Most galleries, libraries, archives or museums (GLAMs) have it as their mission to make available their collections for research and to educate the public. Publishing your collections online is one of the best ways to fulfill that mission, but this is costly and typically does not result in massive numbers of users. It is costly because writing the contextual texts to accompany the digital objects is expensive, and low reach because the Internet favours larger platforms over smaller sites.
Sharing your collections of images, films and audio on Wikimedia Commons makes it possible to partially overcome the challenges of cost and reach. Once it is uploaded to Commons, information becomes available to all 287 language editions of Wikipedia. Images, videos and sound recordings are displayed in the immediate context of encyclopedic knowledge, adding to the understanding of that content in a non-commercial and neutral space. And, being the 5th most visited website in the world means that this material can be viewed in its new educational context by a far larger audience than ever before.
Uploading large collections to Wikimedia Commons with good metadata is not easy without support, though. Historically it has required access to dedicated developers with good knowledge of metadata to accomplish batch uploads to Wikimedia Commons. For this reason, the Wikimedia Chapters of the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland and the Netherlands funded Europeana to develop a tool that would allow GLAMs to mass-upload content without needing developers, without external assistance required and at their own pace.
The GLAMwiki Toolset was launched in mid-2014 and GLAMs can now make their digital content visible in Wikipedia articles more easily than ever before!
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