Crowdsourcing/Restoration and reuse of images/Contextualisation

Getting digital content reused in research and education is partly about giving it a useful context, which could be an article explaining its significance, or a worksheet that describes an educational use.[1] Contextualisation is potentially an enormous amount of work, unless you realise that academics and informal learning communities seek photographs, diagrams and other media for their materials. They will provide the context if the media are suitable and if the barriers to doing so are minimal.

Lowering the barriers for these audiences means lowering the legal barrier by giving them permission in advance to copy and reuse: this is what free licensing achieves. It also means putting content where they are looking for it. These are arguments for sharing through Commons in addition to the content holder’s own site.

Wikipedia articles are the clearest example of a context that brings digital media to a large audience, and this is a key reason for sharing material via Commons. Just because an image is relevant to a topic does not necessarily mean it can be embedded in the Wikipedia article. This will come down to the consensus of Wikipedians working on that article about how many images are needed and which have sufficient relevance, technical quality, and aesthetic appeal. If you have a portrait of a historical figure whose Wikipedia article lacks a picture, then there will be no problem adding it. On the other hand, if you have an image related to Henry VIII of England, getting it into that already-developed article is going to require discussion with the article's contributors.


  1. Poulter, M. (5 December 2013) "What Wikimedia can do for digitised content" Jisc Digitisation and Content Programme blog
Previous Index Next