Abstract Wikipedia/Updates/2020-10-29/th

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I had a weekly update written, but then, on the last moment, I had to entirely drop it and write a new one — you’ll probably get the other update next week!

We originally had planned to start the second round of the Abstract Wikipedia naming contest this week, but a number of issues were found with the proposals. Instead of removing proposals, though, we decided to explicitly and transparently write up the issues that were raised, and then let you, the community, decide on the proposals. We are currently writing up a ‘voters’ guide’ with the results from our internal review processes, which we plan to publish by the end of the week, and then start the voting on Monday. We will also push back the end of the voting period by the same number of days.

วันเกิดปีที่ 8 ของวิกิสนเทศ
Example of infobox created with data from Wikidata, in an article on French Wikipedia about Marie Curie.

This week also sees the Eighth Birthday of Wikidata! Congratulations to the Wikidata project and the Wikidata community! Without Wikidata, Abstract Wikipedia would be unthinkable, for many different reasons, including:

Wikidata provides a large catalog of entities of interest, which can be referred to by stable identifiers. This will be extremely helpful when creating the content of the Abstract Wikipedia: it will allow us to make some simple statements, such as

“Marie Curie and Pierre Curie were introduced to each other by Józef Wierusz-Kowalski.”

This could be expressed by a constructor that takes three Q-IDs as the parameters, Q7186, Q37463, and Q11730603, as in this case all three mentioned people are represented by an item in Wikidata.

But still, Wikidata will never be sufficient: not everything we want to talk about will have a Wikidata item, and Abstract Wikipedia will need a mechanism to create a reference through description: for example, the mother of Marie Curie does not have an item in Wikidata. We could either create an item, or we could refer to her by description in Abstract Wikipedia, i.e. a constructor with the meaning “the mother of Marie Curie”. But for these descriptions, having the large catalog of entities that Wikidata provides will be immensely valuable.

Wikidata also provides a lot of data that can be used directly in Abstract Wikipedia. We would not need to repeat the date of birth for Marie Curie in Abstract Wikipedia, but can simply query Wikidata for the statement about her date of birth and display the respective value. This will help with reducing the number of places we have to maintain data.

Wikidata also contains a large catalogue of references, and there are two aspects to that. On the one hand, the statement about Marie Curie’s date of birth has in fact 17 references. We can then select some of those references to be displayed in the rendered Wikipedia article created from Abstract Wikipedia. This is already happening today, so if you see the article for Marie Curie in Greek, you will see 17 references for the date of birth in the infobox.

On the other hand, Wikidata also contains a lot of possible sources as items: books, scientific articles, websites. The Wikicite conference, which had its 2020 edition this week, was all about growing and maintaining the large corpus of referenceable sources that Wikidata has become. Having the sources described as items will make it easy to use them in references in Abstract Wikipedia, as it already makes it simpler to cite them in the Wikipedias.

Wikidata provides the lexicographic database that will be needed for Abstract Wikipedia. So when we want to talk about the mother of Marie Curie in, say, Russian, we need to know what the singular nominative form of the word ‘mother’ is in Russian. And that information will be coming from the Form stored on the respective Lexeme in Wikidata.

We are currently planning to better understand and visualize how the coverage of the lexicographic data in Wikidata is progressing for encyclopedic content. To undertake this analysis, we have encouraged the Wikidata team to provide regular JSON dumps of the Lexeme corpora, which is currently processing and will be available soon. Our thanks to the Wikidata team!

As we see, there are many ways that Wikidata will be used to power Abstract Wikipedia. In 2021, we also plan to have a discussion amongst the Wikimedia communities as to whether Wikidata will be the place to actually store and maintain the content for Abstract Wikipedia, or if it should live in some other place. There are many pros and cons regarding this decision, and we are looking forward to the discussion.

In the wiki of functions, Wikidata will provide a large set of interesting items that can be used as input for functions. Some of the entries in the list of function examples illustrate functions that could use Wikidata items as input: there are functions such as distance, that calculate the distance between two cities, or the head of state at birth function, that takes a person and returns the head of state in the place of birth during the time of birth of that person, etc. We can have plenty of interesting functions that are answering questions around Wikidata items. We will use Wikidata as a large repository of items that can be used in Wikidata functions.

Happy Birthday, "big sibling" project Wikidata! We are looking forward to joining you as a Wikimedia project as the wiki of functions next year!

New media:

We had a talk about Abstract Wikipedia at the Wikidata Eighth Birthday event organized by WikiProject:India and is now available on Youtube.