Dutch WikiOwl Awards 2019

I’m pleased to announce the Dutch Wikipedia community has awarded me The WikiOwl 2019 in the “illustration” category. I was nominated in this category for having uploaded nearly 70.000 media files to Wikimedia Commons, especially the 5500+ photographs I’ve made myself of monumental buildings, notable people and other points of interest.

Wikimedia Commons is the sister project of Wikipedia that stores the free licensed media you see published alongside its articles. There you can also find the complete catalogs of painters who’s worked has passed into the public domain.

My biggest contribution to Wikimedia Commons last year were 480 public domain photographs of Dutch senators and parliamentarians from 1901 to 1913. This small treasure was found in a series of booklets published by the Rotterdam publisher Nijgh & Ditmar. Each installment in this series followed roughly the same set up: photo to the left, bio to the right, parliamentarians followed by senators. This allowed me to half automate the process of labeling the photos after I’d extracted them from their PDF scan:

  • pdf toolkit to split the pdf into individual pages
  • pdftotxt to convert create text files
  • sort by weight to get the pages containing captions
  • few lines of python to convert a table overview of captions

Unsurprisingly the men featured in this series were very elite: general suffrage for men would be introduced at the end of 1917, followed by women in 1922. I’m glad to not live in a world where half of parliament has a title of nobility.

Over 130 Wikipedia articles about bearded white men now feature a photo from this series.

Acceptance speech in Dutch

Read about the other award winners (Dutch)

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