Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons Tools for Curators

There is lots of great information about organisms available from Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons. EOL is importing much of this content, and we are presenting it to visitors as unreviewed. Curators are asked to trust valuable Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons materials so they can become part of the vetted EOL collection. Since biodiversity information from these sites is not ideally structured to facilitate import by EOL, we know we are missing some valuable content. Curators can help us to discover these articles and images so they can be added to the harvests. 

Wikipedia Articles

Please note: EOL currently only imports Wikipedia articles from the family level down to the species level; i.e., we do not pick up articles for orders, classes, etc.  Also, our harvest can import a Wikipedia article only if it has well-formed taxonomy information in the taxobox.

In addition to trusting an entire Wikipedia article, curators can also repurpose parts of Wikipedia articles for use in particular subchapters of EOL taxon pages.   Learn more about this approach: Re-using Wikipedia content.

Wikimedia Commons Files

The EOL harvester attempts to import media files (images, sounds, and videos) which have taxonomic information. However, it can miss some great stuff. If a curator finds valuable content on Wikimedia Commons that is not yet imported to EOL, they can make changes in the wiki to help us find it during the next harvest.

The most common reasons for the EOL harvester overlooking a media file are:

In these cases, you may be able to help the EOL harvester to find these files as follows:

Files missing a suitable taxonomic association

You can associate a media file with a suitable taxonomic category by adding that category directly to the file page. Alternatively, you can place the image in a suitable taxonomic gallery. If appropriate, you can even do both. Often there will be an appropriate category or gallery already on Wikimedia Commons, which can be found using the Wikimedia Commons search box. Categories start with the word Category: (e.g. Category:Homo sapiens), whereas galleries just have the taxon name (e.g. Homo sapiens). If a category or gallery cannot be found for the taxon name you enter, you will be given the option to create a gallery for this taxon on the wiki. You can prepend Category: to the search to be given the option to create a category page instead.

Which should I use: categories or galleries?

Categories and galleries serve different purposes on Wikimedia Commons. Categories are encouraged for all media files, whereas galleries are meant to display a selection of high quality or useful content. Adding an appropriate category to an image, video, or sound of an organism is nearly always recommended. But if you think any media files are exemplary, or show features of the organism that others do not, it is sensible to place them in the relevant galleries too.

Category use

To place a media file into a taxonomic category, edit the wiki page for that file and add [[Category:Taxon name]] to the bottom. Take, for example, the file File:Culex_pipiens_head.jpg. Clicking on the edit tab, you can see that [[Category:Culex pipiens]] has been added to the end of the file.

You should try to use the most precise taxonomic category possible, leaving out any higher level categories. For example, if you know a picture of a plant is some sort of Prunus species, you should add [[Category:Prunus]], but you do not also need to add [[Category:Rosaceae]], [[Category:Angiosperms]], or [[Category:Plantae]]. If you know more specifically that it is an almond, you can use [[Category:Prunus_dulcis]], and you do not need to use [[Category:Prunus]] at all. In other words, do not include parent categories: a practice which is specifically discouraged in Wikimedia Commons.

In some instances, the category for a species or subspecies may have been further subdivided into topic-based sub-categories for which taxonomic information is not appropriate. This is most common in categories that refer to popular organisms, which can have a very large number of image files. For instance, to aid organising, Category:Felis silvestris catus is split into sub-categories which encompass many tens of thousands of cat-related images: Category:Cat equipment, Category:Cat-related signs, Category:Sculptures of cats, and so on. To avoid harvesting all these extra files, the EoL harvester does not import from sub-categories unless they themselves contain taxonomic information. However, this means some useful media files may not be harvested. Take the case of an image which is noteworthy or shows an aspect of biology that is missing from other images, but is placed into a topic-based sub-category which has no taxonomic information (e.g. a photo classified as Category:Ailurus fulgens in zoos rather than simply Category:Ailurus fulgens). Normally, this leads to the EOL harvester ignoring the image. In this case you may wish to highlight the noteworthiness of the image by adding it in an appropriate section of the Gallery page for that taxon (in this example, adding the photo to the gallery Ailurus fulgens). This will ensure that it gets harvested by EoL.

It is quite reasonable to add 2 or more taxonomic categories to a file if it depicts more than one species. In this case, the EoL harvester should pick up both taxonomies (e.g. File:Carpodacus_cassinii.jpg).

If you are dealing with an image of a distribution map, you should additionally categorise the image in [[Category:Distributional_maps_of_organisms]] or (preferably) one of its more specific child categories such as [[Category:Animal_distribution_maps]], [[Category:Picea_distribution_maps]], or whatever. This allows EOL to flag it as a map, which means, for instance, that it will be displayed on a different EOL tab.

Gallery use

To add a media file to a gallery, you must find and edit the correct gallery page, making sure that each media file you wish to add is listed on a separate line within the gallery file, and the whole list is surrounded by a matched set of <gallery>...</gallery> tags. For example:

File:Another file.JPG
File:Add another file here.JPG

Here's an example of a simple gallery page for the ground beetle Elaphrus cupreus. Click on the Edit tab to see the wikitext for this page. Additional instructions are provided in the Wikimedia Commons Gallery Documentation.

Unlike categories, it is sometimes reasonable to place media files in multiple galleries which taxonomically nested. For instance, a particularly good photo of a dog rose could reasonably be placed in the galleries Rosa canina, Rosa, and (if it is deemed an exemplary photo of a flowering plant) conceivably even in Angiosperms. This should not cause the image to be classified using multiple taxonomies, as the EoL harvester tries to recognise nested classifications and use only the most taxonomically precise one.

Categories or galleries missing taxonomic information

If you have just created a new category or gallery, or find one which needs taxonomic information adding or correcting, you should make sure it has a Taxonavigation template near the start of the file. This contains essential taxonomic information for the EOL harvester: we cannot import files if this section is missing. A simple example would be

Species|Elaphrus cupreus|}}

A more complex example might specify a biological authority, as well as using the include= parameter in association with the name of a pro-forma template (here Template:Coleoptera (include)). A number of such templates are available for various taxonomic groups, to avoid repeatedly typing out higher-level detail for different families, genera, etc.

include=Coleoptera (include)|
Species|Elaphrus cupreus|
authority=Duftschmid, 1812}}

This example is taken from the gallery and category pages for Elaphrus cupreus. You can use the wikitext on these pages as a model for creating new category and gallery pages on Wikimedia Commons, and for fixing the wikitext of pages that are missing Taxonavigation information.

In the Taxonavigation section, fossil taxa sometimes have the word Fossil appended to each taxonomic name, for instance, Fossil Animalia, Fossil Mollusca, etc (see this example). For this reason, the EOL harvester ignores the word fossil at the start of all taxonomic group names. Some words are also treated as special cases. Any taxonomic level listed as unidentified, unknown, incertae sedis, or simply incertae is ignored. Also, taxonomic names above the species level cannot contain brackets or spaces (with the exception of the Alpha, Beta etc Proteobacteria). You can also help EOL to find and correctly classify files from Wikimedia Commons by correcting any obvious mistakes (spelling etc.) in the Taxonavigation section.

Files missing licensing information

Once the EOL harvester has located an image in a Wikimedia Commons gallery, we look for further information such as description, authors, GPS location, filetype, and licensing information. The only essential extra information is the license: if we cannot find an appropriate license, we will not harvest the file. We search for licenses in the text of the wiki file and also in the file's hidden categories, listed at the end of the page. Some licenses (e.g., gpl.*, gfdl, gfdl-.*, FAL) are not supported by EOL, so the harvester will ignore those images unless there's also another compatible license listed for the image.

We should be able to catch all images that are released under Creative Commons licenses or marked as public domain, as long as they are marked with something like {{cc-by-sa-3.0}} or {{PD}}. Some other variants we are catching are: pd-.* (e.g., {{PD-USGov-Interior-FWS}}), usaid, nih, copyrighted free use, and CopyrightedFreeUse.

If a file is distributed under several licenses, we attempt to use the least restrictive one. Thus, public domain licenses are preferred over CC-BY, then CC-BY-NC, CC-BY-SA, and finally CC-BY-NC-SA. Within CC types, higher license numbers are preferred, so for example CC-BY-SA-3.0 is preferred over CC-BY-SA-1.0.

If you find Wikimedia Commons images that are featured in a gallery with a proper Taxonavigation section and have license codes that should make them harvestable by EOL, please report the problem in the EOL Discussion Group, so we can refine our harvest algorithm.