Proposal:Local image and content hunting and digitalizing

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Every proposal should be tied to one of the strategic priorities below.

Edit this page to help identify the priorities related to this proposal!

  1. Achieve continued growth in readership
  2. Focus on quality content
  3. Increase Participation
  4. Stabilize and improve the infrastructure
  5. Encourage Innovation


There are lots of images around. Most of them aren't on the web; they're in physical collections all over the place. So why not find them, digitalize them, and spread them around so that the entire world, instead of just one person or municipality, gets their benefit?


This project, which would presumably be of most interest to the Commons and Wikipedia, is simple. Users tend to have connections, and those connections can benefit Commons and Wikipedia. For example: if User:X lives in Podunk Town Y, then Podunk Town Y probably has a collection of historic photographs. If Podunk Town Y is old enough, then some of these pictures are probably in the public domain by now. I suspect Podunk Town Y would happily oblige to share its picture archives, if only for some free publicity, and would allow User:X to digitalize them and release them under an appropriate license. This is a medium-level scenario. A small-scale one would be the old widow on Shadybrook Lane with the shoebox of pictures from her late husband who was the town's second mayor, who's always willing to share her stories with anyone. A large-scale project would be, say, drafting an agreement with a larger city's library system, and, with their help, digitalizing and releasing their old photo collection. All it takes, like anything else on Wiki[anything] is a little user initiative. The Foundation could also pitch in by encouraging the release of images, and assisting in the drafting of such agreements as that in the large-scale situation. Of course, all this is doable now. It can happen. However, I feel that the search for quality images for more obscure or smaller topics is lost to the mandate of "No Original Research." The Foundation and its projects must make clear that the independent offline quest for images is encouraged, as it is beneficial.


Images documenting history are lost every day. The projects must not hesitate to encourage users to do some offline image-getting, even if it means appending "No Original Research". (This image-getting is, of course, not "research" per se, but it nonetheless feels like it.) This would also be beneficial to Wikipedia articles for small towns and historical people, both of which could use improvement.

Key Questions

  • How can local government/citizen/museum/library/etc. participation be encouraged?
  • What old images are wanted/needed vs. clutter?

Potential Costs

Scanners? Depends upon the contributing user.


Community Discussion

Do you have a thought about this proposal? A suggestion? Discuss this proposal by going to Proposal talk:Local image and content hunting and digitalizing.

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