Commons *has* a community, though a small and vulnerable one, and
regretfully declining community over the last years. Currently some twenty
people contribute 100 edits or more a month, and some four hundred people
contribute 5 edits or more a month, which is comparable to a "small"
language Wikipedia. I thank Pieter Kuiper fully for admitting Commons isn't
without it's own problems. I thank Ting Cheng, a community elected board
member of the Wikimedia Foundation, for his lengthy elaboration recognizing
an issue. I thank Dror for standing up. This Spring the WMF has initiated a
year long strategy formation process asking input from all sides and parties
involved around a series of questions concerning participation, reach and
quality. (Strict) compliance with license(s) is considered a [[[quality]]
issue by more than one regular contributor to Commons. Several image
gathering projects do have several goals, most notably informing the public
about free repositories of (for example) images which I will dub [[reach]]
and hooking newcomers to become contributors of content, which I will dub
[[participation]]. Initially dubbed [[governance of Commmons]] I would like
to invite all participants in this discussion, and all participants in the
[[massive upload conflict]]s to participate this year, just started, and
ending summer 2010, in the overall Wikimedia Foundation strategy formation
process. Help us all finding answers to all of "What should we do" and "How
should we do" questions. In my belief all active participants to Commons
should be give the time to reflect on the current issue, and give their
opinion, if they want to, which can take a longer time than the wikibreak of
Dror. Maybe it might be possible to generate a rough guideline in a year
time about [[I started a project to have the public take images and upload
them ultimately to Commons. How and when should I inform the community at
commons about my project and under which conditions won't the community at
Commons block all uploads from my project]]. After all, the Commons is a
very special project. It has many more sysops than active contributors. And,
as far as I know, a sysop is just a technical function, with the ability
(some buttons) and not the authority to push them without 'community
consent'. Governance at he commons and discussing about sysops might blur
this a little bit. That might presuppose sysops having an organizational
role or function they wouldn't have. And one last thing: Commons, like all
projects, are independent of the WMF, the Board of the WMF can't impose
anything on the project. So Ting showed a lot of courage by stepping into
this discussion, and I thank him for that, again.
In a couple of days from now (three?) Wikimedia Commons will hit the 5
million uploaded files (see the statistics at
At that point Wikimedia Commons also exists almost 5 years. Wouldn't it
be nice to send out a real press release to a couple of news agencies to
get some press attention? 5 million files is a big milestone and should
get some coverage.
We had a discussion at a recent Wikimedia UK board meeting about potentially buying some digitisation equipment which could be used to generate content for the Wikimedia projects. This recent email to the EN-WP list sparked my interest.
Does anyone have any experience with equipment like this, and could you recommend anything? Any idea what the price range and quality typically is?
Also, is anyone else in the Wikimedia community currently doing this?
---- Forwarded Message -----
From: "Steve Bennett" <stevagewp(a)gmail.com>
To: "English Wikipedia" <wikien-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org>
Sent: Sunday, 23 August, 2009 10:55:32 GMT +00:00 GMT Britain, Ireland, Portugal
Subject: Re: [WikiEN-l] Wikipedia reaches 3 millionth article
On Wed, Aug 19, 2009 at 11:15 PM, David Gerard<dgerard(a)gmail.com> wrote:
> I believe they have machines to turn pages, and something to figure
> out the distorted photo of the book and render it how it would look as
> a flat page.
Yeah, there are videos of these machines. The book sits open, the
scanner comes down and scans both open pages at once. As it goes up
again, it sucks on one page, causing it to flip over. Then repeat.
Oh, look, here you go:
And while we're at it:
WikiEN-l mailing list
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
A thoughtful and well-informed message follows.
-------- Messaggio Originale --------
Oggetto: Re: [Fwd: [Commons-l] Digitisation equipment]
Data: Thu, 27 Aug 2009 23:26:23 +0200
Da: Andrea Zanni
A: nemowiki, commons-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org
I'm Aubrey, a wikisource admin just come back from IFLA
(http://www.ifla.com), in Milan.
I'm not an expert, but I'm pretty into "digital libraries" (I'm
attending a master),
and I happens I have some flyers of books scanners,
so I will give you some url if you don't mind.
But first some a question:
you need a book scanner for mass digitization (tonnes of books, not rare
and not fragile),
or a special scanner for special items?
The two things are different extremes of the digitization problems,
the various machines fit in the continuum between the two.
In general, all scanners are more or less automated, but they always
need an operator.
all of them have some problems with thick pages.
Most of them have included the software, for metadata, image cropping,
OCR and whatever you want.
**Kirtas III is a wonderful machine, (I've seen it at work, it's pretty
2500/pages pages per hour, 400 dpi, clever and gentle way to turn the page,
Around 100.000 euros (!!)
* http://www.kirtascom <http://www.kirtascom/>
*Kabis III, similar to Kirtas III.
**SkyView, ideal for books witk fooldouts, newspapers, maps, posters,
... Max imaging area 35" x 25"
**Bookdrive, manual turning of the page, in 3 models: Mini, DIY, Pro.
Is still expensive (around 80.000), and I don't know if the software and
the cameras are included.
* ScanRobot SR301 (Treventus mechatronics (Vienna))
2500 pages per hour (theoretical), 700-1900 p/h (practical), 300ppi
Angle of "openness" of the book: from 60 to 100 degrees,
(this was pretty cool too. I don't remeber the price, around 80.000 euro
As you can see I put more information of the best 2 scanners I've seen
in these days,
they were expensive but, as far as I know, you can rent them for some
projects (6 months or so).
I do not know any of these producers,
but if you need more information,
I still have some technical paper here with me.
Hope to be helpful
Yes, I take your point. However, much of the scanned material is subject to copyright, and the people who've invested in the scanning are often keen to get a return on their investment and not release it to us! The concept we were thinking about is linking with municipal archives, saying - we'll scan your records for you if you release them to us copyright-free afterwards. Not sure if it's a runner at the moment, which is why I'm asking the question to see what others have done.
Could you tell me more about the "transcription" tasks? Have we got access to any resources that are awaiting transcription?
----- "John Vandenberg" <jayvdb(a)gmail.com> wrote:
> From: "John Vandenberg" <jayvdb(a)gmail.com>
> To: "Wikimedia Commons Discussion List" <commons-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org>
> Sent: Thursday, 27 August, 2009 03:46:58 GMT +00:00 GMT Britain, Ireland, Portugal
> Subject: Re: [Commons-l] Digitisation equipment
> On Thu, Aug 27, 2009 at 8:27 AM, Andrew
> Turvey<andrewrturvey(a)googlemail.com> wrote:
> > We had a discussion at a recent Wikimedia UK board meeting about potentially
> > buying some digitisation equipment which could be used to generate content
> > for the Wikimedia projects. This recent email to the EN-WP list sparked my
> > interest.
> > Does anyone have any experience with equipment like this, and could you
> > recommend anything? Any idea what the price range and quality typically is?
> > Also, is anyone else in the Wikimedia community currently doing this?
> This came up on the Australian Wikimedia list.
> I think it is terribly inefficient for Wikimedians to start mass
> scanning projects while we have so few people engaging in
> transcription projects. Libraries have scanned millions of books, and
> there is no signs that they are going to stop. Commons and Wikisource
> should be mining and transcribing these books which are already
> John Vandenberg
> Commons-l mailing list
I've just received a letter from the French Minister of Culture thanking
Wikimedia France for its participation in hearings conducted in 2008
concerning the Ministry's policy on the digital usage of cultural public
data (e.g. museum photographs), with a copy of the report resulting from
these hearings. The Minister indicates that the proposals in these
reports are to become guidelines for all administrations within his
Legally speaking, the topic is fairly complicated: government services
have to respect authors' rights, competition law, European law, and so
on. In many cases, the public organizations who administer a database of
e.g. pictures do not hold the copyright to these pictures and thus are
unable to grant licenses.
Interestingly, several of the analyzes that I proposed to the commission
made their way into the report, which is probably the sign that we were
not the only ones who voiced them. For instance, the report mentions
that the current policies are incoherent across administrations, and
that many smaller public organizations (e.g. museums) simply lack the
infrastructure and competence (e.g. in legal issues) to properly
administer content licensing issues. It also recognizes that effective
visibility online passes by participation in the major sites that
Internet users consult (Google, Wikipedia, etc.).
The report also advocates that non commercial usage should not incur
royalties, that click-through licenses should be used on public sites to
effectively inform the end user, that a small set of licenses should be
used, and that cost-free licenses should be used as much as possible.
A whole section of the report discusses usages on sites such as
Wikipedia. The report underlines the fact that certain aspects of the
free licenses used on those sites may contradict certain points of
French law regarding authors' rights. The report advocates some
"negociation" regarding release of content to these sites (e.g.: reduced
resolution for these sites, while keeping high-resolution pictures under
unfree, commercial terms). "Creative commons" licenses are mentioned by
I advocate participants to this list to refrain from passing hasty
judgments on these issues (remember, this list is publicly archived). In
particular, they cannot "just make everything public domain as does the
US government", at least in the near future, because there are a number
of legal difficulties that cannot be quickly eliminated. It is for
instance often the case that public institutions do not hold the full
copyright for the contents that they host; also, in some cases,
commercial providers of digitized content could sue public institutions
for unfair competition if they adopted "better" licensing terms; etc.
This seems like an amazing chance for WikiProjects in almost any area.
You need to describe how your work supports open education, set a
project with milestones and metrics for success, and submit a grant
We do many of the things they ask for - licensing, educational focus,
making things visible and findable online - reflexively. It would be
great to see them get a whole specturm of wikimedia proposals. [if
you /do/ submit one, consider discussing it on strategy.wikimedia.org
as well :) ]
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Brianna Laugher <brianna.laugher(a)gmail.com>
Date: Wed, Aug 19, 2009 at 10:08 PM
Subject: [Internal-l] Talis Incubator for Open Education funding available
To: "Local Chapters, board and officers coordination (closed
subscription)" <internal-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org>, chapters(a)wikimedia.ch
Via the Creative Commons blog - http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/17005
Talis Incubator for Open Education
For the latest news follow us on twitter: @talisincubator
Talis understands the growing importance of the Open Education
movement and its potential impact on how education is accessed,
assessed and certified.
Aimed at individuals or small groups, the Talis Incubator for Open
Education provides angel funding and other forms of assistance for
ideas and projects that have the potential to further the cause of
Open Education through the use of technology. All we ask in return is
that you donate or ‘open source’ the intellectual property generated
back to the communities that could benefit most from your work.
1. Write a proposal outlining your Open Education related project
or idea, making a bid for funding of between £1,000 and £15,000.
2. After reviewing and making sure your proposal meets the
guidelines, submit it to incubator(a)talis.com.
3. A proposal review board made up of independent thought leaders
and Talis representatives decide which projects get funding.
4. For successful bids, Talis awards you the funds and organises
any other help you have asked for.
5. Complete the project according to the schedule outlined in your proposal.
6. Talis helps you to make sure your work is disseminated amongst
they also note "We also welcome applications from outside the UK,
however we regret that we can only consider and award amounts in GBP
(£), so if you are from outside the UK please account for exchange
rate fluctuation, and make sure you can receive funds paid in GBP."
Looks a bit interesting!
They've just been waiting in a mountain for the right moment:
Internal-l mailing list
As you may have seen we recently received a $300,000 grant to work on
A critical position for the project is the product manager role. We've
just posted the position as we're imagining it. Originally we
conceived of this as two part-time roles, but if we can find the right
skills in a single person, we'd prefer that. This job is in some ways
tailored to an experienced Wikimedia Commons community member who also
knows a thing or two about designing good software and optimizing user
experience. (Please no jokes that the current site is evidence that
such a person doesn't exist. ;-) Take a look at the job description
Ideally we'd like to bring the person to San Francisco if they aren't
already there, but I'm open to investing in the right person for visa
process and relocation if we think there's a long-term perspective
beyond the project. (We would likely only initially be able to commit
to a project contract, though.) If you're interested please send us
your background and some thoughts on the project and how you feel you
could work together with an engineer to make good things happen (see
application instructions in posting above).
Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation
Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate