Posts Tagged ‘Wikidata’

Hello, Good-Bye at Wikidata

rsz_wikidLast week saw Denny Vrandecic leave Wikidata as director of the project that as of last week passed a milestone of 20 million statements and as of this Monday saw the creation of its fifteen-millionth item, about a Wikipedia category related to beetles. This week also sees Lydia Pintscher, community communications for technical projects including Wikidata, take on the responsibility of product manager for Wikidata.

In a farewell blog post, entitled Data For the People, Vrandecic provided his thoughts about how far Wikidata has come, as well as the possibilities and challenges that lie ahead.

The Semantic Web Blog caught up with Vrandecic, who spoke at the recent SemTech in San Francisco in June, for a little more perspective on the future – Wikidata’s and his own. When it comes to what he’d note as is accomplishments, Vrandecic said that he usually would name the size of the project, citing Wikidata’s community of 3,900 active editors, of whom a third have not been contributors to Wikimedia projects before. “This is, after Wikipedia and Commons, the third-largest Wikimedia project.

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DBpedia 3.9 Hits The Runway


rsz_dbnew3DBpedia 3.9
is up and going. Word came today from Christian Bizer and Christopher Sahnwaldt that the new release boasts an overall increase in the number of concepts in the English edition from 3.7 to 4 million things, thanks to being based on updated Wikipedia dumps from the spring of 2013.
Other numbers to impress:

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At SemTechBiz, Knowledge Graphs Are Everywhere

Sing along with me to this classic hit from 1980: “Knowledge graphs are everywhere; They’re everywhere; My mind describes them to me.”

Our Daughter’s Wedding’s song Lawn Chairs. But it’s a good description of some of the activity at the Semantic Technology & Business Conference this week, which saw Google, Yahoo and Wikidata chatting up the topic of Knowledge Graphs. On Tuesday, for example, Google’s Jason Douglas provided insight into how the search giant’s Knowledge Graph is critical to meeting a new world of search requirements that’s focused on providing answers and acting in an anticipatory way (see story here), while Wednesday’s closing keynote had Wikimedia Deutschland e.V. project director Denny Vrandecic getting the audience up to date with Wikidata – aka, Wikipedia’s Knowledge Graph For, And By, Everyone.

There are some 280 language versions of Wikipedia for which Wikidata serves as the common source of structured data. Wikidata now has an entity base of more than 12 million items that represent the topics of Wikipedia articles, Vrandecic said during his presentation.

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Wikidata Phase 2 In Full Swing

In December the Semantic Web Blog spoke with Wikidata project director Denny Vrandecic about progress on Phase 1 of the work to create a free knowledge base about the world that can be read and edited by humans and machines (see story here). At the time, Vrandecic explained that January would begin the roll-out of language-by-language editions – first up were Hungarian, Hebrew and Italian – on the Wikipedias.

Last week brought another language on board, as Wikidata Phase 1 went live on English Wikipedia, with Wikidata language links supplementing locally-hosted ones there too.  March 6 should see deployment to the Wikipedias that do not have language links.

In an important update, Phase 2 of the overall effort to centralize access to and management of structured data – which was in development as Phase 1 progressed – saw its first fruits for use on Wikidata.org (not yet on Wikipedia) earlier this month: Infoboxes.

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Wikidata: People And Bots Busy Filling The System In Phase One

Ever heard of the Finnish television series Matkaoppaat? It’s a program about tour guides abroad – something of a reality show that looks like it has already spawned copycat programs with more on the way in other countries.

But of more interest to readers of The Semantic Web Blog is that just a couple of days ago, the series was added as item Q1000000 to Wikidata, on the heels of other recent entries like the English town Newton-le-Willows (item ID Q750000) and American alpine skier Tim Jitloff (ID Q500000). They’re following in the footsteps of earlier items like Dutch Wikipedia (ID Q10000), which was added just four days after Wikidata was launched on Oct. 30.

“Right now the system is launched (since end of October) and people and bots are filling it,” says Wikidata project director Denny Vrandecic, of the Wikimedia Foundation’s effort to create a free knowledge base about the world that can be read and edited by humans and machines alike.

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Linked Data at Wikia

Gregg Kellogg recently discussed a project which he is involved with called Wikia: “Wikia hosts hundreds of thousands of special-interest wikis for things as varied as pokemon, best cellphone rate comparisons, TV shows and Video Games. For those of you not aware of Wikia, it is an outgrowth of the MediaWiki and was founded by Jimmy Wales as a for-profit means of using the MediaWiki platform for exactly such interests. Recently MediaWiki Deutschland started work on WikiData, an effort to use Semantic Web principles to create a factual knowledge base that can be used within Wikis (typically to replace Infobox information, which can vary between different language versions). This is a somewhat different direction than Semantic Media Wiki, which is more about using Wiki markup to express semantic relationships within a Wiki. As it happens JSON-LD is being considered as the data representation model for WikiData.” Read more

Wikidata Closes SemTechBiz SF with a Bang

Anthony Myers of CMS Wire reports, “Core ideas about a more structured Internet, vis a vis the semantic Web, are quickly approaching mainstream consciousness. When Wikipedia, the sixth most popular Web site in the world, debuts its Wikidata platform later this year, it will be a major step in this direction. ’Wikidata is going to blow everything else out of the water,’ Joe Devon of Startup Devs said during the closing panel of the 2012 Semantic Technology & Business Conference. Devon is also on the advisory board, but Dave McComb, who co-founded the SemTech Conference, also asserted his belief in how huge Wikidata is going to be.” Read more

Schema.org, Wikidata, Google Knowledge Graph – Two Great Causes and a Symptom

I was toying with another title for this post – Yet Another Perfect Storm, but I think that particular metaphor (although appropriate here) has been somewhat over done.  So what sparked this one then?

I am on the long flight back from the Semantic Tech & Business Conference in San Francisco to the good ol’ UK, to see how they got on with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee festivities.  I am reflecting on what my week at the conference has told me.  It has told me that things are a changing – I got that impression last year too, but more so this year.  Obviously, from the title of this post, it has something to do with Schema.org, Wikidata, and the Google Knowledge Graph….

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Schema.org Now Supports External Lists

The schema.org official blog has announced support for enumerated lists. Adding this support allows developers using schema.org to use selected externally maintained vocabularies in their schema.org markup. According to the W3C-hosted schema.org WebSchemas wiki, “This is in addition to the existing extension mechanisms we support, and the general ability to include whatever markup you like in your pages. The focus here is on external vocabularies which can be thought of as ‘supported’ (or anticipated) in some sense by schema.org.”

In other words, “Schema.org markup uses links into well-known authority lists to clarify which particular instance of a schema.org type (eg. Country) is being mentioned.”

For example, consider a list of countries of the world. A developer could use this URI from Wikipedia to reference the USA or this one from the UN FAO, or this one from GeoNames.

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Wikidata, and a clash of world views

Remember the days before Wikipedia had all the answers? We looked things up in libraries, referring to shelf-filling encyclopaedias. We bought CD-ROMs (remember them?) full of facts and pictures and video clips. We asked people. Sometimes, school home work actually required some work more strenuous than a cut and paste. We went about our business without remembering that New Coke briefly entered our lives on this day in 1985.

Wikipedia is far from perfect, and some of the concern around its role in a wider dumbing down of thought and argument may be justified. But, despite that, it’s a remarkable achievement and a wonderful resource. Those who argued that it would never work have clearly been proven wrong. Carefully maintained processes and the core principle of the neutral point of view mostly serve contributors well.

With Wikimedia Deutschland‘s recent announcement of Wikidata, many of the early concerns about Wikipedia itself have resurfaced once again. Read more

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