Wikidata/FAQ

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This is a collection of frequently asked questions about the Wikidata project. If you think something is missing feel free to contact Lydia for clarification.

What is the goal of Wikidata?[edit]

The goal of Wikidata is to create a common data repository. This will make it possible to collect and curate data, to be used within all Wikimedia projects and by third parties. One example: Wikidata contains the birth date of a person of public interest associated with the person’s name. This will only need to be maintained in one place, but can then be used in all Wikipedias and other parties. This is similar to how Wikimedia Commons works – but here, data will be the enabling factor rather than multimedia.

What is the timeline for the initial Wikidata development?[edit]

The initial development will be undertaken in three phases. The first phase will improve language links. The second phase will concern infoboxes, and will enable editors to enrich infoboxes with data from Wikidata. The third phase will focus on lists, to allow automatic list creation based on data in Wikidata, as opposed to their creation and maintenance by hand.

You can read more about each of the three phases in the technical proposal.

The first part of the team started working on 1 March 2012, and the rest followed on 1 April 2012. The project is scheduled to run until Autumn 2013.

What are some of the things Wikidata wishes to achieve once finished?[edit]

Wikidata aims to support both the editor community and third parties wanting to use a large base of curated data (for example in their applications).

In terms of the editorial communities, a particular goal is to decrease the maintenance burden and help smaller Wikipedias. Decreased maintenance will come in at least two forms: first, data that is reused in multiple articles will need to be maintained in only one place; second, automatic list creation will remove the need to create and update lists by hand. We also hope Wikidata will also help smaller Wikipedias by starting up some types of articles.

What are some of the basic assumptions and requirements for Wikidata?[edit]

A list of basic assumptions and requirements is available here.

How will Wikidata change the way articles are edited?[edit]

That’s part of what we have to figure out during the development, together with the community.

The most immediate change is that pages won't need to be edited to maintain language links. That removes the need for a lot of bot edits. Another aspect will be that data in infoboxes won't have to be maintained in the article text. This will make the wikitext much cleaner: instead of a huge unreadable heap of curly braces at the top of the article, there will only be a brief template reference such as {{infobox-city}}. This will also make for easier editing of the information in the infoboxes: instead of messing with the template parameter syntax, there will be much simpler input forms.

Who is funding the work on Wikidata?[edit]

The initial development of Wikidata is funded by generous donations by the Allen Institute of Artificial Intelligence, Google, Inc., and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The further maintenance and operations of Wikidata will be funded by the Wikimedia Foundation, as for other projects like the Wikipedias and Wikiversity.

How can I get involved?[edit]

There is lots to do so help is very welcome. The best way to get involved is to either send an email to the Wikidata mailing list to introduce yourself or come to our IRC channel #wikidataconnect on freenode. We’ll then figure out together how you can help.

Some of the ways you could contribute are by:

  • taking part in discussions about technical issues (like data models and so on);
  • writing code;
  • helping with the integration of Wikidata in the Wikipedias (technically and non-technically);
  • taking part in the project itself once it is online, by adding and editing data for example.

Where are the latest updates about the project?[edit]

You can use the media mentioned in the "Staying up-to-date" box on the Wikidata page to stay abreast of developments.

I have a lot of data to contribute. How can I do that?[edit]

It's great to hear you want to contribute a lot of data to Wikidata. Bulk-uploads of large data sets will be technically possible, but if and how these will be allowed will be up to the Wikidata community to decide. At this early stage, the development team is hesitant to allow this, because large amounts of data need a large community to maintain them. For the benefit of the project we'll focus on the community first and then on the amount of data. This will ensure that the Wikidata community can support the collected data long-term. In the meantime you can add yourself to this page and help everyone get an overview of the available data.

Note that we will integrate your data into the wikidata structure, using it to add statements to our items where relevant. Any data which does not fit this model will not be stored here.

See also[edit]