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 organized in 2010 in the Netherlands, resulting in over 12,500 pictures of Dutch monuments, and was followed by a Europe-wide edition in 2011 and a worldwide edition in 2012 which ended with over 167,000 and 350,000 photos of monumental objects uploaded to Wikimedia Commons.
This year, Wiki Loves Monuments is organized in even more countries all over 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 during the competition to Wikimedia Commons under a free license for usage on Wikipedia and its sister projects.
The exact definition of a 'monument' differs from one country to another. Instead of trying to enforce one worldwide definition, local organizers are able to create those definitions by themselves, basing on official documents and descriptions provided by their respective authorities and cultural background. Therefore, the contest is organized as much as possible in a federative way, which means that every country organizes 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 organized 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.
The 2013 edition will be internationally facilitated by a small team of volunteers involved in the organisation of the previous contests in their respective countries:
It's really simple and easy, and fun! If you want to organize 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 organization 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 organizing 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 extensive documentation for 2011 and 2012, and if you feel like doing it, please subscribe to the discussion mailing list and introduce yourself there. This is an excellent place to ask questions and help. Also, subscribe definitely to the Wiki Loves Monuments announcement mailing list which is without elaborate discussions, but focuses on the most important messages, especially closer to the competition.
You don't need to be a member of your local Wikimedia chapter to organize 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 from 2012 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 organizers this year, please have a look at our detailed time-line. 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 (in case your country does not have a Wikimedia Chapter and you want to use any Wikimedia trademarks in the promotion of your local contest). We can also advice on who you can approach for possible partnerships (although mostly in Europe).
In addition, 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. You can also try our 24-hour chat channel: #wikilovesmonuments.
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 honorable 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, happened in Portugal in 2011, forcing the local organizers 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 sub-domain 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?
Organizing 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 localized). 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 organizers, 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 organized 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 organizations, photographer organizations, schools organization etc.
Sponsors — they can provide you with awards for the winners and possibly cover some of the costs of the event.
In 2011, 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.
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. We might have available small grants from the Wiki Loves Monuments' international budget. Please check this regularly, as we will update this question once the possibility of grants is confirmed.
If the amount of money you require is higher (e.g. more than €300), or if you find it more convenient, you can also request money through the Wikimedia Foundation grants process.
Where can I find relevant statistics, surveys etc?
In the past years, some statistics have been collected, and surveys have been executed. This is a (perhaps not exhaustive) overview of these:
All eligible pictures should have an identifier, given by the participants during upload;
Participants should have their e-mail enabled on Wikimedia Commons (or the platform they uploaded their photos to) to be eligible for prizes;
Every country is able to nominate 10 pictures to the international stage of the competition.
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. 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 Wiki Loves Monuments has been to collect as many pictures usable for Wikipedia as possible. Local organisers and local juries are 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.
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, 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.
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). Each country has its own upload campaign which adds the right templates to the uploaded files. You can already test the upload campaign, see this page. 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.
Just like in the 2012 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.
To participate in the contest it is recommended to have lists of monuments on Wikipedia, so that participants know which objects can be photographed. These monument lists contain for each monument a unique identifier to easy identify a specific monument. In these lists you can add direct links to the special upload wizard for your country which pre-fills the upload campaign to make it easier to participate. See for more information about creating lists of monuments on this page. When the monument lists are created they can be added to the monument database to enable handy tools (which use these lists).
Where can I find information about monuments database?
What software will the jury use to select pictures?
While each country can decide what tool or method will it use to select the winning pictures, a software tool will be developed aiming to cover the needs of many possible scenarios, based on the experience from past years. A list of features for this tool is being compiled and is open to input from potential users.
If you have any questions regarding the CentralNotice, upload campaigns or related templates, and more, used for Wiki Loves Monuments, please ask them on the talk page. The talk page is watched by the international team.
What is the minimum setup for a national Wiki Loves Monuments competition?
First of all, you should make sure you understand the situation in your country well: both for how heritage works (who is in charge, which are good partners), as well the legal side of things: is photography on the streets allowed or do you need a permission for that, and is publishing photos of relatively young buildings allowed (Freedom of Panorama).
The reason why most people participate in Wiki Loves Monuments, is because they want to help Wikipedia. Therefore, it is important to have lists of the monuments on Wikipedia - so that many images will actually be used there. These lists are also crucial to define what is a monument that participates in the contest. Getting this list is not always as easy as we would like - organizations responsible for maintaining these lists sometimes take a long time to answer queries, if they have a proper list at all. So make sure to start this process early! Once this structure is set up properly, the data can be imported into the international monuments database (request LINK).
Wiki Loves Monuments is primarily organized by volunteers, so it is important to have them involved in the process early on. Make sure to communicate your plans, ideas and intentions to the Wikimedia communities relevant to your country. Leave a message on the message boards of relevant WikiProjects, or in the Village Pump. Send an email on the local mailing lists (LINK) to ask for input. You probably also want to set up a permanent communication channel that volunteers can join if they are interested to help out. If you want to make sure that it is easy for new volunteers to come and help out, publish a time-line when which task should be done (LINK, like this) and which people could help you with. Organize frequently a meeting (online or offline) to discuss the state of affairs. Make sure you have at least one about a week before the actual start of the contest.
All information relevant to the participants should be collected and presented in a central location: you have to set up a national contest website. This doesn't have to be ready on day 1, but probably it is a good idea to start already with this. Describe what you know about the rules of the contest, prizes, jury, what the contest is all about, some history, how people can contact the organizers, how they can find a monument and of course how they can upload their submission! This website should, by August, also contain an English summary, because there are quite a few people who like to upload their vacation pictures (why waste them?).
A contest needs of course a prize that can be won! While there are international prizes, and there's a lot of honor involved if you win a Wiki Loves Monuments competition, having a national main prize can spice things up a lot. It makes you look more like the serious competition we are. And to distribute the prizes and nominate the best 10 pictures to the international finale, you will need a good jury of at least 3 people (but probably better to have 5 or more). Make this a good mixture of Wikimedians, professional photographers and heritage experts.
Finally, we would like to make sure the images are actually being used optimally. For that, we need a monument template (LINK) for each country on Wikimedia Commons, in which we can include an identifier (LINK) of the monument. Together with that, there has to be some category structure (LINK). The upload wizard and should be translated if applicable (LINK) and a national version should be set up (LINK). If that is all in place, and the lists are imported in the monuments database, a page for unused images can be set up on your local Wikipedia, so that you can include the images in the lists (LINK).
Of course it is very helpful to make sure that you follow the important international communication/announcements (join the mailing list LINK), and you can ask questions to fellow national organizers as well (LINK).
List of the monuments on Wikipedia
Get this list imported in the database (LINK)
At least make sure the banner is active in your country (LINK) and translated into the local languages (the international team will send out a call for translations).
Website: a central location with all relevant information about the contest:
Rules: make sure these fit with the international requirements (LINK)
(FAQs) or another form of explanation
How to find a monument
How to participate (upload)
make sure you have some kind of communication channel for the organizers
Make proper announcements in the relevant Wikimedia communication channels (Village Pump etc)
Make sure there is an English summary of your website with the critical information (for foreigners, immigrants and tourists)
Join the global mailing list!
Time-line: Make a time line with all tasks you plan to execute, so that other people can help you with specific tasks.
Jury: have an independent jury of at least 3, but preferably at least 5 members. Some Wikipedians, some professional photographers.
Prizes: Make sure there is at least one prize on a national level. Doesn't have to be huge, but something.
Legal: figure out if there are limitations on your country regarding photography!
Freedom of Panorama
Is photography on the streets allowed at all?
Make sure there is a proper template structure in place on Wikimedia Commons for your country
Upload Wizard translated & localized
Set up the 'unused images' structure on your Wikipedia (LINK)