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Wikimedia at the 20th ICOM-CC Triennial Conference/Wikimedia

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Introducing Wikimedia


Wikimedia makes knowledge free and accessible to everyone around the world. We do this by hosting Wikipedia, which provides access to over 55 million articles across 300 languages, and other Wikimedia projects, all for free and without ads. More than 1.7 billion unique devices visit Wikimedia sites every month.

How does Wikipedia work?

Wikimedia projects


Wikimedia projects are created through an open, collaborative model that everyone can be a part of because we think everyone has something to contribute to our shared understanding of the world. More than 300,000 people add, edit, and update articles on Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects every month. They debate, fact-check, and work together to help ensure articles are neutral and are based in reliable sources.

Wikipedia is just one of 13 wiki-based projects:

  • Wikidata links collections and research across institutional and national boundaries, connecting museums' specialized knowledge to Wikipedia's general knowledge.
  • Wikimedia Commons is the world's largest free-to-use media repository that includes images, photographs, videos, and sounds. Images of collections that have been shared on Commons are used to illustrate a wide range of Wikipedia articles, such as biographies, historic events, and even broader concepts like ‘play’ and ‘love’.
  • Wikisource is a platform for the transcription of books, manuscripts, and other documents. It’s building searchable, citable digital libraries in languages that are underrepresented on the Internet.
  • Wikibase is free and open-source software to build a structured data repository that is part of a linked open data ecosystem for cultural heritage.
What is the Wikimedia free knowledge movement?

Wikimedia movement


Our projects and volunteers are supported by a global nonprofit, the Wikimedia Foundation, and Wikimedia affiliate groups. Wikipedia is the only top website that is supported by a nonprofit. This means we make decisions based on our mission and how to support our readers and editors, rather than profit incentives.

With more than 140 affiliates around the world, we have a presence in every inhabited continent. In Spain, for example, we have the national chapter, Wikimedia España, and groups like Amical Wikimedia, which is focused on Catalan language and culture. Together, these groups comprise what we call the “Wikimedia movement”.

Ask your local contact how you can join the Wikimedia free knowledge movement.

Does the content on Wikipedia reflect the world’s diversity?

Free knowledge


The Wikimedia movement’s strategy has two pillars:

  • Knowledge equity—we act as a social movement to break down the social, political, and technical barriers preventing people from accessing and contributing to free knowledge.
  • Knowledge as a service—we provide a free knowledge infrastructure to enable us and others to collect and use different forms of free, trusted knowledge.



To reflect all the world’s knowledge, we must have participation from all the world’s people on Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects. Museums steward the material culture and documentary heritage that is relevant to their communities and available in local and indigenous languages. By sharing their collections, museums help to close knowledge gaps on our projects, across the more than 300 languages that we support. In turn, Wikimedia projects make museums' knowledge more visible and relevant to a large and diverse global audience.

For example:

  • Each month, a few hundred image files contributed by The Museum of Veterinary Anatomy in São Paulo attract millions of page views.
  • The Smithsonian amplifies the accomplishments of American women by adding their biographies to Wikipedia. Some of their most viewed images are of women of color, such as Sojourner Truth, A Chippeway Widow, and Josephine Baker.
  • 35 national libraries around the world (including Egypt, France, Germany, Israel, Korea, the U.S. and the Vatican) have linked their authority control data with Wikidata. Museums like The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the London Science Museum have modeled their collections in Wikidata to reveal new connections between people, institutions, and objects.[1]
  • Recently, the British Library shared Javanese manuscripts on Wikisource. For the British Library, the global Wikimedia movement provides a way for them to work on their manuscripts with communities of origin and native speakers of the languages.[2]

Will you help us share museums’ knowledge with communities everywhere?


If you're at the ICOM conference, you can come to our stand to meet Wikimedia groups from Italy, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. We also have a program of events.

If you're not at the conference, you can read more about Wikimedia's collaborations with ICOM and museums around the world. And get in touch with our global GLAM-Wiki network, or your local Wikimedia group.