The chairman of wikimedia deutschland, pavel richter, presented what he called the first new rough project of wikipedia since 2006 on friday at the international wikimedia conference in berlin.
Wikidata is to become a free knowledge database whose information can be viewed directly, but is also machine-readable. Wikipedia articles will no longer contain data such as the population size of a city as text, but as a link to the corresponding location in the database. The information will then no longer be updated in the individual articles of the lexicon, but centrally at wikidata.
"Until now, figures such as berlin’s population had to be adjusted regularly," richter told the dpa news agency. In the future, this information will be centrally maintained for all 280 language editions of wikipedia. This would also eliminate a possible source of errors.
The wikidata content is available under a creative commons license – this counter-model to the classic copyright was developed especially for free use on the internet. Private websites such as blogs can also integrate the wikidata content. Wikidata will also enable researchers to "manage ever-growing and complex scientific data sets and draw valuable conclusions from them," said chris mentzel of the scientific program of the gordon and betty moore foundation, which is contributing to the wikidata project’s donor funding.
Starting on monday, a team of twelve international software experts will take care of the development of the database. They will come to berlin for a year to work on the project. Wikidata is to be released gradually in several phases. In the final stage, structured queries will also be possible: wikidata will then show, for example, the ten largest cities in the world that have a woman as mayor who was born after 1960.
"Like all wikipedia content, wikidata will be freely accessible," said richter. "Everything will be transparent and comprehensible."Anyone can enter available data, which is then subject to the usual quality control of wikipedia. In the case of disputed data, for example on the question of unemployment statistics, it is the editorial task of the volunteer wikipedians to decide which figure from wikidata is to be used.