Wikimedia Foundation Receives $3 Million for Structured Data Project

The San Francisco-based Wikimedia Foundation has announced a $3 million grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to make freely licensed images accessible and reusable across the World Wide Web.

The grant will support Wikimedia community efforts to enable the addition of structured data to the more than thirty-five million freely licensed media files in Wikimedia Commons, making it easier for people and institutions to share, access, and reuse high-quality and free educational content across the Web. Wikimedia Commons includes files donated by institutions with substantial media collections, including the Smithsonian, NASA, and the British Library.

Over the next three years, Wikimedia will use the funds to connect Wikimedia Commons with Wikidata, the central storage repository for structured data within the Wikimedia family, and enable contributors to add more precise, multilingual, and reusable data to media files. The Wikimedia Foundation is partnering on the project with Wikimedia Deutschland, an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting Wikimedia projects in Germany that developed and oversaw Wikidata's initial operations and continues to manage its technical and engineering roadmap.

"At Wikimedia, we believe the world should have access to the sum of all knowledge, from encyclopedia articles to archival images," said Wikimedia Foundation executive director Katherine Maher. "Wikimedia Commons is a vast library of freely licensed photography, video, and audio that illustrates knowledge and the internet itself. With this project, and in partnership with the Wikimedia community of volunteer contributors, we hope to expand the free and open internet by supporting new applications of the millions of media files on Wikimedia Commons. We are grateful for the generous support of the Sloan Foundation, our longtime funders, in this important work."