How can you make Wikipedia more attractive to the YouTube generation? Wikipedians have struggled with this question for years, but efforts to add more moving images to the popular only encyclopedia have yet to take off: Only 0.12 percent of all Wikipedia articles contain a video, according to Jesse de Vos from the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, which itself is a major contributor of videos to Wikipedia. “With video on Wikimedia we are still just scratching the surface,” de Vos wrote in a blog post Tuesday.
The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision has uploaded a total of 3,800 videos to Wikimedia Commons, the media repository for Wikipedia. This accounts for close to eight percent of all Wikimedia videos, according to de Vos, which makes the institute the largest single contributor of videos to Wikimedia. Video only accounts for 0.22 percent of all files on Wikimedia, and only around 5,800 articles on the English-language Wikipedia site contain videos.
That’s despite several efforts to grow the use of videos on Wikipedia. The Wikimedia foundation began a cooperation with video platform provider Kaltura in 2008 to bring more video to Wikipedia, and both rolled out an HTML5-based video player for the site in 2012. Dedicated sites like Let’s Get Video on Wikipedia have also beat the drum to add more audio-visual content to the site.
However, adding video to Wikipedia isn’t actually that easy. One major issue is copyright, which prevents many public institutions from adding media to the project. Said de Vos:
Very few archives own all the rights to their audiovisual collections. And because multiple creators are almost intrinsic to the production of audio-visual material, it proves very challenging to find out the legal status of a work, let alone obtain the permission required from all rights holders involved.
For individuals, there could be one additional roadblock: Wikipedia only accepts videos encoded in WebM or Ogg Vorbis, which means that users first have to transcode videos before uploading them to the site. The Wikimedia foundation briefly discussed supporting MP4 earlier this year, but eventually decided against the format.