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The Wikidata revolution is here: enabling structured data on Wikipedia
San Francisco, 25 April 2013 -- A year after its announcement as the first
new Wikimedia project since 2006, Wikidata has now begun to serve the over
280 language versions of Wikipedia as a common source of structured data
that can be used in more than 25 million articles of the free encyclopedia.
By providing Wikipedia editors with a central venue for their efforts to
collect and vet such data, Wikidata leads to a higher level of consistency
and quality in Wikipedia articles across the many language editions of the
encyclopedia. Beyond Wikipedia, Wikidata's universal, machine-readable
knowledge database will be freely reusable by anyone, enabling numerous
"Wikidata is a powerful tool for keeping information in Wikipedia current
across all language versions," said Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director
Sue Gardner. "Before Wikidata, Wikipedians needed to manually update
hundreds of Wikipedia language versions every time a famous person died or
a country's leader changed. With Wikidata, such new information, entered
once, can automatically appear across all Wikipedia language versions. That
makes life easier for editors and makes it easier for Wikipedia to stay
The development of Wikidata began in March 2012, led by Wikimedia
Deutschland, the German chapter of the Wikimedia movement. Since
Wikidata.org went live on 30 October 2012, a growing community of around
3,000 active contributors started building its database of 'items' (e.g.
things, people or concepts), first by collecting topics that are already
the subject of Wikipedia articles in several languages. An item's central
page on Wikidata replaces the complex web of language links which
previously connected these articles about the same topic in different
Wikipedia versions. Wikidata's collection of these items now numbers over
10 million. The community also began to enrich Wikidata's database with
factual statements about these topics (data like the mayor of a city, the
ISBN of a book, the languages spoken in a country, etc.). This information
has now become available for use on Wikipedia itself.
"It is the goal of Wikidata to collect the world's complex knowledge in a
structured manner so that anybody can benefit from it," said Wikidata
project director Denny Vrandečić. "Whether that's readers of Wikipedia who
are able to be up to date about certain facts or engineers who can use this
data to create new products that improve the way we access knowledge."
The next phase of Wikidata will allow for the automatic creation of lists
and charts based on the data in Wikidata. Wikimedia Deutschland will
continue to support the project with an engineering team that is dedicated
to Wikidata's second year of development and maintenance.
Wikidata is operated by the Wikimedia Foundation and its fact database is
published under a Creative Commons 0 public domain dedication [
http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/] . Funding of Wikidata's
initial development was provided by the Allen Institute for Artificial
Intelligence [AI]², the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and Google, Inc.
More information available here:
* Project homepage: https://www.wikidata.org/
* Example of an "item" page: https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q159
* Description of the project:
* How volunteers can get involved with Wikidata:
* Some of the first applications demonstrating the potential of Wikidata:
** http://simia.net/treeoflife/ - a (still very incomplete) "tree of life"
drawn from relations among biological species in Wikidata's database
** "GeneaWiki" generates a graph showing a person's family relations as
recorded in Wikidata, example: Bach family
About the Wikimedia Foundation
The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organization that operates
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. According to comScore Media Metrix,
Wikipedia and the other projects operated by the Wikimedia Foundation
receive more than 517 million unique visitors per month, making them the
fifth-most popular web property worldwide (comScore, March 2013). Available
in 285 languages, Wikipedia contains more than 25 million articles
contributed by a global volunteer community of roughly 80,000 people. Based
in San Francisco, California, the Wikimedia Foundation is an audited,
501(c)(3) charity that is funded primarily through donations and grants.
Wikimedia Foundation media contact
+1 415-839-6885 ext. 6609 (San Francisco)
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