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Atelier Disko (atelierdisko.de) (Wikimedia Commons), CC BY-SA 4.0

Open database seeks data partnerships

Wikimedia Deutschland launched Wikidata in the fall of 2012. Since then, more than 33,000 active users have created around 24 million entries and filled them with data.

If a researcher is currently working on examining the people named in the Panama Papers, they can enter their results into Wikidata. The information is then made available worldwide. Since the data is freely accessible, everyone can use it without having to request permission or pay.

With Wikidata, Wikimedia wants to give more people more access to more knowledge. In 2016, we focused on freeing the knowledge of institutions. We advocate for information that was previously only available in archives and museums to be digitized and made accessible to the entire world.

Whether it’s the years of origin of paintings, names of artists, or the latest exhibition catalog – the knowledge of an institution thus is not confined to a single site, but is available worldwide.

By the same token, we are not interested in accumulating as much content as possible or just any content in Wikidata. We are concentrating on partnerships with reputable institutions. In 2016, we created a process for them to easily share their data with one of the world's largest websites. Along with John Cummings, “Wikimedian in residence” at UNESCO, we were able to identify all the practical pitfalls in the data-partnership process. Here, we recognized the actual complexity of the process and included every finding in a comprehensive documentation. A portal for data donations was also developed. It has already been translated into numerous languages and explains the individual steps for making a successful data donation. The TED organization (short for Technology, Entertainment, Design) has already started to enter the data on its educational TED talks into Wikidata with the help of two “Wikipedians in residence.”

With the development of a clear data donation process, we have gone a long way towards our goal of explaining to institutions exactly why open data is a great thing and why they should make theirs available.

Donating data to Wikidata CC BY-SA 3.0