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Wikimedia Commons celebrates its 10th anniversary

  • 22 million+ images make Wikimedia Commons world’s largest freely licensed educational media repository.

(San Francisco, USA) September 5, 2014 -- This Sunday marks the 10th anniversary of Wikimedia Commons. Its creation was officially announced on September 7, 2004.

More than 22 million media files have been uploaded by the Wikimedia volunteer community over the decade since Commons came into being. The Wikimedia Foundation is extremely grateful to have a dedicated community of creators and institutions who continue to share their images and other media so that the project has flourished and will continue to thrive.

Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Lila Tretikov said: “Many people don’t know that the incredible, freely-licensed images that illustrate Wikipedia are curated and maintained by the volunteer community of Wikimedia Commons editors. Wikimedia Commons is the visual engine of the Wikimedia projects, and we look forward to its next decade of contributions, collaboration, and sharing.”

In the past ten years, creators have contributed to Commons in a variety of ways, including the annual Wiki Loves Monuments contest, which is currently inviting submissions through the end of September. The Guinness Book of World Records named Wiki Loves Monuments the largest photo contest in the world, and it has inspired more 900,000 image uploads since 2010.

On this occasion we also celebrate the partnerships with dozens of cultural institutions (GLAM) from around the world that have donated portions of their collections. Their contributions have allowed Wikimedia Commons to become a vital resource for educational and historical content, and ensured the increasing depth and richness of the illustrations for articles on Wikipedia.

The Foundation recognizes the vibrant Wikimedia Commons community, which is responsible for increasing the availability of freely licensed images and information to the public. The Commons community takes its role as a guardian of the rights of creators extremely seriously, working diligently to confirm authorship and licensing status of the media uploaded to Commons. This work is reflected in the low number of DMCA takedown requests received by the Wikimedia Foundation every year.

Erik Moeller, then a volunteer Wikimedian, first proposed the Commons in March 2004 as a common repository for the images that Wikipedians had begun uploading to illustrate the free online encyclopedia’s growing collection of articles. Today, Moeller is the Wikimedia Foundation’s Deputy Director and VP of Engineering, and Commons is the world’s largest repository of freely licensed educational media on the internet.

“The Wikimedia Commons community is the reason these freely-licensed images exist for everyone to enjoy." said Moeller. “Our next steps are to prepare Wikimedia Commons for the future, including support for rich, structured metadata; a massively improved user experience for uploading media; better tools for editing media content through the web; and better support for video. The first decade was just the beginning.”

The Foundation is thrilled to be celebrating these and many more achievements of the project’s first decade.

About the Wikimedia Foundation


The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organization that operates Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. According to comScore Media Metrix, Wikipedia and the other projects operated by the Wikimedia Foundation receive 413 million unique visitors per month, making them the fifth-most popular web property world-wide (comScore, July 2014). Available in 287 languages, Wikipedia contains more than 32 million articles contributed by a global volunteer community of roughly 80,000 people. Based in San Francisco, California, the Wikimedia Foundation is an audited, 501(c)(3) charity that is funded primarily through donations and grants.

Wikimedia Foundation Press Contact:

Communications, Wikimedia Foundation

+1 415-839-6885 ext 6633