Posts Tagged ‘Wikidata’ Now Supports External Lists

The official blog has announced support for enumerated lists. Adding this support allows developers using to use selected externally maintained vocabularies in their markup. According to the W3C-hosted 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”

In other words, “ markup uses links into well-known authority lists to clarify which particular instance of a 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

Two Perspectives on Wikidata

Mark Graham recently raised some concerns regarding the Wikidata project in The Atlantic. Graham writes, “Wikidata will create a collaborative database that is both machine readable and human editable and which will underpin a lot of knowledge that is presented in all 284 language versions of Wikipedia. In other words, the encyclopaedia plans to become part of the movement from a mostly human-readable Web to a Web in which computers and software can better make sense of information… The reason that Wikidata marks such a significant moment in Wikipedia’s history is the fact that it eliminates some of the scope for culturally contingent representations of places, processes, people, and events. However, even more concerning is that fact that this sort of congealed and structured knowledge is unlikely to reflect the opinions and beliefs of traditionally marginalized groups.”

Graham Continues, “It is important that different communities are able to create and reproduce different truths and worldviews. And while certain truths are universal (Tokyo is described as a capital city in every language version that includes an article about Japan), others are more messy and unclear (e.g. should the population of Israel include occupied and contested territories?).”

Read the full article here.

Denny Vrandečić, project director of Wikidata, posted a thoughtful response to Graham’s article. I have re-posted Vrandečić’s response in its entirety:


Thank you for your well-thought criticism. When we were thinking first of adding structured data to Wikipedia, we were indeed thinking of giving every language edition its own data space. This way the Arab and the Hebrew Wikipedia community would not interfere with each other, nor would the Estonian and the Russian communities interfere with each other. Read more

Wikidata: Funding and a Three Phase Plan

Wikimedia Deutschland’s latest project, Wikidata, has made some exciting announcements regarding funding and the project’s planned development. According to a new release, “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.” Read more

The Semantic Web Has Gone Mainstream! Wanna Bet?

Juan Sequeda photoIn 2005, I started learning about the so-called Semantic Web. It wasn’t till 2008, the same year I started my PhD, that I finally understood what the Semantic Web was really about. At the time, I made a $1000 bet with 3 college buddies that the Semantic Web would be mainstream by the time I finished my PhD. I know I’m going to win! In this post, I will argue why.

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Ward Cunningham’s Smallest Federated Wiki Paves Road To Our Curated Future

Ward Cunningham, inventor of the wiki, is percolating another project: The Smallest Federated Wiki. This week he gave a presentation entitled, Missing From the Beginning: The Federation of Wikis Abstract, at the University of Advancing Technology (UAT) theatre, which is viewable here, and he’s been hosting Google+ hangouts about the work, too.

So, what is the Smallest Federated Wiki? The idea behind the work-in-progress, launched at IndieWebCamp this past summer and as explained here, is to innovate in three ways: The new Wiki shares through federation, composes by refactoring and wraps data with visualization. As Cunningham said in the March 7 presentation, “We’re making an ecosystem here for sharing data about ideas. I’m taking the conversation about how we’re going to live going forward, to be based on ideas backed up by data that we can understand because it has sensible visualizations.”

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The Flap of a Butterfly Wing

Monarch Butterfly Danaus plexippus Male Yes you are right, one of the prime reasons for this post is an excuse to show some stunning pictures from nature.  However, there is also good reason to explore a Linked Data example, provided by Pete DeVries of the Department of Entomology at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, in his recent submission to the W3C public-lod mailing list.

Pete shows a good example of the benefits of Linked Data.  He provides links to information about the Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) from several Linked Data datasets, each of which provide different, but overlapping views.

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The Semantic Link with Guest, Denny Vrandecic – February, 2012

Paul Miller, Bernadette Hyland, Ivan Herman, Eric Hoffer, Andraz Tori, Peter Brown, Christine Connors, Eric Franzon

On Friday, February 10, a group of Semantic thought leaders from around the globe met with their host and colleague, Paul Miller, for the latest installment of the Semantic Link, a monthly podcast covering the world of Semantic Technologies. This episode includes a discussion about data; specifically, the recently announced “wikidata” project with special guest, Denny Vrandecic.
At the recent SemTechBiz Berlin conference, Denny presented a talk titled, “Wikidata: The Next Big Thing for Wikipedia.” As evidenced in the “Wow’s” expressed by the panelists in this month’s podcast call, this is indeed a big deal for Wikipedia and for Semantic Web. Read more

Learning about WikiData at #SemTechBiz Berlin

Richard Wallis is reporting from SemTechBiz in Berlin this week. He recently wrote, “One of the more eagerly awaited presentations at the Semantic Tech & Business Conference in Berlin today was a late addition to the program from Denny Vrandecic.  With the prominence of Dbpedia in the Linked Open Data Cloud, anything new from Wikipedia with data in it was bound to attract attention, and we were not disappointed.” Read more

#SemTechBiz Berlin – Day 2

After a great day yesterday I was eager to to discover what today’s program had to offer.  Unfortunately I had to set off for the airport, where I am now writing this, before the end.  However I caught most of the day and here are my few thoughts and recollections.

P1000760Today’s Keynote was in the form of a panel discussing Semantics in the Automotive Industry with Martin [GoodRelations] Hepp, John Kendall Streit of Tribal DDB, William Greenly of AQKA, and François-Paul Servant from Renault.  They discussed their experiences in pioneering the use of Linked Data / Semantic Web technologies and approaches in the automotive domain.
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