Calling all gif-­makers, creatives, history nuts, animators, and lovers of the internet! GIF IT UP (October 1 – 31, 2016) is an annual international competition organized by the Digital Public Library of America to find the best gifs using public domain and openly licensed digital video, images, text, and other material found in DPLA and other participating digital libraries.

How it works

To enter GIF IT UP, you need to make a gif with material(s) which you have found on DPLA, Europeana, DigitalNZ, or Trove. Your source material must come from at least one of these four sources and be clearly marked as:

  • in the public domain;
  • have a ‘no known copyright restrictions’ statement;
  • or have a Creative Commons license which allows for reuse.
Tobias Roth

Tobias Rothe, 2015 Grand Prize Winner (more info)

You can enter up to three gifs, using still images or video from the four participating digital libraries. You have from October 1 to October 31 to submit your entry

All entries that meet the criteria outlined on the submission guidelines page below will be showcased on the competition’s Tumblr and generally adored by the Internet. Entries that do not meet the criteria will not be posted online.

Entries will be judged on creativity, originality, and thoroughness (i.e., correct URL to source material and contextual information).

Submit your GIF

View all 2016 entries on Tumblr         or          View all 2016 entries on GIPHY

Themes and Sample Collections

Looking for a little inspiration to get your gif-making started? There are a number of fun themes this year to help guide your creativity:

  • Page Frights: Find an item in DPLA and make a spooky gif in celebration of Halloween to participate in both GIF IT UP and #PageFrights, hosted by our friends at the Biodiversity Heritage Library, Medical History Library at Yale, New York Academy of Medicine, and Smithsonian Libraries. In addition to submitting your gif to GIF IT UP, share it on social media using #pagefrights.
  • Perfect Loop: Make a gif that appears to loop as seamlessly as possible, without any hiccups or noticeable restarts.
  • Hometown Hub: DPLA is a digital library that makes finding digitized materials from libraries, archives, and museums across the U.S. easy to find. DPLA does this by teaming up with state-based “Hubs.” These Hubs work with other libraries in their state or region to get their materials into DPLA. For this theme, find a Hub representing your state (or a nearby state!) and make a gif using one of their public domain or openly licensed materials.

GIF IT UP is a great way to dig into the fabulously deep collections of DPLA and our other participating libraries, but we recognize that sifting through millions of items might be a bit daunting. Fear not! We’ve compiled a handy list of collections that can serve as a starting point for finding the perfect item(s) for your gif masterpiece.

View sample collections

Please note that the rights status of individual items may vary within these collections, so always check the individual rights statement associated with an item before reusing it.


GIF IT UP 2016 will be judged by Sarah Schaaf from Imgur and Adam Green from The Public Domain Review, who will be awarding one grand prize winner, as well as three runners up. The GIF with the most Tumblr ‘notes’ will also receive a people’s choice award. There are also a handful of other special prizes, the details of which can be found below.


Juan Ibanez, 2015 Runner Up

Juan Ibanez, 2015 Runner Up (more info)

  • Grand prize x 1: The gif which receives the highest vote from our panel of judges will receive a Giphoscope of their winning entry compliments of DPLA.
  • Runners up x 3: The second, third, and fourth place gif will each receive a $20 Amazon gift certificate compliments of DPLA.
  • People’s choice award winner x 1: The people’s choice award winner (most amount of likes on Tumblr) will receive a $20 Amazon gift certificates compliments of DPLA.
  • Europeana prize x 1: Find an image from the Europeana280 collection (more about the project here) — a curated set of art from the 28 EU countries plus Norway participating in the pan-European digital library, Europeana — and make a gif to be considered for this special Europeana-sponsored prize.
  • Trove General prize x 3: There will be three prizes for the non-secondary student GIF maker. The winners will be offered their choice of either a $20 iTunes or Google Play gift voucher. Winning GIFs will be featured on Trove’s Facebook page.
  • Trove Student prize x 3: Trove is sponsoring three prizes for the best entries from Australian 7-12 school students. Each winner will be offered their choice of either a $50 iTunes or Google Play gift voucher. Winning GIFs will be featured on Trove’s Facebook page and Twitter feed.

How to Make Gifs

Visit our workshops page to watch the recordings of our two-part gif-making workshop series. Find helpful tips and tools for beginners and advanced gif-makers!

Recommended online tools and apps from GIPHY:

  • GIF Maker – manually convert videos into GIFs and add text, if needed!
  • Slideshow – turn a series of still images into a GIF (or combine a series of GIFs)
  • GIF Caption – add animated captions, stickers to GIFs
  • GIF Editor – add animated stickers, filters, captions, to GIFs
  • GIPHY Capture – the best (and only) GIF maker on your desktop
  • GIPHY CAM – the only GIF camera you’ll ever need; perfect for live event coverage

Past competitions

To view gifs and learn more about past GIF IT UP competitions, visit the sites for 2014 and 2015 below.  


Following the inaugural GIF IT UP in 2014, the competition returned in 2015, seeking innovative and endlessly looping uses of archival videos and images. In 2015 the challenge expanded internationally with support from Europeana and Trove and featured an esteemed line-up of judges and nifty prizes. The winners were announced on December 8, 2015.

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Over the course of Fall 2014, DPLA and DigitalNZ held GIF IT UP,  an international competition to find the best GIFs reusing public domain and openly licensed digital video, images, text, and other material available via our search portals. The winners of the competition were announced on December 11, 2014.

GIF IT UP: Reusable gifs from DPLA & DigitalNZ

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