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Wikicite/grant/Brazilian Laws: Modeling the Brazilian legislation in Wikidata

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Project summary[edit]

Project Name
Brazilian Laws: Modeling the Brazilian legislation in Wikidata
Start/End dates
November, 1, 2020 to April, 30, 2021
Amount requested (and the currency you wish to receive it in)
8,000 USD
Amount requested (in US$ equivalent)
8,000 USD

The people[edit]

Contact person name/Wikimedia username
Éder Porto / User:Ederporto
Contact person e-mail address
Organisation (optional)
User Group Wiki Movimento Brasil
Project participants
  • Éder Porto (User:Ederporto), Wikimedian, software developer with experience on technological solutions for GLAM partnerships and data modeling. Brazilian politics related topics are of my interest that I have been working for a long time.
  • Célio Costa (User:Sturm), Wikimedian, active in data refinement and reconciliation.
  • João Alexandre Peschanski (User:Joalpe), Wikimedian, professor of Political Journalism.

The project[edit]


Describe the project or event.


The Brazilian laws are available in full on the official website of the Palácio do Planalto (official workplace of the President of Brazil), along with a catalog card. A search API with some search fields also exists, however, it is not interoperable, nor does it allow the aggregation of data, providing only in list format links to the full text and to the catalog card. Other types of legislation (acts, ordinances etc) are available at a system called LEXML, with a better API, but still hard to query and no way to visualize the data other than in lists. In short, one can get the data if they are very familiar with the platform and know what they are looking for, otherwise it is not practical or informative.

The main objective of open data is to promote transparency. Transparency, especially when it comes to governments, is an important initiative to ensure the accountability of government officials and providing society with tools to obtain knowledge is an essential action in the ideal democratic process. Said data needs to be so open that anyone should be able to access, use, analyze and share it. Therefore, Brazilian laws are not made available either in an open or in a transparent manner, as they do not pass through the sieve of information being available in open formats in which they can be processed or used as desired.

As of today, there are only 129 items in Wikidata related to Brazilian legislation.[1] and 104 uses of the template "cite law" in Portuguese Wikipedia.[2]. There are 5958 references to the Palácio do Planalto website in Portuguese Wikipedia.[3] In contrast, there are about 28 thousand laws and "law-decrees" (decrees with status of law, from previous constitutions)[4] and more than 260 thousand legislation acts (acts, ordinances, resolutions etc). The modeling and importation of the Brazilian laws to Wikidata, allied to the improvement of Cite Q has the potential to create an easy way to use them as references and work with them in many projects (especially Wikipedia in Portuguese, Wikisource in Portuguese and Wikimedia Commons).


We propose to set up a process to model and import the entire framework of Brazilian laws (and "law-decrees") to Wikidata, documenting in detail the process and methodology for future replicability. This ticks all the transparency and open data checkboxes mentioned before, with a special focus in analysis of the data.

The methodology we will use is part of the solution, as we expect to foster an autonomous community to continue to perform curation, importation and analysis of this type of data. We intend to connect this project to editors in the community in Portuguese who systematically improve content on legislation.

On the issue of data curation, the proposal is to conduct a prior curation before all the data import. This process will be carried out on a wiki page, open to the curatorship and review of the community. For this, the entire process will be documented in detail, on various platforms (both on-wiki and off-wiki), in addition to producing a tool in Toolforge capable of producing new items related to Brazilian laws on Wikidata, query and visualize them.

The idea for this tool is to be a user friendly interface where a user can add a new law based on its number or its url, with functionalities of querying (using Wikidata Query Service) and visualizing aggregated data, similar to what Scholia[5] does for other type of references.


The Wiki Movimento Brasil user group members have worked in several fronts of knowledge during the years. Particular to the topic of Brazilian politics, the immediate scope of this project, we have:

The user group has also been active in projects for data feeding:

  • Data about all the dams in Brazil, highlighting the status of danger of them;[7][8]
  • Data about the winners of the Pulitzer Prize as training for data modeling and structuring; [9]
  • Data about the Brazilian GLAM institutions; [10]
  • Articles of the Anais do Museu Paulista;[11] This activity yielded a chapter called Structuring Bibliographic References: Taking the Journal Anais do Museu Paulista to Wikidata in the book 'Wikipedia and Academic Libraries: A Global Project'[12]
  • Data of digital positions of buildings in old São Paulo (Museu Paulista GLAM-wiki partnership). [13]

These projects have been accomplished collaboratively, in the context of Wikidata Labs (winner in the category Outreach of the 2019 WikidataCon Award)[14], a series of technical workshops designed and carried out by Wiki Movimento Brasil, in order to disseminate and deepen the understanding of Wikidata and its related topics. Thus, over the past few years, we have held 24 editions of these workshops, free and open to the community, in which everybody has access to expository lectures and tasks related to the topics covered. We intend to hold at least one workshop to cover the topic of this project and give training to the community.


Why is this project needed? What will it solve or improve?

Modeling the information and making it available in a free, interoperable and semantic manner can benefit all society, Brazilian or foreign, Lusophone or not, who is interested in seeking this information. Particularly within Wikimedia projects, this numerous set of laws can be used as automated references in many projects using Wikidata-friendly templates, like "Cite Q", for example.

In this project, we are also proposing the creation of a detailed documentation of the entire process and methodologies involved, aiming to improve the capacity of communities to develop and maintain data of this nature. Along with the documentation, we propose technical training through one of our Wikidata Labs to improve community capacity building.

To work on legal transparency is also a possibility to connect with organizations of the free-knowledge community that have sustained activities in the same direction, including Open Knowledge Brazil and InternetLab.[15][16]


Tell us how you'll carry out your project. What will you and other organizers spend your time doing? What will you have done at the end of your project?

  • Create a project page on wiki to organize the activities;
  • Create a schema crosswalk between Wikidata and Palácio do Planalto website;
  • Model the metadata schema for each type of legislation act (decree, law etc) for each period of time for the Brazilian legislation on federal level;
  • Create an ever-growing, dynamic lexicon for the distinct terms of categorization of the Brazilian laws;
  • Load all the available legislation on Palácio do Planalto website in Wikidata and curate the ones that already exists;
  • Develop an interface on Toolforge to translate the metadata from the Palácio do Planalto and LexML into QuickStatements commands to import into Wikidata;
  • Create in parallel the documentation for all steps.
  • Promote a Wikidata Lab to improve community capacity.

Measures of success[edit]

What are the criteria you will define success for your project, and how do you intend to measure for them? What are your targets for these measurements?

  • Import all Brazilian legislation available at Palácio do Planalto website into Wikidata (+-28K items);
  • One tool to import the law data into the Wikimedia projects (At least 100 successful uses);
  • One event of technical training (At least 10 participants);
  • One documentation about the processes developed and used in the project (1 handout and 1 wiki page);
  • Participation of at least 10 editors of the Wikimedia community not related to the project in the activities.


Who is your target audience for this project, and how will you ? How will you engage the community you’re aiming to serve at various points during your project?

The target audience is broad, and could involve the entire Brazilian population, or even foreign people interested in the topic.There is no denial that access to a country’s laws in a structured, thus understandable, way is a great functionality. For that, our more specific target audiences are:

  • Politics researchers that want to work, query and analyze Brazilian laws data;
  • Wikimedians in general, but specially Wikipedians and Wikisourceres interested in the topic and/or want to replicate the process;
  • Brazilian citizens and residents, law students etc, that will have a friendly platform to sort, query and visualize data about their laws.

Doing this in a semantic and structured way expands the possible target audiences beyond the Brazilian and even Lusophone community, as anyone will have access. The strategy to engage the audience is to document and communicate all the data import processes, offering the community paths and tools capable of continuing the work of adding and curating items.

The Budget[edit]

How will you use the funds you are requesting? List bullet points for each expense. (You can create a table or link to a separate (public) document if needed.

  • Development of the tool (U$ 3000 - 6 months (240 hours));
  • Curation of the metadata and lexicon creation (U$ 3000 - 4 months (120 hours, 2 persons));
  • Write, draw, diagram, print and share handout (U$ 2000)

COVID risk assessment (for in-person events)[edit]

If the project is for an in-person event, you must complete the risk assessment tool and checklist, and provide a link to copies of these documents here. Events must not include any international travel, and must follow all applicable local health guidelines.

No in-person activities. Brazil is for the last months (and unfortunately looks like it will be for an extended period of time) an epicenter of COVID-19. We at Wiki Movimento Brasil follow all the recommendations of WHO, the Wikimedia Foundation and local authorities, and have been working remotely since the beginning of the pandemic in Brazil remotely.


Community notification[edit]

You are responsible for notifying relevant communities of your proposal, so that they can help you! Depending on your project, notification may be most appropriate on a Village Pump, talk page, mailing list, etc.
Please provide links below to where relevant communities have been notified of your proposal, and to any other relevant community discussions.

To be notified:


Optional: Community members are encouraged to endorse your proposal and leave a rationale here.

  • Support Support Brazilian laws are a mess. Organizing this will be very useful. --Ixocactus (talk) 01:03, 27 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support Very useful for both Wikidata and Wikisource. NMaia (talk) 01:39, 30 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support - An excellent project that could serve as many miniature case studies on how to methodically cover a legislature, which is fundamental to citations and so much content in Wikidata related to legal and civic issues. The team has deep experience in Wikidata and a track record of delivering, having run the Wikidata Lab (Q61791944) series and being a leader in the movement for Wikidata initiatives and best practices. This should be an obvious "yes" for funding. -- Fuzheado (talk) 21:25, 30 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support Excellent project by a respected Wikimedian team! I believe that adding Brazilian laws to Wikidata will allow visualization to be linked to the impacts of legislative power on society. The initiative will also help in the organization and dissemination of bibliographic information on Brazilian legislation on the internet. -- Ssstela (talk) 19:54, 3 October 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support Besides all that has been stated above, it can serve as a show case and reference for future projects on the same theme.--- Darwin Ahoy! 17:00, 7 October 2020 (UTC)[reply]


Any questions about this proposal and feedback from reviewers should be placed on the associated discussion page.