Press releases/The Wikidata Revolution

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The Wikidata revolution is here: enabling structured data on Wikipedia

San Francisco, California -- 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 external applications.

"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."

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. 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.


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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
Jay Walsh
Senior Director, Communications
+1 415-839-6885 ext. 6609 (San Francisco)
jwalsh@wikimedia.org