Wikimedia Conference 2018/Program/47

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47. Structured Data on Commons changes Wikimedia Commons! Let's prepare for it together[edit]


Sandra Fauconnier (Wikimedia Foundation), Pam Drouin (Wikimedia Foundation), Liam Wyatt (FDC), Ben Vershbow (Wikimedia Foundation), Alex Stinson (Wikimedia Foundation)


Etherpad and collaborative spreadsheet

Length (min)


Audience / Target group

Staff and volunteers of affiliates who run programs around media on Commons, including GLAM programs and photo competitions.

Session Format

Workshop format


In this session:

  1. The Structured Data on Commons team shares a brief overview of the changes coming to Commons
  2. Affiliate representatives share a bit about their programs involving Commons
  3. In small groups, identify the ways programs could change when structured data is introduced on Commons
  4. Brainstorm ways to incorporate SDC into programs around Commons
  5. Hone some of these ways into potential pilot projects

In 2018, the most radical change on Wikimedia Commons since its inception will take place: introduction of structured, machine-readable data (mainly powered by Wikidata and its software, Wikibase). This update, which has been a long-time request from the Commons community, will make it much easier to view, search, edit, organize and re-use Commons files, and will turn Commons in a truly multilingual resource. Further, this update will dramatically improve the way in which volunteers and affiliates can partner with cultural institutions (GLAMs), bringing profound changes to upload processes and metrics, and adding entirely new features and possibilities for further tooling (such as better tools for crowdsourcing, and 'live' synchronization between GLAM databases and Commons).

How to prepare
  • Before coming to the workshop, make sure you know about the GLAM and Commons projects that your affiliate is planning for the upcoming months and year. Some basic information to know:
    • Briefly, what is the project about?
    • Who will lead/work on the project?
    • When approximately is it planned to take place?
    • Will you partner with other organizations (GLAMs or other)? If so, which one(s)?
  • If you want, you can already add some of those planned GLAM and Commons projects to the workshop spreadsheet.
Desired Outcome
  1. Participants leave with a long list of high-potential pilot projects which could amplify the impact their activities for 2018-2019 using Structured Commons.
  2. Participants understand the large upcoming changes to Commons, and can communicate how these changes affect their multimedia program activities to their colleagues, volunteers, and partners.
  3. The Structured Commons team knows what affiliates need (e.g. training, documentation, tools) to confidently start working on Structured-Commons-powered Commons projects.
Next Steps and Milestones

The WMF GLAM team will follow up with affiliates on potential pilot projects and what is needed to launch them.


The workshop started with presentation on what is SDC and what it will mean for the Commons and work with GLAMs, continued with 3 workshop exercises in groups and making overall conclusions. Structured Data on Commons converts metadata on Commons to a structured & machine-readable format making Commons files easier to view, search, edit, organize and re-use, in many languages. It will ring closer integration of Commons with Wikidata: in terms of data about multilingual captions, what is depicted in media, who are the contributors, what is copyright and licensing etc. For GLAMs SDC will mean new ways to search Commons and to discover interesting files, data that can be given back to an institution (example of Rijksmuseum), advanced tools (based on a much improved Commons API), bringing together information that has never been combined before (e.g. across heritage collections!).

Working in groups participants listed their upcoming GLAM + Commons projects for the next year, described project highlights and issues. Afterwards they worked on writing down Opportunities of SDC, Needs for them and Ideas for (new) projects with SDC, reporting back from 6 smaller groups to the whole audience after each task.