Reach of Open Images content increased by reuse on Wikipedia

Access to the audiovisual content on Open Images is provided under Creative Commons licences. These licenses facilitate the reuse of content in different ways. One of the possible ways media from Open Images can be reused is on Wikipedia. For this purpose the videos on Open Images are transferred to Wikimedia Commons, the online repository where freely licensed media files used for Wikimedia projects like Wikipedia are stored. In the beginning this was done manually, but in the meantime this process has been automated through the Open Images API. Currently, there are more than 1500 media items from Open Images available on Wikimedia Commons. This means that Open Images is responsible for about 15% of the total amount of videos, which makes Open Images the largest supplier of videos on Wikimedia Commons.

The Wikipedia community uses the videos from Open Images to enrich the entries on the Wikipedia. For instance, the English article on the ‘Elfstedentocht‘ has a video of the Elfstedentocht of 1954:

A video from Open Images on the Wikipedia lemma 'Elfstedentocht'

Besides the reuse of complete videos, derivative works (such as screenshots) are also used. These are then for example employed in articles on famous people, for instance in this article on Dutch politician Pieter Oud:

A screenshot used as photo on the lemma "Pieter Oud'

3 million views
The reach of Open Images content on Wikipedia turns out to be substantial. In May 2011 the Wikipedia articles with media items from Open Images were viewed more than 3 million times. This is almost three times as much as the number of views in December 2010. Noteworthy is that the majority of the views are not on the Dutch Wikipedia, even though most of the videos on Open Images have Dutch subjects and are in Dutch. Of the 3 million views a mere 880,000 were on the Dutch language Wikipedia. The remaining 2.2 million views were on Wikipedias in different languages. The five Wikipedias where articles with Open Images content got the most views in May 2011 were:

  1. the English Wikipedia
  2. the Dutch Wikipedia
  3. the French Wikipedia
  4. the Portuegese Wikipedia
  5. the Japanese Wikipedia

More than 850 articles on the different Wikipedias make use of content from Open Images.

The article with the most views in May 2011 was Mother’s Day on the English Wikipedia, which was viewed almost 1.5 million views. The video used in this article is used on several Wikipedia sites. Besides the English and the Dutch Wikipedia, it is also used on for example the Tibetan and Persian Wikipedia. The Wikipedia articles containing Open Images media with the most views in May 2011 were:

  1. Mother’s Day (EN) 1,445,756 views
  2. AFC Ajax (EN) 121,322 views
  3. AFC Ajax (NL) 111,190 views
  4. Billy Graham (EN) 94,485 views
  5. Giro d’Italia (EN) 73,055 views

Conclusion
These statistics demonstrate that offering their material under a free license certainly has an added value for cultural heritage institutions. For the cultural heritage field it is a sound strategyfor opening up their collections to a large audience. It also gives the (internet) community a chance to enrich their projects with historic images.  This reuse is of course not restricted to Wikipedia. By offering collections under a free license they turn into a rich source for (re)use fora large number of cultural, educational and creative purposes.

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