How to make perfect media uploads


A scan of a 19th century document in the highest available quality as well as the recommended image description (click image in order to see the image page)

Generally speaking, the quality of files should be as high as possible, so, for example, images can be used in high-quality printouts. With JPEG-format—which is recommended for photos but not diagrams—or PNG-format, use a high resolution. As of October 19th, 2005 the MediaWiki software can’t handle PNGs larger than exactly 12,500,000 pixels (12,500.000 kilopixels, 12.500000 megapixels, 12,207.031 kibipixels, or 11.920929 mebipixels)—3535×3536 pixels square, 4082×3061 pixels in the 4:3 ratio, or 4497×2779 pixels in the golden ratio—but otherwise images in such high resolutions are fine. The software is also unable to scale animated GIF-images, so you’ll have to supply these in the desired size.

Only certain file types are allowed in Genealogy Wikia. If you try to upload a different file type, you’ll receive an error message. If you modify an image of others, please upload it under a different filename and add a link from the original.

Different formats should be used for different types of images. JPEG works well with images with lots of details like photographs. A diagram, however, appears blurry when saved as JPEG and, like GIF and PNG, cannot be scaled without loss of quality. SVG works well with charts and diagrams, and images where there are few details. SVG can be edited easily and scaled with no loss of quality, but its use in photographs, for instance, is impractical. GIF is cumbersome for use with the server software and due to inherent restrictions in the format, use of GIF should be restricted to animated images only. For further information on image formats, format conversion, and other format recommendations, see Genealogy:Preparing images for upload.

  • Photographs: For photographs, use JPEG (file extension .jpg or .jpeg). While TIFF offers higher quality, these files tend to be rather large and the server software can’t convert them on the fly (that's why this file format is currently not allowed at Genealogy). PNG uses a lossless compression and is thus theoretically better for photographs, but it too produces excessively large file sizes. PNG should be reserved for images that require high quality and do not work well with other formats, such as computer screenshots.
  • Animated images: For animated images, use GIF (file extension .gif).
  • Diagrams: For diagrams, SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics, file extension .svg) is the preferred type.

Audio and video[]

Supported sound types are MIDI (file extension: .mid) and Ogg Vorbis (.ogg) and for video files Ogg Theora only (also .ogg). Other widely used sound file formats like MP3 or WMA and video formats like MPEG and WMV are not allowed at Genealogy due to patent issues. Like images, quality of sound and video files should not be too low. The upper limit for file sizes is about 20 megabytes, so choose quality depending on the duration of your media file. For information on format conversion and encoding, see Genealogy:Software.

Good file descriptions[]

A good file description provides complete information about the file, including legally required information such as its copyright status and source, as well as descriptive information about what it shows and how it was made. To assist you in creating such a description, there is a standardized template for images. Additionally, this template is rendered in a typographically sound way. It is therefore highly recommended to use the template. Just copy the code below, paste it into the “Summary”-field during upload and fill in the blanks:

|Description = 
|Source = 
|Date = 
|Author = 
|Permission = 
|other_versions = 

Icon for warning notices with the recommended description describing who made the image, where it may be located on the net, alternate version, and how to indicate if it was transferred from Wikimedia Commons (click image in order to see the image page)

The fields are used the following way

If you can’t fill in everything, use a ‘-’-sign instead (without the quotation marks). Please don’t leave blank variables, as the template won’t work as advertised otherwise.

Description of the content. This is a genealogy wiki. Record all the names of individuals on the document so that other folks maybe not in your family can find the document. As far as general description- What do you see, hear, or otherwise perceive? If it’s an artwork, please provide brief historical background. In case of scientific data, a brief scientific abstract of the file. If you have detailed information about the image, for example a historical description of a battle depicted, please include it if there are no copyright restrictions (eg from wikipedia).
Use a statement such as “Own work.” or similar, if you created that file yourself. Otherwise please supply a
  • Link to a website, with a direct link to the page embedding the file and a direct link to the file
  • Catalog number
  • Name of institution
  • Book source
  • etc.
Date of the original document (or for original image, or creation), preferably in ISO 8601 format, such as “2006-01-15” for 15 January 2006.
Author(s) of the document. If you don’t know any individual, use the name of the institution(s) which released it. In case of self-made work, put your real name and your linked username in parentheses, such as “Bill Willis ([[User:WMWillis|WMWillis]])”. This’ll read as “Bill Willis (WMWillis)”. You might as well directly link your real name to the username such as “[[User:WMWillis|Bill Willis]]”.
Supply a short quote of the permission the copyright owner of the file gave you. In case of a general permission {{PD}} (e. g. US Public Domain or free content licenses) supply a short link to that legal disclaimer or an according hint. If you are the copyright owner, give a short notice as “Licensed under the GFDL”, but you could also write “See below” to point to license tags after the file information.
Note: You still need to tag the image in any case with the appropriate license template!
Other versions of this file
If there are other version of this file on Genealogy, Commons, Wikipedia or another wikia (for example a black and white version of a color image) use this field to link to these versions with a wikilink.

Note: Please read as well First steps/Sorting.

Upload summary[]

When you are uploading a file, the upload form gives you a place for a summary. The first 255 characters of your summary will appear permanently on the image description page, in the "File history" section.

If you are uploading the first version of a file (there is not already a file with the title you selected), then your upload summary will also be copied to the image description page. It is common in this case to provide complete information in the summary, as detailed under #Good file descriptions above.

If you are uploading a new version of a file, it is important to specify in as much detail as possible how you changed the file. This information is important because it can be difficult for others to tell the difference between two files. For example, for an image, you could say

Cropped 25 pixels off the top, brightened with Photoshop, saved at 95% quality

Further reading[]

Genealogy Pages

Wikimedia Commons pages:

Wikipedia page:

MediaWiki handbook:


Wikimedia Commons logo This page uses content from Wikimedia Commons. The original content was at Commons:First steps/Quality and description. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Familypedia, that portion of the content of Wikimedia Commons is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.