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Porträtt, Rudolf II som Vertumnus. Guiseppe Arcimboldo – Skoklosters slott – 87582

(This is a post by Karin Nilsson and Fredrik Andersson of  The Royal Armoury, Skokloster Castle and The Hallwyl museum in Sweden to announce the release of images in their collections and the addition of many of them to Wikimedia Commons.)

Today, the 23rd of October, The Royal Armoury, Skokloster Castle and the Hallwyl museum together with Wikimedia Sweden announced the release of more than 12,000 images. At the beginning of this year, the three Swedish museums The Royal Armoury, Skokloster Castle and the Hallwyl Museum (which together constitute a National Agency, accountable to the Ministry of Culture) took an important step toward increased openness when we released our high resolution, digital image archives to the public on the museum’s own website. In October we started uploading images to Wikimedia Commons. In this first stage about 19,000 images were uploaded, 7,000 of which are negative files. The number is expected to increase as the digitization proceeds.

The images have been produced over a long period of time and were created for documenting the collections and planning exhibitions as well as for publications and marketing purposes. The original formats range from digitized glass negatives (with their negative file) to completely new images.

We see this contribution as beneficial in several ways:

  • We increase the reach of our images nationally as well as internationally, when publishing our images on a platform which is used by many millions of people every day.
  • Information about the museums’ collections and images is enriched when we use the possibilities of creating links between images, people and historic events on both Wikimedia Commons and Wikipedia.
  • Anybody can edit information and contribute to a fuller and better context to the images.
Aftonklänning. Foto till boken: Ett sekel av dräkt och mode ur de Hallwylska samlingarna - Hallwylska museet - 89365

This contribution is the largest release from a Swedish museum to Wikimedia Commons and one of the largest worldwide. But more important than the number of images is the way they are put in context. The information about the images comes from a large-scale export from the collection database of the museums and many come with ample information about owners, artists and connected historical events, exhibitions or publications, which has been linked to Wikipedia articles.

The images are either in the Public Domain due to their age or freely licensed.

  • Images taken by the museums’ own photographers, from the 1990’s onwards are licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0.
  • CC0 is used when the museums own the copyright but refrain from claiming it, i.e. for digitized glass negatives.
  • Public Domain is used where copyright has expired, or when images depict art that is Public Domain.

The project has been made possible by financing from Vinnova, supporting Open Data, and by extensive help from André Costa at Wikimedia Sweden.

Karin Nilsson, head of the department of digital resources, and Fredrik Andersson, digital coordinator, The Royal Armoury, Skokloster Castle and The Hallwyl museum.