Open data ensures knowledge exchange and the creativity necessary for Free Knowledge in the 21. century. This is the reason why in 2012, the project Wikidata came into being at Wikimedia Deutschland, where the platform has been continuously developed in close collaboration with an international community of volunteers. Currently, the platform contains approx. 90 million data objects.
Free Knowledge needs open data
Wikidata’s motto is ‘Giving more people more access to more knowledge’. According to Abraham Taherivand, Executive Director of Wikimedia Deutschland, “Wikidata – created by thousands of volunteers – is an extremely broad and diverse collection of data that is accessible for everybody and can be used by all.”.
The database can be edited and read by people and machines. If Wikipedia language versions are linked to the database, info boxes can be automatically updated in all versions – for example when the total population of a city changes. The networked data are also easier to link to other programmes or apps and more suitable for using them in the sphere of Artificial Intelligence than Wikipedia articles offering information in text format.
A special THANK YOU to the international community
Just like Wikipedia, Wikidata is backed by a community of volunteers – currently 12,500 – who improve and amend Wikidata’s data sets. In order to provide even better quality and balance of the data and upload large amounts of data, the volunteers have also developed a multitude of freely accessible tools. To quote Lydia Pintscher, product manager at Wikipedia, “This is why above all, we would like to thank the community whose work turns Wikidata into the data source for myriads of useful applications and whose commitment fills the project with life.” You can learn more about the story behind Wikidata in an interview with Lydia Pintscher.
Wikidata and Wikibase – Partner for open data
In addition, data from Wikidata are also used by other institutions, including museums, libraries, in the field of open science or by start-up companies. Countless applications and knowledge graphs use Wikidata’s linked data for their products. With Wikidata’s underlying software Wikibase, institutions can also build their own Wikibase instances to structure data records. Institutions that use Wikibase include the German National Library, the Library of Congress and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.
Ambitious plans for the next year of Wikidata’s life
To date, Wikidata has received several awards along the way, including the Open Data Award, which was presented by Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Sir Nigel Shadbolt. We also have many plans for the coming months. Over the past few years in particular, Wikidata has grown significantly. Therefore, together with upgrading the technical infrastructure, we also want to continue to drive diversification of languages and cultures. Since Wikidata’s data are used by external programmes in more and more places, an additional focus in its ninth year will be on quality assurance. For all of these activities, we will keep up the close collaboration with our community.