1 Reply Latest reply on Aug 4, 2017 12:14 PM by Dominic Byrd-McDevitt

    Status of NARA contributions to Wikimedia?

    techhistorynerd Adventurer

      I recently noticed that there is a specific connection between NARA and Wikimedia:  Commons:National Archives and Records Administration - Wikimedia Commons


      It looks like the initial "thrust" of this work occurred in 2011 - is there still active effort in this area?  Is there any way to get a sense of how complete the online Wikimedia image set is for the NARA vs. the Catalog's online holdings?


      It may be my own lack of familiarity with Wikimedia, but one of the things I was hoping they might have is a way to get an overview of all of the NARA online images in Wikimedia by Record Group category - does something like that exist and I'm not seeing it, or is something like that incompatible with how Wikimedia organizes information?


      Also, are there any synergies to be had with citizen archivist efforts in the ARC itself (say, specific tags that could be added to aid with auto-importing to wikimedia) or the Citizen Archivist Flickr images?  (I don't know if the latter would be appropriate for Wikimedia - probably not all of them, but some may pass muster...)

        • Re: Status of NARA contributions to Wikimedia?

          Thanks for this question! My name is Dominic Byrd-McDevitt, and I am the NARA staff person responsible for our Wikipedia engagement.


          You are right that most of the Wikimedia Commons uploads are from several years ago. These represent only a small portion of NARA's online holdings. There are something like 100,000 media files on Wikimedia Commons from NARA, though our catalog contains millions of files. This group of files that was uploaded was considered some of NARA's more high-interest records, and it was essentially a pilot project (though, considering the size, it was still a major undertaking).


          Our holdings will never be completely represented on Wikimedia Commons, both because there are a small number of records that do not meet the project's free copyright requirements, and because we have not yet confirmed whether their community is comfortable with such a large collection. However, we are actively working on adding more materials to Wikimedia Commons. Because of the scope of our holdings, this is a major technical project, but I have uploaded a few hundred images in the last few months as we test our new upload bot, and we plan to ramp up uploads soon.


          In terms or your other questions, we do use Wikimedia Commons' category structure to allow you to brows the records via NARA's record group and series hierarchies. All of the record groups can be found in Category:Images from the National Archives and Records Administration - Wikimedia Commons, and then you can drill down to the series. Or, if you have already found a NARA image, you should be able to click on the category at the bottom for the series to find other images in that series, or navigate up to the record group.


          Activities like harmonizing tags across the platforms are definitely are definitely something we are interested in. Wikimedia Commons uses a controlled "category" system rather than tags, so it's not simple to translate and would take some effort to sync them, but it would certainly be worthwhile to do eventually.

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