Hello all,

over the past 1,5 years WMDE’s Technical Wishes team has been working on a new functionality that allows to transfer files from a local wiki to Wikimedia Commons, while keeping all original data intact and documenting the move in the version history. [1]

The new functionality has been implemented via two extensions: FileImporter and FileExporter. [2] [3]

We’re happy to announce that the new feature set can be tried out as a beta feature on first wikis as of today! [4]

Why this feature

Many wikis have locally stored files, but most of them (if the license allows it) should be stored on Wikimedia Commons instead, so that all wikis can use them. Out of that reason, contributors have been moving locally stored files to Wikimedia Commons with the help of tools for years now. However, the current transfer process has limits: If you move a file, its version history page isn’t kept on Commons, so e.g. it doesn’t show who originally uploaded the file. Besides, previous revisions of the file have to be added separately to the file page. Keeping all file information intact currently can’t be done by tools, as this has to be programmed in the backend. [5]

This is why we developed the FileImporter/FileExporter extensions.

On a side note: The way the features are built, they theoretically could be used for transferring files from any mediawiki wiki to another mediawiki wiki in the future (the different wikis don't even have to be part of the same wikifarm).

However, our focus for now is:

Transfer of files from local wikis to Wikimedia Commons

The FileExporter provides a link to Wikimedia Commons on the local wiki and hands over a URL to the extension FileImporter. The FileImporter is a Wikimedia Commons extension which imports the file including all data when all prerequisites are met. Technically, the files won't be "moved", but "copied". The local communities can decide which templates to use to indicate that a file should or shouldn’t be moved to Commons. [6] Further, the decision what to do with the files after they got transferred to Commons stays with the local communities (e.g. admins can delete the files).

To make use of the FileImporter, you have to activate the FileExporter in your local wiki, provided as a beta feature on Arabic Wikipedia, German Wikipedia, Persian Wikipedia and Mediawiki.org for now. The FileImporter on Wikimedia Commons is not a beta feature, so there is no need to activate it. [7]

If your local wiki community is interested to test the new functionality in this first round as well, please discuss this with your community and let us know by filing a request ticket on Phabricator :-) (example ticket: https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T196908)  

Last but not least, we’d like to thank all the people who have tested the feature earlier, and who have provided valuable feedback. This is much appreciated!

Further feedback is very welcome on the central feedback page: https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Help_talk:Extension:FileImporter

Thank you,

Birgit (for the Technical Wishes Team)

[1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/WMDE_Technical_Wishes/Move_files_to_Commons (main project page on Meta)
[2] https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:FileImporter
[3] https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:FileExporter
[4] https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T196969 (Deployment ticket for FileExporter/beta feature and FileImporter)
[5] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/WMDE_Technical_Wishes/Move_files_to_Commons (main project page on Meta)

[6] https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:FileImporter/Data, please note that any updates to these files will be used by FileImporter only by next week!

[7] https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Help:Extension:FileImporter (central help page)

Birgit Müller
Community Communications Manager
Software Development and Engineering

Wikimedia Deutschland e.V. | Tempelhofer Ufer 23-24 | 10963 Berlin
Tel. (030) 219 158 26-0

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