Wikimedia Israel/Free image collection project
- See PikiWiki - Free Image collection of Israel on pikiwiki.org.il
Free image collection project, on the occasion of Israel's 60th anniversary
Contact person: User:Deror avi
This project is the first cooperation between the Israel Internet Association (ISOC-IL)  and the recently founded Israeli Wikimedia chapter . Part of the effort to promote the concept of free content on the Web, this is a project of both practical and declarative value.
The project's goals
The image collection project was conceived as an instrument to help creating a large pool of digital-format, good quality photographs, documenting events relating to the history of Israel, or depicting places of distinction around the country. The images would be as free of copyright limitations as possible. The database will include a categorization system, and the public will be free to contribute new images, and browse or copy any of the images stored within. From a practical point of view, the project could answer the needs of students, scholars, researchers, writers, artists, tourists or any person who might need a photograph of a historical event or a place of interest in Israel, be it for use in a piece of art, a book, a poster, an advertisement or any other legitimate use. As a declarative tool, this project is intended to raise awareness to issues concerning copyright, its logic and application, and why it is worthwhile, in many cases, to relinquish it in favor of the public, fully or in part. Underlying the project is the assumption that historical photographs, or photographs of public sites, should be made available to every person, without fear of copyright infringement, as part of the cultural assets shared by all citizens. It should be pointed out that even as this project is unfolding, the Knesset, Israel's parliament, is debating the introduction of a new copyright law that could extend the expiry of copyright on photographs from the current period of 50 years from the date the photo was taken, to 70 years from the day of the photographer's death. The proposed database could work as a counterbalance to the stricter law, should it ever materialize. Furthermore, such a project could prove useful in supporting other programs for narrowing the so-called digital gap and encouraging digital literacy, such as Lehava Project.
- The Israel Internet Society (ISOC-IL) - an ISOC chapter located in Israel.
- Wikimedia-Israel (WM-IL) - a Wikimedia chapter located in Israel.
- The Center for Educational Technology (CET) - an NGO established in 1971, located in Ramat Aviv and dedicated to the introduction of new teaching methods and tools to the Israeli educational system. CET has become a major hub in the network of Israeli educational bodies, both government-owned and NGOs, and employs some of the most experienced professionals in leading educational projects.
- The Lehava Project - a project launched by Israel's Ministry of Finance, and designed to help narrow the "digital gaps" in the Israeli society. The project is made up of 14 centers around the country, particularly in the periphery. Each such center includes two instruction classrooms containing 40 computer terminals. The servers are located in the Ministry of Finance itself. Every center is manned throughout the day by four information-specialists. Currently, the Lehava centers serve 150-160 thousand people, all free of charge. The centers are equipped with scanners and other advanced peripheral devices.
- The project can be joined by any other body that would agree to cooperate towards the same goals.
Criteria for uploading images
- Good quality (considering the image's historical value, the time lapsed since it was taken, the technological means at the time etc.)
- The image documents significant events in the history of Israel or depicts a site of distinction (past or present) in the country, or a historical figure related to the state of Israel.
- The image is a photograph or a scan of documents of historical significance, which are not subject to secrecy statutes or otherwise legally protected from copying
- The contributor is the copyright owner, or can prove that copyright for the image in question is expired.
- The contributor is willing to relinquish their copyright for the image and its scan without compensation, and release it to the public to become Public Domain
- The image has not undergone editing or processing, aside from contrast modification, coloration corrections, pasting in order to create a panoramic image and so on.
- The image does not constitute blatant advertising for a commercial company currently operating in Israel.
- It is preferred that pictures be released to the public as Public Domain, but one could argue whether or not to also accept pictures with "free licenses", such as GNU, GFDL, CC, etc. Anyhow, in such cases, only those versions which merely require attribution to the photographer will be accepted. It is agreed that versions requiring further limitations are unsuitable for the project.
- Should a large collection of images be released as a contribution from a major body, e.g. a national archive, a museum etc, we will consider a request to release them under a more-limiting license rather than to the PD.
- For example, a picture of a monument, where most of the background is dominated by a billboard advertisement for a company, currently operating in Israel, particularly if a similar image, in which the advertisement is less blatant, is available.
- The images will be kept on the Commons servers, marked with a special template instructing Commons' sysops to consult the project managers in Israel before taking any measures with regard to said images.
- Contributors will not be referred directly to the Commons, but rather to a special interface, to be prepared by a programmer of the project in Israel and uploaded to the Wikitools server. The Israeli interface will include a table in which the meta-data of each picture will be saved, with rules as to the "translation" of that meta-data into the Commons' format. The images themselves will be directed to the Commons with an appropriate name, which would enable operators to track them down in the table that will be saved on Wikitools.
- The details that will be saved on the database will include: general subject of the image, the date it was taken (or an approximation if exact date is not known), name of the photographer (if known), translation of any foreign text appearing in the picture, whether or not there is a chance of offending anyone by posting the picture, the circumstances the picture was taken or a special story behind it, etc. Enough leeway should be left for data in various languages – particularly Hebrew, Arabic and Russian – as well as for missing or partial data.
- Before uploading the images, each contributor will have to confirm that he or she is the copyright owner, and that he or she is relinquishing the copyright. This confirmation has to be legally binding. Contributors will provide the project with their full contact details.
- Anyone surfing the site will be able to flag an image as inappropriate in terms of copyright infringement, possible offense to others, inferior quality and so on.
- The online forms for filling in the details of the image and confirming the relinquishment of copyright will be available in Hebrew, Arabic, Russian, and English, and must be written in as simple terms as possible. All the information will be conveyed using natural language, by means simulating a real-life form, not using code-lines, tags etc.
- The project will be advertised through the spokesperson services of ISOC-IL and WM-IL. The advertisement will present the project as part of the celebrations for the sixtieth anniversary of Israel's independence.
- Lehava centers will encourage visitors to bring suitable images, scan them and upload them using the centers' equipment. The centers will also encourage visitors to photograph places of significance in their neighborhood using digital cameras, and to upload the pictures to the website as part of the Lehava centers instruction classes.
The project encountered some administrative difficulties, lasted till late March 2008. A general meeting of all participants was called on April 3, 2008 to restart the project and revise the schedule.
Tasks completed until April 3, 2008
- ILS 200 000 were allocated for the project(approx. USD 57 000).
- A full-time paid project manager was appointed.
- A general scheme was devised by a wiki-experienced programers.
- Legal aspects were discussed and drafts for necessary legal documents were phrased.
The new schedule will be published shortly by the project manager. Last date for opening the project to the public is September 15, 2008.
Funding and Staff
- ISOC-IL and CET allocated some 200 000 Israeli new sheqels for the project.
- The bulk of the work will be done by volunteers, who will be recruited by WM-IL among the community of users of other Wikimedia projects, as well as by Lehava among the people using its centers.
- WM-IL is responsible for the contact with the Wiki-Commons' team and the Wikimedia Foundation.
- The project employs a paid project manager, who coordinates the work of the volunteers and acts as a liaison between the involved bodies. First general meeting with the project-manager was held on April 3, 2008.
- Two teams were set up, each of them will include people from ISOC-IL, WM-IL and CET. One team set the categorization and meta-data saving methods, the other one contacts organizations possessing image archives to suggest cooperation.
- The first stages of the website's construction will be accompanied by a dedicated paid programmer, who will carefully document all the work done. Later, when the website stabilizes, it may be possible to rely on the work of volunteer programmers.
- Reviewing the images, deleting the ones who fail the criteria and correcting the data fed to the database, will all be done by volunteers and visitors to the site. Every surfer will be able to flag problem images. A team of volunteers will check the complaints and in general will go over the contributions, so as to detect problems.