Whose Knowledge?/Resources/Open licenses and repositories

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki

Welcome! This is a set of curated resources to help you understand how open licenses and digital repositories can be useful tools for sharing your knowledge.

This list was developed by Whose Knowledge? for our partners in social justice movements around the world.

It is very much a work in progress, so please give us feedback about what you like, what is missing, etc!


Reasons to consider using open licenses and digital repositories to share your knowledge online:

  • Permanence - Digital repositories with a focus on open have a commitment to maintaining knowledge for the long-term. This is useful for making a long-lasting contribution to the historic record.
  • Security - Many digital repositories that focus on open resources have some experience and track record defending user privacy, open resources and alternatives to private copyright. Corporate sites like Facebook and YouTube can be controlled or gamed by powerful interests, and self-hosted content can be vulnerable to attack.
  • Dissemination - Releasing content under open licenses encourages wide dissemination of your knowledge on sites like Wikipedia. Depending on the license, this can include permissions to remix and repurpose content in ways that are supportive of creative individuals and communities.
  • Attribution - Open licenses like CC BY-SA require others to give you credit when sharing and reusing the knowledge content you create.
  • Values - These licenses and repositories share values of open, free and democratic knowledge, which are also critical to social justice movements around the world.


Share Your Knowledge: WHY

Video describing why cultural organizations should share knowledge through Creative Commons and Wikipedia (June 2012)
Useful for: institutions to understand why open licenses and open repositories are good tools for sharing knowledge.

Illustrating Wikipedia

Brochure explaining the basics of Wikimedia Commons, an online repository of images and other media files available under free license (November 2014)
Useful for: Learning how upload photographs and other audio/visual media for use in Wikipedia articles

Reshaping the Internet for Women

Interview with Whose Knowledge? about Wikipedia’s gender gap, and missing diversity and pluralism on the internet. (December 2016)
Useful for: Finding tools and practices for making sure marginalised knowledges can be used and referenced better on Wikipedia.

Recommended actions for building up reliable sources to share marginalized knowledges on Wikipedia and the broader internet (excerpted from above)
  1. Put your knowledge online. Digitise what exists offline. Record and upload oral histories. Put reports, data, and other knowledge out on your own website or other websites that are known feminist knowledge aggregators. This is the first step in making your knowledge more accessible for others, even if it isn’t yet in the form of a reliable source for Wikipedia.
  2. Share under open licenses and in open repositories. Creative Commons has several good options for licensing your knowledge products so that they can be freely used by others. Wikimedia Commons is an open repository for sharing media under free license, where you can add images and sound files for later use on Wikipedia. Wikisource is an open online library for sharing freely licensed source texts. Wiktionary is a free and open dictionary that can be used as a preservation tool for indigenous languages. As knowledge is made freely available, it becomes easier to incorporate it into Wikipedia.
  3. Publish and disseminate. Are you a journalist or an academic? Publish research and stories about marginalized people and issues so they can be used as reliable sources on Wikipedia. We need to be each other’s credible, reliable, legitimate sources. And the more feminist knowledge is seen beyond the usual circles, the more power it has. Does your funder have a website? Publish there. Do you know journalists? Encourage your local newspaper to write about you and your work as well as the work of others whose knowledge you consider to be important.

Open licenses[edit]

For many knowledge sharing projects, we recommend using Creative Commons for licensing content.

Creative Commons - Share Your Work

Licenses provided by Creative Commons provide a simple, standardized way to give you permission to share and use your creative work on sites like Wikipedia.
Useful for: Choosing an open license that will work best for your context and content.

Creative Commons - Wanna Work Together?

Video explaining Creative Commons (July 2010)
Useful for: Understanding why Creative Commons alternatives to standard copyright are important tools for sharing knowledge.

Digital repositories[edit]

Here are some permanent online repositories that value open content:

Internet Archive

Learn more:
Internet Archive Successfully Fends Off Secret FBI Order
History is Written and Revised by the Winners - Can the Internet Archive Change That?

Wikimedia Commons

Learn more:
Media Upload Wizard