Sunday, 24 January 2010

Why do museums prefer Flickr Commons to Wikimedia Commons?

A conversation has sprung up on twitter about why museums prefer Flickr Commons to Wikimedia Commons after Liam Wyatt, Vice President of Wikimedia Australia posted "Flickr Commons is FULL for 2010. GLAMs, Fancy sharing with #Wikimedia commons instead?" and I responded with "has anyone done audience research into why museums prefer Flickr to Wikimedia commons?".  I've asked before because I think it's one of those issues where the points of resistance can be immensely informative.

I was struck by the speed and thoughtfulness of responses from kajsahartig, pekingspring, NickPoole1, richardmccoy and janetedavis, which suggested that the question hit a nerve.

Some of the responses included:
Kasja: Photos from collections have ended up at wikipedia without permission, that never happened with Flickr, could be one reason [and] Or museums are more benevolent when it happens at Flickr, it's seen more as individuals' actions rather than an organisations'?
Nick: Flickr lets you choose CC non-commercial licenses, whereas Wikimedia Commons needs to permit potential commercial use?
Janet: Apart fr better & clear CC licence info, like Flickr Galleries that can be made by all! [and] What I implied but didn't say before: Flickr provides online space for dialogue about and with images.
Richard: Flickr is so much easier to view and search than WM. Commons, and of course easier to upload.
Twitter can be a bit of an echo chamber at times, so I wanted to ask you all the question in a more accessible place.   So, is it true that museums prefer Flickr Commons to Wikimedia Commons, and if so, why?

[Update: Liam's new blog post addresses some of the concerns raised - this responsiveness to the issues is cheering.  (You can get more background at Wikipedia:Advice for the cultural sector and Wikipedia:Conflict of interest.)

Also, for those interested in wikimedia/wikipedia* and museums, there's going to be a workshop 'for exploring and developing policies that will enable museums to better contribute to and use Wikipedia or Wikimedia Commons, and for the Wikimedia community to benefit from the expertise in museums', Wikimedia@MW2010, at Museums at the Web 2010. There's already a thread, 'Wikimedia Foundation projects and the museum community' with some comments.  I'd love to see the 'Incompatible recommendations' section of the GLAM-Wiki page discussed and expanded.

* I'm always tempted to write 'wiki*edia' where * could be 'm' or 'p', but then it sounds like South Park's plane-rium in my head.]

[I should really stop updating, but I found Seb Chan's post on the Powerhouse Museum blog, Why Flickr Commons? (and why Wikimedia Commons is very different) useful, and carlstr summed up a lot of the issues neatly: "One of the reasons is that Flickr is a package (view, comment search aso). WC is a archive of photos for others to use. ... I think Wikipedia/Wikimedia have potential for the museum sector, but is much more complex which can be deterrent.".]

9 comments:

  1. At Hampshire County Council, the Museums Service got 99% to a Flickr Commons agreement, then Flickr said they " need to delay adding more Commons partners until later in the year". That was June 2009. Emails in December have gone unanswered. I don't think we're even going to bother any more

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  2. Would you consider putting the files on Wikimedia Commons? Or are you generally over it?

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  3. To be honest I'd not considered WC, and at this point it would not be a priority.

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  4. caritaSonrienteJanuary 24, 2010

    In Mexico, some people don't like either choice. The prefer doing things like this
    http://lais.mora.edu.mx/ff/

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  5. I've posted a reply from the Powerhouse at Fresh & New.

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  6. Thanks for the international perspective - it's a valuable reminder that American initiatives aren't the only games in town.

    I'm guessing I should be saying hello to Mayra and Ian, but I might have guessed profile names incorrectly so forgive me if so.

    Seb - thanks for the link - good post.

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  7. Perhaps the choice can be summed up as engagement vs access?

    If the photos really are "no [known] copyright" though, as required by both Flickr and Wikimedia Commons, then I guess they'll probably end up on both sites...

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  8. thank for share, its usefull for my paper

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  9. And just a few years later, I'm wondering if it's the difference between designing an experience vs designing a repository. You get a great sense of interaction with the public on Flickr through viewing stats, comments, notes, etc, while that voice of the audience may be missing in Wikimedia Commons.

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