||Museums have the knowledge and the documentation, and Wikipedia has a global reach and a circulation far beyond anything any museum could achieve on its own.
Wiki Loves Art helps cultural institutions, organisations and private collections to enhance their presence online by increasing the availability and visibility of their artwork collections on Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons and the other Wiki-projects. Wiki Loves Art offers its partners the opportunities to present their collections to wide and new audiences, and to play a decisive role in increasing the visibility of Belgian cultural heritage on an international level. Participating to Wiki Loves Art is also an opportunity to get community involvement and audience development.
Wiki Loves Art photography contest July-August 2016
For the first year Wikimedia Belgium presents Wiki Loves Art, a one-month photography contest in collaboration with Belgian museums during the months of July and August 2016. Based on previous and successful Wiki Loves Art projects in the US, the UK and the Netherlands, this event invites cultural institutions to welcome photographers to take pictures of a selection of artworks and help them enrich the collections’ visibility online.
Different models of participation are proposed to the institutions, ranging from permission to take pictures of specific artworks, special visits and presentations, to the organisation of Wikipedia editing workshops about topics from the collection of the institution. Specific photo-trainings can also be organised in collaboration with professional photographers.
Each image made and uploaded on Wikimedia Commons credits the participating institution and links back to its website. Wikimedia Commons one of the biggest online multimedia library, containing over 30 million media files that can be used on Wikipedia and beyond. The pictures on Wikimedia Commons are licensed under free licenses, more and more used by museums around the world for the flexibility they offer.
Sharing is Caring
Today a picture of an artwork can be used on a growing amount of media and for many different uses, pushing museums in constant negotiations for more extensive and open-ended permissions with rights holders. Museums are thus more and more interested in open licenses, which allow them to re-use the works through any (new) media, but also enables the development of new publishing strategies and possibilities of audience involvement.
Creative Commons licenses are widely used and present different conditions for re-use. “Creative Commons Attribution” license, or “CC BY”, allows re-use of the work as long as the author is credited. Some museums prefer CC0 licenses, which are the more open ones, as a way to unify the licensing of the artworks of their collections, since for instance a “CC BY” cannot be used for artworks in the public domain.
Big institutions like the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, the National Gallery of Art in Washington and the Statens Museum of Arts (Danish national gallery) in Copenhagen are pioneers in the development of innovative public domain strategies. The curator of the Statens Museum of Arts Merete Sanderhoff, who initiated the development of the public domain strategy in 2007, says: There are several studies, and they all show that almost all museums only lose money with these traditional licenses. The reason is simple: it’s very time-consuming to sell and control these licenses. If you offer the pictures for free download on your website you already save a lot of time and money. There’s another important aspect: the museum’s websites loses potential customers because people download the images elsewhere in poorer quality. (“Sharing is caring”, from the book Public Domain – Edition Digital Cultures 3, published by Christoph Merian Verlag and Migros-Kulturprozent, 2015.)
Institutions using open licenses contribute to a more widespread sharing of cultural heritage and facilitates its use in educational contexts.
The benefits of collaborating with Wikipedia
Many institutions work with Wikimedia worldwide, from the British Museum to the Museu Picasso, benefiting of the international audience of the platform and the many tools it proposes.
Museums have the knowledge and the documentation, and Wikipedia has a global reach and a circulation far beyond anything any museum could achieve on its own. (Josep Serra, Director, Museu Picasso, from the brochure Sharing curatorial knowledge with the world – Museums Collaborating with Wikipedia)
In an interview, Merete Sanderhoff, curator of the Statens Museum of Arts Copenhagen, cites the great advantages of working with Wikimedia Commons: All research nowadays starts with Wikipedia. The repository for the pictures, the image archive for all Wikipedia editions, is Wikimedia Commons. As a public educational institution we have only to gain by our pictures being available on Wikimedia and Wikipedia. Even people uninterested in art will come across our pictures […] Via Wikipedia people will very quickly come upon our collection – through a so-called backlink. (“Sharing is caring”, from the book Public Domain – Edition Digital Cultures 3, published by Christoph Merian Verlag and Migros-Kulturprozent, 2015.)
Wikimedia offers cultural institutions many modes of collaboration. For more information, see this page.