Wikicite/grant/WikiCite addon for Zotero with citation graph support/Report

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Did you meet your goals? Are you happy with how the project went?

The main goal of the project, which was to "develop a WikiCite plugin for the open source reference management software Zotero" has been met successfully. It is now called Cita.

I am very happy with how the project went; it exceeded my expectations. I learned a lot about how to lead multiple aspects of the development of an open-source software project, from planning and design, to actual implementation and communication. Also, the project has gathered more interest from the community than I expected. It also helped me engage more deeply with the Wikimedia communities and movement.


Please report on your original project targets.

Target outcome Achieved outcome Explanation
Publish pre-release adding the Editor module. The Editor module was first published in pre-release v0.0.1. The first pre-release published focused on the module that added citation metadata support to Zotero, to have a general data model and structure around which the other modules would fit as development continued.
Publish pre-release of the plugin including the Fetcher module. The Fetcher module was first published in pre-release v0.0.2. The second pre-release published focused on getting QIDs and citations from Wikidata.
Publish third pre-release adding the Uploader module. The Uploader module was first published in pre-release v0.1.0. The third pre-release published focused on adding the ability to upload changes to Wikidata.
Publish fourth pre-release adding the Citation graph module. The Citation graph module was first published in pre-release v0.2.0. The fourth pre-release published focused on supporting citation graph visualization.
Publish fifth pre-release adding the Extraction module. The Extraction module was not developed. Instead, wider item-type support was developed and first published in pre-release v0.2.1 As described in the release notes of v0.2.0, considering the new open citations landscape following Elsevier's decision of opening their citations, it was acknowledged that the main contribution that the plugin could make to the crowdsourced collaboration on open citations may not be in the field of journal articles, but rather in the field of other item types, not supported by Crossref. Hence, the priority of the Extraction module was downgraded in favor of supporting other item types.
Publish first stable release of the plugin. Version 0.2.3 was published and used in the presentation workshops. Version 0.2.3 was released in 10 languages. It includes (1) Citations Pane and Editor for citations metadata support; (2) back and forth communication with Wikidata, including QID reconciliation, synchronization of "cites work" claims, and creation of Wikidata items; (3) citation graph visualization.
Involve at least 20 people in the presentation events. ~150 people participated in the presentation events. There were 218 pre-registrations for the Spanish and English presentation events. Seats had to be limited to keep the event as hands-on as possible. ~50 people participated of the actual workshop, plus ~100 that followed live on YouTube. The event recordings have been watched on YouTube 200+ times since then.
Creation of at least 20 new WikiData accounts. 16 new Wikidata accounts were created for the events. Although anyone could sign up for the English and Spanish Dashboard events, only those who had been selected to participate of the hands-on workshop were required to do so. Of the 47 participants who signed up for the Dashboard events, most had Wikimedia accounts already, and only 16 had to create one for the event.
Creation of 70 new WikiData entries during the events. 124 new Wikidata items have been created with Cita during or after the events. Users who signed up for the Dashboard events created 61 Wikidata items within the 24hs following the beginning of the events. However, it is possible that some of these creations were unrelated to Cita or the events. On the other hand, 124 new Wikidata items (including some of the 61 above) have been created using Cita's automatic entity creation between May 27 and June 17, 2021. These edits have a "WikibaseJS-edit" tag and "[Cita]" at the end of the edit summary (more info here). These figures may be underestimating the total amount of items created, because they don't count items created with QuickStatements. Users may have chosen to use QS because of a bug (now fixed) that was affecting automatic item creation.
Creation of 350 new WikiData "cites work" claims during the events. 29 edits adding one or more "cites work" claims have been made during or after the events. Users who signed up for the Dashboard events made 404 edits to 113 Wikidata items within the 24hs following the beginning of the events. However, it is likely that most of these edits are unrelated to Cita or the events. On the other hand, 29 edits adding one or more "cites work" claims to Wikidata items have been made between May 27 and June 17, 2021. These edits have a "WikibaseJS-edit" tag and "[Cita]" at the end of the edit summary (more info here). These figures are lower than expected, and possible reasons are discussed below.

Lessons learned[edit]

Projects do not always go according to plan. Sharing what you learned can help you and others plan similar projects in the future. Help the movement learn from your experience by answering the following questions:

  • What worked well?
    • Setting specific pre-release goals helped me move forward even if initial implementations were not perfect.
    • Having started to plan the presentation workshops almost two months in advance helped me follow up with the people who had pre-registered to make sure they were following the necessary preparation steps before the event.
    • Involving the local chapter, Wikimedia Argentina, helped me a lot with the Spanish event, especially with its promotion, with the technical aspects of the call, and during the event.
  • What did not work so well?
    • Zotero is in the process of making some major changes to their code base. Add-on developers have been suggested to take this into account, but no clear guidelines or sample plugins are available yet. As a result, integration with Zotero took longer than expected. Nonetheless, I expect Cita may now serve as a model for other developers.
    • Although the events were more successful than expected regarding attendance, they were not as successful as expected regarding edit count. It is surprising that there are more Wikidata items created with Cita (124), in spite of the bug that was affecting the automatic creation of new items, than edits adding "cites work" claims to Wikidata items (29). I was expecting the opposite. One possible reason may be that whereas it is relatively easy to create new Wikidata items for Zotero items that users have in their libraries, adding "cites work" claims implies manually entering the metadata of the cited items. Implementing automatic citation exctraction, as well as simplifying entering cited item metadata (see here, here, and here) may further encourage users contribute "cites work" claims in the future.
  • What would you do differently next time?
    • In this project I worked alone, taking care of from planning and design, to implementation and communication with the community. Although I enjoyed all of this, it was time demanding, and sometimes I found it hard to focus having to switch back and forth between tasks. Learning from this experience, in a new project that I will be working on I will be collaborating with a colleague who will take care of community engagement.

in I presented recently, there is one person in the team that will take care of community engagement.

    • Automatic software testing is useful to make sure that no unexpected bugs are introduced when making changes to the source code. Although I acknowledged their importance from the beginning of the project, I did not include them as a specific goal, and did not implement them in the end. Although I would like to add them in the future, in the meantime this may discourage further development, especially by potential contributors. A new project I will be working on has explicitly considered this, to make sure it will be included from the beginning.
    • Time invested on the project resulted more than originally budgeted. This was somehow expected, given that I also learned a lot during the project, and also because my personal interest may have made me work on it more than strictly necessary. Nonetheless, I will use this experience to more accurately estimate time needed for future projects.
    • One-hour presentation workshops were too short for introducing, demonstrating and working with Cita. For this reason, in a new project that I will be working on (see above) my colleague will run a set of public workshops instead.


Grant funds spent[edit]

Please describe how much grant money you spent for approved expenses, and tell us what you spent it on.

Grant money (7,920 USD$) was used for approved expenses, as stated in the proposal's budget and in the receipts submitted. That is, they were used to pay for most of the time I invested on development, translation and documentation.

Remaining funds[edit]

Do you have any remaining grant funds? There are no remaining grant funds.

Anything else[edit]

Anything else you want to share about your project?

I would like to share a (non-comprehensive) list of highlights, beyond the original formal expectations:

  • A project page was created in English and Spanish, and translated by the community to German and Turkish:
  • Pages for the Spanish and English workshops were created, including workshop preparation steps, and workshop resources, including recordings and slides.
  • Cita has been added to the lists of Wikidata tools to edit items, query data and visualize data.
  • Cita has been added to the official list of Zotero plugins.
  • While developing Cita, I also had the chance to contribute to some of the open-source projects it relies on, including:
  • A collaborative translation project has been set up on Thanks to volunteer translators, Cita has been released in 8 languages (in addition to English and Spanish), and it is in the process of being translated to other 25.
  • A comprehensive list of issues (including bugs and enhancements) has been growing from the beginning and has has already received input from some users. It will hopefully guide future developments.
  • Cita has already collected 26 stars (and 7 watchers) on GitHub. By June 17, 2021, less than a month after its release, the latest version has been downloaded 256 times already.
  • Following the presentation events, a talk and a working hour on Cita have been organized by the LD4 Wikidata Affinity Group.
  • A post about Cita will soon be published on Wikimedia's Diff blog.