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Frequently asked questions

Can I get some information on the site before I photograph it?

Good idea! Do an internet search for the site for a quick overview. However many of these sites are not yet written up on Wikipedia - perhaps you'd like to start! But for detailed information you can try the NRHP focus website. Not every state has sites listed on NRHP focus, but if your state is one of the ones that does, it is an excellent source of very detailed information. If your state is not listed on NRHP Focus, look for your official state historical society's website.

How should I take photos of historic districts?

The borders of historic districts (HDs) can be difficult to find unless you have very detailed information. Try the methods above to find more information about the district. Look especially for a document called an inventory, which will list every building in the district and usually note whether it is "significant", "contributing", or an "intrusion." Unfortunately, not every HD has an inventory.
But many HDs are identified by local street signs, or buildings within them are identified by bronze NRHP plaques. Perhaps you should look for the most beautiful building in the district, or the tallest (likely a church), or the railroad station or an old school, or the Masonic or Oddfellow's halls. Every HD has something special and remember that you can take and upload multiple photos from the HD.
File:No parking YBR.JPG
Signs, like this one at an NRHP site in Delaware, can help you identify the locations of other photos, but don't usually add much to Commons by themselves.

Should I take photos of the signs?

Yes, for your own use in identifying the building, but there is usually no reason to upload a photo of a sign. Hint: take photos of the street address numbers on the building or nearby street signs to keep track of locations, but don't upload these photos. Take photos of any informational signs or plaques. Not only will they help identify your other photos, but they may help you write an article on the site.
Always think twice, or even three times, before uploading a picture of a sign:
  • Is the sign copyrighted? If you don't know that it is not copyrighted, then you can't upload it.
  • Is the photo of the sign a good photo in and of itself?
  • If you were reading an article on the site, would you want to see a photo of the sign?

Can I upload panorama photos? Photos my grandfather took? Video? Photos I took while standing on my head?

Yes, no, no, and yes - but please properly rotate the photo. In general you may upload any photo that you have taken yourself.

Can I upload photos of sculptures?

This can be tricky because of the complicated laws regarding the copyright of sculptures in the U.S. You'll need to identify the date the sculpture was "published" (placed on public view). If it was published before 1923 - no problem. If it was published between 1923 and 1978, you need to check for a visible copyright notice. Just walk around the base of the statue. If you don't see any mention of copyright or a (c) symbol, you can upload your photos. If it was published after 1978, the sculpture is copyrighted and in almost all cases you can't upload it. Fortunately most sculptures that are listed on the NRHP are in the first two categories. See Commons:Public art and copyrights in the US for even more details.

Where can I ask questions about WLM-US?

Just click here, then click "edit" and start typing.

Is there any legal fine print?

Yes, welcome to America. The decisions of the organizers and jury are final. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. The organizers reserve the right to cancel the contest or modify the rules at their sole discretion.
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