Now that the Archive of Our Own is humming along on new, more powerful servers (thank you, fandom!), members of the Archive team have begun fleshing out a list of concrete and not-so-concrete tasks needed to make fanart hosting a reality!
As with text-based works, support for fanart will be rolled out in phases, starting with the most basic uploading functionality and gradually adding more features until we can make the Archive a place as uniquely accommodating for art as it is for text. As one of our first steps, we’re working on a roadmap to outline those phases — however, fanart is far from the end of the story (so to speak!). While we’ll be starting with fanart, we’re trying to come up with a design that will cater to many media types and cross-media works, building up gradually until we can meet as many needs as awesomely as possible. To help us get started, we’ve been brainstorming posting needs for various media, based in large part on the input we received from fanartists last year. We’re considering the needs of art, fic, filk, sequential art, cosplay, cookery, and crafts, among others (video hosting is part of the separate Torrent of Our Own project) — but while we keep the bigger goal of multimedia support in mind, fanart will be the first step down that road.
This is a huge project that will involve restructuring our backend databases to accommodate different work types as well as designing and building user-friendly interfaces for posting and browsing. There are many questions that need to be explored — such as how tags and thumbnail images will work, what the file size limit should be, and what file formats will be supported, to name only a few. We’re also particularly keeping in mind how to accommodate sequential art — one of the things that came across strongly in last year’s feedback was the need to make it easier to post, browse, and navigate sequential art. We’re working on ways to make that a reality: we want to make sure that people can post transcripts, page easily, and post in a variety of layouts, including left-to-right, right-to-left, and vertical.
Fanart hosting on the AO3 has been a long time coming, and there’s a lot of work still ahead to make it a reality. We’re excited to have reached the point where we can begin planning and building in earnest, and grateful to all the fans who have donated their time, resources, energy, and ideas to help us get here. Thank you, and stay tuned for exciting things ahead!
Fanart by AD&T member bingeling of our beautiful storage server, which will be used to host fanart in the future!