Dutch pictures on Wikipedia: 500 times more


Wim Kok in 1989. This picture of the then Dutch prime minister is one of the most used and viewed pictures of the donation.

In September 2010 the Dutch Nationaal Archief and Spaarnestad Photo gave 1,193 photographs free, thanks to an initiative of Wikimedia Nederland. In a way this was the equivalent of the famous ‘donation’ of 80,000 Bundesarchiv pictures. But the Dutch gift was much more selective, concentrating on portraits and other pictures of well-known Dutch politicians.

Now a report was published that deals with the question how often these pictures are watched. Reaching more people was the original goal of Nationaal Archief and Spaarnestad Photo to publish the pictures under a free license.

According to the report by Beelden voor de Toekomst, 621 of the thousand photos are used in Wikipedia articles.¬† These 621 pictures are used ca. 1,000 times in different articles. This is a high degree of adaptation compared to other ‘donations’ (Deutsche Fotothek pictures: only 3,162 uses on the basis of 61,586 pictures).

The pictures from Nationaal Archief and Spaarnestad Photo have been viewed  two million times within five months. This is 500 times more often that the pictures have been viewed on their original site (Beeldbank of Nationaal Archief).

The researchers also checked whether viewers come to the original site via Wikipedia in Dutch. This is true for only 3 % (similar to Flickr and Europeana; most people come via Google). The researchers explain this with the fact that only a small number of photos has been donated, and that it needs two mouse clicks and some searching to come from the Wikipedia article to the original site.

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