There’s been a lot of excitement recently about unlocking data’s potential. It seems I can’t turn around without seeing another article about Big Data (the buzzword of 2012/2013?). We’ve written about some of the data-related changes in the pipeline, for librarians particularly.
So when I received the latest press release from Wikipedia (via Wikimedia Announcements) that the “Wikidata revolution is here”, I wasn’t particularly surprised.
Although this is a decidedly different data beast than much of the research data (and its management) that we’ve written about before, I think the Wikidata project may serve as an interesting, illustrative example:
“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 current.”
It is easier to understand by looking at some actual examples (or, the “Further Information” section of the release):
From what I gather, this will facilitate data mining within Wikipedia immensely. Check out a couple of the incredibly early versions of what may come from this method of structuring data:
- A tree of life that pulls from relationships between biological species in Wikidata
- An interactive family tree (the Bach family) pulled from family relations in Wikidata
Are you an avid Wikipedian? Get involved!