Wikidata – the open knowledge base
As part of the Wikimedia movement that aims to “bring free educational content to the world”, Wikipedia, the open encyclopaedia, and Wikidata, the open knowledge base were built in 2001 and 2012, respectively.
Wikipedia has become a relatively reliable and accurate source of information, that is often exploited by journalists. In contrast, Wikidata initially looked promising but has not gained much traction yet. The knowledge base provides access to machine readable linked data and can be seen as “a busy train station with millions of links between data points and interlinks to other open datasets” (Sengul-Jones, 2021). This abundance of data and links, without a clear sense of direction makes it relatively hard to use, explaining its lack of traction.
Though it hasn’t yet delivered on its promise, there are several ways in which journalists can make use of Wikidata to add data to their stories. For instance, by using it to create a shortcut between Wikipedia versions, by using the API at scale, or by making good use of the query service. Explore a recent article by the European Journalism Centre to discover in detail how the infrastructure behind Wikidata works and how best to utilise it.