User:Alan Ang (WMDE)/How to: Wikidata

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I know that embarking on your Wikidata journey can be a daunting task. Perhaps you are asking yourself "everything looks so different here in the Wiki universe", or "I am unsure if what I do is correct". Fret not.

This subpage is dedicated to various topics on how new users (individuals and institutions alike) can get started on this wonderful project, and I hope to ease your entry into Wikidata, just like how I have been supported by many lovely community members. :)

Please take note that this subpage is not trying to recreate all the different content that has already been created online about Wikidata. But rather, an attempt to put together a carefully curated content for first-time Wikidata users (especially institutional users).

If you are interested to see how Wikidata is being reused in and by other projects, please visit my subpage on Data Partnerships.


Welcome to the basics of Wikidata. This section aims to provide you with a brief understanding of how to get a basic understanding of Wikidata. Of course, I am assuming you are aware of what Linked Open Data already is, and also have a fundamental understanding of what CC0 means.

A basic knowledge of Wikidata will require you to understand the following:

  • Knowing that Wikidata is a knowledge graph that lies in the heart of Linked Open Data web. If not, please take this quick course on Databases and Linked Data.
  • Everything on Wikidata is published under CC0 license, meaning anyone and everyone is free to reuse the data on Wikidata.
  • That the data on Wikidata is structured data in a Triple structure; namely Item, Properties and Values.
  • Wikidata is multilingual and collaborative, and made for both humans and machines to read and access.

As a basic user, you should know how to:

  • create an item on Wikidata.
  • make edits to an existing item on Wikidata.
  • create multiple items or make edits to multiple items on Wikidata via QuickStatements.

If you are ready, then let's begin!

Step 1: do this course.

Step 2: check out these links to some basic training resources:

  • User:Epìdosis/Wikidata-intro (collections of links as introduction to Wikidata). If this page looks overwhelming to you, there is a more familiar interface which you can also check out:
  • Wikidata Tours- useful page for starters

If you are a French speaker, then this would be really useful for you:

If you prefer to watch rather than read, then check out this YouTube playlist of Wikidata Tutorials (short bite size videos) for the busy folks contributed by User:Masssly

Creating Items

Not every item in the world should be on Wikidata. Wikidata, in its first phases, has two main goals, namely, to centralize interlanguage links across Wikimedia projects, and to serve as a general knowledge base for the world at large. An item is acceptable if and only if it fulfills at least one of these two goals.


  • Notability guidelines on what items to create on Wikidata

Understanding Properties

Knowing and understanding what "properties" mean in Wikidata is fundamental to help you navigate within the Wikidata knowledge graph. It would also inspire you to think about how to model your data later on.

Importing an inventory into Wikidata

See How to import an inventory

Not-so Basics[edit]

After having a basic understanding of Wikidata, including how to create new items or make edits to existing items on Wikidata, you may wish to explore more about Wikidata. For example, how to access the data on Wikidata for your projects, or how to connect your catalog/ database with Wikidata.

Accessing Wikidata's Data[edit]

There are more than 10m items on Wikidata. If you would like to reuse Wikidata's data for your project, you have come to the right subsection. :)

Firstly, it makes sense to take a look at the Data Access page on Wikidata. On this page, you are presented with an overview of how to access Wikidata's data, and when to use which method. The different ways are:

  • search (Elasticsearch)
  • Linked Data Interface (URI)
  • Wikidata Query Service. This is Wikidata's own SPARQL endpoint. We will take a look at how to make queries on Wikidata's data using SPARQL in the following subsection.
  • Linked Data Fragments (LDF) endpoint
  • Wikibase REST API
  • MediaWiki Action API
  • Recent Changes Stream
  • Dumps

If you are technically savvy, see also:

Querying Wikidata[edit]

With more than 10m items on Wikidata, it makes sense to be able to query the items and harness the results in whatever projects you may have. Wikidata uses SPARQL to query the data and here are some user friendly ways to help you get started on your SPARQL journey.

SPARQL is a language to formulate questions (queries) for knowledge databases. With the right database, a SPARQL query could answer questions like “what is the most popular tonality in music?” or “which character was portrayed by the most actors?” or “what’s the distribution of blood types?” or “which authors’ works entered the public domain this year?”.

Tools on Wikidata[edit]

Libraries & Wikidata[edit]

Hi there! If you are a librarian working with Wikidata, this section will be of interest to you. From our understanding, there are several ways in which libraries interact with Wikidata:

1.Contributing data to Wikidata. Some libraries contribute metadata of their bibliographic records directly to Wikidata, to increase visibility to the wider user community.

2.Connecting to Wikidata. Some libraries connect their catalog (e.g. authority records) to existing items on Wikidata via their External Identifier property on Wikidata. This allows their catalog to be more visible to other users of Wikidata. Connecting their catalog to Wikidata also allows for mismatches/ inconsistencies in their catalog to be flagged out to the library with the help of community members via tools such as Mix'n'Match.

3.Accessing/Reusing Wikidata's data. Libraries also access and reuse Wikidata's data to either enrich the data on their catalog, or in other projects such as an informative user portal.

So in short, Wikidata helps libraries to have a better understanding of their own data, enrich their data (also from other Wikimedia projects), and at times, even increase the visibility of their own data.

Getting Started

Here are some links which may be of relevance to librarians. You don't have to look at them now. Just know that they are here and you can check them out anytime.

  • AfLIA Wikidata Project- General Wikidata training materials put together by librarians
  • 23 Linked Data Things- This is a self-paced program designed for those in libraries who want to learn more about linked data principles and explore how linked data can transform the way we think about metadata.
  • Wikidata:WikiProject PCC Wikidata Pilot- Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC) Project for librarians
  • LD4 Wikidata Community- this is an awesome group where members of the library community meet up regularly to share their efforts and experiences with Wikidata. These sessions are all recorded so everyone can revisit in the future.
  • The Future of Wikidata + Libraries workshop- This is a series of 6 blogposts (by WMF) with librarians' favorite Wikidata projects and tools, but also the challenges they face and the future they envision from a workshop at LD4 Conference 2023.

Use case:

  • "The Miguel de Cervantes Virtual Library (BVMC) catalog (in Spain) contains more than 300,000 records that were originally created from the MARC21 standard...the catalog was updated with the FRBR conceptual model promoted by IFLA. The database content has been automatically migrated to RDF triples using the RDA vocabulary to describe the entities, as well as their properties and relationships."

Creating an External Identifier (Property) on Wikidata[edit]

Creating a Property (an external identifier) to link your library's catalog to Wikidata is one of the first steps in any library's interaction with Wikidata, and the Linked Open Data web. The reason why libraries do this is to enable users of Wikidata to easily find the corresponding item on your catalog when they are viewing an item on Wikidata.

For a basic course on databases and linked data, check out a quick course here.

Step 1.

Step 2.

  • Put in a request for an external identifier here.
  • See an example of property request here.

Link your catalogs to Wikidata[edit]

User:Epìdosis has a short video with 5 suggestions on how to link your catalogs to Wikidata. Check out the video here.

Data Modelling[edit]

If you are adding an item to Wikidata for the first time, where should you look to find relevant data model examples or ideas? We usually recommend first time users to look at an example of an existing item on Wikidata that is similar to the type of data you wish to model.

For example, if you would like to know what are the different properties you should have for the authors in your catalog, then perhaps it makes sense to look at an example of an existing author (e.g. Gabriel García Márquez) on Wikidata, and use the same properties for a start.

Otherwise, the following might be helpful to you.

Different ways of modelling your data on Wikidata: Author[edit]

Different ways of modelling your data on Wikidata: Novels[edit]

See WikiProject:Books Work Item and Edition Item properties sections.

Different ways of modelling your data on Wikidata: Biography[edit]

coming soon

Different ways of modelling your data on Wikidata: Music score (printed)[edit]

coming soon

Different ways of modelling your data on Wikidata: Reference books (dictionaries / encyclopedias)[edit]

coming soon