The Collaborative Production and Consumption of Structured Multimedia Data

We are studying how collaboratively produced structured data impacts the curation and discoverability of multimedia content in free knowledge repositories.

structured multimedia data image

Project overview

Wikimedia Commons is one of the world’s largest free-licensed media repositories. It contains more than 40 million image, audio, and video files, which are curated by volunteers. Like Wikipedia, anyone can contribute to Wikimedia Commons. Both projects are built on Mediawiki, a software platform which was originally designed to host text, not rich media. As the variety and amount of multimedia formats has increased over time, the architecture of Wikimedia Commons has created challenges for everyone who uses it.

The Wikimedia Foundation has launched a multi-year program to build a structured data layer into Wikimedia Commons based on the WikiBase platform. This will make it easier to capture metadata for multimedia content, upload rich media, and search for specific files. The research component of this project seeks to understand the impact of structured data integration on important Wikimedia Commons stakeholders, such as media contributors, curators, and consumers.

The focus of this research project is to understand the current issues and unmet needs of Wikimedia Commons users. We want to explore the ways new structured data–driven functionality can address these needs. We also want to comprehensively understand the current workflows of core contributors and curators to minimize disruption to their work as we implement the new structured data–driven functionality.

Recent updates

  1. Technical needs of external re-users of Commons media

    We started a new research project aiming to understand the current painpoints and unmet needs of individuals and organizations discovering, remixing and reusing media from Wikimedia Commons.
  2. Curation workflows on Wikimedia Commons

    We published a new report seeking to understand the current workflows of Commons contributors who curate media in order to identify opportunities to support these workflows better with new software or new metadata.
  3. GLAM and Structured Data on Commons

    A video presentation of our findings from interviews and surveys with GLAM stakeholders in structured data on Commons.
  4. Supporting Commons contribution by GLAM institutions

    We kicked off a project aiming to understand the need for and potential impact of structured data integration on GLAM institutions (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums).

Project team

Jonathan Morgan


Amanda Bittaker (Wikimedia Foundation), Niharika Ved (University of Michigan)

Resources and links