2011-05-30

Featured photo of hyperrealistic painting of photo... self-nom with virus?

The most fascinating candidate for the Wikimedia Commons Picture Of The Year, if not the best image, is this photograph of a painting of a photograph of sliced honeydew melon on crystal and silver:

Fruttiera di cristallo con meloni (1999), by Mauro David
David died in January 2007.[0]  In February, someone claiming the rights to the work created a Commons account named Mauro David and uploaded the image there, tweaking its description in Italian.  45 minutes later – perhaps time spent browsing Commons and learning how it works – the uploader tried twice to nominated it as a featured picture, but did not understand how to create the nominating page and was reverted.[1]

It is a high-resolution version of one of the thumbnails in the the Mauro David catalog.  Last March Xhienne finally nominated it properly, and it was soon featured and used as an illustration of hyperreaslism.

I am a great fan of hyperrealism, and admire David's work.  I find it tremendously uplifting that we have a high-quality image of his donated to Commons.  To his estate: thank you.  To Commons: may you attract many more gems of contemporary art.


[0] For an English summary, see the Humanities Reference Desk discussion about this story from en:wp.

[1] Reverted twice by two different editors for being listed improperly; neither had time to leave the uploader a personal message.

2011-05-29

Wikimedia Picture of the Year


While the current Wikimedia Board elections may be dry and esoteric for some, the Commons Picture of the Year contest is anything but.  36 extraordinary images - selected through the first round of voting - are finalists in this contest to determine the best of 2010.  


You can only vote once in this round -- and how hard that is!  Even though you are warned about this in an enormous font twice before getting to the voting page, my eyes were drawn only to the images and I voted for many images before catching myself.  The portal pages are laid out beautifully - works of art themselves. And while there are some glorious photos taken by government groups and for other purposes, some of the best photos of all were taken exclusively for Commons.

Even if you cannot vote in this round (200 global edits/uploads required :-/ ) you're sure to find something to write home about, or at least a glorious bit of desktop wallpaper[0], in this lineup. 


[0] computer jargon comes up with the silliest mixed metaphors, no?

2011-05-28

Archivist love: NARA Wikipedian in Residence + Ansel Adams

Here's a little story about photography, Archives, and love.

In 1941, Ansel Adams was commissioned by the U.S. National Park Service to take photographs of national parks, for a mural that was never made.  220 gorgeous images were preserved in the U.S. National Archives (NARA), where they remained for 70 years.[0] Low-resolution versions were published on the Library of Congress site and later on Flickr.

At the end of 2009, David Ferriero, then
Director of the New York Public Library, was appointed Archivist of the United States and head of NARA.[1]  When he learned of Liam Wyatt's work as Wikipedian in Residence at the British Museum, he had his staff ask about recruiting a Wikipedian of their own.  They felt a WiR could exemplify their values of "transparency, participation, and collaboration."

By the Ides of March, a call for applicants went out.  They selected Dominic McDevitt-Parks, Campus Ambassador, member of the Boston Wikipedia Enclave, and all-around lexicobibliotechnohistoriographile.  He arrived at NARA to start the summer residency this week, in time for a talk by Liam on the possibilities for collaboration with Wikipedia (and pointers from the Archivist on how to win a staring contest).


One NARA WikiProject later, Dominic noticed a batch upload request for the 1941 Adams photos.[2]  He replied, offering the full set of photos in high resolution, and requesting help migrating them to Commons.  
 
That was yesterday evening.  Today, he posted 220 high-resolution images to Flickr by hand, Kaldari transferred them + metadata to Commons, and Aude and high-res maven Peter Weis made attribution templates and pages recognizing NARA's image donation.  At least one project page was set up for Wikipedians to include the new photos in articles on their subjects.  True cross-project wikilove, in under a week.  And the summer has just begun...

Ansel Adams photographs from Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Mesa Verde, Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone, Carlsbad Cavern, Glacier and Zion National Parks; and Death Valley, Saguero, and Canyon de Chelly National Monuments.


Notes:
[0] NARA provides images depicting American and global history which are public domain or freely licensed. It is responsible for "safeguarding and making available for study all the permanently valuable records of the Federal Government."

[1] The NYPL is both one of the largest U.S. public libraries, and one of the most important research libraries in the world. Under Ferriero, it greatly expanded its digital department, and committed to supporting online access, reuse, and metadata standards with a passion to make any free knowledge zealot proud.   Among other things, they launched the prize-winning NYPL Digital Gallery of almost 1 million images, replaced their unique Billings classification system, and merged the catalogs of the research and public sides of the library. 

[2] A request from February.  The Commons Clock runs at its own pace.  For anyone interested in learning how to run an upload bot, there are over 40 unresolved batch upload requests.

2011-05-27

SEO Dragons, Wikimeetups, and the Big Apple

There is so much love in this newbie's report about a NYC Wikimeetup, it made me smile.  It's from a social sphere that gets little love in return on the projects - a newly minted online marketer and SEO analyst, musing among other things on how businesses can best contribute to Wikipedia.

But I hear the same questions from all of our potential partners -- from libraries and public-domain archives to universities and teachers who already give their work away online for free.  And this author seems to get the spirit and ethos of Wikimedia (not just Wikipedia!) better than many educators I have met.

So: three cheers for the Dragonum Jilliacoptica.   I can't wait to hear what you make of your first wiki academy.


2011-05-12

2011-05-10

10th Anniversary of 9 new Wikipedia domains

Tomorrow (May 11) is another anniversary date: it's been 10 years
since the first large group of non-English Wikipedias came online.
Originally with spelled-out names rather than language codes, these
sites were:

chinese.wikipedia.com
esperanto.wikipedia.com
french.wikipedia.com
hebrew.wikipedia.com
italian.wikipedia.com
japanese.wikipedia.com
portuguese.wikipedia.com
spanish.wikipedia.com
russian.wikipedia.com

(from http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikipedia-l/2001-May/000116.html)
(deutsche and catalan had been created earlier that year)

The idea of having Wikipedias in multiple languages came from Jimbo in
March 2001 (http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikipedia-l/2001-March/000048.html);
note that the original German Wikipedia was actually set up at that
time, making it the second-oldest Wikipedia. Though the idea of using
two-letter domain codes was first raised then, after the above sites
were brought online in May there was further discussion, and the sites
were switched to two-letter codes a few days later:
http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikipedia-l/2001-May/000132.html.

Wikipedia Argentina also celebrated the es:wp10th anniversary today.  
Happy tenth birthday, Wikipedias! (and many more!)  May all of our
language editions flourish.

2011-05-07

In which I discover new love for John Brown

I love discovering new authors through Wikisource.  Adam Szostkiewicz, a Polish journalist and blogger, reflected recently on union vs. confederation, and conflicted American narratives about the US Civil War:
Tak jak w Polsce nie ma zgody na jedną wspólną "narrację" o dramacie własnej historii, za to są rewizjoniści, uwznioślający temat z jednoczesnym pomniejszaniem centralnej kwestii, w przypadku wojny  secesyjnej jest nią oczywiście niewolnictwo...

Wklejam tu wiersz polskiego poety związany z tą wojną a napisany przez Norwida tysiące mil od Nowego Świata. http://pl.wikisource.org/wiki/Do_obywatela_Johna_Brown
Był politycznym wygnańcem i był za wolnością. Ja też, gdybym miał wybierać w Ameryce rozdartej między konfederatów i unionistów , wybrałbym unię.

As in Poland, there is no consensus on a common "narrative" about the drama of its own history. The revisionists elevate their history while diminishing the central issue, which in the case of the Civil War is of course slavery...

Here are the lines associated with the war by the Polish poet Norwid, written thousands of miles from the New World. http://pl.wikisource.org/wiki/Do_obywatela_Johna_Brown.
("To Citizen John Brown")  He was a political outcast, and was for freedom. I, too, if I had to choose in America, torn between the Confederates and Unionists, I would choose a Union.

If you can translate the poem into English or German, please post it here or to Wikisource - I should like to understand it better.