July 1st is Canada Day, and Wikimedia UK and the British Library are today announcing the release of 2,000 historic photographs of Canada.
Since September 2012, we've been working to digitise a collection of historic Canadian photographs and release them onto Wikimedia Commons and into the public domain. The collection itself was acquired between 1895 and 1924 and consists of photographs supplied to support copyright deposits by Canadian photographers between those years. This came about through an arcane piece of colonial law, known snappily as the Colonial Copyright Law, which sought to extend British copyright protection across the empire, while also ensuring the collection of published material from these same areas. In practice, the law was a failure; only a few territories ratified it and even fewer actually deposited materials. Until 1925, however, Canada did implement the law and the Ministry of Agriculture effectively administrated the collection of copyright deposits. A copy of every item was sent to Ottawa and to London, where it was archived by the British Museum and then neglected for decades.
Materials collected from Canada included printed books, sheet music, maps and, of course, photographs. While the photographs were seen as trivial and undervalued at the time, what can now be perceived through the collection is a broad and human view of Canada at a crucial point in its history; a thirty year period when the Confederation developed politically, economically and socially, while garnering an international reputation. The collection itself provides views on this changing nation, from Vancouver to Halifax, with many unknown camera workers alongside well-known figures such as Frank Micklethwaite or William Notman.
All of this combines to create a strange mix of photographic subjects. Photographs of soldiers leaving for World War I are filed alongside images of cute kittens and men wrestling bears; trains are depicted steaming across the nation while boats continue to ply the water-ways; major cities are shown rapidly growing, while new settlements make their first marks in the dirt; and Eastern European immigrants rub shoulders with the First Nations.
Since today (Monday) marks the 146th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation, it seemed an appropriate time to note the upload of the collection to Wikimedia Commons. There are currently just over 2,000 photographs uploaded, each with a duplicate full-resolution TIFF copy, with more to come in the following weeks. All the images are in the public domain, and are freely available for use and reuse - please, enjoy!
You can see more details on the collection on Wikimedia Commons.
Philip Hatfield (Curator, Canadian Collections, British Library) and Andrew Gray (former Wikipedian in Residence, British Library) Funding for the project was given by Wikimedia UK and by the British Library Eccles Centre for American Studies.
During the month of April, Wikimedia Canada is preparing the National Contribution Month, and is looking for experienced contributors to organize a contribution day event.
Contribution days are activities where Wikipedia's contributors, students, or anybody interested in contributing to Wikipedia meet together to collectively improve a predetermined theme. These meetings typically take place in a library where references are easy of access, but can be organized in any communal room. Beside improving articles, an objective of these workshops is to initiate new comers to the collaborative community of Wikipedia.If you are interested in organizing a contribution day, communicate with the national team on the project's talk page.
Users can already use the new editing interface in the English-language Wikipedia. Simply log in, go to the preferences page, and then under the "Editing" tab click "Enable VisualEditor". When looking at articles or their user page, users will see a new tab labelled "VisualEditor" that will let them try the new interface.
During this alpha test, it is recommended that users check all changes made with the new interface to ensure that nothing is broken. Changes made will be tagged in the article history as being made with the VisualEditor to track edits made with the new interface. Some features are still missing and Wikimedia programmers are working to fix bugs. Editors can give their feedback and report malfunctions at VisualEditor/Feedback.Source : Try out the alpha version of the VisualEditor, Wikimedia Foundation, 12 December 2012.
The 2012 edition of Wiki Loves Monuments was a huge venture, involving hundreds of volunteers around the world and requiring a monster of coordination. The statistics of the project speak for themselves: 33 organizing countries, 15,000 participants, 350,000 free-to-use photos uploaded to Commons. International coordination was provided by Wikimedia Netherlands, who led the 33 teams from each of the participating national Wikimedia chapters.
This was Wikimedia Canada's first experience organizing a project of this scale. More than 5,500 photos of monuments and historic places in Canada were uploaded to Commons during the project. Wikipedian volunteers sorted through these pictures to make a shortlist of the one hundred best, with an eye for the ones with the most encyclopedic interest for future use in Wikimedia sister projects. Next, a seven-member jury evaluated the photographs based on a list of criteria including originality, technical quality, composition, and so on. The ten photos that achieved the best scores were sent to the global round for evaluation by an international jury. See the top 10 and top 100 photos from Canada.
The three photographers in Canada who achieved the highest scores will get the Canadian prizes: the first place winner gets a touch tablet, and the two runners up get vouchers of $500 and $250 for the online store Camtec photo, official sponsor of Wiki Loves Monuments 2012 in Canada.
Each of the participating countries sent up to ten of their best photos to the international jury. During November, the jury had to choose between 324 stunning photographs of the world's monuments and historic sites. Four pictures from Canada placed in the top 50 of this international round. The top ten international photos earned prizes such as photography-related vouchers and a trip to Hong Kong connected to the international conference, Wikimania 2013.
A few days after the competition, the Guinness Book of Records certified that the 2011 edition of Wiki Loves Monuments as the largest photography competition in the world. The record is based on the number of entries (photos uploaded) and in 2011, Commons received 168,208 photos, beating the record previously held by a Japanese company since 2009.
Thank you to all participants and organizers! See you for the next edition of Wiki Loves Monuments in September 2013.Source: http://www.wikilovesmonuments.org/
Wikimedia Canada is a non-profit organization committed to the growth, development, and distribution of free educational material and media. It is the official Canadian chapter of the Wikimedia Foundation, which runs many online projects, including Wikipedia, and has chapters in countries around the world. Feel free to register on the Wiki and partake in the discussions.