Leiden University Libraries donates 2400 historical photos of Asia to Wikimedia
The importance of the donation is improved access to the history of Indonesia and India. The photos may be used in Wikipedia articles and are easily accessible to an international public.
The Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV) has brought in more than 2,400 photos to Wikipedia. Leiden University Libraries (UBL), which manages this photo collection, has made this donation possible together with the Working Group on Special Scientific Libraries (WSWB). Imports of these images in Wikimedia Commons (the "Image Database" of Wikipedia) was done by Special Wikipedian in Residence, Hans Muller. The importance of the donation is the improvement of access to the history of Indonesia and India. The photos may be used in articles in Wikipedia, but are also now easily accessible for research and use in articles, blogs and various other applications.
Due to this donation to the Wikimedia Commons, the historical photos are also available for the public domain. This means that everyone is allowed to use the pictures for free and thus this photo collection has a much more global audience. The worldwide public also has an opportunity to improve and supplement the captions of the photographs when needed.
The rich photo collection features images taken in the period 1860-1915. The collection includes works by renowned photographers from the Dutch East Indies, as Isidore of Kinsbergen working in India and the Javanese court photographer Kassian Céphas and his son Sem. Also recordings made by the in India-based renowned photographic studio Bourne & Shepherd are now accessible in Wikipedia. It was already possible to consult the pictures on the website of the KITLV.
Wikimedia Commons now contains 26 million images. The KITLV pictures can be consulted on Wikimedia Commons by searching with the search KITLV, possibly supplemented by a geographical place or name of a photographer or subject. The search can be done in Dutch and English. Captions have been translated into Indonesian thanks to the help of Wikipedian Revo Soekatno. The photo collection, regarding the photographs from the Dutch East Indies, can thus be searched in Indonesian also.