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Oxford academic aids in data revolution of Wikipedia

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The German chapter of the international Wikimedia movement, Wikimedia Deutschland, is starting the development of a new Wikimedia project, called Wikidata. Wikidata will provide a collaboratively edited database of the world's knowledge. Its first goal is to support the more than 280 language editions of Wikipedia with one common source of structured data that can be used in all articles of the free encyclopedia. For example, with Wikidata the birth date of a person of public interest can be used in all Wikipedias and only needs to be maintained in one place. Moreover, like all of Wikidata’s information, the birth date will also be freely usable outside of Wikipedia. The common-source principle behind Wikidata is expected to lead to a higher consistency and quality within Wikipedia articles, as well as increased availability of information in the smaller language editions. At the same time, Wikidata will decrease the maintenance effort for the tens of thousands of volunteers working on Wikipedia.

Wikimedia Deutschland will perform the initial development, and then hand over operation and maintenance of the project to the Wikimedia Foundation. This is planned to be achieved by March 2013. The team of eight developers is being led by Dr. Denny Vrandečić. He changed from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology to Wikimedia Deutschland and is, together with Dr. Markus Krötzsch, of the University of Oxford, co-founder of the Semantic MediaWiki project, which has pursued the goals of Wikidata for the last few years.

Besides the Wikimedia projects, the data is expected to be beneficial for numerous external applications, especially for annotating and connecting data in the sciences, in e-Government, and for applications using data in very different ways. The data will be published under a free Creative Commons license.

“Wikidata is a simple and smart idea, and an ingenious next step in the evolution of Wikipedia,” said Dr. Mark Greaves, Vice President of the Allen Institute for Artifical Intelligence. “It will transform the way that encyclopedia data is published, made available, and used by a global audience. Wikidata will build on semantic technology that we have long supported, will accelerate the pace of scientific discovery, and will create an extraordinary new data resource for the world.”

Further information is given on the Wikipedia website: http://www.wikimedia.de/wiki/Pressemitteilungen/PM_3_12_Wikidata_EN

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