Monday, October 13, 2008

A Commons that supports multiple languages

Commons is great, it is the biggest resource of freely usable media files, some 3.363.734 of them. They are a great resource when you are looking for pictures and when you know English. If you do not know English, it might as well not exist.

Given that the Wikimedia Foundation cares about its educational value for everyone, it makes sense for Commons to be used by people who read and write other languages as well. This dream of supporting all the other people as well is an old one; I wrote about it as early as May 2005.

With support of the Digitale Pioniers, we have been enabled to create a proof of concept project. This project does demonstrate that we can do this. The languages that are currently supported are only a few but sufficient to demonstrate the principles.

The issue is that it is for the Wikimedia Foundation to show an interest. There is a growing group of people who have seen that it can do. When I give presentations about this people indicate that this is a "must have" feature. I will talk again at the Wikimedia Conferentie NL and I hope to discuss with the WMF soon what it takes to support multiple languages at Commons but more importantly if it wants to.

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