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The Coolest Projects of Wikimedia Chapters - Be Inspired. 13th August 2017, Wikimania 2017 Montreal. The Paolo Monti BEIC project is presented from 13.20 min.
Presentation The Paolo Monti Archive on OpenStreetMap (March 2017)
Ariosto, Orlando furioso, 1551

«BEIC (Biblioteca Europea di Informazione e Cultura, European Library of Information and Culture) digital library aims to make available a large selection of the most important works of the European and world culture, from antiquity to the present day, in every main field of knowledge (from literatures to mathematics, from law to medicine, from economics to religion etc.). University specialists and library experts have selected and edited the records of each collection».[1]

See all images we already uploaded with a free license at Category:Media from BEIC.

BEIC as of 2016 has a Wikimedian in residence, Marco Chemello (previously in 2014-2015 Federico Leva, who is already helping).

We uploaded an entire photo archive, 17.000 images, see below and help us!


De re anatomica libri, 1572

We uploaded thousands books and book frontespieces from relevant works selected by field experts, mostly centuries old.


One day, one paint[edit]

The Paolo Monti Archive on Commons[edit]

Paolo Monti, Venice, 1971

You can help!

In April 2016 we uploaded almost the entire digital photo archive of an important Italian photographer, Paolo Monti, with nearly 17.000 images (the whole archive is owned by Fondazione BEIC).
The photos represent various subjects (art, events, architecture, people, portraits, nature, artistic nudes, experimental) and were shot since 1940s to 1980s. Many of them are B/W, but there are also many colourful artistic/experimental pictures as well as the first contact sheet collection (with test prints etc.) of Commons and some photos of restricted objects, very hard to find under free license but available to BEIC because they were commissioned/authorised/waived to Paolo Monti by the rightsholders.

This is the largest release of a photographer's collection ever, followed perhaps by Commons:BAnQ (with about 700 photos by Conrad Poirier, who died in 1968).

The photos we uploaded were all selected and "tagged" manually by BEIC-commissioned cataloguers working according to the standards. To give Commons the best quality end result possible, we uploaded the highest resolution available with all available metadata in appropriate fields.

The conversion from archival/library standards to Commons standards, especially as regards categories, is in our work plans for the coming months and will happen on Commons itself, to achieve multiple goals:

  • show and teach BEIC librarians how to use the tools available on Commons, much more efficient than any offline or cataloguing software out there for this sort of file cleanup;
  • be completely transparent about the process by keeping a log of every conversion, given there is no (published) standard for such metadata mapping;
  • leave a trace of category redirects which will be useful in the future both for crosslinking (between Commons and various catalogues/ontologies) and for uploads of new material, which will be able to reuse our work instead of redoing everything from scratch.

Work in progress[edit]

Example of geo-referencing using Locator Tool on photos by Paolo Monti from BEIC digital library. Original photo showed: File:Paolo Monti - Servizio fotografico (Verona, 1972) - BEIC 6337285.jpg by Paolo Monti, 1972 (Fondo Paolo Monti, BEIC).

We are now working - with your help! - on:

In the first 3 days, together with Commons editors, half of the "translation" work was already completed and files had each an average of 4 "blue" categories plus 4 "red" categories (65+75 thousands). As of June 2016, about 38 thousands red links remain, of which half will be addressed by a bot replacement and the rest will continue being fixed by BEIC users.

Please help us, this is a big work!


Every single image by Paolo Monti must be categorized:


Right statements for the images are provided directly on, where the images are marked with a free Creative Commons license further explained by the general copyright notice. Fondazione BEIC holds the relevant archive records.

What Fondazione BEIC knows about the copyright status follows.

  1. The BEIC lawyer stated that «BEIC foundation owns all [attribution] copyrights» («Fondazione Beic è proprietaria di tutti i diritti di attribuzione»), in particular that «BEIC foundation is the only rightsholder» [italics added] («BEIC è il solo detentore dei diritti d'autore (copyright)»). This implies that any relevant third party rights over the images, where existing, have been acquired by BEIC.
  2. This statement is consistent with the story of the photos as we know of it: the artists commissioned the photos for inclusion in future publications authored by Paolo Monti, so they provided the necessary authorisations and transfer of rights. Paolo Monti was a professional photographer with a broad experience in taking photos of pieces of art, so it makes sense that he took care of acquiring the artists' rights.
  3. As for photos of 3D objects, the statement is also consistent (or non-inconsistent) with the judgement by the supreme court of Italy, which stated that photos of a piece of art may not be an infringement of the copyright of the artist, when deemed sufficiently creative, because the purpose of the diritto d'autore is to protect creativity and hence in such cases the author of the photo can have complete copyright on the photo itself. (Corte di Cassazione, Sezione 1 civile; Sentenza 12 marzo 2004, n. 5089.) There is some literature on international effects in case the author of the depicted work of art claimed ownership of some copyright on the photo, but the Court didn't impose such a restriction. There are no automatic universal ways to determine who holds rights on the photo of a work; lack of rights by the photographer may be established by a court or appeals court.
  4. The statement is also consistent with common sense: because a photo of a 3D object doesn't in any way enable the reuser to reproduce, as in rebuild, the original object, a cc-by-sa license on the photo doesn't affect the copyright of the original object. While the term "derivative work" is sometimes used creatively, the main relevant article of the Berne convention, i.e. 2(3), deals with «Translations, adaptations, arrangements of music and other alterations».

Some policy references are provided for context.

  1. In multiple cases, for the Berne Convention a country has the power to make decisions that will then affect the use of a work in other countries as well. It's not irrelevant that a photo has been shot in Italy.
  2. Wikimedia Commons has its own tradition, especially Commons:De minimis. The extent of the reproduction of a work depicted in a photo matters.
  3. Wikimedia Commons has a tradition of accepting OTRS tickets for both a copyright release on the work at hand (a photo) and reassurances of various kinds on the rights of third parties, especially in the case of photographers for hire, such as 1a, 1b, 1c, 2, 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d. Every responsible photographer clears the rights underlying their work, so we're often able to get reliable reassurances in that regard.
  4. To consider invalid a release made by an entity, Wikimedia Commons generally requires some evidence (4a, 4b, 4c); it's not enough to speculate that the releaser might have ignored third party rights, though it's ok to ask on a case-by-case basis whether there was a mistake about a specific photo (4d).

Ex libris and typographic marks[edit]

See Category:Ex libris from BEIC and it:Progetto:GLAM/BEIC/Ex libris e marche tipografiche (Italian) for details



How to use these pages



See also[edit]