Enjoying art virtually and enriching metadata on Wikimedia platforms

19 Mar 2020

Want to view museums’ collections online, and help them by adding descriptions for their artworks? Wikimedia makes it possible.

Lots of museums’ collections will be locked behind closed doors over the coming weeks. Would you like to help these museums and contribute to their work? You can enjoy (inter)national art collections virtually, and use Wikimedia platforms to add to their descriptions while you’re at it. Bonus: you’ll also be inspired to add to your museum bucket list.

The only thing you need is a computer with an internet connection and a Wikimedia account (which you can create in just a couple of minutes). You can use this account to enrich published museum collections by simply describing what you see. At art.wikidata.link/browse, you can browse through the rich digital array of artworks that museums from all over the world have made available via Wikimedia platforms. You can filter these works of art by museum collection, artist or art movement, for example. So, your browsing doesn’t need to be based purely on good luck; you can search in a very targeted way and still be amazed by numerous works or collections you never knew existed.


Colleague Bart Magnus explains how to get started with Wikimedia, and what you can do with it, in the video (in Dutch) below:

It’s not just collections from abroad that are represented, but also Belgian ones such as sub- or core collections from the VKC museum (Flemish Art Collection) or various core collections from the King Baudouin Foundation (which are stored in various physical locations).

Adding to the descriptions on Wikimedia platforms makes the collections and artworks easier to find. Do you want a break? Then get started and describe what you see via the editable collective Wikidata database: a tree, a house, people. Once you’ve finished your contribution, the platform suggests other works by the same artist or from the same museum, the same movement, with the same elements in the image (e.g. trees, people...), and more. This brings these collections to life in a different way, and increases their visibility, even when we can’t visit the museums in person.


Did you know:

the Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organisation behind the popular online encyclopaedia Wikipedia. It encourages the use of free knowledge with its Wikimedia platforms.


Any questions? Please contact Bart Magnus.