Commons talk:Why we need high resolution media

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Just to look at the start:

Often contributors and persons licensing media ask, "Why does Wikimedia Commons need high resolution media? Isn't web resolution media sufficient for use on Wikipedia?" While web resolution media is certainly better than no media, high resolution media serves a variety of valuable purposes to the project, and this is why we strive to always obtain the highest resolution version possible.

Just because media started as the plural of medium doesn't mean that it must always be so; but prescriptivism aside, the phrasing of what's above grates on me.

The page could also be about sound (etc), but so far it isn't. And anyway I haven't heard of "high-resolution" sound files. So how about cutting the notion that it's about anything other than graphics, and saying something like the following:

People who contribute and license graphic files often ask, "Why does Wikimedia Commons need high-resolution graphics? Aren't 'web-resolution' graphics good enough for Wikipedia?" While web-resolution graphics are certainly better than no graphics, high-resolution graphics help Wikipedia in various ways, and this is why we always strive to obtain the best version possible.

-- Hoary (talk) 13:03, 15 January 2011 (UTC)

The word media was chosen to include both images and video. It applies to sound as well (if you interpret "high resolution" as "high quality/bitrate") but I don't address this. Dcoetzee (talk) 22:54, 15 January 2011 (UTC)

Tiny signatures[edit]

Thank you, Dcoetzee, for this excellent essay and the great examples that you are using. High resolution helps also in another aspect, namely to find signatures. In case of stained glass windows, the signatures are often very tiny and easily missed. They need high resolution to be recognizable. Examples: a stained glass composition extending over six lights and its signature, and another stained glass window and some of its tiny details including its hard-to-detect signature. In the first case, the identification of the stained glass manufacturer would not have been possible without finding the signature as research and literature about non-prominent stained glass works is scarce. In both cases, the signature was not to be read with the naked eye (at least for me), I just photographed with the highest resolution possible including detail shots where I assumed that a signature could be located. --AFBorchert (talk) 06:01, 30 August 2013 (UTC)

I added a section on "Identification" based on these comments, and I had a recent upload of my own to use as an example. Thanks. :-) Dcoetzee (talk) 10:34, 30 August 2013 (UTC)


Hi, I was just thinking about adding a section on sustainability. As in: high resolution backups on Wiki Commons in the event of data loss. This might be relevant to smaller GLAMs and individuals. Opinions? Regards, Christoph Braun (talk) 13:36, 22 October 2013 (UTC)

Sustainability is a huge reason to upload works to Commons in general - since most providers of online photo sharing will eventually take your content down if you cease to pay them. Here's a rough draft of what this might look like, would like to get your thoughts:
It's easy for original high-resolution digital media files to become irretrievably lost, either because the site that originally hosted them has taken them down or gone offline, or because the home storage containing them has failed or been lost. This is particularly true for works produced by individuals. By the time we discover a useful application for the full-resolution media, it may already be gone. Commons hosts content indefinitely for no fee, and has plans for indefinite preservation of content in the event that it shuts down. By hosting the original high-resolution files on Commons, we ensure that any future applications that may require original high-resolution media will still be feasible, even if the original author is unavailable.
Thoughts? Dcoetzee (talk) 20:10, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
“indefinite preservation of content” → is that actually true? I recall some threads on wikimedia-l which basically said that Commons was not really backed up at all − though the awesome backup from WikiTeam on the Internet Archive is an awesome but quite recent move.
This makes me think that availabilty is a linked theme here − hosting under the WMF umbrella is top-class, with something like 99.99% uptime with huge amounts of connections, something that even big GLAMs could never hope to achieve.
Which leads me to think we might be moving away from the actual them of "high-resolution" media here. Not sure how much the "sustainability" topic is leading us astray from the main topic that hi-res media is actually useful − though the way you turn it Derrick (« By the time ») makes it clearer I think. Not sure what to think in the end :)
Jean-Fred (talk) 22:07, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
Yeah I think it's related but it does start to get off-topic, so maybe it's better to stick with the direct arguments which are already listed. When I talked about Commons indefinitely preserving the content I was thinking less about backups and more about an end-of-life plan for the data (transferring ownership to some other capable steward). Dcoetzee (talk) 15:43, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
In reply to yr tweet Christoph Braun I'm working with a v small GLAM partner - their images are digitized a). on the volunteer curator's laptop and b). here. So Commons isn't back-up, but the only online location of some of these images- some are on commercial sites =/ ... hopefully the curator will see the value of donating more pd materials. Cheers Bdcousineau (talk) 17:22, 24 October 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for your feedback. I think sustainability of high resolution content on Wikimedia Commons is an argument in its own right. I agree, uptime and availability on Commons are independent of image resolution. Yet, it might be useful to point out the combination of high resolution + uptime + availability + sustainability. Image hosting services like Flickr, 500px and the like are even more limited in file size and format than Wikimedia Commons. Apart from the internet archive, I can't think of a real alternative to Wikimedia Commons (excluding hosting the content yourself). So maybe our argument should combine these factors. Thoughts? Regards, Christoph Braun (talk) 00:31, 4 November 2013 (UTC)

use of images[edit]

It might be worth adding a line about the likelihood of an image being used longterm - as higher resolution images become available Wikipedians are likely to use them in preference to low resolution images. Especially if an image is classified as featured on Commons. WereSpielChequers (talk) 17:15, 8 September 2014 (UTC)