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Ten million free media files and counting

A waterfowl observation platform by Lipno Lake in the Wdzydze Landscape Park

A waterfowl observation platform by Lipno Lake in the Wdzydze Landscape Park

Ten is turning out to be the number of the year for Wikimedia. First, the Wikimedia Foundation celebrated the tenth anniversary of Wikipedia in January, and now Wikimedia Commons – the library of images, sound files, and videos that constitutes an integral component of Wikipedia’s user experience – has logged its 10,000,000th file. All files on Wikimedia Commons can be used for any purpose, including commercial use, under terms consistent with the Definition of Free Cultural Works. This, together with its educational focus, makes Wikimedia Commons a media repository unlike any other.

The ten millionth file uploaded to Commons is a photograph of a waterfowl observation platform near Lipno Lake in the Wdzydze Landscape Park in Poland.  It was uploaded by Commons user Leinad, who has been uploading to Commons since 2006. Leinad is also active on the Polish Wikipedia, and attended the 2010 Wikimania conference in Gdansk.

What stories these ten million files can tell. The scope of Wikimedia’s ambitions has always been epic, and comparing 2006’s 1 millionth image – a pygmy hippopotamus at the Singapore Zoo – to 2009’s five-millionth upload – an article detailing democracy from an 1838 Danish newspaper – succinctly demonstrates the near-limitless capacity for sharing knowledge we’ve fostered.

While the frequency of new articles appearing on Wikipedia may have slowed, our repository of educational media is growing faster than ever. Today’s entry marks less than a two year period during which more than five million new files have been uploaded. This is in part thanks to Wikimedia’s global volunteer building more and more relationships with cultural institutions and collection holders around the world, receiving and uploading large treasures of photographs, video and other content. And we are hoping to accelerate the project’s growth further, with a new media upload tool (login required) which we are currently beta testing, as well as improved video support.

Our huge thanks to the tens of thousands of individuals who have contributed to Wikimedia Commons and who have helped bring the project to this milestone.  You have helped us create the largest, and almost certainly, the highest quality trove of entirely freely re-usable, education-oriented media files in history.

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