DPLA + Wikimedia

DPLA’s Wikimedia work, announced in December 2019 and expanded in 2023 with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and with additional funding from the Wikimedia Foundation in 2021, facilitates the incorporation of artifacts from DPLA’s member institutions into Wikipedia. DPLA developed and operates a single pipeline for the many diverse DPLA contributing institutions to contribute open access digital assets to Wikimedia Commons, which makes them available for inclusion in Wikipedia articles, allowing for increased discovery and use of these assets. DPLA provides training and ongoing support to all participating institutions to assist them in making appropriate edits to Wikipedia.

In the first year of this project, DPLA worked with seven partners, representing more than 200 institutions, to add 1.4 million image files of photos, documents, and maps to the Wikimedia Commons digital asset management platform. This makes them available to be included in Wikipedia articles and viewable by vast new audiences.

With new funding from the Wikimedia Foundation, DPLA was able to undertake a second year of the project with a new focus on making improvements to the data we provide with our uploads to Wikimedia Commons. DPLA moved to implement Structured Data on Commons, a new way of representing our metadata as linked data using Wikidata-based properties and entities. This approach also let us introduce synchronization to our Wikimedia workflow for the first time, and allowed us to experiment with using that data in new ways.

New funding in 2023 from Sloan Foundation will allow DPLA to dramatically increase the number of participating organizations and the amount of essential cultural heritage content available on Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, and related Wikimedia projects.  

We are also continuing our education and advocacy to the community of Wikipedia editors, as well as training institutional staff in the DPLA network in Wikipedia editing. If you are interested in your hub or institution getting involved in the program, please get in touch. You can also find out more DPLA’s Wikimedia work by watching this informational coffee chat presented by our Wikimedia Working Group.

Office Hours

DPLA hosts regular monthly office hours to discuss our Wikimedia work. Beginning December 12, 2023, these will be held at a new time, on the second Tuesday of every month from 2-3p ET. Join us for a low-key conversation with the DPLA team, whether you are an existing participant with a question/concern, or just interested in learning more. Come any time in the hour, no need to pre-register. Link to join.

Wikimedia Working Group

  • Dominic Byrd-McDevitt (Chair), Data and Partnerships Strategist, DPLA
  • Meredith DoviakCommunity Manager, National Archives Catalog, National Archives and Records Administration
  • Eben English, Digital Repository Services Manager, Boston Public Library & Technical Lead, Digital Commonwealth
  • Christine Fernsebner EslaoMetadata Technologies Program Manager, Harvard Library
  • Jamie Flood, Senior Wikipedian and Outreach Specialist, National Agricultural Library
  • Giovanna Fontenelle, Program Officer, Culture & Heritage, Wikimedia Foundation
  • Rachel Meibos Helps, Wikipedian-in-Residence, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University (Mountain West Digital Library)
  • Evan Robb, Digital Repository Librarian, Washington State Library (Northwest Digital Heritage)
  • Angela Stanley, Assistant State Librarian for Innovation & Collaboration, Georgia Public Library Service (Digital Library of Georgia)
  • Greta Suiter, Manuscripts Archivist, Ohio University Libraries (Ohio Digital Network)

Frequently Asked Questions

What kinds of materials are compatible with this project?

Compatible materials are those that use a copyright license or rights statement that marks them as public domain or openly licensed so that they may be used on Wikimedia Commons, and which have media accessible in a machine-readable way (such as IIIF or by providing direct links). Most hubs are not yet providing media URLs to DPLA—as this is a new field that was only implemented since mid-2020 to support the Wikimedia project—so first-time participants will need to work with DPLA to update their mapping.

How can I determine if items from my library are eligible for inclusion in Wikimedia Commons via dp.la?

In order to assist participating institutions and those interested in doing so, DPLA hubs can now use the Analytics Dashboard to determine the eligibility of their items for upload to Wikimedia Commons. Please get in touch with your hub contact if you need access. With additional grant funding for the second half of 2021, development work is currently underway to extend the Wikimedia tab in the Dashboard to include additional impact metrics, such as upload count, usage, and page views.

How is the DPLA’s Wikimedia work helping to boost discovery and use of cultural heritage artifacts?

The inclusion of DPLA artifacts in Wikimedia Commons makes them available for use in Wikipedia articles, and we have already seen significant results from the inclusion of our images in Wikipedia. You can find out how Toledo Lucas County Public Library is using Wikipedia to boost discovery and use in this video and read about Boston Public Library’s recent contributions to Wikimedia in this article from the Boston Globe. You can also track the total page views our uploads have generated here.

Do you have any data to show how uploading images to Wikimedia can boost discovery and use?

DPLA artifacts have been included in more than nearly 2,500 Wikipedia articles across 78 language versions of Wikipedia, resulting in more than 100 million views in total (as of May 2022) and some 8 million views each month. You can track our upload progress here, and see the pageviews our uploads have shown up in here.

How can I find out more information about DPLA’s Wikimedia work?

If you’d like to learn more, this webinar and this video of our April 2023 Wikimedia Working Group coffee chat are good places to start.  In addition, for a deep dive, we recommend the “What the Wiki” series of webinars created by Jen Johnson of the Ohio Digital Network. (This Standardized Rights Statements 101 webinar presented by the DPLA Rights Statements Working Group also may be useful for organizations looking to apply rights statements that would make collections eligible for inclusion in Wikimedia.) Live information sessions with DPLA data and partnerships strategist and longtime Wikipedian Dominic Byrd-McDevitt will be provided to any interested partner. If you’d like to schedule one of these sessions or you or your organization are interested in contributing to Wikimedia, please get in touch.

This page was updated on May 5, 2023.