Introduction to Wikidata

What is Wikidata?

Wikidata is Wikimedia’s international project, which aims to be the largest free database, just as Wikipedia has become the world’s most popular source of knowledge.

Wikidata is a free and open knowledge base that can be read and edited by both humans and machines. Wikidata acts as central storage for the structured data of its Wikimedia sister projects including Wikipedia, Wikivoyage, Wiktionary, Wikisource, and others.

Wikidata also provides support to many other sites and services beyond just Wikimedia projects! The content of Wikidata is available under a free license, exported using standard formats, and can be interlinked to other open data sets on the linked data web.

Wikidata/linked data explained

Wikidata is a central storage repository, consisting mainly of items. An item is a thing, an entity, a concept. It can be an object, a person, an event, a place, an artwork, but also more abstract concepts such as love or socialism. Items are uniquely identified by a Q followed by a number.

For example, item Q17738 represents the 1977 film “Star Wars”. Every item also has a label, which is the main name given to it in a particular language. This enables the basic information required to identify the topic the item covers to be translated without favouring any language.

Item labels need not be unique. For example, Star Wars (Q462) represents the Star Wars film series and media franchise, and Star Wars (Q54317) represents the 1983 video game. The description on a Wikidata entry is a short phrase designed to disambiguate items with the same or similar labels. A description does not need to be unique; multiple items can have the same description, however no two items can have both the same label and the same description.

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