Wiki Loves Monuments is a public photo competition in which people are asked to take pictures of monuments from participating countries and to upload them to Wikimedia Commons. The contest was first organised in 2010 in the Netherlands, resulting in over 12,500 pictures of Dutch monuments, and was followed by a Europe-wide edition in 2011 which ended with over 167,000 photos of monumental objects uploaded to Wikimedia Commons.
This year, Wiki Loves Monuments is going global and will be organised in several countries around the world, including Chile, India, Panama, the Philippines, Russia and the United States.
The main idea behind Wiki Loves Monuments is to ask people—readers and users of Wikipedia, photographers, hobbyists and those interested in monuments, among others—to take pictures of monuments located in one or more of the participating countries and to upload them to Wikimedia Commons under a free licence for usage on Wikipedia and its sister projects.
As the contest is organised in a federative fashion, there is no common definition of a monument. Instead of that, local organisers are able to create those definitions by themselves, basing on official documents and descriptions provided by their respective governments. Federative also means that every country organises its own contest, and each of these contests is part of a bigger, global one.
There are, however, several general recommendations which are common for all participating countries in order to make the contests compatible with each other; these recommendations (or rules) will be outlined below.
Wiki Loves Monuments is organised by the Wikimedia community with the help from (whenever applicable) their local Wikimedia chapters. Preparations for the project are mostly run by groups of Wikipedians interested in cultural heritage and the chapters offer them help in promotion, legal issues, finding sponsors and partners, funding prizes for the contest etc.
It's really simple and easy, and fun! If you want to organise a Wiki Loves Monuments in your area, please have a look at the list of participating countries; if you do find your country on the list, try to contact the people or organisation in charge, and get involved with them!
However, if your country is not yet on the list, it probably means that there wasn't enough interest in organising a Wiki Loves Monuments — but it might be a chance for you! As the documentation for this year's edition is still being created, please have a look at the documentation for 2011, and if you feel like doing it, please subscribe to the mailing list and introduce yourself there.
You don't need to be a member of your local Wikimedia chapter to organise a Wiki Loves Monuments in your country, but if there is a chapter in your area, please try to approach them and get their support! On the other hand, if you are a member of your local Wikimedia chapter, please make sure to involve the community in the project as much as possible — you will definitely need their help in completing the lists of monuments, correcting the likely mistakes, and in many more aspects of the preparations.
Can I get some quick facts about the contest?
Sure! Please have a look at a table below, and consult our media page for more detailed information delivered in an easy-to-use format.
There are no restrictions on the number of national contests you can take part in; if you happen to have pictures from other countries (even if they were taken in the past), you can submit them to the competition and increase your chances to win a prize!
My country would like to participate. Am I too late?
That's a tricky question! Organising Wiki Loves Monuments takes a lot of effort and time: to get an overview of what's ahead of the organisers this year, please have a look at our detailed timeline. Most countries need at least a couple of months to involve volunteers, start partnerships and find sponsors, not to mention preparing the lists of monuments and setting up proper categories on Wikimedia Commons, which take a huge amount of time.
If you feel like doing it in your country, the sooner you start, the better — but if we have to set a deadline, then the end of May seems to be the last call for joining the contest this year; however, such a late joining would require your local team to invest a lot of work into the preparations in a very tight timespan, so please look before you leap.
I think I need help. How can you support me?
First of all, thank you for having the courage to ask for help; for us, it's always better to know that you might need help than not to have a clue about that. The international team can help you with several things, especially those related to the technical part of the preparations: we can assist you with setting up e-mail queues, preparing UploadWizard in your language, designing and starting your local website, tools, etc.
We can also help out with a trademark agreement with the Wikimedia Foundation, and for the European countries, get you in touch with the right people through our last years' partnerships. If you feel that a brainstorming meeting in your country with one of us present would be helpful, too, please let us know, and we'll try to help; we have some budget available to accommodate in case your chapter or local Wikimedia group has no funds.
If you have a very specific request, please also have a look at the who's who page to see whom you might directly contact about your needs.
How many winning photos are there in a local Wiki Loves Monuments?
Every country can independently decide about the number of winning photos in their local contest. It's really all up to you! To give an example, in the 2011 edition there were 22 winning pictures in Belgium, and at the same time, the Romanian jury decided to name only 3 winners.
However, for convenience, fairness and compatibility reasons, each country can submit up to 10 nominations to the international level of the competition; most of the time, these are the local winners and, whenever applicable, some other pictures (often called honourable mentions) as decided by the local jury.
Is it obligatory to register a top-level wikilovesmonuments.TLD domain?
The short answer is: "No."
We are aware that in various countries around the world, one is not able to register a top-level domain without having registered a trademark first due to legal requirements. This situation, in fact, has already happened in Portugal last year, forcing the local organisers to register another domain (wikilovesmonuments.org.pt) and leaving their TLD unregistered. If such a situation exists in your country, too, you are of course totally allowed to register another domain of your wish or to use a subdomain of a domain you already own.
If you cannot register a top-level domain in your country due to other issues — for instance because there is no Wikimedia chapter in the country or the existing chapter or group cannot afford buying a domain or hosting — please bring the problem to our attention by posting to the mailing list; there isn't yet a clearly defined procedure on how to deal with such situations, but we'll definitely try to help.
However, if your local Wikimedia chapter or group can afford buying the top-level domain of your country, we would strongly suggest to do so; even if you would be using another domain, you could prevent the TLD from unpleasant cybersquatting (which has already happened for some countries).
Most of the national teams use a Wordpress blog, and we created a Wiki Loves Monuments theme you can use. All the details on how to set up the website are available in our PDF document (please note the download link changed to . For questions, please refer to the mailing list.
The second most popular alternative is to use MediaWiki, the software that powers this very website. There is a WikiLovesMonuments extension for MediaWiki which bundles some WLM information and adds a sidebar portlet with links to websites of the other participating countries.
Can I track the visits to my country's website?
Beginning in July 2012, we set up a web analytics system, Piwik, to analyze visits to the websites of the participating countries in an easy-to-use way at a single location. Piwik is a free and open-source software, and collects and reports data on our own servers, not on a third party's.
An installation guide for Wordpress is described in yet another PDF document, and the ID codes for all the countries are available at the progress page in the rightmost column of the table.
If you use MediaWiki for your website, the simplest way is to install the WikiLovesMonuments extension and add the following lines in your LocalSettings.php file:
It is also recommended to install the CLDr extension and enable the country portlet. Another way to enable the statistics in MediaWiki is to use the Piwik extension.
There is more than one language used in my country, how do I deal with that?
Organising a Wiki Loves Monuments in a country with more than one official language would, of course, require some additional effort, especially with translations. In fact, this situation has already happened last year in Belgium and Switzerland, to name just a few countries, and there is some experience we can share.
The biggest problem (or "opportunity") would be to create identical lists in two or more languages and publish them on appropriate Wikipedias; the only requirement is to use the same monument identifiers on all lists (the rest of the information can be localised). Please contact Maarten, the original designer of the database, for further information on how to prepare such lists for your country.
The upload process itself, which uses UploadWizard and a Wiki Loves Monuments overlay (an "UploadCampaign"), is fully translatable into as many languages as it is required. In 2011, every country had UploadCampaigns in its official language (or languages) and an English language for non-native speakers who might have wanted to take part in the competition. Translations are prepared by volunteers, including local organisers, and posted to Wikimedia Commons with help from the administrators; a similar scheme is being used to prepare CentralNotice banners on Meta.
What are the suggested partners for a local Wiki Loves Monuments?
Choosing partners for a local Wiki Loves Monuments is one of the most important things that every country should decide on by itself, and we can only advise you about whom you should contact, as there are too many differences between how cultural heritage sectors are organised from country to country.
There are basically three types of partners one can imagine:
Governmental partners — you will need to compile a list of monuments, and getting an official list from your government with as much detail as possible would be very helpful. Cooperating with them could be extra useful for both sides, too, because people will more likely find mistakes in the original lists that could be reported back to the partner.
Publicity partners — those are partners that can help you with getting the word out, reaching specific audiences and media; e.g. non-governmental cultural heritage organisations, photographer organisations, schools organisation etc.
Sponsors — they can provide you with awards for the winners and possibly cover some of the costs of the event.
Last year, a list of possible partners was prepared as an outcome of a pan-European meeting held in Berlin on May 13-15; please have a look if those suggestion apply to your country, too. If you're having trouble with contacting partners or finding the right people, try to approach Maarten, who is in touch with our European partners, and he might be able to give you a helping hand.
Both for logistic and budget reasons, we won't be producing Wiki Loves Monuments T-shirts this year. It will be much more cost-efficient to have local teams produce T-shirts for their own purposes than to ship them around the globe, not to speak about size differences between the countries, and the amount of work that's needed to oversee the shipment.
Usually, we suggest to try to cover your expenses with the help of sponsors. In many countries it is possible to find sponsors to pay for the things or services you would otherwise have to pay for yourselves (prizes, goodies, promotional materials, etc.). If there is a Wikimedia chapter in your country, it is also feasible that they could cover some part of the expenses.
When finding sponsors for your contest or getting support from a local Wikimedia chapter is not possible, there still remains a third way. If the total amount of money you need is below €300 (about US$ 370), you can request a small grant from the Wiki Loves Monuments' international budget. We have reserved €3,000 for a low-threshold and low bureaucracy grant system; if you want to apply, simply send an e-mail to a chosen member of the organising team, and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.
All eligible pictures had to have an identifier, given by the participants during upload;
Participants had to have their e-mail enabled on Wikimedia Commons (or the platform they uploaded their photos to) to be eligible for prizes;
Every country was able to nominate 10 pictures to the international stage of the competition.
We hope that at least some of those recommendations could be used in Wiki Loves Monuments 2012, but as it is going to be much bigger than the two previous editions combined, there surely might be a need to adjust them to fit the future requirements of the contest. The final decision on the rules will be taken jointly by all people involved in organising WLM 2012 in the months to come.
What are the technical requirements for the pictures?
Due to the federal nature of the competition, there haven't been any general technical requirements for the pictures last year; all self-taken and self-uploaded photos that fulfilled the other basic rules (see above) and filled in the Wikimedia Commons scope were accepted into the contest, as the main goal of WLM 2011 was to collect as many pictures usable for Wikipedia as possible. Local organisers and local juries were able to define their precise requirements independently, and choose their winners accordingly.
It has been voiced by some members of the Wikimedia Commons community that many pictures uploaded for Wiki Loves Monuments 2011 were of a bad quality. It would definitely be against the openness of the competition to set any technical requirements for the photos; however, there are already some ideas about how to help the participants improve the quality of their pictures, and the topic will surely be discussed in preparation for this years' contest.
Wiki Loves Monuments is not about any photos: it's about photos of monuments, about beautiful photos of monuments, and about beautiful photos of monuments that suit the encyclopaedic purpose of Wikipedia (and other Wikimedia projects). Hence, it was agreed that a jury should take into consideration all those values when taking its decision on the winners, both locally and internationally.
In order to balance those three values—and also to involve external sponsors and partners—most of last years' juries consisted of professional photographers, cultural heritage specialists and Wikimedians (seven people in the international jury), who took their decisions in a joint manner. In some countries there was also a vote open for the public, in which Wikimedians chose their favourites, but this should be considered only an addition to the regular decision of a jury.
How to nominate pictures for the special GLAM category?
This year, Europeana, an Internet portal gathering over 20 million of books, paintings, films and museum objects, will be sponsoring a special award for pictures representing gallery, library, archive or museum buildings (GLAM).
After the end of the competition, all images from that category will be reviewed by an Europeana jury, and the winner will be awarded a prize (a large-scale print of the winning picture) sponsored by that organisation. You can find more information about the prizes in a blog post by Europeana.
Though Europeana is a specifically European organisation, pictures from all participating countries are eligible for the prize and can be added to the aforementioned category.
What software will be used to upload pictures for Wiki Loves Monuments?
Following last years' experiences, we will be using the UploadWizard simplified by a special Wiki Loves Monuments overlay (an UploadCampaign). To simplify the upload process even more, a country can choose to use an interim website or storage service, e.g. Flickr or Google Picasa, and import files from those websites to Wikimedia Commons with a special bot.
Pictures can be uploaded using other tools (e.g. Commonist, Up!), but as this requires further knowledge of wiki markup and Wikimedia Commons itself, in the previous years those methods were used only by more experienced editors.
For users with an Android-based device (at least version 2.2), we have prepared a mobile application which can find monuments in their neighbourhood and lets them upload photos directly from the device. You can download the application from Google Play.
Just like in the 2011 edition, we will be using CentralNotice banners to call visitors to participate in the contest. The banners will be based on geography and the language of the user, and will be visible in all Wikimedia projects throughout September (with certain exceptions). They will direct the user to the website of their country's contest to provide all information needed to participate.