Commons:WikiProject Postcards

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You like postcards, then this WikiProject is for you!

The WikiProject Postcards coordinates the maintenance and improvement of the Category:Postcards, including the files and categories in it. Postcards are a very good source for Wikimedia Commons. They depict the past and they are useful for visually supporting many Wikipedia articles. The project of adding postcard-images on Wikimedia Commons could prove an excellent way for the creation of the biggest collection in the history of Deltiology. At the moment we have over 350.000 postcards here. Together we can build and organize this huge archive. If you like postcards, join us and help to build this archive. This page tries to set standards for the daily work.

Fast start:


Copyright and Postcards[edit]

Postcards are not free of copyright. Sometimes the holder of the copyright (the creator or the publisher of a postcard) sets this under a free license (for example Category:Brück & Sohn or Category:Curt Teich). The license they should use are:

Very old postcards[edit]

Is the postcard old enough (>120 years) you can digitize it and upload under a free license:

Digitize and Upload[edit]

Best practice[edit]

  • Use a scanner or a camera to digitize your postcards.
  • Use TIF-format, because it has no compression artifacts. JPG-format is the second best choise. Experts upload TIFs (see example).
  • Digitize both sides, because some times many pieces of information are on the rear side (adress-space) of the postcard (title, publisher, date, etc). Use scanners with Duplex automatic document feeder (DADF, without bending the original)
  • Use highest DPI as possible. 600 dpi is a good choice. You never know what other users will do with the image you will upload. In the future they might become Wallpapers, for example.

Examples for scan resolution[edit]

Examples for both sides[edit]


  • For uploads of few postcards you can use the page Commons:Upload. This is the default way.
  • If you want to upload many more postcards, then you should test Commons:Pattypan. This tool scans a folder at your computer and generates a table, which will be saved in a spreadsheet-file. Afterwards, and offline, you could fill out this table with all metadata, using your office tools (Libre Office, MS Excel, ...). When this work is completed, Pattypan can be used to load the table and upload all images from your folder together with their metadata. For example all 590 images of the Category:Postcards by Erwin Spindler were uploaded this way.
  • If you want to upload a huge number of postcards, the tool Commons:VicuñaUploader is very good. For example over 30.000 images of the Category:Postcards published by Brück & Sohn were uploaded in this way. Normally, you should start the program and generate a session and upload the files, edit the metadata, and upload the whole work. But you can also save your session as a XML-File. This XML-File can be used as API for a big upload. Maybe you store all data of our postcards in a database you can generate an XML-file in this Vicuña-format and upload so a huge number of postcards in Commons.

For more information see Commons:WikiProject Postcards/Upload.



Every postcard should have at least one category of the subcategories of the Category:Postcards. If you find an postcard-image in Commons which does not include any of these Postcard-Categories, please categorize it. It will be very useful to set as a minimum:

Needed Type Examples Notice Image
Minimum location

Category:Postcards of Europe (continent)
Category:Postcards of Germany (country)
Category:Postcards of Saxony (state/region)
Category:Postcards of the United States by county (state/county)
Category:Postcards of Vogtlandkreis‎ (subregion)
Category:Postcards of Markneukirchen‎ (city/town)
Category:Postcards of Erlbach‎ (urban areal/quarter)
Category:Postcards of Deseronto High School (building)

Paris, Category:Postcards of Paris
Minimum subject

Category:Postcards of transport
Category:Postcards of horses
Category:Postcards of caves
Category:Postcards of buildings

Steam locomotive on bridge, Category:Postcards of steam locomotives in the United States,
Category:Postcards of bridges in Iowa
Optimal Publisher

Category:Postcards published by Brück & Sohn‎
Category:Postcards published by Dr. Trenkler & Co.‎
Category:Postcards published by Edward H. Mitchell

  • see also Category:Postcard publishers (only publishers)
  • see also Category:Postcards by publisher (only postcards)
  • Syntax typical "Postcard published by ..."
  • Set serial number in category [[Category:Postcards published by ...|#:::::45231]], so all postcards sort by serial number.
  • Every Publisher should have two categories!
    • First: [[Category:Name_of_publisher]] and
    • second: [[Category:Postcards published by Name_of_publisher]]
Publisher is printed on image (serial number 23509), Category:Postcards published by Dr. Trenkler & Co.‎
Optimal author Category:Postcards by Erwin Spindler

Category:Postcards by Vasilij Gulak‎

Signature Erw. Spindler (left down), Category:Postcards by Erwin Spindler
Optimal Year / Decades

Category:1880 postcards (year)
Category:1920s postcards (decade)
Category:21st-century postcards (century‎)

  • see also Category:Postcards by date
  • Syntax typical: #### postcards (year)
  • Syntax typical: ####s postcards (decade)
  • Syntax typical: ##st-century postcards (century‎)
Date of writing 1903-11-30, Category:1903 postcards
Optimal numbers of images Category:Postcards with 5 images
Category:Postcards with 11 images
Optimal page format Category:Postcards with landscape orientation

Category:Postcards with portrait orientation‎

  • see also Category:Postcards by page orientation
  • easy to set for rectangle format
  • maybe later can a bot set this category
  • later we get categories for different forms (shaped, round, hexagon, octagon)
portrait orientation‎, Category:Postcards with portrait orientation
Optimal material Category:Leather postcards‎

Category:Wooden postcards‎

Wood, Category:Wooden postcards
Optimal special function
Gramophone-Postcard, Category:Phono postcards
Optimal print technology

Coordinates and maps[edit]


This image has a few notes, which you should be able to see here on this thumbnail if version 2 of ImageAnnotator is enabled.

With the Gadget ImageAnnotator we can add notices to an image in Commons. This is very useful. First we can describe better what we see. Look at this postcard with over 10 annotations. Or we can add a notice for what we can read but we don't know the right category. Look at this image with the notice "Die Haubenlerche". If you search in commons for this text everybody will find this image.

Serial number[edit]

Most postcard-publishers print a serial number on the front or rear side of their postcards. It is an easy way to order the specific postcard by using this number.

Best practice

We could use this number in every image of its category in the following way, so that images are sorted by their serial numbers:
[[Category:Postcards published by Stengel & Co.|#:::::45231]]
We can, thus, easily check for double-numbered postcards or missing ones. Attention; if it is a 5 digit serial number we need five time ":".
For example see in: Category:Postcards published by Stengel & Co.

Second best

The second best choice is to write this serial number in the first part of the filename like in:
Example see in: Category:Images from Brück & Sohn





Project infos[edit]

Project participants[edit]

The project was founded by Stefan Kühn on March 10, 2020. Everyone is welcome to participate. Just sign up here in the list of participants.


Result from PetScan:

Date Files in Category:Postcards
and subcategories (Depth 20)
Request #1
Files in Category:Address sides of postcards
and subcategories (Depth 20)
Request #2
All Postcards
= #1 - #2
2004-09-30: - - >100 After start of Wikimedia Commons
2016-10-30: - - >50.000 Finish of upload >30.000 postcards from Brück & Sohn
2020-01-16: 230.624 8.390 222.234 First statistic with Petscan
2020-02-10: 231.788 8.392 223.396
2020-03-10: 232.432 8.393 224.039
2020-04-10: 233.712 9.451 224.261
2020-05-13: 240.963 9.868 231.095
2020-06-10: 242.909 9.889 233.020
2020-07-11: 243.831 9.907 233.924
2020-08-11: 245.422 9.933 235.489
2020-09-16: 248.477 9.964 238.513
2020-12-16: 264.790 10.324 254.466
2021-01-11: 269.149 10.338 258.811
2021-02-16: 272.729 10.350 262.379
2021-03-18: 274.699 10.367 264.332
2021-04-13: 282.280 10.389 271.891
2021-11-17: 296.669 10.888 285.781
2021-12-22: 301.043 11.006 290.037
2022-03-03: 317.257 12.477 304.780
2022-07-02: 329.438 12.831 316.604
2022-10-06: 338.416 13.530 324.886
2023-01-29: 350.064 13.938 336.126
2023-05-17: 364.324 14.316 350.008
2023-09-28: 372.807 14.739 358.068

Quality management[edit]

Improvement of Categories[edit]

Search postcards by filetype[edit]

Search postcards by keywords[edit]

Search for special words (more languages see Wikidata) and add postcard-categories

Search postcards in source[edit]

Search for page orientation[edit]

Structured data[edit]

Basic infos[edit]

See more under

Properties for postcards[edit]

Search in structured data[edit]

Add structured data to postcards[edit]

One of the best help for this project is to add structure data to the postcards. Here you find many to do:

To do list[edit]

You can help![edit]

  • Insert in all postcards good categories.
  • Insert in all postcards Structured data (SDC), like Depicts. So we can use this for future sorting and processing scripts.

Current work (in progress)[edit]

Logos of publishers[edit]

Recent postcard uploads[edit]

Postcard printing techniques[edit]

Serial number[edit]



At the moment we have:

Did we need a category for Stamps on postcards (only)?

  • Category:Stamps on postcards
  • Maybe this can help by the temporal classification.
    • If the stamp is from 1930 then the postcard was sent in 1930 or later.