Commons:Valued image scope

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Valued Image Scope[edit]

What would be a suitable scope for this image?

By nominating an image for VI status you are stating that, in your view, the image is more valuable than any other on Commons within the generic scope you have specified.

Note that scope is not a simple description of your image. Rather, it defines a generic field or category within which your image is the most valuable example.

How to choose your scope[edit]

Think of scope as being akin to a Commons Category, or to the generic title of a Gallery page. If you wish, you can make use of an existing category - or alternatively write your own scope.

There should be something visible in the nominated image which links it specifically in some way with the chosen scope. So for example "storm clouds over London" would not be acceptable unless there were buildings or other features visible which could distinguish it from, say, "storm clouds over Sydney" or "storm clouds over Tokyo". The image should also be reasonably characteristic of the typical range of subjects falling within the claimed scope. For example, the image File:Sphinx2 July 2006.jpg would not be appropriate as a VI nomination within the scope "cats" as it is extremely atypical of the normal range of animals falling within that scope. That would be the case even if that image happened to be technically the best of all cat images on Commons.

Not too narrow...[edit]

Your chosen scope must be broad enough to be realistically useful to somebody who wishes to search the VI repository. For example, a suitable scope for the image on the right could be "mouldy fruit", "mouldy nectarines" or something similar (or you could use the US spelling "moldy"). Both expressions define generic fields or categories that someone might realistically be looking for an image to illustrate.

On the other hand "some mouldy nectarines in a fruit bowl" would not be acceptable: it is too narrow, and is more a description of the image than a generic field or category. It is unlikely that anyone would want to use that phrase as the basis of an image search. There is no point in mentioning the bowl at all, as that merely serves to limit the scope to a peripheral feature which is really not part of the generic concept illustrated by the image.

Remember: The more elements you mention in your wording, the narrower the scope will be.

...and not too broad....[edit]

A scope that is overly broad may not be capable of objective review. For example, nominating a really valuable photograph of a lemon within the scope "fruit" is likely to be unacceptable. It is easy to imagine other reviewers claiming that a nice image of a banana would be more valuable to them, and there is really no objective way of deciding between those two entirely personal points of view.

...but just right.[edit]

You need to strike a balance between too narrow a scope (the nomination may be rejected on that basis) and too broad a scope (the nomination runs the risk of failing because of greater competition from other images falling within the wording, or because it is too broad to be reviewed objectively).

Examples of suitable scopes[edit]

  1. A visually distinct plant or animal species, like Abludomelita obtusata;
  2. A visually distinct type or significant aspect of an object, like car park ramps;
  3. A location of more than local interest, like Château Frontenac;
  4. An historic or rare event, like ejection from a jet fighter;
  5. A portrait of a notable person, like Juan Carlos I of Spain;
  6. A diagram of a process or an object, like flight control surfaces;
  7. A map of a certain region/location.

Concurrent and overlapping scopes[edit]

There can be no more than one VI for each distinct scope. An image cannot be nominated with several different scopes within the same nomination. However there is no objection to a single image being nominated several times, each time for some distinct scope.

Scope spamming is, however, discouraged. For example, in the following series of scopes: "Lemon", "Ripe lemon", "Lemons from Brazil", "Uncut lemon", "Lemon depicted on a neutral background", "Photograph of a lemon", only "Lemon" makes sense as a scope. There should be a certain minimum difference between scopes.

Different types of maps for the same region (historical, geological, topographical, ethnographical etc.) could be allowable within different scopes.

For animal and plant images, there can be more than one VI of each species as long as each demonstrates different and significant aspects of the species. Examples: This photo of a male frog and this photo of two frogs mating show different aspects of the well known Common Frog. A scope directed to a head and body view of an animal may also be considered distinct from a scope covering the full animal since these show different and significant aspects of the species. Of course, in each of the different views have to be considered valuable in their own right for Wikimedia projects.

Not all unique species photographs are sufficiently valuable to become VI. For instance there are more than 5,000 known species of Ladybird, the Coccinellidae family of beetles. Several species may look so similar that it is impossible to identify the species based on a photograph alone. This is where a scope directed to some higher taxa, e.g. genus, may be more valuable.

Links in the scope[edit]

You are encouraged to add relevant links in the scope, in the following way:

  • Try to limit yourself to one link per scope, if possible. Only the most specific part of the scope should be linked;
  • If there is a relevant Commons category, link to it;
  • If there is a relevant Commons gallery, link to it;
  • Otherwise, if there is an article on the English Wikipedia, link to it;
  • Otherwise, if there is an article on another Wikipedia, link to it;
  • Otherwise, don't link;
  • Try to avoid linking to a redirection page or a page with a very different title.


  • Messier 45 - Pleiades star cluster: There is a Commons gallery page for the object "Messier 45", therefore a link pointing to it has been added.
  • Board of ADSL modem: There was no relevant target for "Board of ADSL modem", neither on Commons nor on the English Wikipedia. There wasn't a Commons gallery for ADSL modem either, but an English article was available so the link points to it.
  • St. Anna church, Jerusalem (interior): Here, there was no gallery and no English article for this building, so the nominator decided not to link. He could have decided to include a link to Jerusalem, a less specific part of the scope.

In the future, scopes should be internationalized, embedding links in different languages. In the meantime, please limit cross-project links to the English Wikipedia.

Domain-specific scope guidelines[edit]

Depending on the subject, there are specific guidelines on how to formulate the scope and whether a scope is acceptable.


  • General rule is: one scope per species, in the form: ''[[scientific name]]'' (English-language vernacular name if applicable)[, subscope], e.g., Zygaena lonicerae (Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet), pupa. The vernacular name may be omitted if not found. Subscope is omitted for main scope nominations.
  • For some well-known species, sub-scopes may be proposed to illustrate a specific aspect of behaviour, as long are they are relevant for Wikimedia projects. In that case the scope should be appended with a short description of the illustrated aspect, i.e. "eggs", "juvenile", "hunting", "mating", "hatching", "flying", "albino"...
  • If several species are impossible to distinguish visually, then the scope should be at a higher taxonomy level.
  • If male and female of the same species can be distinguished from each other from a picture, then a "male" scope and a "female" scope can be proposed for the same species.
  • A scope directed to a head and body view of an animal may also be considered distinct from a scope covering the full animal since these show different and significant aspects of the species.
  • Subscopes are often relevant to a higher taxonomy level, in which case the precise species is not to be included in the scope. For instance there is a Valued Image for the scope "head of a fly", which basically illustrates the head of any kind of fly.


  • The main scope for most plants is at the species level. Exceptionally, it may be the genus if species are not visually distinct, or at the subspecies, variety or cultivar if visually distinct and notable. The main scope should give the reader an overall impression of the plant. Usually, it will show most of the plant (flowers or fruit, stem and leaves when applicable).
  • Subscopes, e.g., flower, fruit, seed, leaves, etc., may be proposed. A subscope illustrates a distinguishing feature or notable characteristic not well-depicted in main scope images. A subscope without a reliable source citation may be challenged and rejected. Subscopes are usually appropriate for visually distinct diclinous plants.
  • Scope format: "''[[scientific name]]'' (vernacular name) [, subscope]", e.g., Cupressus nootkatensis (Nootka Cypress), cone and foliage. The vernacular name may be omitted if not found. Subscope is omitted for main scope nominations.


  • In general, the VI for a building scope should be a daylight picture.
  • Buildings, like other places, should be of more than local interest to justify a scope.
  • Not any church is worth a Valued Image scope. Cathedral scopes are OK, but for other churches there should be a good reason, like being a pilgrimage place, being really famous, being architecturally exceptional... Christian architecture is taken as an example, but the same general rule applies to religious buildings of any religion.
  • When appropriate, the building scope can be divided in a "XXX (exterior)" scope and a "XXX (interior)" scope, thus leading to two independent VI nominations for two independent scopes. It is appropriate for a cathedral for instance, with a view of the nave and a view of the facade, but (generally) not for a castle, where inside views are less representative of the building as a whole. Additional scopes can exceptionally be proposed if some part of the building is particularly worth of interest (for instance a remarkable crypt or sanctuary).

Works of art[edit]

  • Not every work of art is worth a Valued Image scope. A scope is justified for instance if the work is the most significant work (or one of the most significant works) of an artist having an article on its own on any Wikipedia, or if it is a seminal work in some way.

Natural sites[edit]

  • Like any other place, a natural site should be of more than local interest to justify a scope. It is supposed that it is the case if the place has an article on its own on a wikipedia, but there can be many other reasons.
  • A mountain can have a scope on its own for instance if it is the main summit of a massif, arc or range. There can be many other reasons.

Valued Image Set scopes[edit]

The scope of a Valued Image Set (VIS) nomination should support the principle that the set, when taken as a whole, has significantly more value than a collection of individual images. There should be some useful overarching concept that binds the images together.

Examples of suitable VIS scopes[edit]

  1. A process, such as for example: a volcano erupting, ageing, building a bridge, baking a cake, before-and-after images, stages in pregnancy.
  2. Different types or aspects of an object, such as for example: macro shots of all the various different parts of an insect, all types of stringed instrument, all coins and banknotes of a particular country (copyright permitting).
  3. A unified collection of works of art, like the set of all illustrations printed in a certain edition of a book, provided they consistute a work notable enough (see above).

Where the set aims to illustrate different objects that by their nature are finite in number, complete sets are preferred to incomplete. Thus, the scope "coins and banknotes of x" may be rejected if only a small selection is shown. The scope "paintings by the artist Y" may be acceptable if all known paintings are included, but may be rejected if the set includes only a random selection, for example only those that the photographer had easy access to, or only those held in a particular gallery. Such incomplete sets may often be valuable in their own right, but may fail the principle that the set, when taken as a whole, must be significantly more valuable than a collection of individual images.

See also: Commons:Valued image criteria