Wikipedia:Wiki Loves Monuments 2012

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LUSITANA WLM 2011 d.svg

Wiki Loves Monuments is a September event which encourages people to take photos of their local area and upload those photos to Wikimedia Commons so that they can be integrated into Wikipedia articles. Since the project is international for people who speak any language, this project is not hosted on English Wikipedia but rather on coordination websites which direct people to their language and local region. If you want to contribute photographs, you can have a look at or go directly to the Commons upload page.

Quick links[edit]

  • Wiki Loves Monuments 2013 – let's photograph your heritage too next year! Help us work on the list of unique identifiers to grow the database to 100% coverage
  • Download the new "WLM app" for Android phones and try out the new "nearby" monuments wizard that lets you upload photos on the spot (your location needs to be in a participating country and you need a valid username on Wikimedia Commons)
  • Desktop uploader for photos on Commons split per world region (your photo's location needs to be in an existing monuments list of a participating country and you need a valid username on Wikimedia Commons)

What is a monument?[edit]

Wiki Loves Monuments was first held in the Netherlands in 2010. The term used for the competition was Rijksmonument, or "monument of the nation". This term was well understood by all participants. In 2011 the contest went European and the first queries about what constitutes a monument began. To keep the rules simple and clear for participants, an arbitrary line was drawn at "national heritage sites", and lists of such monuments were generated across Europe to feed the "monument database". If a photo by a participant expressed the description that was connected by the heritage conservation protection agency to the unique identifier, then the photo was fit for the competition. It is of course possible to take more than one photo of one unique monument identifier, and the preference in the monument lists is generally given to an "overall" photo of the specific object, but participants are encouraged to take photos of details inside and outside the object (for example in the case of churches, often the organ is mentioned in the description). The list of heritage register agencies was made available by the European Heritage Days organization. The need to be specific in order to enable the photo tracking in the competition, yet conforming to each Wikipedia project's need for verifiability of noteworthiness, was thus met. Now, a year later, the contest is open to the whole world.

The Dutch answer to the question "What is a monument?" is "Look around you". With over 66,000 rijksmonuments, the chances are you may be very close to one, or even inside of one if you are reading this in the Netherlands. The way of getting a building listed as a rijksmonument is a bit bureaucratic and works something like the way the current process works for World Heritage Sites. A heritage site is nominated first at the municipal level and may be promoted to provincial level before making the national list. For the WLM contest in 2012 discussions are underway to accept municipal monuments from Gouda into the competition. If Gouda's bid is successful, that will mean that the definition of a WLM monument has changed from a national level to the municipal level.

Why do I see just buildings on Commons and why are the pictures taken in September?[edit]

There are currently voices being raised to also add "archeological monuments", or "natural monuments", which in some countries have a separate heritage list than specific listed buildings. The current lists available in the monuments database represent the fruits of collaborations between Wikimedia volunteers and heritage agencies. The project would love to include archeological sites or natural wonders, though these are sometimes very hard to photograph well. If you are determined and have access to a valid list from a heritage agency, feel free to join the conversation (see the Gouda workgroup, which so far seems successful).

The thing to remember is that a monument represents a cultural heritage object that is of encyclopedic value to Wikipedia, and we just want a picture of it (good or bad) to illustrate articles in the Wikipedia projects (in any language). The reason the contest is on Wikimedia Commons is because from there the pictures can be linked to Wikipedia in any language. The reason the contest is in September is because that is generally the month for the Doors Open Days, which in Europe are organised by the European Heritage Days. This just seemed to be a good "list of lists" to start from.

Though the contest is in September, you are welcome to upload photos taken earlier, as long as they were taken by you (the uploader). This is because the default WLM uploader assumes you have a Wikimedia Commons username you can login with, and it uses a license for self-taken pictures. The new "WLM app" for Android smart phones lets you take picures and upload on the spot, and it's hard enough to explain the need for a username and attribution (needed for email contact or how else do you inform the winners?), let alone the need for a license, which many new users have trouble understanding.

What about the license?[edit]

The contest uses the Creative Commons license CC-by-SA (attribution and share-alike) for the specific participating country, so for example, the Dutch license used is {{self|cc-by-sa-3.0-nl}}. If you don't care about winning the contest, you are of course welcome to add your photos any month of the year using the regular default Wikimedia Commons uploader under another valid license to Wikimedia Commons and add them manually to the monuments lists yourself. Most of the existing monuments lists were "seeded" this way with existing photos of famous castles, churches, and other objects that were taken with different licenses on Wikimedia Commons.

How WLM works technically[edit]

Technically, the way the competition works, you need a verifiable list with unique monument numbers to take part. These unique identifiers are used for the monuments database and form the necessary check when participants upload photos in September. Also, the identifiers are loaded into monument lists with geo coordinates, so participants can easily see which monuments still need a picture. The action of adding a photo to a monument list is a manual job. A bot searches for photos that are tagged with correct identifiers and not used in a Wikipedia project. These are then placed in the "unused" category, such as this one for monuments in Wallonia: Wikipedia:WikiProject Historic sites/Unused images of protected heritage sites in Wallonia. Volunteers add these pictures to the proper monuments list in Wallonia which can be looked up in the Heritage registers in Belgium.

Work for the Jury[edit]

At the end of the (hectic!) month of September, the task of filtering the masses of photos begins so that each country's jury doesn't get overwhelmed. The first filter is that the photos need to be linked to a valid heritage list (this is what the identifier is for). Next, the photos need to have the correct license, must not be "doctored up too much" with special effects, and must be usable for the encyclopedia (sunset photos look really pretty, but are often not very encyclopedic in practise). Finally, the uploader needs to have an email address enabled on Commons so that person can be contacted over the results. Even with these first basic steps, the juries of some countries were faced with thousands of photos to choose from in 2011.

Manually adding photos to the lists[edit]

The photos in the monuments lists are just for the central database and are used to indicate a quick visual reference for objects. These are the pictures that later get published to external services, such as Google maps.

Please note that the monuments lists may have only one photo per object identifier, and the best photo for the this is a wide-angle shot that represents the whole object in a thumbnail version. If you feel your photo better represents the object, go ahead and replace the original with yours. If yours is the first photo on Commons for a specific object, go ahead and add it to the list. Your object's list will be in the Wikipedia project with the default language of the region you took the photo.

Categorizing your photos on Commons[edit]

Theoretically, Commons volunteers will categorize your WLM photos properly, but if you are reading this, then you are probably smart enough to help out with this task yourself. If you make a series of photographs for large monuments (such as a castle ensemble with various important aspects), please help out by searching for the proper Commons category, or even creating a new Commons category for your ensemble and adding your whole series to it. The default WLM uploader just adds your photos to a regional monuments category. If you want your photos to take part in the contest however, do not remove any of the WLM categories that the WLM uploader has added to them!

Please help out![edit]

You can assist with WLM by signing up to one of the projects – navigate to the Commons project page to look up the country you are interested in. Recurring tasks are working on lists in your area in a Wikipedia project (translating lists into other projects for multi-lingual countries, fixing geo coordinates, updating lists with recent additions, removing items lost in fire or through city planning activities, etc.); adding monuments uploaded in the contest to existing lists in a Wikipedia project; and categorizing large monument categories on Commons (castles with more than one monument id, streets with more than one monument, etc.).