Only few lines describe this brand project on the Wikipedia website:
“Wikidata is a proposed project to provide a collaboratively edited database to
support Wikipedia. The project is being started by Wikimedia Deutschland and is intended to provide a common source of certain data types, for example, birth dates, a class of validated data, which can be used in all other articles on Wikipedia. It will be the first new project of the Wikimedia Foundation since 2006.”
Wikimedia Deutschland, the German section of the Wikimedia movement, is now
developing a collaboratively database of the world’s knowledge that can be read and
edited by humans and machines alike.
Developing a machine-readable database doesn’t just help push the web forward,
it also helps Wikipedia itself: Wikidata will support more than 280 languages with
one common source of structured data that can be used in all articles of the free
encyclopedia. Infact, the idea is for the data to live in the “info box” (on the right side
of some Wikipedia pages): Wikidata will drive the info boxes wherever they appear.
Obviously some details can change because the project is still in progress.
The data will be published under a free Creative Commons license, so they can be
used for different applications, for example e-government, or to connect data in the
Wikidata project will be developed in three phases.
The first one (finished in August 2012) centralizes links among different language
versions of Wikipedia, creating a common source of structured data that can be used
in all articles. In this way all the data would be recorded and maintained in one place.
In the second phase (December 2012) editors will be able to add and use data in
The last phase will allow for the automatic creation of lists and charts based on the
data in Wikidata which will be present in the pages of Wikipedia.
Wikimedia Deutschland cares for Wikidata until March 2013, before Wikimedia
Foundation will be the owner of this project.
A second purpose of Wikidata project is to enable users to ask different types of
questions (e.g. who is the youngest prime minister in Europe?). Today the only way
to answer those types of questions is to create manually a list; Wikidata will be able to
create these lists automatically.
It’s not a coincidence that the leader of the eight developers team is Dr. Denny
Vrandečić, from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. In fact, together with
Dr. Markus Krötzsch, he is co-founder of the Semantic MediaWiki project, which has
pursued the goals of Wikidata for the last few years.
There is one more sentence in the Wikipedia definition of Wikidata:
“The creation of the project was founded by donations from the Allen Institute for
Artificial Intelligence, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and Google, Inc.,
totaling €1.3 million.”
50% of the total investment has been donated by the Allen Institute for Artificial
Intelligence, the organization established by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 2010.
This organization supports long-range research activities that have the potential to
accelerate progress in artificial intelligence (like web semantics).
One quarter of the funding comes from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation,
through its Science Program.
The last quarter has been provided by Google, Inc.: “Google’s mission is to make the
world’s information universally accessible and useful” said Director Chris DiBona,
Open Source at Google. “We’re therefore pleased to participate in the Wikidata
project which we hope will make significant amounts of structured data available to
Google has certainly a big interest in this project: thanks to a centralized semantic
database they will be able to provide direct answers to common queries. As it moves
further into semantic search, Google could provide answers itself so that people
would spend more time on Google than on detailed websites.