This lesson is being piloted (Beta version)

What is Wikidata?


Teaching: 20 min
Exercises: 10 min
  • What are Items and Statements?

  • How does the Wikidata interface look like?

  • How is Wikidata linked to other Wiki projects?

  • Feel comfortable describing Wikidata to colleagues.

  • Learn about Wikimedia projects (e.g. Wikipedia, WikiCommons) and Wikidata is related to them.

  • Know why linked open data is important in my work as a cataloging or teaching librarian.

  • Know able identify components of a Wikidata item page, how Wikidata is organized and how to navigate in it.

What is Wikidata?

Wikidata’s description explains that “Wikidata is a free and open knowledge base that can be read and edited by both humans and machines.” Wikidata functions as the central database for a variety of Wiki projects, including Wikipedia, Wiktionary, and Wikisource, among others.

Most users will be familiar with Wikpedia, which describes itself as “a free encyclopedia, written collaboratively by the people who use it. It is a special type of website designed to make collaboration easy, called a wiki. Many people are constantly improving Wikipedia, making thousands of changes per hour. All of these changes are recorded in article histories and recent changes.”

Wikidata contains various data types (e.g. text, images, quantities, coordinates, geographic shapes, dates). The data can be queried via a query interface called SPARQL, which we will cover later in this lesson. Data is published under the Creative Commons Public Domain 1.0 license. It can be modified, copied, and distributed without permission.

Wikidata also contains authority files, bibliographic data, and other content normally managed in library databases.

Importantly, Wikidata can be interlinked to other open data sets on the linked data web.

1.1 Intro interface

Datamodel in Wikidata

1.2 Play games to open

1.3 Wikidata Item Eastereggs

1.4 Linking Wikidata to other Wiki resources

Key Points

  • Item

  • Statement