Wikipedia Pushes for Users to Add Videos

Wikipedia is advocating for users to add videos to its online encyclopedia, which could give academics a new forum in which to share their multimedia work.

Three nonprofit groups — Miro, Mozilla Drumbeat, and the Open Video Alliance — began a campaign this month with support from the Wikimedia Foundation encouraging users to upload videos onto the Web site. Wikipedia asks that videos be short, under 100MB, and comply with the encyclopedia’s rules.

Ben Moskowitz, general director of the Open Video Alliance, said he had talked with a number of universities interested in adding their content to the Web site or participating in data mobbing — using small groups to reach a measured goal such as improving a specific area of Wikipedia. He declined to give names, saying talks are still preliminary.

Mr. Moskowitz said institutions could also see the videos as a beneficial way to teach students and educators how to communicate information in an appealing way.

“Personally, I think this is going to be more and more important as this becomes part of the tool kits students were expected to learn,” he said.

For some institutions, the biggest roadblock to posting video to Web sites is the worry that the videos can be taken by other people, Mr. Moskowitz said. Because information posted on Wikipedia is free, someone can use a posted video for a profit-making venture as long as they provide credit to the content creator.

Mr. Moskowitz said the best strategy for protecting your videos is to keep the HD version of a video for your own use and post the standard-definition version to Wikipedia. Institutions could brand videos as well, although other users could crop out the institutional seal or post a new video in its place.

Lea Shaver, the Access to Knowledge program director for Yale University’s Information Society Project, said the prospect of adding videos to Web sites was an interesting one for academicians. She said that because Wikipedia is such a widely known and widely used platform there could be an impact on the demand and creation of online videos.

“I think this is a very exciting way for academics … who may already be contributing to Wikipedia in text form in areas in their expertise to think about multimedia ways to share their knowledge with a broader audience,” she said.


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