not been digitized and the LOC charges fees (more than $710/hour) to transfer these films to digital format. Although the films are in the public domain, access to the collection is restricted and sometimes requires obtaining permission from the organization that donated it to the LOC (such as the American Film Institute). The process also requires filling-out an application to investigate/confirm the copyright status and a Wikimedia volunteer to make sure the whole thing goes smoothly by communicating with librarians, filling-out government forms, pay fees, and finally upload the files to Wikimedia Commons. Some examples of films in the collection are The Kid and The Mark of Zorro.

Examples of low resolution film copies currently at Commons[edit]

Example of medium resolution film copies currently at Commons[edit]

Example of higher resolution film copies currently at Commons[edit]

What is your solution?[edit]

  • With input from projects such as WikiProject Film, Featured picture candidates, and Commons:Village pump, I plan to select around 10 films. I will go through the application process required by LOC and pay the fees with the funds obtained from this grant.
  • The LOC will transfer the films to 2048x1556 pixels digital format

Project goals[edit]

  • Upload 10 classic films in the public domain to Commons.
  • Study process to initiate a larger project to upload the hundreds (perhaps thousands) of films in the Library of Congress collections.

Project impact[edit]

How will you know if you have met your goals?[edit]

Do you have any goals around participation or content?[edit]

  • The main project goal is to create 10 Commons files. A secondary goal is to make these files Featured content on Commons and English Wikipedia. A tertiary goal to include the full movies in the articles about the film in every language variant of Wikipedia.

Project plan[edit]


  • Select films from the LOC collections that would be of the most interest to Wikimedia community and contribute the most to content on Wikipedia and Commons.
  • Investigate the copyright status of the films with assistance from librarians.
  • Request librarians and technicians transfer films to hi-res digital format (2048x1556 pixels maximum available).
  • Upload files to Commons and include the files in articles about the film in as many languages.
  • Nominate films for featured status to maximize the value and use case of the films on Wikimedia projects.


  • Ten films at a cost of ~US$1089 per film (total grant request: $10,890). This maybe an over-estimation but the exact cost is hard to estimate because it depends on length of the film and other ancillary costs. Full rates can be seen at Any left over funds will be used to upload additional films.
  • The Library of Congress charges $710/hour to transfer film to digital and $24 setup fee. Assuming a film length of 90 minutes that means a cost of $1089 per film.

Community engagement[edit]

COVID-19 plan[edit]

  • It is possible to complete all aspects of this project through online communication with the Library of Congress. Any visits to the library will be postponed until the Wikimedia Foundation’s guidelines allow for them. They may not be necessary at all. Coffeeandcrumbs (talk) 13:55, 12 April 2020 (UTC)

Get involved[edit]


  • Volunteer I will doing everything myself but welcome any and all participants. Volunteers with film editing skills are of the utmost importance. Coffeeandcrumbs (talk) 10:02, 4 October 2019 (UTC)

Community notification[edit]


Do you think this project should be selected for a Project Grant? Please add your name and rationale for endorsing this project below! (Other constructive feedback is welcome on the discussion page).

  • Slowking4 (talk) 13:27, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Support. Is this the list of films we are talking about? You may be able to identify the actual films you have in mind. I think one method would be to use the English wikipedia's Film core films list. -- Ricky81682 (talk) 18:31, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
  • A very useful project, taking into account the relatively small cost of this in comparison with the significance of these films. Perhaps WMF could even as a non-profit be able to negotiate lower costs. Daß Wölf (talk) 12:32, 9 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Support I think it is a splendid idea although it is worth bearing in mind some of these films are already available at (see Betty Logan (talk) 18:19, 11 October 2019 (UTC)
    • The films are below 640x480 pixels. This project would achieve 2048x1556 pixels. Coffeeandcrumbs (talk) 02:21, 12 October 2019 (UTC)
  • This could be one of the best ways to get important works in films into Commons. Would love to see more movies be part of Commons and this is a good start. GamerPro64 (talk) 04:51, 18 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Support Support This seems like a worth-while endeavor. I do wonder if we could talk ourselves into getting a discount. There's various Wikipedia in residence at other federal agencies. Maybe they have contacts. Perhaps also there is opportunity in collaborating on this with It seems like the sort of thing that they would be interested in. Bawolff (talk) 08:49, 20 February 2020 (UTC)
  • Looks like a great step forward to open knowledge. I really think this is definitely mission-critical for the entire Wiki community. Can't believe that LOC charges so much money... Hjfocs (talk) 15:31, 20 February 2020 (UTC)
  • Support - meets Wikimedia's mission and is a worthwhile endeavor to make these PD films more accessible to everyone. Kees08 (talk) 17:33, 28 February 2020 (UTC)