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 (not yet on Wikipedia) earlier this month: Infoboxes.

It is gathering Infobox-related data with the goal of filling Infoboxes with data from Wikidata. At some point, this should translate to each language Wikipedia not having to store its own Infobox information. Currently Phase 2 is limited to two data types – items and images on Wikimedia Commons – with more to follow later (coordinates, dates and so on). And for now, the references allow only a single property and value. It’s currently planned that deployment of Phase 2 functionality on the Wikipedias will take place in a few weeks, Vrandecic told the Semantic Web Blog.

Adds Vrandecic, “We plan to add further data types in March, String and Number, after that Geo coordinates and time, then quantities.”

As reported by Wikidata on its blog, the deployment means contributors now can create statements. A statement is one piece of data about an item, recorded on one page. To do this, it explains, you connect items with properties to other items or to content on Wikimedia Commons. As an example it gives this:

You will be able to create a property “child”. Then you can add a statement to the item for Marie Curie using this property to say that she is the mother of Irène Joliot-Curie and Ève Curie. You can then create another property “portrait”. Using this you can add another statement to the item for Marie Curie linking to a portrait of her on Wikimedia Commons. You can support all of these statements by adding references to them. You can see the result of this in the screenshot.

To see other examples of Phase II live, check out the following links for Nikola Tesla, Ada Lovelace and Germany. And for those keeping count, in other Wikidata news, item 5,000,000 – a template of snooker tournaments – was created on Feb. 20.

“Adoption is much stronger than we expected,” says Vrandecic of the Wikidata project. “We currently have more than 1,200 active users, which is amazing.”