Wiki Loves Living Heritage/How to import an inventory

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Shyrdak on floor.jpg

How to import a national inventory?[edit]

In a nutshell

Every state party to the UNESCO Convention is obliged to safeguard living heritage in their territory. Part of this is to maintain some kind of inventory. The usual case is that there is a national inventory for the country. In some cases there are inventories in several subregions of the country, or the country has joined a transnational inventory. There are additional thematic inventories as well.

What you will learn

This page provides a guide for creating Wikidata items for national inventories and their elements. By adding a Wikidata item for an inventory, it will appear on the Inventories page. Similarly, adding all elements in an inventory will display them on the inventory page. For instance, the General Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Spain is an example of this. Furthermore, the page will show the element's information in the user's language if it has been translated on the Wikidata item. Once an element is displayed, you can:

  • View the element's page in the national inventory
  • Access images in Wikimedia Commons that depict the element
  • Upload images and place them in the correct category in Wikimedia Commons
  • Create a page to collect information about the element, which can be used for creating Wikipedia articles and planning activities. See the example page for Chhau dance.

Where to get support

Contact your local Wikimedia affiliate or the support team for help.

Before starting[edit]

Work together[edit]

Wikimedians should get together with their local affiliate to coordinate the work together. The affiliates should get in touch with the local UNESCO focal points and safeguarding organizations. Use information on the Contacts page or get in touch with the project organizers to help establishing contact.

It is important to respect the heritage communities will in deciding in which scope and pace to publicize information and materials.

Discuss open sharing[edit]

Before uploading information, discuss what effects making the information openly available can have. Opening can help in many ways to safeguard intangible cultural heritage and on the other hand it may expose some secret or sensitive information. Copyright is only one aspect of rights related to the materials, community rights also need to be addressed. The Ethical sharing page on the project pages is a central place to refer these questions. The Guide to opening content will inform partners as well as Wikimedians working on making materials openly available. You can also refer to the FAQ, which is created especially for the UNESCO focal points.

Add data about the national inventory[edit]

Check if the item already exists in Wikidata

Use Wikidata's own search or make a web search.

Check to see if you find information in a list we have collected.

You can ask the support team for help.

Update an existing item

If the item exists, make sure it has all the information listed below.

You can add an image or a logo to make the entry look better on the pages. The image needs to be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons and be free to use. Read about copyright in our Guide for opening content, and special issues regarding logos on Wikimedia Commons.

Create a missing one

If it does not exists, add a new Wikidata item for the inventory using this Cradle form.

You need to enter Wikidata to add source statements and qualifiers. This makes a good practice!

Data to import for an inventory[edit]

  • label – add the most commonly used name as the label, and add additional names or abbreviations as aliases. Add all the available translations as well. Note: An English label in the form "Intangible Cultural Heritage of <country name>" will cause trouble on these pages, please avoid that in translations.
  • description – the description is not a sentence but a passage without a full stop at the end.
  • aliases – add alternative names as aliases, in the corresponding language
  • inception (P571) – Date or year of establishing the inventory
  • Wikidata property (P1687) – The property created in Wikidata for the ID in the national inventory. If your national inventory has a stable ID, you can consider creating a property for it.
  • Commons category (P373) – Wikimedia Commons category for images related to the inventory
  • country (P17) – The country / jurisdiction of the list
  • operating area (P2541) – The region or country that the inventory covers. You can use this to designate a subnational or a transnational area.
    • For national inventories, use the country.
    • For subnational, use the subregion(s).
    • For transnational, use the region or several regions or countries.

Gather data about the elements[edit]

Read the data from the focal point's web page or database into spreadsheet format (excel or csv) in collaboration between the Wikimedians and the focal point. Make sure you have agreed on the data being openly available as public domain data (CC0). It is not necessary for the focal point to relicense the entire database, the CC0 waiver can apply to only those pieces of information that are used. Usually, the pieces of data are not copyrightable either.

Data to import for an element[edit]

  • label – the name of the element, the best-known title. Add it in all languages that you know and in English. Providing the English label is necessary to allow translating it to other languages. See the recommendations about writing the labels.
  • description – the description is not a sentence but a passage without a full stop at the end. Providing the English description is necessary to allow translating it to other languages.
  • aliases – Add alternative names as aliases, in the corresponding language.
  • instance of (P31) – Choose the type or heritage element in question. Do not use intangible cultural heritage (Q59544), but the most precise type you can find in Wikidata for the element. You can also create it, if you are confident a proper one does not exist. Use the keywords and categories of the inventory as an inspiration. Ideally, the type is hierarchically related to intangible cultural heritage (Q59544), but this is not always the case. See more about keywords.
  • subclass of (P279) – Sometimes it is useful to add the heritage element to a hierarchy of elements, such as in the case of a local variant of a tradition. You can also create subclasses to the element you are adding. See the section about subclasses for additional information. Do not use intangible cultural heritage (Q59544) here either.
  • intangible cultural heritage status (P3259) – Use the item for the inventory as the value. Add also the following qualifiers:
    • country (P17) – The country that has included the element in the inventory.
    • start time (P580) – The year or date when the element was added to the inventory.
    • title (P1476) – Add all the titles in the different languages that have been used in the inventory.
    • described at URL (P973) – Although this is repetition, this clearly associates the web page of the heritage element to the designation. Language cannot be expressed, so one needs to pick one of the languages, English preferred. Adding the information here is experimental.
    • The source statement may also have the same url as reference URL (P854), see a section below.
  • described at URL (P973) – The page of the element in the inventory website. For all of the language versions, add the following qualifiers:
  • The possible ID in an inventory or list, such as UNESCO ICH ID (P10221).
  • maintained by WikiProject (P6104): WikiProject Intangible Cultural Heritage (Q112898263)

Different ways to state the origin[edit]

Add source statements[edit]

Pay attention to providing good source statements to the data added. This allows anyone to check the data and use the link to read a richer description of the element. For each piece of information, add

  • stated in (P248) – the Wikidata item for the inventory. In this project, all inventories should be in Wikidata, and this property should be used. You can add either the webpage or the id in the inventory as a qualifier to mark the exact source location.
  • Add the date in retrieved (P813) as a qualifier.

Data modeling notes[edit]

What does the Wikidata item represent?[edit]

When information is added to Wikidata, it is merged with existing information about the tradition. The information about inscription in an inventory becomes only one aspect of the heritage element. For this reason, the name or scope of the element may change in the process.


Sometimes a heritage element represents several subelements, such as all festivals of a certain type. It is only fair that all the single elements are credited in Wikipedia articles and displayed on these pages as being part of that inscription.

With this in mind, the subelement should be linked to the main element in the following way:

Also all the other information about the designation should be repeated


Keywords used in the inventory represent many different pieces of information that need to be added to their dedicated properties. It may be difficult to add them all – don't let perfect be the enemy of good! Here are the most common ones:

Places: As already mentioned above, places are added to different properties depending on the meaning. In the keywords for heritage elements, the following ones are most relevant:

And if you feel energized, you can add more information[edit]

The topic of the heritage element is suited for many different properties. Pick the most fitting one, or use several:

  • main subject (P921) – primary topic of a work (see also P180: depicts)
  • named after (P138) – entity or event that inspired the subject's name, or namesake (in at least one language). Qualifier "applies to name" (P5168) can be used to indicate which one
  • commemorates (P547) – what the place, monument, memorial, or holiday, commemorates
  • dedicated to (P825) – person or organization to whom the subject was dedicated
  • patron saint (P417) – patron saint adopted by the subject

Additionally, the heritage element links to different contexts around it through different properties. Here are some ideas of what they could be:

  • culture (P2596) – human culture or people (or several cultures) associated with this item
  • uses (P2283) – item or concept used by the subject or in the operation (see also instrument [P1303] and armament [P520])
  • used by (P1535) – item or concept that makes use of the subject (use sub-properties when appropriate)
  • has use (P366) – main use of the subject (includes current and former usage)
  • practiced by (P3095) – type of agents that study this subject or work in this profession
  • field of work (P101) – specialization of a person or organization; see P106 for the occupation
  • instrument (P1303) – musical instrument that a person plays or teaches or used in a music occupation
  • genre (P136) – creative work's genre or an artist's field of work (P101). Use main subject (P921) to relate creative works to their topic
  • product or material produced (P1056) – material or product produced by a government agency, business, industry, facility, or process
  • made from material (P186) – material the subject or the object is made of or derived from (do not confuse with P10672 which is used for processes)
  • source of material (P2647) – place the material used was mined, quarried, found, or produced
  • feast day (P841) – saint's principal feast day
  • day in year for periodic occurrence (P837) – when a specific holiday or periodic event occurs. Can be used as property or qualifier

Find more properties for specific use cases

Add data to Wikidata[edit]

Items can be added to Wikidata manually one by one or with the help of a computer program all at once.

Create items in Wikidata one by one[edit]

Before adding a new item to Wikidata, always first check if the item exists.

  • If the items exists, use the list Data to import for an element to add all the necessary pieces of information.
  • You can use this Cradle form to create new items manually one by one. The form cannot add qualifiers or source statements, you must add them manually in Wikidata.

Batch import[edit]

To import all items at once, you need to make a batch import. The tools available are QuickStatements or OpenRefine. You do not need to do this by yourself. The support team will help you, whether you just want support or wish to have someone else do the import. However, subject matter expertise is needed to identify existing matching heritage element items in Wikidata and deciding whether to merge or create a new Wikidata item.


  • You will use your favorite spreadsheet application to prepare your data for QuickStatements. Here you can find the formatting instructions for the data.
  • You need to identify the Wikidata QIDs of every referenced item. For example, if the origin of an element is a location, the location must be in Wikidata, and you must reference it by its QID.
  • To do the upload, you add statements formatted in a specific way to the online tool, which uploads the data to Wikidata.


  • OpenRefine can read your data from several sources. The preferred ones are csv or excel.
  • In OpenRefine as well, you need to see that your data is formatted in a way that Wikidata understands it.
  • You can search for existing matches for the elements and other items with a process called reconciling. It gives you a list of possible matches in Wikidata, and you select the appropriate one or decide to create a new one.
  • After you have matched all your data, you create a schema for the import. That tells which columns in your data go to which properties in Wikidata.
  • A big part of the work is providing labels and descriptions in the original language and English for all the elements.
  • You will log into Wikidata with your bot account and process the import.
  • It is easy to add more information to the same items afterwards using the same OpenRefine project.


For large catalogs, it is possible to crowdsource the work of finding the equivalent items in Wikidata (reconciling) by adding the catalog items to Mix'n'match. There will be more precise information to the details that are now highlighted in yellow.

  • Import the catalog to Mix'n'match. You can add some key properties in the process. See instructions for more details. You need to log in with a Wikimedia account to work on this.
  • Create a call-to action (TBC) Wiki Loves Living Heritage and ask for volunteers to go through your catalog entries in Mix'n'match. There are already thousands of catalogues listed, it is important to catch the attention.
  • Import the matches to your data upload project.

Ideal collaborative workflow[edit]

The help of the focal point is needed to release the data managed by the office, institution or organization. They will consult the heritage communities regarding sensitive information. Their participation is crucial also in order to access and read the data to spreadsheet format.

The local affiliate or alternatively an affiliate in the region can take charge of communicating with the focal point. Locally active wikimedians should work together with the affiliates to contribute to future collaborations.

The import can either be carried out by the local teams or by the support team. The local team should work actively together to identify the existing elements on Wikidata and to create translated labels and descriptions. OpenRefine files cannot be worked on collaboratively online, but data can be exported for review. Face-to-face sessions could be an option that would also further collaboration.

Help to make this how-to guide better

Feel free to edit the text, use underlining to highlight text that is missing some information, or comment on the talk page.