Briefly responding to a couple of points raised so
Yes, there is a need for a policy as otherwise the WMF would have no
long term operational archive plan. "Self evident" is insufficient in
order to budget and plan in a credible way. If as the planned outcome
of a research project I had a large image donation to make and such a
commitment was absent, I would prefer to mass donate images of public
interest to an organization that had one, and assume that at some
point e-volunteers at Wikimedia Commons would take the initiative and
port in what they fancied.
The people I'm workshopping with tomorrow have research roles within a
number of leading universities along with a number of research
organizations under the umbrella of the Wellcome Trust (the largest
charity in the UK) and a variety of semi-associated organizations such
as Cancer Research UK, Open Research Computation, Bioinformatics
Training Network and FlyBase. All these folks have large image assets
to discuss and are keen to move forward with an open solution to
recommend on their personal networks for the long, long term public
I appreciate the image deletion issue, what we are talking about here
are planned batch uploads of high quality donations. Part of that
planning would be to discuss the relevance to the public of large
number of research images and compliance with existing Commons
guidelines. There may well be cases, for example many thousands of
similar images of mutant drosophila, where Wikimedia Commons is not
the right place for a full donation and a more specialized database
host is needed.
Guide to email tags: http://j.mp/faetags
Compared to many institutions, undoubtedly including some of those you
will be communicating with, the Wikimedia Foundation has very limited
assets and little or no endowment. And, of course, essentially no staff
other than our volunteers.
I think what needs to happen is to explore ways to cooperate using each
institutions relative assets. That might include, for example, endowing
Commons with assets sufficient to support long term archival services as
well as a corporate commitment on the Foundation's part to fulfill such
services on an institutional basis, read centuries...
I'm sure there are other ways the Foundation could cooperate for public
benefit and other partners who could participate in such consortiums. The
threshold requirement is a commitment to accessible free public access
under a fully featured open source license.