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Huge German Donation Marks Wikipedia's Evolution

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the more-pictures-than-you dept.

The Internet 130

Raul654 writes "In December, we discussed the German Federal Archive's agreement, at the urging of Wikimedia Deutschland, to donate 100,000 pictures to Wikipedia under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license. At the time that was the largest picture donation ever to Wikipedia, and thought to be largest in the history of the free culture movement. Now Wikimedia Deutschland has reached a similar agreement with the Saxon State and University Library, which will donate 250,000 pictures to Wikipedia under CCA-ShareAlike. On a not-unrelated note: Microsoft has announced that it will discontinue its Encarta encyclopedia."

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nice (5, Insightful)

niner69 (1431193) | more than 5 years ago | (#27396915)

Good job Germany. We should start lobbying Congress to do the same with the Library of Congress.

Re:nice (2)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397041)

That doesn't even make sense.

Lots of what they have is already accessible anyway:

http://www.loc.gov/library/libarch-digital.html [loc.gov]

Re:nice (5, Interesting)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397131)

The good side is that American law specifies that the work of government employees on government time is in the public domain. The bad side is that the library of congress website is the single most disorganized, least function website on the internet. It is the only non-proxy website I have seen in a decade or more that uses temporary URLs (which makes deep linking to their content on Wikipedia difficult, since we can't link to the page we got it from).

Re:nice (4, Informative)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397165)

The good side is that American law specifies that the work of government employees on government time is in the public domain.

That is only true of the federal government, not the various state and local governments.

Re:nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27397387)

The good side is that American law specifies that the work of government employees on government time is in the public domain.

I think someone forgot to tell the Government [wikipedia.org]

Re:nice (4, Insightful)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397453)

Just because they can resist releasing the documents doesn't make the documents not in the public domain. I could have the only copy of a book written in 1500. That book is in the public domain. I am under zero obligation to give it to you. Much of material which is classified in the US is public domain as far as copyright is concerned.

Re:nice (1)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397505)

Everything you said is true, but you forgot to mention that disseminating classified information is a felony [gpo.gov] and far more likely to land you in Leavenworth than unauthorized reproduction of copyrighted material :)

Public domain compatible with GFDL? (1)

amerinese (685318) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397689)

I've never understood something, which is how information in the public domain is compatible with the GFDL. For that matter, Creative Commons-Share Alike isn't either.

GFDL requires for something to currently be under copyright in order for the share-alike aspect of it to be enforceable and to propagate further on. If Wikipedia continues to accept these incompatible donations or incorporate public domain works, Wikipedia as a whole becomes polluted. Claiming GFDL is claiming a kind of copyright, but the parts that are actually public domain or CC-SA can't be claimed by GFDL and this could lead problems with lack of respect of Wikipedia GFDL...

Or maybe the hell with Wikipedia's license or anyone else's. As long as you're not using someone else's content, no one is going to sue...

Re:Public domain compatible with GFDL? (3, Informative)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397763)

On Wikipedia, a distinction is made between pictures and text. All the text is GFDL, but the pictures can be other licenses. An article can have GFDL text with creative commons attribution/sharealike pictures. I'm not a lawyer, but I've been told that mixed copyright like this is a relatively new, ill-defined area of law. For distribution, Wikipedia is available in text-only dumps and combined text/image dumps.

Wikipedia has opportunity to move to 100% CC-SA (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398703)

FYI, until August 2009 there is a window of opportunity for Wikipedia to move to dual-licensing of their text as both GFDL and CC-SA. [wikipedia.org]

Perhaps the Wikimedia Foundation and/or the FSF are also concerned about what you're talking about?

(BTW, when I first read your post, I thought you were just misunderstanding something about the GFDL and that there had to be a way that it would be legal to add public domain works without violating the license, but now that I have bothered to read the latest version, I totally agree with you. That is one epically convoluted and unfriendly license. Ugh!)

Re:Public domain compatible with GFDL? (2, Informative)

McDutchie (151611) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398757)

This is why the Wikimedia Foundation has been in talks with the FSF, which resulted in a new version [gnu.org] of the GFDL that allows dual licensing with CC-BY-SA. A proposal [wikimedia.org] is now underway to make such dual licensing mandatory for all new content on Wikimedia projects.

Re:nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27398955)

The LOC is excellent about freely distributing works (unlike certain other organizations that aim to sell and license public domain content). Their stupid website organization can be overcome with a little URL hacking. But their main problem is that their images just aren't high resolution enough for print. 150 dpi don't cut it. And only a miniscule fraction of their total records are online. I want to see TIFFs of every item in the LOC distributed in a simple manner - now that would be really useful.

Re:nice (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 5 years ago | (#27400237)

The NGIS website (also U.S. government) also uses temporary URLs. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that there's a small circle of consulting companies which is responsible for most federal websites and that each has its own way of doing things.

Re:nice (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397137)

Lots of what they have is already accessible anyway:

Yes, but that way we won't have edit wars. We want freedom goddammit!

Re:nice (3, Funny)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397051)

But if that happens, will that mean the standard of measurement will become 'how many Wikipedias is that?'

Re:nice (2, Funny)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#27400271)

Not until someone can quantify elitist asshole admins in a number. d:

Re:nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27400031)

Although it's not a "free of any copyright" donation, and it's limited, check out the Library of Congress account on Flickr [flickr.com] . LoC photos are uploaded, then the community adds information about the photos through tagging, notes, and comments.

Encarta? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27396935)

Did anyone know it was still around?

Re:Encarta? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27396977)

did anyone care?

Re:Encarta? (4, Insightful)

RabidTimmy (1415817) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397325)

I will miss there little maze trivia game whatever it was called. But then again, I guess I haven't used encarta in years, so maybe I won't really miss it.

Re:Encarta? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27397435)

I LOVED THAT GAME

Oblig. grammar nazi (2, Insightful)

tux0r (604835) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397907)

I will miss there little maze trivia game whatever it was called. But then again, I guess I haven't used encarta in years, so maybe I won't really miss it.

I think I can confirm [msn.com] your guesstimate...

Re:Encarta? (1)

coniferous (1058330) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397163)

They might of, if it did a better job.

That being said, I think MS have realized that collaboration knowledge bases are the wave of the future. I wouldn't be surprised to see them release a wiki like product of their own.

Re:Encarta? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27397371)

http://esl.about.com/od/grammarintermediate/a/cm_of.htm

Re:Encarta? (1)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399005)

I dunno. I always liked Encarta - though, as other posters have said of themselves, I guess I haven't used it in years. I think the richness of Encarta still hasn't been 100% matched by Wikipedia yet, though the detail and level of content (on an average basis) certainly has been vastly exceeded.

Encarta was among my favorite MS products, I am a little disappointed to hear it's not going to be around anymore. But... that's capitalism.

Re:Encarta? (1)

anss123 (985305) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399253)

I think the richness of Encarta still hasn't been 100% matched by Wikipedia yet, though the detail and level of content (on an average basis) certainly has been vastly exceeded.

I've seen Encarta used as a source for Wikipedia articles. I did a search just now for "encyclopedia Encarta" (with quotes) and got ~20 articles. Not a whole lot but it's still unfortunate that a potential secondary source has to close down.

Re:Encarta? (5, Funny)

Bob54321 (911744) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397169)

Did anyone know it was still around?

Well, yes... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Encarta [wikipedia.org]

Re:Encarta? (5, Interesting)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397541)

Naturally Microsoft, being a self-described good corporate citizen [microsoft.com] and having no further profit motive for doing otherwise, will proceed to do the right thing and donate all the Encarta articles and images to the commons. Won't they? Won't they?

Re:Encarta? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27397669)

Probably under some kind of Microsoft Encyclopedia Media Multi Distribution SemiCommons License.

Re:Encarta? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27397707)

What's the point? There's hardly any valuable content on Encarta anyway.

Re:Encarta? (2, Insightful)

wmac (1107843) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398241)

What is valuable content in your opinion? You obviously have problem with MS otherwise how a whole encyclopedia which contains a lot of text, pictures and video cannot be useful?

Re:Encarta? (3, Informative)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398001)

As far as I know most or at least major parts of most of the the articles are licensed from other encyclopaedias, so they are not really free to just give them out.

Re:Encarta? (0)

LordSnooty (853791) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398785)

So MS did with encyclopaedias what they did with software - buy up others' products to sell, instead of generating their own.

Re:Encarta? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27399393)

Lol so witty like the way open source is almost always just making an inferior copy of some commercial software. There are exceptions, of course - after about 15 years, Linux became a respectable re-implementation of the 40 year old operating system.

Re:Encarta? (2, Informative)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398971)

As far as I know most or at least major parts of most of the the articles are licensed from other encyclopaedias, so they are not really free to just give them out.

According to Wikpedia [wikipedia.org] although the original content from Funk & Wagnalls was non-exclusive, Microsoft later purchased Collier's and New Merit Scholar encyclopedias, so at least some of the content would be free for Microsoft to donate. Should it happen to discover a shred of genuine generosity somewhere in its cold little heart.

Fiduciary Duty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27399759)

As Nasreddin Hodja was eating a chicken leg, a beggar asked Hodja to give it to him.
"It is not mine to give," said Nasreddin, "it is owned by my wife."
"But you are eating it!" protested the beggar.
"Well, that's what my wife told me to do with it." replied Nasreddin.

Re:Encarta? (3, Interesting)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398141)

The fact that there's a fairly complete, informative article about Encarta aptly demonstrates one of Wikipedia's strengths.

Following the first multimedia Academic American Encyclopedia, Microsoft initiated Encarta by purchasing non-exclusive rights to the Funk & Wagnalls Encyclopedia, incorporating it into its first edition in 1993. (Funk & Wagnalls continued to publish revised editions for several years independently of Encarta, but then ceased printing in the late 1990s.) Funk & Wagnalls had been a third-tier encyclopedia available at cut rates in grocery stores, where volumes were sold individually as well as in one collected set. The name Encarta was created for Microsoft by an advertising agency, successfully guessing that it sounded better than Funk & Wagnalls.[4]

The article's summary illustrates one of its weaknesses...

Actually, I consider this the big news (2, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397231)

It is certain that Wiki will continue to receive money and donations for years to come. What I find interesting is that MS is slowing killing off what was considered for decades its core programs. Flight Sim is gone. Now Encartia. At one time, those WERE big players for MS.

Re:Actually, I consider this the big news (1)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397395)

Flight Sim is gone.

Where did you hear that? The Flight Sim website [microsoft.com] doesn't seem to say anything about it being discontinued. On the other hand, I wish somebody would kill Vista,... ;-)

Re:Actually, I consider this the big news (3, Informative)

B1oodAnge1 (1485419) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397583)

They fired the entire development team:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/02/03/microsoft_flight_simulator_partners/ [theregister.co.uk]

Re:Actually, I consider this the big news (2, Informative)

Drinking Bleach (975757) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397651)

Laid off, not fired. Though the difference is subtle, the former does not place a negative mark on their résumé.

Re:Actually, I consider this the big news (3, Funny)

B1oodAnge1 (1485419) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398535)

Please excuse my deplorable lack of pedantry... :-P

Re:Actually, I consider this the big news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27399085)

A friend of mine attended a supercomputing conference here in Germany earlier this month. There he talked to some big shot from Microsoft Germany. When she opened her laptop it was running Windows XP. He asked her why she wouldn't use Windows Vista and she answered nobody at Microsoft uses Vista.

Re:Encarta? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27398667)

I hadn't even heard that it ever existed! Sounds interesting, though. Perhaps I should look it up on wiki...

I'll actually be a little sad to see it gone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27399109)

I've used the Winkler Prins edition and I must say that on UI and innovative and especially interactive features it beat Wikipedia easily. So I'll be sad to see it go, although because most of the content came from the paper version we may see it reappear under a different brand name. But let's be honest, most of the time I checked Wikipedia, because Winkler Prins simply wasn't comprehensive enough. Never mind quality if you can't find what you're searching for most of the time.

Re:Encarta? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27400367)

I'm actually sad to see it go. Sortof. I mean, it is M$...

It was, afterall, the least crappy of all their products. It pretty much was my encyclopedia until Wikipedia came out. Hell, it never even crashed once on me!

With any luck they moved Encarta's programmers to the Windows kernel team!

Gee... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27396985)

I hope they don't have to figure out how to submit them and enter all the metadata through Wikipedia's terrible interface one by one.

I once tried to submit a photo to Wikimedia and it took me an hour to do it. Just figuring out which of ten diffeent licenses I should license it under was a pain because they're poorly described. And when I wanted to find the image later after some jerk reverted my edit to the page I added the image to, it took forever to do that as well because the search function wouldn't return it as a result.

If they'd actually make it easy for people to submit stuff to the site, this donation wouldn't even be worth a mention, because they'd be drowning in media. I'm one guy and I have 10,000 nature photos I'd be happy to submit, but won't, because they've made it way too difficult and time consuming to be bothered with.

Re:Gee... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27397089)

*warning - long, drunken, expletive-filled post ahead*

The last thing those cocks want is for anything to be easy or convenient or friendly. For all their blather about "information wants to be free" or anything along those lines, they're the most obnoxious, jack-booted fucktards to exist on the net. If you aren't one of their goose-stepping, line-toeing sycophants then they want *nothing* to do with you. I submitted an update to an article about a Broadway show and the Fuckapedia family spent an entire week shitting all over themselves and frothing about how I was "advertising" and "violating the spirit of the community." I haven't bothered contributing since, and those assholes can suck a ten-pound bag of dicks. I know when I'm violating a spirit or advertising, and I didn't do it. Fuck them.

Re:Gee... (4, Funny)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397123)

The beauty of their license is, you can scrape their DB, make a new wiki-based encyclopedia, and try to compete on flexibility of rules.

Re:Gee... (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399045)

Oh yeah - let me get started on that. Ah right, I won't be doing that, and nobody else will, either. Don't you just love those useless "RTFM" style answers to real problems?

Re:Gee... (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399511)

It's the equivalent to forking an open source product...

And, people already do the "scraping Wikipedia's DB" part - look at Answers.com.

Re:Gee... (1)

coniferous (1058330) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397183)

objectivity for the win.

Re:Gee... (4, Insightful)

bitrex (859228) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397451)

I've spent some time looking at Wikipedia's articles on 20th century military history, and after noticing some errors in some of them I decided to check out who the major players in the edit history were. Surprise surprise, the great majority of articles on 20th century military history are moderated and controlled by a group of maybe a dozen uber-editors, who apparently spend the great majority of their time doing reverts, reverts, reverts. Obviously aspects of 20th century military history can be contentious, but a glance at the user pages of these editors shows that they also spend a great deal of effort handing out faux military "decorations" to each other and engaged in general self-congratulation for composing and defending the content of various articles. That kind of behavior a) doesn't encourage any kind of objectivity, only groupthink, and b) is so. fucking. queer.

Re:Gee... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27397869)

Sounds like wikipedia alright. Here are some particularly egregious things I've seen happen at wikipedia:

Some guy nominates Heavy Metal (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) [wikipedia.org] for deletion and fails in his attempt. So what does he do? Merges every episode, save that one, into List of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles episodes [wikipedia.org] . You see - this user knows he couldn't get consensus by an AfD so he violates WP:PARENT [wikipedia.org] and engages in backroom deals to gain support.

And then there's the case of Torchic [wikipedia.org] . A front page featured article with 20 paragraphs and 46 citations now reduced to redirecting to a list of pokemon, with 2-3 paragraphs (depending on whether or not a one sentence paragraph counts) and no citations. So proud is wikipedia of this that they created WP:POKEMON [wikipedia.org] to commemorate it. Of course, WP:POKEMON neglects to mention what I just did.

Re:Gee... (0, Troll)

moonbender (547943) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399957)

Are you kidding? Those are some "particularly egregious" examples of things going wrong on Wikipedia? A debate about an entry of an episode for some sci-fi show and one about a Pokemon character? Duuurrr. If that's the worst you can come up with I think Wikipedia will do fine.

Re:Gee... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27399007)

Similarly articles on Microsoft-related topics (especially OOXML) are bombarded by reverts by a couple of self-proclaimed article guardians. Sad.

Re:Gee... (5, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397711)

I find the discussion pages to be much more informative than the article itself in many cases.

The peter north discussion [wikipedia.org] , for example, contains dozens of people repeating the same basic arguments over and over:

  • He has a big dick!
  • It's statistically impossible for him to have a large dick!
  • I have lots of (gay) sex and his dick is average.
  • I have a large dick, too!

Re:Gee... (1)

wmac (1107843) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398275)

Hahahaha :) It was great example of some stupid discussions on Wikipedia. When a text is being written by collaboration of several people specific problems will also arise. However the positive point is that positive and useful things might also come out of those discussions.

Re:Gee... (3, Informative)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397097)

The tools for automated submissions of the pictures are already in place. What is needed, however, are people to translate the German captions into English.

Re:Gee... (2, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397141)

The tools for automated submissions of the pictures are already in place. What is needed, however, are people to translate the German captions into English.

Well for the English version anyway. What about all the other languages supported by wikipedia?

Re:Gee... (2, Interesting)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397179)

English is the almost universal language of academia, business, and the internet. Once you have the captions translated into English, it's relatively easy to go from English to each of the other 300-odd Wikipedia languages.

Re:Gee... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27398583)

Interesting? Really? The parent post is pointing out something that should be blinding obvious to any civilized person.

Re:Gee... (1)

bursch-X (458146) | more than 5 years ago | (#27400103)

Oh, yes I forgot it's always better to translate another translation than to use the original for other translations. If you go to languages that are as different from Indo-European languages as, say Japanese, you better make very sure what the original caption said and intended in all its subtleness and then translate that to such a language, rather than trying to second-guess the above through the filter of yet another translation that just can help but introduce new ambiguities and unclarity.

Re:Gee... (1)

Locklin (1074657) | more than 5 years ago | (#27400447)

It's probably a manpower issue. There are plenty of people who speak, for instance Japanese and English, but much fewer who speak German and Japanese.

A quick Google search says that English is the most common second language in the world. I don't know if that's true, but it's probably close.

Re:Gee... (4, Informative)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397113)

It isn't that hard. I have submitted quite a few pictures to Wikipedia, and have learned a bit along the way.

The first one does take a while, but then you know what you want to use. I have hundreds of pictures on Commons, with most of them still on the Wikipedia pages. The ones that aren't have been replaced by better pictures.

The main thing is that pictures that you took, and can license in any way you want should go on commons, http://commons.wikimedia.org/ [wikimedia.org] . That allows your pictures to be used on other language Wikipedias, which images only on en.Wikipedia can't be due to licensing issues. Then, they will be listed in your gallery, and contributions lists.

Pictures where you can only claim a fair-use license have to go on Wikipedia, since fair-use is a US only thing, and can't necessarily be used in other countries.

If you have pictures of species that don't currently have pictures on Wikipedia, then it would be helpful if you put pictures on those pages, with the images hosted on Commons, and maybe added to the other language Wikipdeias as well.

Re:Gee... (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397813)

It isn't that hard. I have submitted quite a few pictures to Wikipedia, and have learned a bit along the way.

Don't you see the problem right there? Submitting a picture is a simple thing. It shouldn't involve much learning. It should be a no brainer. Reserve your time and effort learning for something worth learning, not some esoteric interface.

Re:Gee... (5, Informative)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398039)

"Submitting a picture is a simple thing. It shouldn't involve much learning." - in a world without copyright that's true. It's technically trivial create something like 4chan.

But if you want such a database to be reusable and legally trusthworthy, and not a legal land mine, then you have to ask a bit more of your contributors. And copyright law, especially international copyright law, is anything but simple.

Re:Gee... (1)

Norsefire (1494323) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397193)

Uploading images on Wikipedia is made difficult on purpose due to the large amount of copyright violations that ended up being uploaded through the easy-to-use interface. I don't understand why it took you so long to find your photo again though, if you go through the history of the article and click the permalink to your version your photo will still be there.

Wikipedia now made from Jewish slave labour (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27397337)

In keeping with German law, Wikipedia will now made from Jewish slave labour.

Re:Gee... (1)

Inschato (1350323) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397403)

Even if someone reverted your edit, you'd still be able to go into the history for it, and find your image still listed in your revision.

Re:Gee... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27397615)

It's wikipedia, they don't want your information unless you do all the red tape work. Wikipedia is run worse than a government entity.

Seriously, the amount of stuff that is deleted for not-notable reasons is stupid. Either let everything in, or hire neutral people to handle the edit war that will inevitably erupt when you get one rule-nazi and one expert on the subject fight back and forth before the EXPERT gives up and takes their insight elsewhere.

Re:Gee... (2, Informative)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398683)

And when I wanted to find the image later after some jerk reverted my edit to the page I added the image to, it took forever to do that as well because the search function wouldn't return it as a result.

That's why Wikipedia logs well . . . everything. There's this handy one called the upload log [wikipedia.org] that, surprise surprise, logs uploads. Plug in your username there and it'd take about 2 seconds to find it again.

Re:Gee... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27399043)

If you really want to donate the 10000 images, uploading them one by one would be a bit painful indeed. There is a bunch of tools to do it [wikimedia.org] though. The main problem is setting them up to annotate and categorize your images so they can actually be found.

If that is not enough, offer your content it on the Commons Village Pump [wikimedia.org] , I'm sure someone will be happy to help you.
If the license is clear (which it should be if they are all your own work) and you have decent metadata (perhaps date, location ,and at least a basic description of content), this should work great.

You can also always write an email to info@wikimedia.org if you want to offer media.

w00t. (5, Insightful)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397005)

If this can be given some momentum by other scions of Wikipedia following the model and pushing for similar arrangements with archives around the world based on referencing the WikiDE arrangements, maybe this could be turned into a tidal wave trend. The time has come for the artificial scarcity of knowledge in the modern era to end.

Re:w00t. (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398293)

Yeah, maybe WikiLeaks could be next? >.>

We have enough (1)

le_sean_moon (1519717) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397075)

shizer on the intarwebz already, but thx anyway germany

A win (1)

taucross (1330311) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397103)

A win for the noble contributors of this article [wikipedia.org] .

Re:A win (1)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398617)

Ah... Doodie!
(nsfw)

Permanent storage (4, Insightful)

Narpak (961733) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397109)

I reckon one way to ensure that data is more secure, for instance the pictures in this case, is to make it available to sites like Wikipedia. Thus creating another place were the data is stored; and it becomes easily accessible to many. I would like to see this continue, perhaps not only through wikipedia; but it is a good start.

Re:Permanent storage (1)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397233)

It's not exactly a secret that the best way to back up data is to have multiple copies in multiple places. It's just that Wikipedia's license happens to facilitate this. However, most people consider their data private and don't want anyone being able to get a copy willy-nilly.

Re:Permanent storage (2, Interesting)

Narpak (961733) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397253)

I should have specified that the data I had in mind was things that are, or should be, available to everyone; but can only be accesses through archaic means at the present moment. What individuals to do preserve their own private personal data or pictures is non of my concern.

Re:Permanent storage (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399917)

"Only wimps use tape backup: _real_ men just upload their important stuff on ftp, and let the rest of the world mirror it." -- Linus Torvalds

"Huge German Donation" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27397207)

I was momentarily terrified by that phrase.

Re:"Huge German Donation" (4, Funny)

copponex (13876) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397311)

Das sagt deine Freundin auch immer!!!!!

Re:"Huge German Donation" (3, Funny)

jlp2097 (223651) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398787)

Translation for the lazy:

"That's also what your girlfriend always says!"

Microsoft's Response (1)

dattaway (3088) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397401)

"Microsoft's vision is that everyone around the world needs to have access to quality education, and we believe that we can use what we've learned and assets we've accrued with offerings like Encarta to develop future technology solutions."

So Microsoft's vision is to be charitable, discontinue, or develop an even more exciting technology than electronic encyclopedias?

Re:Microsoft's Response (1)

waveformwafflehouse (1221950) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397489)

Next up: Microsoft donates Encarta to Wikipedia (sans the staff)

Lots of pictures from German donors, eh? (3, Funny)

HoldmyCauls (239328) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397439)

Are they *all* of David Hasselhoff?

Re:Lots of pictures from German donors, eh? (1, Interesting)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397723)

No, some involve naked women eating shit.

Microsoft Encarta (1)

pgbrandao (1499895) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397609)

Regarding Encarta, it appears access to it will be discontinued after October. Wouldn't it make sense for Microsoft, from a PR standpoint, to release its content under a public license, enabling Wikipedia to incorporate content it deems appropriate?

Seems like a stingy decision the way it is ("if I can't have it, neither can anybody else"), but that's not too surprising coming from Microsoft.

Re:Microsoft Encarta (1)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397627)

I couldn't even begin to imagine how much of a nightmare that would be if they outsourced the writing of any of Encarta, and didn't think ahead for that kind of thing. It would be awesome if they did it, but no matter what their intentions, it may just not be possible.

Re:Microsoft Encarta - copyright and work for hire (1)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397955)

Barring strange circumstances, outsourcing the content would like pose few or no copyright issues. Unless explicitly contracted otherwise the material would constitute a work for hire http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Work_for_hire [wikipedia.org] and thus would have the full copyright in Microsoft's hands.

Re:Microsoft Encarta (1)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398699)

Wouldn't it make sense for Microsoft, from a PR standpoint, to release its content under a public license, enabling Wikipedia to incorporate content it deems appropriate?

I agree with you. Now if only we can solve these problems:

  1. Some materials may be licensed from elsewhere. (Cassius Corodes (1084513))
  2. Microsoft won't like the loss of control or copyright.

    .

  3. It will be quickly forgotten by the general public.
  4. It won't be noticed by the TV-watching public.
  5. People will underestimate how much work (and salary) went into it.

    .

  6. People can recompile the materials into a ad-supported website elsewhere. Free money!
  7. People can misrepresent, modify and degrade the work.
  8. The degraded work will be attributed erroneously to Microsoft.

End of Encarta, or: Ballmer's legs and Bill's face (1)

UnixUnix (1149659) | more than 5 years ago | (#27397817)

The first step of the eventual demise of Microsoft, as given by an ancient prophecy:

I met a traveller from an antique land

Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,

Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown

And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.

And on the pedestal these words appear:

`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:

Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,

The lone and level sands stretch far away.

[Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1818]

I thought Germany had switched to Euros? (1)

TeXMaster (593524) | more than 5 years ago | (#27398445)

Before reading the summary I thought Germany had decided to get rid of its old currency by donating it to Wikipedia.

Re:I thought Germany had switched to Euros? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27399373)

Before reading the summary I thought Germany had decided to get rid of its old currency by donating it to Wikipedia.

LOL.

I hope the cologne archive collapse leads to chang (1)

Kam Solusar (974711) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399257)

Maybe the recent collapse of the Historical Archive of Cologne [wikipedia.org] that buried thousands of invaluable historical documents underneath tons of rubble will cause more historical archives to re-think and open up and share their contents with the public.

Unfortunately, many museums and archives are more concerned about making profits with their historical documents rather than making some effort to make them available to the broad public. Many still think they own the copyrights to century old documents and paintings just because they are in the museum's possession.

And 250k free historical photos are great news of course. As Germany's terms of copyright protection are 70 years after the author's death (just like the rest of Europe), most photos of 20th century historical events are still copyrighted. With this donation and the recent donation by the Bundesarchiv, we finally get lots of free images from this period of time.

Re:I hope the cologne archive collapse leads to ch (1)

OneSmartFellow (716217) | more than 5 years ago | (#27400441)

Maybe the recent collapse...

Unlikely, as will be discussed below.

...many museums and archives are more concerned about making profits...

Many museums are in fact businesses, not charities, or public services, so this is understandable.

Many still think they own the copyrights ...

Now you know what posession is 9/10th of the law is all about !

While I agree that it is travesty to have such significant aspects of the human cultural experience privately held, it is difficult to imagine what type of system could be put in place to ensure unfettered access to the public. Don't dismiss the scale of such an undertaking. Do you really want your government responsible for this when they struggle to keep the pot-holes filled. I prefer to keep government as limited as possible, everything they get involved with turns into a stinking pile of excrement - I'd rather that didn't happen with the works of DaVinci, or Rafael, of Monet.

Flickr has something going on to (1)

e-Flex (1219042) | more than 5 years ago | (#27399863)

And they are quite good at handling images I think; http://www.flickr.com/commons [flickr.com]

"not-unrelated note"? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27399971)

Back in my day we called those "related note".

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