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Wikidata: Creating the Structured Wiki

Author Erik Möller
Track Projects and Content
License GNU Free Documentation License (details)
About the author
Erik Möller is currently contracted lead developer of WiktionaryZ and chief architect of the underlying Wikidata application layer. He has been a Wikipedian since 2001 and a MediaWiki developer since 2002; he served as "Chief Research Officer" for the Wikimedia Foundation from May to August 2005. He is also a technical journalist and has written a book about wikis, weblogs and open source titled Die heimliche Medienrevolution (German for 'The Secret Media Revolution'). He has spoken about wikis at conferences and workshops in Vienna, Sarajevo, Seoul, Pretoria, and across Germany.
Since mid-2005, a development effort is underway to add support for rich relational data to MediaWiki. This effort is known as "Wikidata". The basic underlying notion is to apply all the concepts of a regular wiki engine to a complex relational database consisting of multiple tables with typical relations (one-to-many, many-to-many, etc.) between them. In this model, Wikidata is a framework that makes simple structural additions simple for regular wiki site administrators, and complex things possible for wiki developers. This presentation will demonstrate three existing prototypes of Wikidata applications from a user's point of view:
  • WiktionaryZ, arguably the most complex application built using the framework: a universal dictionary and thesaurus that can be queried by machines and humans alike. The current WiktionaryZ prototype can be found at
  • WikiAuthors, a database of scientific publications, authors, and their affiliations. WikiAuthors will initially be implemented as a subset of WiktionaryZ, but very likely become a separate project soon.
  • (Tentatively:) Structured Wikinews. This will be a very simple application of Wikidata to add a story abstract and publication workflow information to Wikinews articles.
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