Grants:Project/Building up performing arts data in Wikidata

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statusnot selected
Building up performing arts data in Wikidata
summaryThis project proposes to scale up performing arts data in Wikidata and to broaden community engagement.
type of grantonline programs and events
type of applicantorganization
this project needs...
created on04:16, 9 February 2021 (UTC)

Project idea[edit]

What is the problem you're trying to solve?[edit]

Over the last year, as part of a project led by the Canadian Association for the Performing Arts (CAPACOA) and the Quebec Council of Theatre, the performing arts community increased its capacity to edit Wikidata items. The number of performing arts items also increased significantly. However, work has just begun. There are still a lot of datasets to upload and outreach to the community could be broadened.

What is your solution?[edit]

We will collaborate with industry associations and unions to upload their datasets and to mobilize their members to achieve mass uploads and edits. We will continue community organization around the WikiProject Performing arts and other communities of practice. We will promote the use of tools such as infoboxes to interlink performing arts data and content across Wikimedia sister projects.

Project goals[edit]

  • Build a critical mass of performing arts items in Wikidata.
  • Broaden engagement of the performing arts community.

Project impact[edit]

How will you know if you have met your goals?[edit]

Build a critical mass of performing arts items in Wikidata[edit]

In order to populate information about performing arts works and productions, we first need a comprehensive base of person and organization items that serve as values in role statements: choreographer, stage director, scenographer, costume designer, etc. At present, in spite of population efforts undertaken in the last year, the data is still not complete enough to populate production items without having to constantly create person and organization items. This is not creating the kind of simple and enjoyable experience that we would like to offer to new wikimedians.

Over the next year, we would like to build up the base of person and organization items. Since most project partners are based in Canada, we will focus on Canadian datasets, but we will also seek to identify other relevant datasets from other countries.

We will have met our goal if, at the end of the project, we can upload a dataset of Canadian performing arts productions and at least 75% of contributors to these productions already have an item in Wikidata.

Broaden engagement of the performing arts community[edit]

Over the last year, CAPACOA and its project partners have delivered training workshops, and have facilitated initial Wikipedia/Wikidata working group meetings. It's possible that these communities would continue to self-organize if we stopped coordinating regular gatherings. But it would be unfortunate if we pulled the plug too early and if these communities disbanded. We would much prefer to build upon that momentum. Moreover, we think we might be able to reach out to new Wikimedians if we try out a different and more output-oriented workshop format.

We will have met our goal if, at the end of the project:

  • We maintain and grow the engagement of current workshop participants;
  • We attract new Wikimedians through a clinic formula;
  • The LODEPA Wikipedia/Wikidata working group provides a forum for discussing use cases, modelling issues and prototyping activities around Wikidata.

Do you have any goals around participation or content?[edit]

  • 40 unique participants in regular activities (WikiClub and LODEPA Working Group)
  • 150 total participants in one-off Wikidata clinics
  • 100 newly registered users at Wikidata clinics (accounting for undisclosed usernames, actual number will be higher)
  • 10,000 Wikidata items created or improved as a result of batch uploads

Project plan[edit]


Timeline: April 1st, 2021 - March 31, 2022

Batch uploads of datasets

We will identify relevant datasets of named entities and enter into discussion with their manager about uploading them to Wikidata. Datasets of persons, organizations and venues are likely to be held by unions, associations and collective licensing organizations. We will focus on person items, but we will also consider relevant datasets of organizations and venues.

Specific activities:

  • Reach out to Canadian unions, industry associations and collective licensing organizations to identify datasets suitable for upload to Wikidata.
  • Work with the LODEPA community to identify relevant datasets from other countries.

Wikidata clinics

The vast majority of performing arts workers will never become regular Wikidata editors. For these cultural workers, monthly Wikidata training workshops such as we've been offering represent a much too big time commitment. According to last year’s experience, we observed very high interest and participation levels at the first workshop, and a significant churn rate at the second workshop. This led us to wonder how we could get as many Wikidata edits out of one-time participants. We think we could try out a data “clinic” approach in partnership with industry associations (loosely inspired by the model of blood giving clinics in the workplace, but held online). These clinics could provide step-by-step instructions for creating or editing a specific type of item so that participants could create/edit their own person or organization item over the course of the clinic. Organization items in particular could benefit from a clinic approach. There are few databases of performing arts organizations. And basic organization information – legal name, legal form, business number, date of inception, etc. – can be quite difficult to find over the Web. The clinic approach may help fill that particular information gap. It will also be a good outreach strategy.

Specific activities:

  • Design a presentation deck with screen shots
  • Reach out to industry associations and arts service organizations
  • Prototype and evaluate a first clinic.
  • Adjust and translate the presentation deck.
  • Deliver 8 data clinics, reaching 150 total participants.

Community organizing – Ongoing learning and participatory activities with Wikidatians

The series of Wikidata workshops conducted in 2020-2021 brought together a small community of very engaged Wikidatians. We would like to build upon that momentum. Based on evaluation feedback from workshop participants, we may want to adjust the workshop formula in favour of something even more participatory in nature.

Specific activities:

  • Based on feedback from current workshop participants, try out a domain-based WikiClub formula. This WikiClub could meet on a monthly basis, with meetings held in French and in English, in alternance every other month.
  • The WikiClub would conduct its own activities, and it could also provide valuable assistance to other activities undertaken as part of this project. For example, members of the WikiClub could help validating/cleaning new items after a batch upload. They could also roll out infoboxes in Wikipedia. As modelling issues arise, we could also rely on the domain expertise of members of the WikiClub to address them.

Community organizing – Coordination of the Wikipedia/Wikidata LODEPA Working Group

In 2020, the Bern University of Applied Sciences and the Swiss Performing Arts Archive rallied stakeholders who shared an interest in the development and long-term maintenance of a data ecosystem dedicated to the performing arts at the international level. The resulting Linked Open Data Ecosystem for the Performing Arts (LODEPA) community organized into six working groups, one of which is dedicated to Wikipedia and Wikidata. Members of this community believe that Wikidata has a fundamental role to play in the data ecosystem. Over the next year, the working group would like to continue to discuss best practices in the use of Wikidata and Wikipedia, to identify datasets suited for upload, and to discuss use cases around Wikidata. One particular activity that the community expressed interest in is the use of Wikidata-powered infoboxes.

Specific activities:

  • Hold four meetings of the Working Group.
  • Facilitate communications in-between meetings and ensure coordination of Working Group activities with other activities within this project.

Promote the use of Wikidata-powered infoboxes and other inter-wiki tools

As our community of workshop participants learns and becomes fully proficient at editing Wikidata, we will want to extend their skills into other Wikimedia sister projects. Wikidata-powered infoboxes would provide a great tool by which we could translate their Wikidata skills into Wikipedia. There already exist many templates of Wikidata-powered infoboxes, but their adoption is still relatively low in most Wikipedias. We would like to begin with the French Wikipedia, since this community seems receptive to Wikidata-powered infoboxes (and because we have a large proportion of French-speaking participants at our activities).

Specific activities:

  • Consult with the community of performing arts users to verify their interest in using Infoboxes. Adapt existing infoboxes to reflect the latest modelling practices for the performing arts.
  • Design a workshop on infoboxes.
  • Reach out to Wikimedia chapters in Canada, France, Belgium and Switzerland. Ask for their assistance in promoting learning and editing events about infoboxes.
  • Hold a first online event with Wikimedia Canada, evaluate and schedule more events with European chapters.

Ongoing maintenance of the WikiProject Performing arts and the WikiProject Cultural venues

Modelling activities for the performing arts domain are now being carried within the Performing Arts Information Representation W3C Community Group (PAIR-CG). Once a harmonized performing arts ontology is achieved, it should be implemented in Wikidata and documentation in the related WikiProjects should be updated.

Specific activities:

  • Implement modelling decisions from the PAIR-CG in Wikidata
  • Document modelling decisions and best practices in the WikiProjects, both in English and in French.


Revenues (CAD)[edit]

Revenue Initial budget
Wikimedia Foundation $40,000.00
Government of Canada $30,400.00
Canada Council for the Arts $20,000.00
CAPACOA $9,000.00
Total Revenues $99,400.00

Expenses (CAD)[edit]

Expense Initial budget WMF Grant (CAD)
Batch uploads $27,800.00 $13,000.00
Wikidata clinics $28,500.00 $14,000.00
Community organizing - WikiClub $10,600.00 $5,000.00
Community organizing - LODEPA $8,000.00 $4,000.00
Promotion of Infoboxes $9,000.00 $4,000.00
Maintenance of WikiProjects $2,000.00
Communications $2,000.00
Community outreach $2,500.00
Project coordination (in-kind) $9,000.00
Total Expenses $99,400.00 $40,000.00

Community engagement[edit]

Based on our experience in 2020-2021, collaboration with industry associations such as Conseil québécois du théâtre is a very effective means of reaching out and of building engagement with the performing arts community. We intend to continue the collaboration with Conseil québécois du théâtre and we are pleased to welcome Regroupement québécois de la danse as a new partner. These two organizations will support the project by mobilizing their members and by assisting with the outreach to peer associations.

We will also pursue and broaden international engagement via the Linked Open Data Ecosystem for the Performing Arts community.

Get involved[edit]


Project team

Participant Organization Role User
Frédéric Julien CAPACOA Project sponsor Fjjulien
Raffaela Siniscalchi Conseil québécois du théâtre Project sponsor
Véronique Marino LaCogency Project owner Vero Marino
Simon Villeneuve Consultant Wikidata expert Simon Villeneuve
Miguel Tremblay Consultant Wikidata expert Dirac
Beat Estermann Bern University of Applied Sciences Chair, LODEPA Network Beat_Estermann

Frédéric Julien is Director of Research & Development at the Canadian Association for the Performing Arts (CAPACOA). He leads the Linked Digital Future initiative, which involves a range of research, prototyping and digital literacy activities to foster discoverability, digital collaboration and digital transformation in the performing arts.

Raffaela Siniscalchi is agente de développement numérique at Conseil québécois du théâtre. She is part of a network of agents de développement numérique responsible for assisting the arts sector in its digital transformation.

Véronique Marino and LaCogency have previous experience managing projects around Wikidata in the film and performing arts sector. She will be supported by Simon Villeneuve and Miguel Tremblay, both of whom are seasoned Wikimedians.

Beat Estermann has extensive experience in modelling performing arts information in Wikidata. He has been a key contributors to many cultural WikiProjects and he initiated the LODEPA initiative.

Members of the advisory committee for the 2019-2020 projects will likely remain involved in some capacity, but their role isn't entirely defined yet.

Other partner organizations include: Culture Creates, Regroupement québécois de la danse and Association professionnelle des diffuseurs de spectacles RIDEAU.

Community notification[edit]

  • Email to LODEPA community distribution list.
  • Post to two Canadian arts + digital transformation Facebook groups.


Do you think this project should be selected for a Project Grant? Please add your name and rationale for endorsing this project below! (Other constructive feedback is welcome on the discussion page).

  • Support Support This project will further support the growth of a new generation of Wikidians from the performing arts domain. This domain have a great interest to be very present in the wikimedia universe to ensure perrenity. Vero Marino (talk) 05:10, 11 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Support Support This project offers the foundations within Wikimedia for many upcoming initiatives for the performing arts domain and perhaps other Canadian cultural and endeavours.Youyouca (talk) 13:20, 11 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Support Support This is important work that will have long-lasting positive outcomes, it's well worth funding. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 14:46, 11 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Support Support We are just beginning to engage with performing arts data in the Wikimedia Aotearoa User Group, so we look to this project to pave the way for us with data modelling, exemplars and so on. DrThneed (talk) 02:56, 12 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Support Support project with serious actors and partners. Simon Villeneuve 17:59, 12 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Support Support This could become a backbone for similar topic-area projects. There are many Wikimedia organizations and members, from different areas and communities, contributing to this work. --Joalpe (talk) 18:11, 12 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Support Support A strong project involving partners and contributors that have proven to be effective. Lea-Kim (talk) 04:52, 13 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Support Support An inclusive project that greatly contributes to the discoverability of our artistic community RaffaelaSini (talk) 14:34, 18 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Support Support Strong project, strong partners. Worldwide reach and effects, due to the international nature of the performing arts, but also because issues with broad relevance to Wikidata and certain Wikipedia language versions as whole will be tackled and brought a step forward (data modelling, infoboxes,...) Beireke1 (talk) 15:32, 19 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Support Support Very valuable project. Good to see that the international dimension is being strengthened this year. --Beat Estermann (talk) 12:05, 21 February 2021 (UTC)