Wikidata turns six!
Wikidata went live on 29 October 2012. In late-October and early-November 2018, we are organizing a giant Wikidata birthday all around the world. All local communities are encouraged to organize their own events: meetups, workshops, trainings for newcomers, hackathons, conferences… By the end of October 2018, bring your local community, engage newcomers and celebrate the sixth birthday! Pictures, presents and information will be shared on social media with the hashtag #WikidataBirthday.
Events around the world
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Birthday wishes from the community
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Here are the presents made by the community and the developers:
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A message from the development team
Today we’re celebrating Wikidata’s 6th birthday. This is a great time to look back at what happened over the past year and forward to what’s coming in the future.
Over the past year we have consolidated what we have. There is too much to cover everything but here are some of the things that I’m proud of:
We have also ventured into two big new territories. Work on them has been going on for quite some time but over the last year the fruits of that work finally saw the light of day. They will have a significant influence on Wikidata over the coming years.
The first one is support for lexicographical data. So far we have only described and categorized entities in the world - a city, a famous painting, a rockstar, a mathematical principle and more (over 51 Million more to be exact). But that’s not the only useful kind of data to structure of course. One other important type of data is data about words - also known as lexicographical data. So this year was the year to start collecting and structuring this new type of data. This is another important building block (next to data about entities in the world) for more intelligent technology. As more and more of our daily lives becomes intertwined with technology it is important to make it understand language - and more languages than just English. If we only make technology available in English we will accelerate the decline of smaller languages. By making lexicographical data available in machine-readable form to everyone and connecting it closely with the rest of the data we have, I hope we can help prevent that. There is still a lot of work ahead of us to make this reality but the groundwork is done. Let’s collect some lexicographical data in your language ;-)
The second one is building out an ecosystem around Wikidata with Wikibase as a core building block of that ecosystem. Since we started the development of Wikidata we always had it in the back of our minds that Wikidata isn’t the only place where Wikibase, the software running Wikidata, will be used. We always imagined other Wikibase instances out there next to Wikidata. However we didn’t have the resources to focus on it and to be honest the rest of the world wasn’t ready for it yet either. This has changed now. Wikidata has grown and more and more institutions, companies and projects are interested in not just contributing to Wikidata but also setting up their own knowledge base to open up their data. So over the last year we got the wheels in motion to create an ecosystem of Wikibase installations around Wikidata. We hope this will open up a lot more data (parts of which can then flow back into Wikidata or be used as references) and take pressure off of Wikidata to host all the data in the world. It’s exciting to see so many different Wikibase instances pop up for a wide range of data. Check out a timeline of them on the Wikibase Registry and read about FactGrid and Rhizome.
Now let’s take a look at what’s coming. Over the next year the lexicographical data part of Wikidata will grow and power the first exciting and useful applications in that domain. Wikibase will become more and more relevant and usable for running your own knowledge base and thereby help us build an ecosystem around Wikidata and open up more data. On top of that another pretty big change will be the first releases of structured data on Commons. This will not only open up another type of data but will also mean something more fundamental for Wikidata. Our items and properties will be used outside of Wikidata at the core of another project. So far we are mostly conscious of others using our data but not so much our ontology. This is something we will have to be much more aware of when for example creating new properties or changing existing ones. It’s no longer just about the needs of Wikidata but other projects as well. And it doesn’t stop with Commons. With federation features other Wikibase instances will be able to use Wikidata’s items and properties as well in the future. I’m excited about this even if it will probably come with some growing pains. But I’m confident we can handle this ;-) Exciting times are ahead of us. I can’t wait to see what people are going to build with Wikibase, lexicographical data and multimedia data in the coming year.
I’d like to take the opportunity to say thank you to you all for your hard work and dedication that make Wikidata come to life every day. You tell us what you need and then you take what we’re building and run with it. You create and you help others create amazing things. That made my day every single day for the past 6 years. Here’s to many many more.
CheersLydia and the development team