SF> This is best taught by a variety of examples, accompanied also by some explanation.

I got a little of that today, at BRIC Arts Media House at Fulton Street east of Flatbush Avenue. Among the examples which my friend Lane created before our eyes were the Presidential hamsters Debbie and Billie: https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q47672754

and the already existing Spot Fetcher, Presidential dog: https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q6962578

Much use was also made of The Horse Fair https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q40432 as an example of several things. Alas, I only partly understood what this was all about.

SF> I am not even sure what it is. A database?

Yes. It's a database made up of Items. Each Item has a Q number. There are tens of millions of Items. The new President of Wikimedia New York City said that New York City is Q60. She intends to user her button press to make pin buttons with Q6962578 for https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q6962578 our local Wikimedia chapter, for the instructional session at Metropolitan Museum of Art, Tuesday Feb 13.

As you can see in the examples, each Item has one or (usually) more Statements. Each Statement says something about the Item, using a Property and one or (sometimes) more values.

There's a lot more to it, but these seem to be the core concepts of Wikidata structure, or at least they are the ones I understand.

The database exists to be queried. Queries are by a Structured Query Language called SPARQL. Ex-President Richard did such a query, and found that the lives of people named Ivan died, on average, weeks younger than people named Michael. However, I failed to understand how he was composing that query.

Mainly, people who code other things for Wikipedia compose SPARQL queries as part of their code. This allows changes in things like population statistics and political office holders to be distributed automatically to articles in all the hundreds of languages that have their own Wikipedia. So, I don't have to learn that, to be useful. Indeed, I have already been slightly useful by inserting or adjusting geographic coordinates in Wikidata.

I wrote this mainly to help this information gel in my own mind, but if it's also useful to someone else, all the better.

I had intended to help teach at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a week from Tuesday. No, I shall be one of the students, and one of the least capable students. Wikidata is most easily learned by people with prior experience in Wikipedia and databases.

If we must have only one kind or the other, database experience is the better kind. Apparently most of the audience will be librarians, archivists, museum curators, and other people with great experience in cataloging and finding things in a large collection. That's what databases are about, so I'll be pretty much a babe in the woods.

No more from Jim's Win 10 via Thunderbird & Juno ----

https://w.wiki/BUA Portrait of Madame X relations

Wikidata:Linked open data workflow