One millionth file uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository
St. Petersburg, Florida, United States, 30 November, 2006 — The Wikimedia Foundation announced today that the one millionth file had been uploaded to its online repository of free images, audio, and video, the Wikimedia Commons (http://commons.wikimedia.org/). These files have been chosen or created by 91,006 registered users from more than 12 different languages.
The Wikimedia Commons, launched on September 7, 2004, is a unique media archive of open-content material to which anyone can contribute. It supplies much of the material used to illustrate other Wikimedia Foundation projects, including the community-written encyclopedia Wikipedia. All files uploaded to the Wikimedia Commons are available royalty-free for any purpose. The creator or photographer normally must be given credit, and some files are governed by "copyleft" licenses, meaning that works derived from them must be made available on the same terms.
Wikimedia Commons has experienced rapid growth in the short two years of its life. The 100,000th file uploaded was celebrated in May 2005, meaning a tenfold increase in size in just sixteen months. Every day over two thousand new files are uploaded.
The one millionth file was a photograph uploaded by an English Wikipedia user named Terence Ong. He is a high school student in Singapore and has been involved with Wikimedia since January 2005. Ong said of the photograph, which was one of many taken at the Singapore Zoo, "I heard that the zoo has changed a lot, so I decided to go there. As I have a hobby in photography, I decided to bring my digital camera there and snap." Of his interest in Wikimedia Commons, Ong said, "[Wikimedia] Commons is a place unlike other photo sharing websites. I like the wiki concept where everything its free and no money is involved in such things. Here, I have the liberty to upload as many images as I think will be of good use."
The file Terence Ong uploaded, available at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Singapore_Zoo_37.JPG, is a photograph of a viewing gallery for the pygmy hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis) at the Singapore Zoo. As soon as a file is uploaded to the Wikimedia Commons, it is instantly available for use on all Wikimedia projects without needing to be uploaded to the local project.
- A mosaic of 1200 pictures to celebrate
To celebrate the one millionth uploaded file, the Wikimedia Commons community decided to prepare an image mosaic of the Wikimedia Foundation logo. Based upon an idea by Brianna Laugher (user:Pfctdayelise) and intended to "show the amazing diversity of the files one can find on Commons", the logo design was put together by Larry Pieniazek (user:Lar), using a "seed" set of twenty-five images and a spreadsheet to generate the wiki markup that randomly placed images at locations for each basic colour. The project was then announced on several wikis and put in the Wikipedia Signpost, thus opening it to the community at large for improvement and refinement. Larry commented, "The Wikimedia logo mosaic demonstrates how quickly good ideas can be improved even further by many hands working together. In the span of a few short days, the initial picture set had been vastly improved by dozens of contributors and several toolsmiths had crafted tools to make the work go more smoothly. This really demonstrates that the spirit of open content is alive and well."
The mosaic can be viewed at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_logo_mosaic .
Wikimedia Commons has several community-driven quality processes, the most long-running being "Featured pictures". This process highlights and rewards the most creative, informative and beautiful contributions created or found by Wikimedia users. At the moment there are over 650 "Featured pictures", with particularly impressive categories being high-resolution nature and animal photography, astronomic and other scientific imagery, and fully editable vector-graphic maps and diagrams.
Nature and animals
Buildings and structures
Diagrams and maps
Animation and other media
Wikimedia Commons accepts the file formats of GIF and OGG (using a Theora codec) for video and animated media. Ogg is a patent-free, fully open and standardised multimedia format designed for efficient streaming and manipulation of video.
Most of the video files of Wikimedia Commons are historical material that has fallen into the public domain due to its age. On the animation front, however, a small group of dedicated volunteers have been steadily progressing in the "Chinese stroke order project", which aims to produce animated GIFs showing the correct stroke order for thousands of Chinese characters. The work is proving enormously beneficial for other Wikimedia projects such as the "Learn Chinese" Wikibook.
Currently all sound files at Commons are encoded in either the Ogg file format or MIDI file format. There are several principle types of audio files on Commons - song/music (mostly historical material), human speech, animal sounds and synthetic sounds.
The most comprehensive coverage at the moment is of human speech. This covers short pronunciation files (typically of words of phrases), recorded speeches (both present-day and historical), and recorded versions of written text. Recorded versions of written text includes Wikipedia articles (currently in eleven languages: Alemannisch, Catalan, Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Hungarian, Polish, Portuguese and Spanish) and books whose copyright has expired.
About Wikimedia Foundation
The Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. is an international non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging the growth, development and distribution of free, multilingual content, and to providing the full content of these wiki-based projects to the public free of charge. The Wikimedia Foundation operates some of the largest collaboratively-edited reference projects in the world, including Wikipedia, one of the 15 most visited websites, and the Wikimedia Commons repository. The organization has received numerous honors for its work, among them the Webby Award, the Prix Ars Electronica Golden Nica, the Japan Advertisers Association's Web Creation Award, and the World Technology Award in Communications Technology.
The Wikimedia Foundation was created in 2003 to manage the operation of existing projects, and is based in St. Petersburg, Florida, USA. Wikimedia has local chapters in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Serbia, Netherlands, Switzerland, and Poland. Most of the Foundation's operations are funded by reader and contributor donations.
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Other regional contacts are also available.
- Wikimedia Commons featured pictures (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Featured pictures)
- Wikimedia Commons pictures of the day (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Picture of the day)
- Wikimedia Commons media files of the day (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Media of the day)
- Wikimedia logo mosaic on Wikimedia Commons (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia logo mosaic)