Learning patterns/Uploading video materials to Wikimedia Commons for use on Wikipedia
What problem does this solve?
In 2016, online video accounted for 73 percent of all consumer internet traffic, which is expected to rise to 83 percent in 2021. The scale and speed at which the internet enables distribution of video changes the way in which people find, consume and spread knowledge. Organisations who have the mission to distribute information to a wide audience need to carefully consider online video distribution as a possible outlet to reach their audiences most effectively. With more video content on Wikimedia Commons, produced specifically for the purpose of integration in an online encyclopedia, Wikipedia will stay attractive and interesting, also to younger people.
What is the solution?
During a project titled The Mind of the Universe, Dutch public broadcaster and The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision collaborated on uploading high quality materials to Wikimedia Commons. However, for reasons listed below these appeared to be less appropriate for use in Wikipedia:
- The subject matter of the series: The scientists whose work was presented in the project are performing research at the cutting edge of their fields. There is a level of abstraction that comes with this that makes it hard to translate into a comprehensible encyclopedic article for a wide audience. It proved challenging to find participants for the editathons who were both interested in and capable of making that translation.
- The nature of the videos: videos with interviews are relatively rare on Wikimedia Commons, we therefore had no “best practices” for the use of interviews in the online encyclopedia to fall back on. In practice we have seen the interviews used only as illustrations in the articles of the scientists themselves, not in articles on the topics that are being discussed in the interviews.
- The type of content: Wikipedia has a “No Original Research policy” in place. The encyclopedia is a tertiary source that references secondary sources to substantiate the facts that it states. The subject matter discussed in the video’s is cutting edge and in some places speculative, not mentioning sources or publications. This, combined with the fact that video and audio materials are rarely used as references on the encyclopedia, made for a rather narrow application of these materials on Wikipedia.
In light of the reflections above we would like to share some insights from projects that have been more successful in seeing video material reused on Wikipedia. 1) In 2009 Sound and Vision launched the platform Open Images on which videos from its archival collection were published openly, in various formats, with relating metadata. From the very start the Wikimedia community picked up on these materials on the platform. To date, more than 4,200 articles on various language versions of Wikipedia have been enriched with videos from this collection. These articles combined receive more than 5 million monthly views.
2) From 2010 onwards, Sound and Vision participated in the Foundation for Nature Footage, which produced a series of unedited videos of Dutch nature. So far, these videos have been used on over 500 pages, which on average generate over half a million views per month.
Some ways in which these collections differ from the material of The Mind of the Universe are:
- Accessible subject matter,
- Well demarcated subject matter, especially in the case of the nature videos,
- More or less objective display of various behaviours, landscapes, locations, historical events, technologies, customs, species, etc. that have a one-on-one relation to existing Wikipedia articles.
Comparing these two projects shows the kind of video material that will be most useful for use on Wikipedia.
Things to consider
When to use
- video2commons tool