News

Switzerland’s ETH-Bibliothek is uploading 134,000 images to Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Walter Mittelholzer via ETH-Bibliothek, public domain/CC0.

134,000 images are being uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, a central repository for free media, from ETH-Bibliothek, Switzerland’s largest public scientific and technical library.

Most of the photographs are being drawn from their aerial photograph holdings (70,000 in all) and 40,000 from the archives of Swissair, the national airline of the country until its bankruptcy in 2002.

The first 18,000 uploads come from Walter Mittelholzer, a Swiss aviation pioneer and entrepreneur. In his travels, which included the first north–south flight across the African continent, he took thousands of aerial photographs from places as varied as Spitsbergen (1923), a Norwegian island in the Arctic Ocean; Persia (1924–25); Kilimanjaro, the dormant volcano in modern-day Tanzania (1929–30); and Ethiopia (1934). You can see examples of his work sprinkled throughout this blog post.

Photo by Walter Mittelholzer via ETH-Bibliothek, public domain/CC0.
Photo by Walter Mittelholzer via ETH-Bibliothek, public domain/CC0.

“Mittelholzer captured sensational aerial images of landscapes, many of which had never been photographed from a bird’s-eye view before,” ETH-Bibliothek project coordinator Michael Gasser said. Mittelholzer utilized these images in a series of popular books that chronicled his trips into the-then great unknown; today, his work is used in post-colonial research.

Other images being uploaded come from are historical photographs of ETH-Bibliothek’s campus in Zurich, along with portraits of professors, students, and scientists at the same location.

Photo by Walter Mittelholzer via ETH-Bibliothek, public domain/CC0.
Photo by Walter Mittelholzer via ETH-Bibliothek, public domain/CC0.

Gasser says that while all of these images being are already available on the internet, ETH-Bibliothek is “facilitating access to these valuable image sources … we are trying to bring the material to where the users are.” All are licensed under CC BY-SA or are in the public domain.

The project to upload them to Wikimedia Commons stems from a collaboration between ETH-Bibliothek and Wikimedia CH, an independent organization that works to advance the Wikimedia movement in Switzerland, which was initiated through mutual contacts at Open Data.ch, the Swiss chapter of the Open Knowledge Foundation.

You can see the images for yourself as they are being uploaded over on Commons.

Ed Erhart, Editorial Associate
Wikimedia Foundation

Photo by Walter Mittelholzer via ETH-Bibliothek, public domain/CC0.
Photo by Walter Mittelholzer via ETH-Bibliothek, public domain/CC0.

Related

Read further in the pursuit of knowledge

Wikimedia Sound Logo

The search for The Sound of All Human Knowledge begins: Global contest aims to identify the first ever sound logo for Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects

This post is also available in: اَلْعَرَبِيَّةُ, 中文, Bahasa Indonesia, Deutsch, Español, Français, हिंदी, Русский, Português, & 한국어. 13 September 2022 — Today, the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit that supports Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects, is launching The Sound of All Human Knowledge, a global contest to find a sound logo for Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects.….

Read more

A growing Wikimedia movement, with training and learning at its core

How do we make knowledge creation truly participatory for every community on our planet? The Wikimedia movement has been growing steadily, with more volunteers joining, and new affiliate groups created every year. Affiliates represent our movement at the local level and are charged with organizing activities and events to get people and organizations involved in….

Read more

India’s Wikimedia communities adapt the Wikipedia Library to their own contexts

Wikipedia’s article on the culture of India notes that the country contains “thousands of distinct and unique … languages, religion [and] customs [that] differ from place to place within the country.” To bring the vast knowledge of these many differing cultures to the world requires volunteers who both understand individual languages, religions and cultures of….

Read more

Help us unlock the world’s knowledge.

As a nonprofit, Wikipedia and our related free knowledge projects are powered primarily through donations.

Donate now

Connect Conecta

Stay up-to-date on our work.

Get email updates

Subscribe to news about ongoing projects and initiatives.

This mailing list is powered by MailChimp. The Wikimedia Foundation will handle your personal information in accordance with this site’s privacy policy.

Contact a human

Questions about the Wikimedia Foundation or our projects? Get in touch with our team.
Contact

Photo credits

ETH-BIB-Abessinier_mit_Messer_in_der_Hand-Abessinienflug_1934-LBS_MH02-22-1118.tif

Wikimedia Sound Logo

Wikimedia Sound Logo press release image-05

Wikimedia Foundation

CC BY-SA 4.0

WmCon2018 LearningDays 26

Alexandra Wang/Wikimedia Foundation

CC BY-SA 4.0