Commons:Contributing your own work

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This is a guide for people who wish to contribute their own work to Wikimedia Commons. It describes the requirements for the work to be included and offers advice on "best practices" in the wiki. For suggestions on making pictures, see Commons:How to take pictures for Wikimedia Commons.

Step 1: Is it really your own work?

Not all works you have created are actually your own work. It's true! Read Commons:Own work to make sure that the work you have created is actually allowed here.

Step 2: Is it suitable here?

  • Is your file a media file?
  • Is it likely to be useful to a Wikimedia Foundation project? For example, can you point to a Wikipedia article that would benefit from this file's inclusion?

If you don't answer YES to both questions, maybe your file does not belong here. Commons:Project scope contains more details about what is suitable to be included here.

Step 3: File format

Commons only uses open file formats. Commons:Project scope/Allowable file types lists which file formats are accepted at Commons. Commons:Software and Help:Converting video list commonly-used software programs which can be used to convert files to these formats if needed.

Commons:Media help lists programs which can be used to play OGG audio and video. Additional information regarding the videos at Commons can be found at Commons:Video.

Step 4: Uploading

People uploading their own work can head straight to the Upload Wizard. You need to be logged in, so if you have not created an account yet, do so now. See also Commons:First steps/Upload form.

Choose a meaningful descriptive destination filename! Files cannot be easily renamed, so try to get it right the first time. If you forget, mark the old one with {{rename|image:better named file.jpg|reason for rename}}.

Step 5: Describing the file

Use the template {{Information}}. Especially pay attention to the "Description" field.

Imagine someone coming across the file by pressing "Random". What information do they need to know to be able to understand the file? Imagine someone looking for the file via a search engine, and the only information they get is from the description you write. What keywords should you include to make sure they can find it?

You can also use templates to provide descriptions in multiple languages, for example {{en|In English}} or {{nl|In het Nederlands}}. This is very useful! See Commons:Templates for galleries for details.

If you make a mistake doing this on the upload form, do not worry! You can change it later by editing the image description page just as you would a normal wiki page.

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Step 6: Choosing a license

See Commons:Choosing a license. We recommend you read that page at least once, but if you trust our judgment, we recommend one of the following:

  • For images, audio recordings, video recordings, and brief portions of text:
  • Most restrictive acceptable license: {{self|cc-by-sa-4.0}}: Own work; attribution required for reuse; reusers must share alike; version 4.0 of the Creative Commons CC-BY-SA license
  • Less restrictive license: {{self|cc-by-4.0}}: Own work; attribution required for reuse; reusers may license any way they please; version 4.0 of the Creative Commons CC-BY license
  • Public domain license: {{self|cc0}}: Own work; no attribution required; any reuse permitted; Creative Commons CC0 Public Dedication 1.0 license
  • For larger pieces of text such as an entire web page or other text document:
  • Most restrictive acceptable license: {{self|GFDL|cc-by-sa 4.0}}: Own work; copyleft; attribution required for reuse; reusers must share alike; Multi-license GFDL and CC-BY-SA 4.0
  • Less restrictive license: {{self|GFDL|cc-by-4.0}}: Own work, attribution required for reuse; reusers may license any way they please; Multi-license GFDL and CC-BY 4.0
  • Public domain license: {{PD-self}}: All rights released (Public domain)
  • For software libraries:
  • Most common: {{GPL}}: General Public License; this license for a library makes it available only for free programs
  • Less common: {{LGPL}}: Lesser General Public License; permits use of the library only for proprietary programs

These tags are available via the license selector, or you can manually enter them by copying and pasting the bolded text above into the summary box on the upload form. You can also copy and paste them into the file description after the file has been created by clicking on the "Edit" tab at the top of the file's page on Commons and placing the tag in the "Licensing" section.

If your image is one of exceptional quality, you may need to submit a statement of permission verifying that you are indeed the copyright holder. A tool for generating such a permission statement is available here, and should be submitted to (though it may seem counterintuitive, you should upload the file before submitting a statement of permission for its use).

Please note that there are several common licenses which we cannot accept, and that if you upload file under one of these licenses, it will soon be deleted. Among the unacceptable licenses are the following:

  • Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International and all earlier versions (abbreviated CC-BY-NC 4.0): This license prohibits possible commercial reuse, violating the free availability of the work
  • Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International and all earlier versions (abbreviated CC-BY-ND 4.0): The no-derivatives clause means other may not build on your work
  • Likewise, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International and earlier (CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0) and Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International and earlier (CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0) are also prohibited.
  • Lastly, and most obviously, any license which indicates that the work is Fully protected or states All rights reserved will not be acceptable anywhere on any Wikimedia project other than under fair use terms for specific projects.

Step 7: Adding categories or galleries

Add your file to at least one relevant category or gallery.

Add the most relevant categories that exist. Read Commons:Categories for more about how categories work. You can find some categories by entering keywords in the CommonSense tool. It will suggest categories based on the keywords you enter.

Another way to find categories is by searching to find similar media, and checking which categories they are in.

If you make a mistake doing this on the upload form, do not worry! You can change it later by editing the image description page just as you would a normal wiki page.

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On Wikimedia Commons, geocoding is the practice of attaching geographic location information to media. When we geocode media on commons we identify the latitude and longitude of camera location and attach it to the description page using a {{Location}} or {{Location dec}} template. Read Commons:Geocoding for more information.

results of ImageAnnotator

If your image has multiple people, locations, objects, etc. you would like to identify, you can use ImageAnnotator. Read Help:Gadget-ImageAnnotator for more information.

Use the file in Wikimedia

You can now use the file automatically in any Wikipedia or other Wikimedia project, as if it was uploaded to that project! So you do not have to do anything special -- it just works automatically.

Image at Commons:  

What you write on your project's page: [[Image:example image.jpg]]

For more details about image syntax, see Help:Images and other uploaded files.

Have your work recognized as high-quality (optional)

Commons:Quality Images is a process that recognizes high quality works contributed by Wikimedians (and if you have signed up for an account here, that makes you a Wikimedian!), that meet the image guidelines. Here you can get valuable advice on how to improve your photography.

If your work is of the very highest quality available anywhere, you should submit it to Commons:Featured pictures. These files are the absolute "best of the best" and one is featured each day on the main page as the Commons Picture of the Day. It's recommended to spend some time looking at the existing nominations and already-Featured Pictures to get a feel for the level of quality expected.

Contribute lots more

There are many tools to help people who upload a lot of material.

Firstly you may be interested in reading the guide on user-specific galleries, templates and categories. You can set up a category with a name like Category:Files by User:Example, and add all your files to that categories, to make them easy to find. (Note that the Gallery tool automatically shows you all the files you have uploaded.)

Several programs exist that can be used for "batch uploading". See Commons:Tools#Upload_media for a list.

Keep in mind that even during batch uploading, files still need indiviual descriptions!

One simple way to get more pictures to contribute is, photograph your hometown.

All done!

If you have any problems or questions, you can ask at the Commons:Help desk.