Posts Tagged ‘english’

The Future of Wikidata

(The German version of this article is here.)

Almost precisely one year ago, in March 2012, Wikimedia Deutschland started a completely new Wikimedia project – Wikidata. The goal of Wikidata is to create an open knowledge base about the world that can be read and edited by everyone. Wikidata is the biggest technical project that a chapter of the Wikimedia movement has ever undertaken.

The initial development of the Wikidata project is almost completed. Much has been achieved: the language links from Wikidata are already in use in four Wikipedia language versions (Hungarian, Hebrew, Italian, and English) and the other language versions will follow in the next days. The current state of Wikidata is nicely illustrated by the example of the page about Russia. With the help of staff, volunteers, and generous donations by [ai]², the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and Google, the foundation for the first new Wikimedia project since 2006 has been laid: a scalable infrastructure that allows for the central management of data in a wiki in order to make them available on Wikipedia and beyond, for example on blogs or websites.

The board of Wikimedia Deutschland has decided to continue the development of Wikidata with a team of eight in 2013. Wikimedia Deutschland will fund this development by means of donations.

In the coming year, the team will be working on the further development and maintenance of Wikidata. This includes, among other things:

  • the implementation of the third phase of Wikidata: the automatic creation and updating of lists and visualizations of the data in Wikidata
  • extending Wikidata with other data types, e.g. geodata
  • supporting the community in the growth and expansion of Wikidata, also when it is used outside of the different Wikipedia language versions
  • the possibility of deploying Wikidata in further Wikimedia projects, e.g. Wikimedia Commons or Wikivoyage

We expect that Wikidata will become an integral part of the Wikimedia movement. The excellent cooperation with the Wikimedia Foundation was an essential factor for this development: the Wikimedia Foundation not only operates Wikidata but also the many tools that have supported us during its development. We show our trust in the project and its goals by continuing to support Wikidata. In addition, we ensure the further development and maintenance.

Wikidata has the potential for more „great leaps“: Without the generous donations that funded the first year Wikidata would not have been possible. For the further expansion we hope to find additional partners who support us in reaching our goal of making the sum of all human knowledge accessible for every single person.

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Wikidata live on the English Wikipedia

(Die deutsche Version dieses Artikels ist hier.)

After the deployment of the first phase of Wikidata on the Hungarian, Hebrew and Italian Wikipedias we have added English to the list today.
This means language links on that Wikipedia are now also coming from Wikidata. This is yet another step on the way to moving towards a system where language links are stored in one central place (as opposed to the wikitext of each article on each Wikipedia).

What is going to happen exactly?

  • Language links in the sidebar will automatically come from Wikidata, once the article is linked on Wikidata. No special syntax is needed for that.
  • Existing language links in the wikitext will continue to work and overwrite links from Wikidata.
  • For individual articles, language links from Wikidata can be suppressed completely with the noexternallanglinks magic word.
  • Changes on Wikidata that relate to articles on this Wikipedia show up in Recent Changes and Watchlist, if the option is enabled by the user. (There are still some issues with this when you have enhanced recent changes enabled.)
  • At the bottom of the language links list you will see a link to edit the language links that leads you to the linked page on Wikidata.
  • You can see an example of how it looks in the article about Maria Goeppert-Mayer.
  • The second phase of Wikidata (which is about claims/infoboxes) was started on Wikidata, but can’t yet be used on any Wikipedia. This will follow later.

An FAQ is here.

What’s next?

The first parts of phase 2 have been deployed on We are working on the missing parts of phase 2 now. This includes for example the ability to enter dates and geocoordinates.

At the same time we’re preparing the deployment on all remaining Wikipedias. This was planned for February 27, but due to a number of meetings at the Wikimedia Foundation offices this might be moved a few days back or forth. We will keep you updated.

UPDATE: The new date is March 6.

Office hour

If you have questions you’re for example welcome to come to one of the next office hours on IRC.

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First parts of phase 2 of Wikidata going live

(The German version of this article is here.)

A few days after the roll-out of the first phase of Wikidata on the first three Wikipedias (Hungarian, Hebrew and Italian) the next step for Wikidata happened today. The first parts of phase 2 (infoboxes) are now in use on

What does this mean?

an example for phase 2 of Wikidata

With this deployment you will be able to create statements. To do this you connect items with properties to other items or to content on Wikimedia Commons. This sounds more complicated than it really is. Here is an example: You will be able to create a property “child”. Then you can add a statement to the item for Marie Curie using this property to say that she is the mother of Irène Joliot-Curie and Ève Curie. You can then create another property “portrait”. Using this you can add another statement to the item for Marie Curie linking to a portrait of her on Wikimedia Commons. You can support all of these statements by adding references to them. You can see the result of this in the screenshot.

Just like we did with the language links, this is currently only on and not yet used on any Wikipedia. Additionally it is limited to two data types (items and images on Wikimedia commons). More data types will follow later. These include for example coordinates and dates. Also, the references are currently overly simple and allow only a single property and value. In the future, this will be a list of such properties and values, so that you can make more structured references. Bear with us as we roll out iteratively.

What’s next?

The next step is deployment of the language link part to the English language Wikipedia. This is currently planned for February 11. After that all other Wikipedias will follow. This is currently planned for February 27.

If you want to stay up-to-date on everything related to Wikidata subscribe to the weekly newsletter.

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Wikidata coming to the next two Wikipedias

(The German version of this article can be found here.)

A bit more than two weeks ago the Hungarian Wikipedia was the first Wikipedia to make use of language links from Wikidata. Today we are rolling out the integration on two additional language editions of Wikipedia: Hebrew and Italian.

From that moment on they too will get language links from Wikidata and no longer have to store them in their local wikitext. Existing language links in the wikitext, however, will continue to work. For further detail please read the previous announcement.

What’s next?

current state of the interface for phase 2 of Wikidata

The next deployment will be on the English Wikipedia. This is currently planned for February 11. If there are no issues and everything goes as planned all other Wikipedias will follow on February 27.

The first roll-out of statements (phase 2 of Wikidata) is tentatively planned for February 4 on Wikidata and a few weeks later on the first Wikipedias. With this you will be able to create statements, i.e. properties connecting items to other items and with content on Wikimedia Commons. So you will for example be able to create a property “child”. Then you can add a statement to the item for Marie Curie using this property to say that she is the mother of Irène Joliot-Curie and Ève Curie. You can then create another property “portrait”. Using this you can add another statement to the item for Marie Curie linking to a portrait of her on Wikimedia Commons. You can support all of these statements by adding references to them. You can already try this out on the Wikidata demo system. We’d appreciate feedback on this contact page or bug reports on

Staying up-to-date

The best way to keep informed about everything happening around Wikidata is our weekly newsletter.

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First steps of Wikidata in the Hungarian Wikipedia

(Die deutsche Version dieses Artikels ist hier.)

Wikidata, Wikimedia’s new project for structured data, is still in development but today we are taking another step towards bringing it to all Wikipedias and the world. Today we have enabled the first phase of Wikidata on the first Wikipedia: the Hungarian Wikipedia.

The project so far

Layout of a Wikidata item

Wikidata has been online in a limited state since the end of October 2012. Since then a lot has happened. Important community pages have been created and used extensively, introductory and help pages have been written, bugs fixed, new features developed and of course a lot of item pages have been created – over 2 million by now. Over 3 million edits were done since the start of Wikidata by currently over 500 active editors. The first administrators have also been voted on and there are currently 68 of them. All this is much more than we, the development team, had hoped for. Thank you to everyone who is taking part in making Wikidata an amazing and useful project. We feel humbled to play a role in it.

In this first phase it is possible to create item pages, give them labels, descriptions and aliases in different languages and add links to the Wikipedia articles on the topic in various languages.

What happens now?

Language link connections between articles before Wikidata

Language link connections between articles with Wikidata

Now that the editors (with the help of a few bots) have collected all these links to articles on the various Wikipedias it is time to make use of them. This starts on the Hungarian Wikipedia today. So far linking between an article in one language edition of Wikipedia to an article on the same topic in another language edition of Wikipedia happened by adding a special link in the wikitext of the article, called a language link. This had to happen in each article in each language. This redundancy caused a lot of issues. Starting today we want to move to a different system – one where all these links are just stored once in Wikidata and each Wikipedia gets its language links from there. Starting today on the Hungarian Wikipedia language links are coming from Wikidata. The existing language links in the wikitext will continue to work until an editor decides to remove them.

The next steps

Over the next weeks we plan to enable this feature on two more Wikipedias that have requested it, the Hebrew and Italian Wikipedia.
All this work is the basis for the second phase of Wikidata that we are working on in parallel and that is starting to take shape. Phase 2 is about storing information typically found in infoboxes like the number of inhabitants of a country, the length of a river or the date of birth of a famous person.


Wikidata is a new project and this is your chance to help shape it. There are many ways to contribute. This page explains how to contribute as an editor, developer, translator and much more.

Staying up to date

The best way to keep informed about everything happening around Wikidata is our weekly newsletter.

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First part of phase 1 of Wikidata is online

Die deutsche Version dieses Artikels ist hier.

Two days ago we launched the first part of the first phase of Wikidata development on Let me explain what this means quickly.

The Wikidata project is divided into 3 phases. The first phase is about centralizing language links. Articles about the same topic on Wikipedias in different languages are connected by links in the sidebar on the left of each page. These links are saved in the source of each article in each language. This means a lot of duplication and the problems that come with that. The goal of the first phase is now to store them just once in a central place,, and then have the Wikipedias request the list of links from there.

What we have done two days ago is to launch the central part of this, In the next weeks we will do the necessary work to let the Wikipedias make use of the links that are being collected there now. We will start with the Hungarian Wikipedia, because they volunteered to help us testing the system.
Weiterlesen »

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Looking back at August and September at Wikidata

(Die deutsche Version dieses Eintrags ist hier.)

Let’s take a look back at the last two months of Wikidata development.

A first deployment is getting close

The first 6 months are over by now and we’re getting closer to a first deployment of the first phase of Wikidata on Wikipedia. This first phase allows storing the language links, the links that connect Wikipedia articles across languages, in one central location. So far they are all stored in the article in each language, causing a lot of duplication and bot edits to keep them in sync. A while ago Denny published statistics about the percentage of language links in relation to the whole wiki text of articles in the different Wikipedias. With Wikidata being used this number will drop considerably after a while.

The Hungarian Wikipedians already voted right after Wikimania on being the first to use Wikidata. The vote ended in favour of the proposal. Shortly after this the Italian Wikipedia had their vote with a very positive outcome. The other day the Hebrew Wikipedia started their discussion as well. A result is still outstanding. We are currently taking the last steps together with the Wikimedia Foundation to get the repository part of Wikidata up and running. Once this is tested for a while, we will add the first client, the Hungarian Wikipedia. The next Wikipedias will follow step-by-step after that. To help with the deployment process and quality assurance tasks Anja Jentzsch joined the team at the beginning of September as a software developer.

You can see and test the current development status on the demo system. Please report bugs if you find any. (We secretly hope you won’t find any anymore of course but you probably will ;))

It takes a village…

There are 13 people who are working on Wikidata at Wikimedia Deutschland. But a lot more are doing their small or large part. Just to give you some impression: Over the last months people worked on bots around Wikidata (including writing Pywikidata), commented on a lot of our drafts and mock-ups (e.g.: layout concepts for phase 2, unwanted edits, future use cases, data collaborators), reported and fixed bugs, reviewed the code we’ve written, dedicated Wikipedia articles to the team and much more. Thanks a lot to all of you. You rock!

To make it even easier to get an overview of the project and contribute we have overhauled the main project page and created a Contribute page. Have a look!


Over the past two months we’ve taken part in a number of events. These include Campus Party Europe, FrOSCon, WikiCon, Software Freedom Day and Datengarten. You can find a complete list on the Wikidata event page. There you can also find the video of the Wikidata panel at Wikimania in Washington, pictures and videos of the MediaWiki hackathon earlier this year in Berlin and the logs for our last two office hours on IRC. We’ll be holding another round of office hours closer to the first deployment. Also have a look at the future events we’re going to attend. We might have Wikidata stickers to give away there (and in the office if you want to come over and say hi).

Getting the latest Wikidata news

Since the start of the project we’ve had a mailing list, IRC channel and been on and Twitter. Recently we added Facebook and Google+ pages to the mix if you’re a fan of these networks. If you want to get the latest news to your talk page you can subscribe to the on-wiki newsletter.

On to the next 6 months

We’re already busy with the work on phase 2 now. This one is all about infoboxes and centralizing the data in them. This will need even more of your input than the first one to get it right. Keep an eye on the weekly status updates for things that need your input.

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Anja Jentzsch joins the Wikidata team

(Die deutsche Version dieses Eintrags ist hier.)

The Wikidata team has a new member. We’re thrilled to have Anja Jentzsch join the team as a software engineer. She will focus on quality assurance and the deployment process. This means she will will focus the team on quality and help with everything that is needed to get Wikidata up and running.

Anja, what brought you to Wikidata?

Having worked on DBpedia and the Web of Data since 2008, I am very interested in Wikidata as the new structured data hub on the Web. In 2011 I attended the Wikimedia Data Summit to discuss (together with the Wikimedia Foundation, Freebase and possible sponsors) the possibility of a data wiki for Wikipedia. This later lead to Wikidata. The last project I was working on ended and I am more than excited to join the Wikidata team.

You’re also active in DBpedia. Can you tell us a bit about that?

DBpedia is the Linked Data version of Wikipedia and was one of the first data sets on the Web of Data. It is being published since 2008 by Freie Universität Berlin and Universität Leipzig in cooperation with OpenLink Software. What it basically does is take information out of the Wikipedia articles and publishes it as structured data for third parties to work with. By now there is a huge coverage of mappings from Wikipedia templates to the DBpedia ontology for 24 Wikipedias.

(For more information about the relation between DBpedia and Wikidata see these notes.)

What will be your task in the Wikidata project?

I am one of the software developers and am mainly responsible for quality assurance and release management. So my main tasks will be to improve the overall test coverage and process as well as pushing the three Wikidata deployment phases forward.

What are you looking forward to most for when Wikidata is finished?

I am looking forward to the reception of Wikidata amongst Wikipedia editors. I am excited about all the data-driven projects and tools that will be possible. But I am even more excited about the possibilities of improving the editing process and data consumption in Wikipedia.

Welcome, Anja!

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Looking back at the last two months of Wikidata work

(Die deutsche Version dieses Artikels gibt es hier.)

Development is moving fast

The development of Wikidata is split into three phases. The team has been working on the first phase – centralizing language links – so far and is getting ready for the first deployment of the result. The Hungarian Wikipedia community stepped up to be the first to use Wikidata in production. The Italian Wikipedia community is currently very favourably discussing about becoming the second and there is interest from some members of the Hebrew Wikipedia community as well. The plan is to have the English Wikipedia follow after that and then offer it pretty quickly to all the other Wikipedias. If you want to test this already you can have a look at the demo system. We also looked at the impact this first phase will have on the Wikipedias and checked what percentage of the articles’ source in each Wikipedia is currently language links. Most of these will move to one central place – Wikidata.

Meanwhile the team is starting to work on the second phase – the centralisation of infobox data.

We published quite a few notes, story boards and more. For example the data model primer and the story board for linking Wikipedia articles or notes on how we want to export data to RDF and how we envision the user interface for phase two to look like. We’d appreciate your feedback on these.

To make sure Wikidata is flexible enough to deal with future use-cases that the community would like to see we’re collecting them. Please help and expand these.

Wikidata takes Washington, D.C. and New York, NY and …

at the Wikidata panel (cc-by-sa by Stepro)

Among the 1400 registered attendees for Wikimania, were also five from the Wikidata team – Denny Vrandečić, Jeroen De Dauw, Daniel Kinzler, Katie Filbert and me. Katie was even one of the main organizers of the event. We all had a blast. It was a great event with a lot of interest in Wikidata. More than 250 people showed up for our three talks on Thursday – and surprisingly few left when the two more technical ones started. First Denny gave an intro to Wikidata and what we’re trying to achieve. Then Daniel followed with an overview of the technical bits and pieces of Wikidata and how it fits into the rest of MediaWiki. The track ended with Jeroen showing how developers will be able to extend Wikidata in the future. On Friday we did the Wikidata panel together with Pavel Richter and Erik Möller. The panel started with the announcement of the winning logo of the Wikidata logo contest. As luck might have it, the designer of the winning logo, Arun Ganesh, was present and told us a bit about the idea behind it. The lines at the top spell out “Wiki” in morse code. Videos of the talks and panel will be up soon.

The week after Wikimania, Denny has been to New York City, and gave a talk at the New York Times. It was co-hosted by the local Semantic Web Meet Up group (the oldest and biggest such meet-up) and Wikimedia New York City, and had close to a hundred participants from very different backgrounds. The meeting started off with a presentation of rNews, a standard for providing metadata for news articles that is being widely deployed, and then the presentation of Wikidata. Many questions were raised, and some of them even answered in the evening event.

Additionally the Wikidata team held a number of Wikidata intro events in a few cities for local Wikipedians. More of these will follow. You can see all the past and future events on the Wikidata events page. To our delight Wikidata was also a topic at conferences without us even knowing in advance. Vorschlag: We were glad that Wikidata was also a topic at conferences without us raising the issue. At the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe’s conference for example one of the discussion topics was Wikidata and how it can be used for making their data available to a wider audience.

The team also held another round of office hours on IRC. Logs are available if you couldn’t attend.

On-wiki newsletter

We have started a on-wiki newsletter for those of you who’d like to have Wikidata news delivered directly to their talk page. To receive them just add yourself to the sign-up list.

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And the winner is…

(Die deutsche Version dieses Eintrags ist hier.)

Pavel Richter and Arun Ganesh after the announcement of the winner (cc-by-sa by Stepro)

3 and a half months ago Wikidata development started. As a new Wikimedia project it obviously also needs a logo. We have asked people in the community to submit logo proposals and then to vote on them. Voting time is now over and we have a winner! It was a tough choice between the 33 excellent submissions that made the voting list. Thanks to everyone who submitted a proposal. We were delighted by all the submissions that all expressed the ideas behind Wikidata in their own way.

And here is the winner:

This logo was created by Arun Ganesh (User:Planemad) and received 89 of the nearly 1000 votes. Congratulations!

Oh and of course we’ll be creating some swag like t-shirts and stickers with the new logo soon. Let us know what you’d like to have.

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