Building Bridges for Open Content: Flickr Foundation’s Link between Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

Kranz on Console

Flickr is thrilled to announce a new partnership between the Flickr Foundation and the Wikimedia Foundation to develop a new software tool for streamlined sharing of CC-licensed images from Flickr to Wikimedia Commons. This collaboration strengthens the visual resources on Wikipedia by harnessing Flickr’s vast Creative Commons collection, enriching content for Wikipedia users and editors.

Bridging the Gap

Flickr is a primary source of imagery for Wikimedia Commons. This new bridge between Flickr and Wikimedia Commons—called “Flickypedia”— aims to create a streamlined experience, where every image shared retains its rightful attribution and licensing credentials, amplifying the spirit of responsible creativity. This, in turn, will expand and enhance the visual appeal and accuracy of Wikipedia articles, catering to the diverse interests and inquiries of users worldwide.

Flickypedia is one of the flagship projects of the Flickr Foundation and this partnership helps support Flickr Foundation’s ongoing commitment to promoting open, responsible access to creative works, while furthering the Wikimedia Foundation’s mission of providing free and accessible knowledge to everyone. 

In an effort to bridge the gap between Flickr’s diverse photography community and the extensive media library of Wikimedia Commons, this collaboration extends the great work already done via the Flickr2Commons tool, developed by Wikimedia community member, Magnus Manske. Notably, the Flickr2Commons tool has been a crucial part of this journey, with close to 2,000 users using it to upload an impressive 5.4 million files over the past decade. This partnership aims to further enhance the experience of uploading and sharing CC-licensed images from Flickr to Wikimedia Commons, so even more Flickr images can become part of the Wikipedia universe.

Street photographer. Smithfield, North Carolina. (LOC)

Building a Foundation 

Starting in 2004, Flickr has been trusted by photographers for nearly 20 years and is the leading hub for photographers and enthusiasts to upload an array of visual content, encompassing photographs, videos, illustrations, and more. Flickr is home to tens of billions of photos worldwide and boasts a notable distinction as one of the internet’s most extensive repositories of Creative Commons-licensed material. Users of Flickr have the ability to designate licenses for their uploaded content, including those specific Creative Commons licenses that are also acknowledged on Wikimedia Commons.

In 2008, George Oates, a designer at Flickr at the time, conceived “The Commons” as a solution for cultural institutions seeking to share their extensive collections of historical photographs with the Flickr community. Launched with the Library of Congress, Flickr embarked on the Flickr Commons program, archiving historical images, driven by two core objectives. Oates says the first was “…to increase exposure to the amazing content currently held in the public collections of civic institutions around the world; and secondly, to facilitate the collection of knowledge about these collections, with the hope that this information would feed back into the catalogs, making them richer and easier to search.”

Flickr introduced the Flickr Commons to enhance public access to photography collections held by global libraries, museums, and archives. Images in this program are shared under a distinctive assertion known as “no known copyright restrictions,” setting them apart from traditional licenses. The initiative is currently embraced by over 100 member institutions, including prominent entities like The U.S. National Archives, NASA on Commons, and the National Library of Scotland.

In 2022, the Flickr Foundation, directed by Oates, was established as a non-profit organization to safeguard Flickr and its extensive collection of photos, securing visibility for 100 years and preserving our shared visual commons for future generations. The foundation is dedicated to creating and maintaining an accessible social and technical framework to ensure the preservation of this invaluable collection.


Setting New Standards

As the partnership continues to grow, Flickr and the Flickr Foundation, along with Wikimedia Commons, look forward to creating a more connected and vibrant ecosystem of openly accessible visual content. By uniting the strengths of these platforms, the collaboration is poised to set new standards for collaborative content creation and sharing in the digital age.

The announcement follows a recent blog post by Wikimedia Foundation detailing the collaborative effort. The blog post, titled “Flickr Foundation is Building a New Bridge Between Flickr and Wikimedia Commons,” outlines the shared vision and goals behind this innovative partnership. 

For more information, you can visit Flickr Commons and the Flickr Foundation to learn more about its initiatives and explore the extensive range of images available on Wikimedia Commons

Women workers install fixtures and assemblies to a tail fuselage section of a B-17F bomber at the Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif. Better known as the "Flying Fortress," the B-17F is a later model of the B-17 which distinguished itself in acti


Written by: Crystal D., Director of Marketing, Flickr

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