Galleries exist to present readers with a structured and meaningful collection of the media found here on Wikimedia Commons. Usually, they are created to give a sample or overview of all the media on a given topic.
Starting a gallery
When creating a new gallery, a few things should always be included:
- The gallery tag to hold media (<gallery></gallery>), see meta:Help:Images and other uploaded files#Gallery.
- Obviously: Media! (images, sounds, video)
- A brief description of the subject (if necessary)
- Commons is not an encyclopedia. Our main purpose is not to educate readers through text. If they want to read more about a subject, Wikipedia exists solely for that purpose.
- Commons is multilingual. You may use any language(s) you like. Translations of a gallery's description will most likely be added by others. Keep this in mind when adding any text to a gallery. For most subjects a sentence or two is all that's needed.
- Every gallery should be categorized. Add the gallery to the category with the same name, or if there is none, to relevant categories (see Commons:Categories).
- Interwiki links to Wikipedia articles
- Interwiki links are extremely useful for linking to Wikipedia articles. Use them.
- Again, since Commons is multilingual, a "see also" or "main article" link to Wikipedia is not ideal because they are language specific. Including "main article" links to all Wikipedias isn't ideal either as that takes up a lot of room and we have an established system already in place that deals with this quite nicely—interwiki links that show up in the sidebar.
Galleries are created in the same way as Articles are created in Wikipedia. Enter the name in the Wikimedia Commons "search" box and click "go". If no such gallery exists yet, it will offer the choice of creating one. Click on the red name, edit the page (marking it as gallery page on the very top) by putting in the gallery tag and the pictures. Then add the [[Category:xyz]]. A gallery can have any name, but it is usual to follow the category name. Finally click on the button Show preview, make final changes, and if you like your work, click on Save page.
Other things to include
Depending on the subject, there are other things you may want to include in a gallery. This may be a navigation bar, a taxonomy box, links to sister projects besides Wikipedia, among other things specific to the topic.
Certain topics have their own WikiProject devoted specially to that area of Commons, such as Commons:WikiProject Tree of Life. They may have their own set of guidelines for galleries related to their field of interest.
- See also: Commons:Language policy.
Unlike naming categories, where English is almost always used, galleries should be named in language most associated with the subject. This applies to people, places, art, culture, etc. For general subjects and ones not tied to any specific language, the name most likely to be searched for (usually English) should be used. An exception to this rule is the naming of galleries of organisms and subjects where Latin names are considered universal. These follow the same guidelines as categories and should share the same name.
When to create a gallery
Not every subject should have its own gallery even if it has its own category. Likewise, not every subject should have its own category even if it has its own gallery. Galleries should not be created if they merely duplicate the purpose of a category. However, this does not mean they should be deleted or "merged". Categories will always be categories, but galleries can turn into something much more.
Commons does not have an equivalent to Wikipedia's "stub" articles. Our goal is not to simply have a gallery on every notable or noteworthy subject. They should be created with a specific purpose. Galleries with only a single image are permitted if they highlight an image which has been elected by the community as a featured picture, quality image, or valued image.
It is recommended to create redirects from names in other languages, especially if a gallery's name is not English. Redirects from the plural form and other variations may also be useful.
In the absence of a gallery, or if there is only a gallery with little or no content, a gallery title can be redirected to a corresponding category (a cross-namespace redirect).[a] To make sure that the redirect isn't included in the category, the colon (":") should be used before the target, e.g.:
See also Commons:redirect.
Galleries vs. categories
The biggest issue concerning galleries is their relationship with categories. Many times these two systems appear to be redundant with each other. This isn't (or shouldn't) be the case. They can co-exist. Galleries and categories may both accomplish the same goal—to help users find media—but in very different ways. Categories should contain all files related to the subject while galleries should contain a sample of files related to the subject. Ideally, galleries should contain the best of what we have. All files should be in at least one category, but not all files should be in a gallery.
The benefits of galleries
Galleries can do a few things that categories don't. They can show captions and information regarding each image, and group images into sections. Images in a gallery can be arranged in chronological, geographical, thematic or other informative order. Galleries can exclude poorer quality and redundant images that fill some categories and impede users who simply are looking for a good image, say, to illustrate a Wikipedia article. On the other hand, for users seeking a very specific image, the wider selection usually included in a category may make it worth the extra time.
The disadvantages of galleries
Adding new images to categories is quicker and easier than adding them to galleries. The user doesn't even have to leave the image's page in order to include it in a category. The right categories are more likely to already exist than the right gallery. Files can be added to non-existent categories but not to non-existent galleries. Categories group all related images together which aids in the creation of galleries, but this doesn't work as well the other way around if galleries only include the best images.
- A city gallery: London - compare Category:London
- An animal species gallery: Lama glama ("Llama") - compare Category:Lama glama
- A person gallery: Mohandas K. Gandhi ("Mahatma Gandhi") - compare Category:Mohandas K. Gandhi
- A natural phenomenon gallery: Cloud - compare Category:Clouds
- A gallery for audio files: Pronunciation of Dutch municipality names - compare Category:Dutch pronunciation of names of municipalities
- A gallery for works of art: Children's book illustration - compare Category:Children's book illustrations
At the end of September 2013, there were:
- 110,000 galleries (without redirects, compare to 2,950,000 categories)
- 34,500 of these galleries had just one or two images
In the three months from July to September 2013, there were approx.:
- 6000 non-bot edits
- 1500 CommonsDelinker edits
in gallery namespace.
SQL to check is available here.