Structured Data Across Wikimedia/Image Recommendations

This page describes the work underway to design and build image recommendation features for experienced users, which is a tool currently in development by the Structured Data Across Wikimedia team.

This work will build on the work already begun as part of the “Add an image” structured task project. However, its focus will be shifted towards improving the processes for experienced contributors. In particular, we will target two classes of users:

  • users who have uploaded images to Commons (research has shown that this kind of user is very motivated to see their images used across projects);
  • users who have edited or watched a particular article or set of articles (they are likely to be experts in the topic and to have interest in seeing that article(s) improve).

This part of the project is currently in its initial stage, that is collecting feedback from concerned users in order to define a first prototype.


The image recommendation UI is a key component of the SDAW project, aimed at developing systems for structured data across all Wikimedia projects.

Images are key for illustrating concepts and helping people understand subjects. Considering that Wikimedia Commons contains 65 million images, we believe that it is possible to make Wikipedias substantially more illustrated with Commons images. We believe that Structured Data can open an enduring pipeline for enriching content between Commons and Wikipedia. This will help us, in turn, to grow and diversify contributors, improve content for readers, and narrow gaps in content.

Despite that, in many Wikipedias more than half of the articles have no images. This is mainly due to the complexity of current workflow of adding media and making connections between content and images. We want to make this process easier.

The projectEdit

Where are we starting fromEdit

As we already said, the tool will build on the work already done for the “Add an image” structured task project. The Image Suggestion API, built by the Platform Engineering team, combines the results of the Image Recommendations Algorithm and MediaSearch to provide suggestions for images matches to unillustrated articles, using the following approach:

  1. Look at the Wikidata item for the article.
    1. If it has image (P18), choose that image.
    2. If it has Commons category (P373), choose an image from the category.
  2. Look at the articles about the same topic in other language Wikipedias. Choose a lead image from those articles.
  3. Search MediaSearch on Commons for the title of the article, which combines traditional text-based search with structured data from Commons and Wikidata. If an image ranks high enough in the results, choose that image.

In initial tests, the combined algorithms can suggest images for up to 40% of all unillustrated articles on a given Wikipedia. We are currently doing further testing of the accuracy of the matches. Also, the Android and Growth teams are testing ideas that use the Image Suggestion API to allow newcomers to add images to articles via the suggested tasks interface.

What we want to doEdit

We plan to experiment with various approaches and ideas represented by the rough mockups shown below. We’d like to test the hypothesis that these improvements will help illustrate more articles on the Wikipedias.

Upload Wizard ImprovementsEdit


Article Talk PagesEdit

Visual EditorEdit

What we don’t want to doEdit

  • Create a new tool that will go unused due to lack of incentive for use
  • Annoy users with too many notifications
  • Encourage edits that will overwhelmingly be reverted
  • Encourage edits that go against existing policies and/or practises (NPOV, original research...)
  • Encourage edits that introduce additional bias in the article


Project feedback is and will always be welcome. We are especially interested in your ideas, and we are looking forward to hearing from you on the talk page about the following open questions:

  1. What is your opinion about the approaches outlined above?
  2. Should we be helping editors with image placement location?
  3. How can we help users make sure they are following the conventions of a particular wiki when choosing and placing an image?
  4. How can we help users add appropriate captions?
  5. How can we help users add appropriate alt-text?