Working with Structured Data on Commons: A Status Report

Editathon at national archive.-American University COMM535.JPG
File:Editathon_at_national_archive.-American_University_COMM535.JPG () by Xiaweiyang, CC-BY-SA-3.0.
English: American University SOC students helping National Archive scan files and photos.

The beginnings of Structured Data on Commons have been available for a little over half a year now, so let’s take a look at how editors can already work with it, and what more is coming soon. (Disclaimer: though the author is a Wikimedia chapter employee, this post is written in a volunteer capacity only.)

What’s already available

You can, of course, edit the structured data (captions and statements) directly on the file pages. Like any other changes, these edits will show up in the page history, in recent changes, on your watchlist, etc., so other editors can see, inspect, patrol, improve or undo them as usual. This is a great way to get started with Structured Data and get a grasp on how it works.

The Upload Wizard supports structured data as well, and you can set captions on each file before uploading it (and, like with the description, categories, etc., you can copy one file’s captions into remaining files, if you want to use the same caption for a whole batch of uploads), as well as edit each file’s statements.

Another way to add Structured Data is offered by the ISA tool, which is focused on improving the metadata of pictures uploaded as part of “Wiki Loves …” campaigns. It allows participants to add captions in different languages, as well as “depicts” statements, to photos that are part of the campaign (as selected by the campaign coordinator via a category). The coordinator can optionally limit a campaign to only captions or statements if they don’t want to overwhelm their participants or they think that only one of those aspects is necessary.

The Wikipedia Android app also allows you to edit the captions of images embedded in Wikipedia articles. (The iOS app doesn’t seem to have any such feature.)

You can also search the structured data in the regular wiki search, using special search keywords. The full documentation is at mw:Help:Extension:WikibaseCirrusSearch, but the most important keywords are hascaption, incaption and haswbstatement: hascaption:en searches for files that have an English caption, incaption:"search text" searches for “search text” in a file’s captions (and not in its description, categories, etc.), and haswbstatement:P180 searches for files that have a matching statement. All of these can be combined with other search terms as usual – for example, “adoptado hascaption:es -hascaption:fr haswbstatement:P180=Q146” searches for files that depict cats and where the (non-structured) description contains the word «adoptado» (“adopted” in Spanish) which have a caption in Spanish but not in French.

There is also a way to edit the statements of multiple files at once: the user script Add to Commons / Descriptive Claims (AC/DC), written by yours truly, lets you add the same collection of statements (including qualifiers) to a whole set of files. You can use this, for example, to add a suitable “depicts” statement to all the files in a category. (But make sure that all the files actually depict the category subject and are not merely related to it! This wouldn’t work at all for Category:Käthe Kollwitz, for example, because it combines media depicting her with media by her. Sometimes suitable subcategories like Category:Potraits of Käthe Kollwitz exist.)

And finally, if you’re a technical expert you can always use the MediaWiki and Wikibase APIs directly to make any edits you want – for example, User:Multichill did this during the Wikimedia Hackathon 2019 in T223746.

What’s coming soon

A full-featured SPARQL query service for Structured Data on Commons is in the works (T141602); this basically blows the haswbstatement search keyword mentioned earlier out of the water, letting you search not just for simple “has statement” matches but providing a powerful way to query the whole data graph. For example, this will make it possible to search for files that were taken anywhere within a certain city (without having to mention that city on each file – connections from districts etc. to the surrounding city are already on Wikidata), or files depicting animals within a certain family or order. It will also allow users to query the qualifiers of statements, which is not possible in the regular search either. Regular search will remain the best way to search within the file captions (or traditional descriptions), but fortunately the two can be combined using MWAPI.

Lua support is also underway; this will make it possible to embed the structured data in the wikitext, usually via templates. For example, {{Location}} could be updated to get the coordinates from the structured data (specifically the property coordinates of the point of view) if they are not specified as a template argument, similar to how on many Wikipedias, {{official website}} gets the official website from Wikidata if it’s not specified as a template argument. Other templates could also automatically categorize images based on their structured data, similar to how {{Wikidata infobox}} already adds some parent categories to category pages based on the information in Wikidata. This will be up for discussion and implementation by the community, of course.

We can also expect to see support for Structured Data on Commons in more tools. QuickStatements, the Swiss Army knife for editing Wikidata, will hopefully gain support for editing captions and statements on Commons soon (T181062 – in fact there is some very rudimentary support already, but it’s so fragile that I don’t want to give any guidance on it). This will allow for more fine-grained editing than the AC/DC user script mentioned above, though I hope that AC/DC will remain useful as a more user-friendly tool for a common use-case. Support for the Pywikibot library (T223820) and the Pattypan upload tool (T181057) are also planned. And tools should learn to work better together: PagePile support in VisualFileChange or Cat-a-lot and AC/DC would allow you to select a set of files using the former tools and then add statements to all of them using the latter, by exchanging the selection of files via the PagePile tool.

Exceptional Photographs Celebrate Play across Africa on Wikipedia

Cape Town, South Africa, 29 July 2019 – In the 5th year of hosting the Wiki Loves Africa photographic competition, Wiki In Africa is pleased to announce the final international winners. During the six weeks of the competition held in February and March 2019, 1335 people contributed just shy of 9000 images, sound files and videos files that broadly capture Play! across the continent.

A jury of photographers from across Africa deliberated on the 8,9811 images. The jury selected images that provide a brief glimpse at sheer variety of ways in which people across Africa spend their spare time – some are universal, others particular to their way of life. After an exhaustive jury process that lasted several intense weeks, they decided on the following winners:

Playing in the Nuba mountains.jpg
File:Playing_in_the_Nuba_mountains.jpg () by Marco Gualazzini, CC-BY-SA-4.0.
English: South Sudan, Unity State. Yida refugee camp in South Sudanese territory, 20 km far from the border with Sudan. The camp hosts 68,000 refugees from the Nuba Mountains. For over two years now, Sudan’s government has waged a bombing campaign against the civilians it accuses of supporting the Nuban rebels. Cheap shrapnel bombs are dropped out of Antontov cargo planes nearly every day. The campaign caused terror to the people of the Nuba mountain range, forcing many to flee, and making it almost impossible for others to plant crops and tend their farms.
People at work icon
This is an image with the theme “Play” from:
South Sudan

1st place prize goes to the image Playing in the Nuba Mountains by Marco Gualazzini taken in South Sudan. Download link

Hide from each other.jpg
File:Hide_from_each_other.jpg () by Summering2018, CC-BY-SA-4.0.
People at work icon
This is an image with the theme “Play” from:

2nd Prize goes to Peekaboo by Summer Kamal taken in Egypt. Download link

My Skills.jpg
File:My_Skills.jpg () by Mohamed Hozyen Ahmed , CC-BY-SA-4.0.
English: Children playing street football in Egypt, one of the most famous games in Africa. Boys playing hard and showing their skills and how talented they are .
People at work icon
This is an image with the theme “Play” from:

3rd prize goes to Teenagers in street by Mohamed Hozyen Ahmed (also from Egypt). Download link

Filles lutteuses++++.jpg
File:Filles_lutteuses++++.jpg () by Yvonne youmbi, CC-BY-SA-4.0.
People at work icon
This is an image with the theme “Play” from:

The prize for Women in Sport : Girls fighting by Yvonne Youmbi from Cameroon. Download link

ألعاب الفنتازيا و الفروسية من الشرق الجزائري 3.jpg
File:ألعاب_الفنتازيا_و_الفروسية_من_الشرق_الجزائري_3.jpg () by Sofiane mohammed amri, CC-BY-SA-4.0.
العربية: الفانتازيا؛ وتسمى أيضا الخيالة والباردية والتّبُوريدَة وصحاب البارود اسم يطلق على عروض فروسية، تحاكي هجمات عسكرية، تمارس في بلدان المغرب العربي، في مختلف مناطقها، العربية والأمازيغية والصحراوية، إضافة إلى بلدان أوروبية كفرنسا وبلجيكا، بين جالياتها المغاربية

تمتد التسمية أيضا يطلق على النوع الرياضي المرتبط بهذا الفن. تكمن رمزيتها في تجسيدها لتعلق شعوب المغرب العربي بالأحصنة والفروسية، التي تمثل رمزاً تاريخياً وتراثياً تتوارث الأجيال العناية به. يتم في مشاهد الفانتازيا استخدام بعض ألعاب الخيل أو البارود من خلال تمثيليات لبعض الهجمات يشنها فرسان على متن خيولهم المزينة، مطلقين لعيارات من البارود. وهي ذات شعبية واسعة لدى الجمهور، وتشكل الفرجة الرئيسية للمهرجانات الثقافية والفنية (المعروفة ب«الموسم» أو «الوعدة»)، التي تنظم في المناطق القروية المغاربية. وتتمتع بجاذبية قوية بسبب قدرتها على إبهار المشاهدين بفضل صبغة الغموض والأساطير التاريخية القديمة التي تجعلها تضفي تأثيرا وسحرا خاصين علي محبي تلك المشاهد

كانت الفانتازيا ثابتا في الاحتفالات والأعياد الكبرى، مثل حفلات الزفاف والولادات والأعياد الدينية والمواسم الثقافية الفنية، ثم انحسرت تدريجيا، في بعض المناطق المغاربية إلى الجانب السياحي الثقافي البحت. مازالت الشعوب والقبائل المغاربية تحافظ قدر المستطاع على هذه العادة رغم المؤثرات الخارجية، أهمها العولمة، وهي تعتبر استحضارا لملاحمها العسكرية التاريخية، ورمزا للقوة والشجاعة والإقدام.
People at work icon
This is an image with the theme “Play” from:

Special prize for traditional forms of play goes to Horses by Sofiane Mohammed Amri in Algeria. Download link

Just as the prizes represent many different ways of playful and recreational relaxation, so too do the experience levels of the prize winning photographers. Marco Gualazzini is a professional photographer for the last 15 years from Italy who’s award winning career has led him to “focus my work almost exclusively on conflicts and humanitarian crisis in Africa”. 

He explained that “I took this picture in South Kordofan where I developed a story on the aerial bombing campaign conducted by the Sudan’s army. Civilians fled to caves in the Nuba Mountains to avoid the aerial bombardment. Humanitarian aid organizations pulled out their workers and the government of Sudan banned journalists from entering the region. Nowadays there is no reliable data on the number of people who have lost limbs, or been physically affected in other ways, since the war began in the Nuba Mountain region in June of 2011. To this day it remains illegal for NGOs to work in the field and for journalists, both national and international, to report on the rebellion taking place in the Nuba Mountains.

“I shoot this picture in the Yida Refugee Camp. We got in the South Kordofan through the South Sudan. One day I saw the children play on the Antonov’s wreak, and I knew the Sudan’s government was using those Antonovs to drop the bombs that were killing those same children or their parents, or their friends. The contrast was so striking I decide to take this picture. Most of the time I sat down and I waited in order to give to the children the time to get used to me being there. After a while they started to play again, and then along came this shot.”

Second prize winner, Summer Kamal, used to work as a teacher. She recently resigned to practice her favorite hobby, photography. She explained that she took this shot on a trip with  “Adasa” Club for Photography to Nuba City in Upper Egypt: “As I was walking through the streets of Nubia City in Upper Egypt, two children were playing together and I was waiting for the right moment.”

Third prize winner, Mohamed Hozyen Ahmed, started photography since 4 years ago and has joined several contests and exhibitions. Last January he won the 3rd place of contest in Egypt  about Beautiful Egypt, and was honored by the Pope of the Egyptian Church in the Patriarchate in Egypt. He especially loves street and documentary photography which shows in his winning shot that was captured one friday morning. As he recalls, it was “a walk in the historically famous area in Cairo call Moaaz Street. I found these guys having a real football match, which I love and took me back to my old days when I was young and used to play in the streets. The game that is adored in Egypt is football! So I stayed and kept watching them. I found that they are really talented. So I took some shots of them while they were playing. This picture is one of the shots and I was blessed to get the right moment to take the picture before the boy scored an amazing goal as he showed his beautiful skills.” 

Wiki Loves Africa chose Play! as the central theme for the 2019 visual celebration of Africa’s cultural diversity on Wikipedia. The competition ran from the 1st February to 15th March 2019 and entries were welcomed from anywhere on the continent and beyond. View the video below for more details on the competition:

Everyone was encouraged to contribute photos that reflected the theme to the competition. Events were held in 19 countries – Algeria, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ghana, Guinée, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe – to inspire further contribution and build Wikipedia savvy communities around the competition. These events took on the form of introductory workshops, photographic excursions and upload sessions . The events also encouraged ongoing pride in local heritage and cultural practice, as well as to foster a culture of contribution to the internet to shake up the single story of Africa.

For the last five years, the Wiki Loves Africa contest has encouraged the donation of nearly 50,000 photographs to Wikimedia Commons for potential use on Wikipedia. In the first year, under the theme Cuisine, 873 people contributed 6,116 photographs. Cultural fashion and adornment was the theme for the next year, 2015, which saw 722 people contribute over 7,500 photographs. In 2016, Music and Dance contributed 7917 files from 836 people. In 2017, under the theme “People at Work” 18,294 photographs were entered by 2,473 people.

Wiki Loves Africa is activated by the Wikimedia community that created Wikipedia in support of WikiAfrica movement. The competition was conceptualised and is managed by Florence Devouard and Isla Haddow-Flood of Wiki In Africa as a fun and engaging way to rebalance the lack of visual representations and relevant content that exists about Africa on Wikipedia. The competition is supported by, is funded by the Wikimedia Foundation and supported in-kind by UNESCO and a host of local partners in individual countries. The images donated are available for use on the internet and beyond, under the Creative Commons license CC BY SA 4.0.


About Wiki In Africa

Wiki In Africa empowers and engages the citizens of Africa and its diaspora to collect, develop and contribute open educational and relevant content that relates to the theme of Africa under a free license; and to engage in global knowledge systems by encouraging access to, awareness of, and support for open knowledge, the open movement and the Wikimedia projects, working in collaboration with like-minded organisations.

Wiki In Africa is a non-profit organisation that is based in South Africa. It is the financial and legal structure that operates global initiatives in support of the WikiAfrica movement. The organisation is currently lead by Iolanda Pensa, Florence Devouard and Isla Haddow-Flood. 

During 2019 it is working on WikiFundi and the WikiChallenge African Schools (funded by the Orange Foundation), WikiAfrica Schools, Wiki Loves Africa and Wiki Loves Women.   

About WikiAfrica

WikiAfrica is an international movement that takes place on the African continent and beyond. It encourages individuals, interested groups and organisations to create, expand and enhance online content about Africa. This involves motivating for the representation of the continent’s contemporary realities and history, its peoples and its innovations on the world’s most used encyclopaedia, Wikipedia. WikiAfrica is not owned by one organisation and it belongs to all people and organisations contributing to its scope.

In its various guises and hosted at several institutions (including lettera27, Africa Centre,, Short Story Day Africa, Wikimedia CH and Wiki In Africa), the WikiAfrica movement has consistently instigated and led multi-faceted innovative projects. These projects have activated communities and driven content onto Wikipedia. Examples include Share Your Knowledge, #OpenAfrica training Courses and Toolkits, Kumusha Bus (in Ethiopia and Ghana), WikiEntrepreneur (in Ethiopia and Malawi), Kumusha Takes Wiki (Cote d’Ivoire and Uganda), Wikipedia Primary (funded by SUPSI), Wikipack Africa, WikiAfrica Schools, WikiFundi, WikiChallenge, WikiAfrica Schools, Wiki Loves Women and Wiki Loves Africa

About Foundation was created in 1998 on the invitation of Swiss Confederation to facilitate, identify and promote new learning culture within digital environments. In 2006 it changed its status from association to foundation, as an independent body within civil society. Based in the university campus of Battelle (Geneva, Switzerland), it is serving public interest in multilateral projects and private-public partnership. 60-80 contributors each year, including experts, social entrepreneurs and volunteers, are contributing to mission of promoting responsible behaviours in digital environment. has been successfully audited for its activities (2013 – 2015), at European level, both as coordinator and partner on two separate EU projects. 

About the Wikimedia Foundation

The Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. is the nonprofit charitable organisation that is dedicated to encouraging the growth, development and distribution of free, multilingual, educational content, and to providing the full content of these wiki-based projects to the public free of charge. The Wikimedia Foundation operates some of the largest collaboratively edited reference projects in the world, including Wikipedia, a top-ten internet property.

Art+Feminism is looking for an Executive Director to help further the vision we’ve developed over the past six years.

MoMA Art Feminism 2019 80.jpg
File:MoMA_Art_Feminism_2019_80.jpg () by Manuel Molina Martagon, CC-BY-SA-4.0.
English: 2019 Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon at The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Founded in 2014, Art+Feminism is an award-winning do-it-yourself campaign to improve coverage of gender, feminism and the arts on Wikipedia. Wikipedia’s gender trouble is well-documented; in a 2011 survey, the Wikimedia Foundation found that less than 10% of its contributors identify as women. This lack of participation has led to significant gaps in the content on the world’s most popular online research tool. Since 2014, over 14,000 people at more than 1,100 events around the world have participated in our edit-a-thons, resulting in the creation and improvement of more than 58,000 articles on Wikipedia. Our events range from small gatherings at coffee shops to hundreds of folks at the largest cultural institutions in the world and take place on all six inhabited continents. Our organizing practices are horizontal and rhizomatic and our feminism is trans-inclusive and intersectional.

The Executive Director sets the strategic vision and executes the annual plan in collaboration with the Lead Organizers and manages relationships with the Board of Directors. The Executive Director, Lead Co-Organizers, and the Project Administrator form the Core Leadership Team of Art+Feminism. The Executive Director must have strong project management skills, a demonstrated history of work at the intersection of the arts and social justice, an understanding of intersectional feminist organizing principles, experience generating diverse financial support, and a knowledge of the Wikimedia community or another open-source/online community. Art+Feminism is entering into its seventh year but this will be our first year as a non-profit. While we do have great systems in place for community organizing, we seek an Executive Director who is also skilled at operations and development, and committed to developing leadership among other members of the team. Because the position requires international outreach and coordination, fluency in at least one language other than English is preferred.

The Executive Director’s responsibilities include:


  • Work with the Core Leadership Team to provide a strong day-to-day leadership presence that incorporates our mission, vision, and values into our everyday operations.
  • Work with the Board of Directors and the Core Leadership Team to develop the project’s mission, vision and values.
  • Draft strategic planning documents alongside the rest of the Core Leadership Team.
  • Represent Art+Feminism at art and social justice conferences, events, and Wikimedia Community gatherings.
  • Manage all staff and contractors, including the Project Administrator
  • Collaborate with the lead organizers to plan and implement the annual campaign.


  • Lead development goals and activities including grants administration and reporting.
  • Lead various fundraising activities.
  • Write grant proposals and compile supporting documents.
  • Recruit Board Members and cultivate Board.
  • Work with Core Leadership Team and Regional Organizers to identify and cultivate new funding sources.

Marketing and Communications

  • Work with the Core Leadership Team to oversee the development and execution of an annual communications plan, including marking, social media, and educational programming.


  • Co-manage key institutional partnerships, such as with the Museum of Modern Art.
  • Maintain and ensure the execution of project timelines.
  • Establish, improve and maintain efficient operations and project management platforms.
  • Direct and administer all financial plans and work with the Project Administrator to manage accounting processes for grant reporting and federal reporting.
  • Oversee regular meetings with Core Leadership Team members
  • Compose budgets for specific programs and processes.
  • Oversee risk management and legal activities, such as contracts
  • Work with the Project Administrator to analyze and improve operations and workflows.


  • Must be passionate about and have experience with the arts, intersectional feminism, and open source culture.
  • Must have demonstrated a commitment to developing leadership among other members of the team.
  • Requires proven fundraising and development experience.
  • Requires a minimum of 3 years of non-profit leadership experience or equivalent experience; 5 years preferred.
  • Requires strong self-awareness and high emotional intelligence.
  • Must have the ability to work independently and as part of a team.
  • Requires a demonstrated ability to develop and maintain productive working relationships with colleagues (e.g. staff, volunteers, donors, and board members.)
  • Preferably have strong financial management skills and analytical abilities.
  • Preferably have experience editing, organizing, or analyzing Wikipedia.
  • Preferably have experience with metrics/analytics tools.
  • Preferably have experience with project management and customer relations tools (we use Slack, Streak, and Trello.)
  • Requires flexibility to work evenings and weekends, and to travel for the role.

Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors. This position is entirely remote; the Core Leadership Team, which is located in four different cities, meets weekly via video chat. The candidate must be legally authorized to work in the United States. Due to our funding structure, this role is currently a one-year contract beginning September 1, 2019, with an expectation for renewal, pending the successful accomplishment of the above tasks.

Salary Range: $60-75,000/year. This is currently an independent contractor position but may be transitioned to employee status, depending on our legal and accounting advice. Application Deadline: August 13, 2019

Art+Feminism provides equal employment opportunities to all without regard to race, ethnicity, color, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability or genetics. Candidates from groups underrepresented in tech are especially encouraged to apply.

To apply, please send a cover letter and resume to us at

Building a multilingual Space, part I

Dodhara Chadani Bridge, Kanchanpur.jpg
File:Dodhara_Chadani_Bridge,_Kanchanpur.jpg () by Hopingyousuf, CC-BY-SA-4.0. Array

A critical part of Space’s mission is to offer a welcoming and accessible place for all movement contributors. And how can you be welcoming, accessible and monolingual, you ask? Great question. You can’t. 

Today, we officially embarked on the (long and winding) journey toward making Space a fully-functioning multilingual forum. 

Your language preference can now be set in your interface preferences. Anonymous users will have their language automatically set from their web browser’s language headers.

When using another language you’ll notice that, while Discourse software’s content is translated to varying degrees, all of the content that we have customized in our theme (like the header menu, for example) remains in English. Our next step is to add localizable strings to our theme components to make the UI smoother across languages.

As said, this is just the beginning, and even Discourse translations are far from complete. Notice something missing in your language? You can contribute!

Discourse is being translated by the Discourse community in Transifex. To get started, sign up for an account and join the Discourse project.

To support translators, both in the context of Space and in the Wikimedia projects in general, we are also opening a new category in Space, Translations. Translators have been a cornerstone of our movement, doing the difficult but critical work of making Wikimedia content accessible across the globe. This category will serve as a hub for translators to connect, collaborate and support one another. Have a look around the new category, and change your notifications settings to “Watching” to stay up to date on all conversations within it.

If you’re interested in how multilingual features will continue to be developed into the future, and in providing input on the overall plan, feel free to comment in Discussions in many languages, organized by tags, or open a new topic in Translations.