Wiki Loves Monuments comes to a close

A couple of days left, Wiki Loves Monuments has already harvested many, many good pictures for… Wikipedia? No, for everybody. The mark of 110,000 pictures has been reached, and maybe they will be 150,000 by September 30th. One can expect a last rush at the last day.

We learned that all 111 monuments of Andorra has a picture, that the young daughter of Achim Raschka might be the youngest contributor of all, that the Polish have organized expeditions to the less populated parts of their country. I hope that later we will have a nice handbook with good practices and some anecdotes.

Like those about the German authorities and their incapabilities (at large) to provide good lists of monuments. Many were dated, some even hand written…


Wiki loves monuments: tools help, but still…

Franeker, Martena Museum and a lot of surroundings

September 2011 is the month of Wiki Loves Monuments, the great photo competition. Take pictures of monuments for Wikipedia, and win… they say. But uploading the right way is more work than you might think.

In July, I was on holiday in Friesland (the Dutch province). For example I walked through Franeker, and took photographs of old buildings. Occasionally I took pictures of street signs and house numbers, too. Still, it is not always easy home at the computer to find out which building is exactly which one.  I wasn’t as diligent as in a different municipality where I had printed out the monuments list in advance and checked out every building before taking the picture.

But there is a tool that shows me on Google Maps where the monuments in Franeker (or elsewhere) are. I follow on the map the way I went on my holiday, and identified the buildings. Sometimes I saw that a building houses a certain shop, for example a shoe shop, and googling the name of the shoe shop led me to its exact house number. That’s what I need to check whether this is the monument I was looking for.

The Google Maps tool provides me already with the monument’s identifier, a number given by the Dutch Office for Cultural Heritage. I copy it into the file name of the picture. Later, when I upload the picture, I don’t have to look for it again.

Uploading happens to Wikimedia Commons, the central media archive for Wikipedia. The guys from the Wiki Loves Monuments contest provided a special upload wizard. This tool attaches already some useful data and also has a field for the monument’s identifier. It takes some time to fill in everything, and usually you have to look for this or an other category.

And winning a price? Well, that’s for other’s to decide. I already got one, name I contributed to the largest collection of free media and made some Frisians happy.

Wiki loves monuments goes Europe

Example from WLM 2010: Havezate de Magerhorst, Duiven (Gelderland). Monument no. 14176

‘Wiki loves art’ was a Wikimedia initiative the Dutch took over in 2009: In June that year, people all over the Netherlands took photographs of art objects in museums and uploaded them to Wikimedia Commons, the Wikipedia media archive. In 2010, the hunt continued under the name ‘Wiki loves monuments’. In collaboration with the Dutch service for cultural monuments, Wikimedia Nederland created lists on Wikipedia and asked people to enrich our media archive.

The result of ‘Wiki loves monuments’ 2010 were more than 12,000 photographs of monuments and ten happy winners of our contest, honoured at the Wikiminiconferentie in Utrecht in November. And if it was such a success, why not repeat it on a Europe wide scale?

On Wikimedia Commons exists a place for the international cooperation, with interested Wikimedians already from Spain, Poland and other countries. In the single countries, the Wikimedians have made progress very differently. The Swiss already have great Wikipedia lists with many pictures and object data, the people in Luxembourg hardly anything. In Germany, cultural heritage is registered usually on state level, the Wikipedians will have to ask more than 16 institutions to share their data.

New and better lists on Wikipedia, much more photographs on Wikimedia Commons; more contributors, more attention for cultural monuments. It sounds like a win-win-opportunity for Wikimedia and cultural instituions as well.

Decennial ABC: I as in Interwiki

In ancient times, encyclopedias had a certain inherent transnational scope. Since they were written in languages such as Greek and Latin their readers belonged to different ethnic groups.

Encyclopedias or encyclopedic works in ‘ethnic’ or ‘national’ languages origin in the middle ages. Around 1300 French became an important ‘competitor’ to Latin, and Middle High German reached the third rank in Western Europe. But, according to Robert Luff: ‘The choice of the popular language for encyclopedic works was something unusal in the German middle ages, a risk that became routine only at the end of the 15th century.’ [1]

Copying/translating from previous works was common, even after copyright laws have been established in the 19th century. In one way or another, models such as Encyclopaedia Britannica and Brockhaus had a crucial influence on the works in other languages.

When Wikipedia was established first in English, soon a number of other languages followed. German came in March 2001, then there was a wave in May. Since August 2002 (and the months following) an article in one language version can be easily linked to the correspondent article in other language versions.

For a linguistic community, especially for a small one, Wikipedia has great advantages to earlier international collaboration. A group of encyclopedia enthusiasts has immediately web space and a concept for an online encyclopedia. A giant text corpus can be used as a basis, and with Wikimedia Commons there exists a huge media collection.


Previously: A as in Advertisement, …, H as in Hagiography


[1] Robert Luff: Wissensvermittlung im europäischen Mittelalter. ‘Imago mundi’-Werke und ihre Prologe. Max Niemeyer Verlag, Tübingen 1999, p. 417.

Wiki loves monuments: 40k to go



Kasteel Landfoort, in Oude IJsselstreek municipality
Huis Landfort, in Oude IJsselstreek municipality


In September 2010, Wikimedia Nederland asked photograph enthusiasts to send pictures of rijksmonumenten, national monuments in the Netherlands. Uploading happened via flickr or directly to Wikipedia Commons. (Shortcut there: COM:WLM.)

September was chosen by the Dutch chapter because amidst September the foundation Open Monumentendag organizes a weekend when houses, castles and churches are open to the public.

235 different people uploaded, 207 on Commons, 28 on flickr. The latter is important, thus, but it does not attract such a huge number of (new) contributors as we may wish.


Church organ, from above and behind. Maybe not a price winning photograph. :-)
Church organ, from behind / above.


According to Andre Koopal, 12,227 pictures were uploaded that month to Commons, and 274 to flickr. 7,854 different objects were covered. This means, different objects in the register of the Rijksdienst Cultureel Erfgoed (a national agency) that provided us with the basic data. An object may be an old church, and its church tower another object with a number of its own.

In Dutch Wikipedia, every article about a municipality links to an article ‘Lijst van rijksmonumenten in…’, and often to lists of monuments for parts of a municipality (when there are more than eight).  (Example.) We now have pictures of ca. 20k monuments, but the total number is 60k. So, 40k to go…

The worst coverage we have in the province of Flevoland, with 5 monuments on picture, out of 87 (5,75%). The best we are in Zuid-Holland, nearly 60% of the 8,966 monuments there.

The jury will need some time to find the best photographs…