Saturday, March 31, 2012
WikiMedia Introduces The Wikidata Project
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The German chapter of the international Wikimedia
movement, Wikimedia Deutschland, is starting the
development of a new Wikimedia project, called Wikidata.
Wikidata will provide a collaboratively edited database
of the world's knowledge. Its first goal is to support
the more than 280 language editions of Wikipedia with one
common source of structured data that can be used in all
articles of the free encyclopedia. For example, with
Wikidata the birth date of a person of public interest
can be used in all Wikipedias and only needs to be
maintained in one place. Moreover, like all of Wikidata's
information, the birth date will also be freely usable
outside of Wikipedia. The common-source principle behind
Wikidata is expected to lead to a higher consistency and
quality within Wikipedia articles, as well as increased
availability of information in the smaller language
The CEO of Wikimedia Deutschland, Pavel Richter, points
out the pioneering spirit of Wikidata: "It is
ground-breaking. Wikidata is the largest technical
project ever undertaken by one of the 40 international
Wikimedia chapters. Wikimedia Deutschland is thrilled and
dedicated to improving data management of the world's
largest encyclopedia significantly with this project."
Besides the Wikimedia projects, the data is expected to
be beneficial for numerous external applications,
especially for annotating and connecting data in the
sciences, in e-Government, and for applications using
data in very different ways. The data will be published
under a free Creative Commons license.
The initial development of Wikidata is being funded with
a major donation of 1.3 Million Euros, granted in half by
the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence [ai](2).
The institute supports long-range research activities
that have the potential to accelerate progress in
artificial intelligence. It was established in 2010 by
Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen, whose contributions
to philanthropy and the advancement of science and
technology span more than 25 years.
"Wikidata is a simple and smart idea, and an ingenious
next step in the evolution of Wikipedia," said Dr. Mark
Greaves, Vice President of the Allen Institute for
Artifical Intelligence. "It will transform the way that
encyclopedia data is published, made available, and used
by a global audience. Wikidata will build on semantic
technology that we have long supported, will accelerate
the pace of scientific discovery, and will create an
extraordinary new data resource for the world."
One quarter of Wikidata's initial funding is donated by
the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation through its Science
Google, provides another quarter of Wikidata's funding.
Chris DiBona (Director, Open Source) says: "Google's
mission is to make the world's information universally
accessible and useful. We're therefore pleased to
participate in the Wikidata project which we hope will
make significant amounts of structured data available to
Wikidata will be developed in three phases. The first
phase is expected to be finished by August 2012. It will
centralize links between the different language versions
of Wikipedia in one place. In the second phase, editors
will be able to add and use data in Wikidata. The results
of the second phase are scheduled to be released in
December 2012. The third and final phase will allow for
the automatic creation of lists and charts based on the
data in Wikidata. This will close the initial development
process for Wikidata.
Wikimedia Deutschland will perform the initial
development, and then hand over operation and maintenance
of the project to the Wikimedia Foundation. This is
planned to be achieved by March 2013. The team of eight
developers is being led by Dr. Denny Vrandecic. He
changed from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology to
Wikimedia Deutschland and is, together with Dr. Markus
Krotzsch, of the University of Oxford, co-founder of the
Semantic MediaWiki project, which has pursued the goals
of Wikidata for the last few years. The proposal for
Wikidata was developed with financial support by the EU
project RENDER, which also involves Wikimedia Deutschland
as a use-case partner.