Critical issues presentations/Wikidata in Wikipedia

From Wikimania 2016 • Esino Lario, Italy
Presentation slides
Submission no. 68
Title of the submission

Wikidata in Wikipedia

Author of the submission
  • Michael Peel
Country of origin

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland



  • Wikidata
  • Wikipedia
  • Structured data
  • Infoboxes

Wikidata, the newest Wikimedia project, is a game-changer for Wikipedia. Rather than duplicating data across many different language version of Wikipedia, we can instead include data from a central repository, in the same way that multimedia can be included from Wikimedia Commons. We've already seen the first steps with this: interwiki links are now provided through Wikidata, as are authority control numbers, and there's much more to come.

The next logical steps promise to have an ever bigger impact. Infoboxes can be automatically populated from Wikidata. Instead of having a complicated template that has many parameter calls occupying the first 30 lines or so of a Wikipedia article, which can be very off-putting for new users, a single line can instead be used. This is currently demonstrated live in Wikipedia articles at, for example, South Pole Telescope on the English Wikipedia, or Camembert de Normandie on the French Wikipedia. It doesn't stop there: why not use birth/death dates from Wikidata in biographies, links to pronunciations, automatic stub creation from Wikidata, and will we still need categories in a few years time?

However, there are a number of issues to think about before that happens. While this will simplify the Wikipedia articles, the question of whether the information on Wikidata is complete and trustworthy remains, and what do we do with references in the infoboxes? Editing the information also becomes a lot more opaque for new users, unless we introduce them to Wikidata early on, or make editing Wikidata completely transparent on Wikipedia.

This presentation will cover the pros and cons of using Wikidata in Wikipedias. It will highlight some of the practical issues with its implementation today, and mention the different technical methods that are already in use on the different Wikipedia language editions. Finally, it will look to the future where we have full integration of Wikidata across all of the Wikimedia projects, bringing all of the Wikimedia projects closer together through a shared collaborative data set.

  • Target: General audience / Wikipedia and Wikidata editors. No specific background knowledge will be assumed.
  • Topic: The use of Wikidata in Wikipedias
  • Purpose: Audience gains a better understanding of the current issues, and becomes more engaged with using Wikidata
  • Approach: Structured data has a huge potential for change both in and out of the Wikimedia movement, e.g. in search engines and other websites - and in order to make sure it has the best possible impact, we need to think and talk about the next stages of its growth in the Wikimedia projects.


Interested attendees and comments

--Tobias1984 (talk) 21:19, 24 June 2016 (UTC)[reply]