WikidataCon: Giving more people more access to more knowledge

At the end of October, I attended WikidataCon 2017 in Berlin. My participation was made possible thanks to the generous support of Wikimedia Austria, so a big shout-out to the great team here in Vienna! 🎉

I’ve been intrigued by the project for quite some time, and I wanted to learn more as to how we at Open Knowledge Maps can contribute to this evolving ecosystem of linked open data. And what an ecosystem it has become! As Lydia Pintscher, product manager of Wikidata, showed in her presentation on the occasion of Wikidata’s 5th birthday, the database now comprises of 37.8 million items contributed by some 17,600 editors.

Due to the increasing number of items on scholarly articles, there were many interesting talks on the uses of Wikidata for open science. This included a demo of neonion, an annotation and recommendation system connected to Wikidata, presented by Adelheid Heftberger and led by Claudia Müller-Birn. Dario Taraborelli presented WikiCite, which aims to build an extensive open bibliographic database in Wikidata including large amounts of citation data. Finn Årup Nielsen gave an introduction to Scholia, a presenter tool for this information. Dario started his talk with a controversial statement, which sparked a lot of discussion on Twitter:

Much of my interest in Wikidata is driven by Stefan Kasberger and Daniel Mietchen, who are both Open Knowledge Maps advisors and strong contributors to Wikidata & WikiCite. During the Wikimedia Hackathon and WikiCite Conference this year, Daniel, Tom Arrow and myself formulated a first plan, involving the WikiFactMine project. WikiFactMine is carried out by our collaboration partner ContentMine and seeks to use text mining of the Open Access bioscience literature to enhance the Wikimedia projects. With the release of the WikiFactMine API, which was announced at WikidataCon, this idea is getting closer to becoming a reality.

We know that Wikipedia has sparked a lot of research, but there is also an increasing amount of research based on Wikidata, as exemplified by the knowledge map below. As such, Wikidata is becoming an increasingly important bridge between the scientific community and Wikimedia.

As every other Wikimedia event that I had previously attended, WikidataCon was a well-organized, welcoming and inclusive event. It’s always great to see, how Wikimedia communities tackle diversity and bias heads-on.

I thoroughly enjoyed my stay and I am looking forward to the community-organized events on Wikidata around the world next year, before WikidataCon returns to Berlin in 2019.

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