Bringing the community together: WikidataCon 2019

In October, 250 members of the Wikidata community gathered in Berlin, Germany for the second ever WikidataCon. It was an engaging conference, packed with updates about the project, the release of new tools, a day-long Wikibase workshop, and a special emphasis on languages and GLAM work this year.

Follow this link to see recordings, notes, and descriptions of all of the sessions. Some highlights include…

  • A Glimpse Over Wikidata which provided some important Wikidata updates and news from the team at Wikimedia Deutschland.
  • Wikidata Commons contribution strategies for GLAM organizations. Wikidata is becoming increasingly important to GLAM and cultural heritage institutions. This session explored how GLAM institutions using Wikidata and highlighted what tools are available to help out.
  • Wikibase Inspiration Panel. This session provided an overview of some different Wikibase use cases – each from a unique organization with specific needs, challenges, and goals.
  • Wikibase for Canadian Indigenous Content. How can Wikibase improve on colonial descriptions and provide more agency for oppressed communities?
  • Questioning Wikidata – No knowledge base is perfect. This session takes care to point out some very important areas where Wikidata needs to change. The session also exposes some of the inherent problems of classification systems.
  • Wikidata Education Panel. An overview of Wikidata being used in courses all over the world.
  • Infoboxes Panel. One of the promises of Wikidata is to integrate its data with other Wikimedia projects. This session provides updates on this work.
  • Wikidata Query Service Tutorial. This session presented several different example queries to explain how querying works.
  • ShEx (Shape Expressions) Workshop – Wikidata is using ShEx to validate establish data models for certain entities which should help with data quality and consistency. This session provide an overview of how ShEx works and why it’s important to the community.
Wikidata birthday cakes at WikidataCon.
Image by Mohammad Hijjawi, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

We also celebrated Wikidata’s seventh birthday with cake, gifts, and updates on all of the hard work that so many volunteers have contributed to Wikidata. Wikidata continues to grow quickly. Community members are developing tools to enhance Wikidata’s functionality, draw in new editors, and do things we’ve never done before. As an instructor of Wikidata courses, it is very exciting to see this all happen firsthand and play a role in helping this project into its next stage.

These enriching discussions and exchange of ideas are helping us continuously improve our Wikidata courses at Wiki Education. If you’re interested in learning more about our courses, ways Wikidata could help you share your collection, or the impact that linked data is having across several industries, visit our informational page. There, you can also sign up for our beginner and intermediate-level courses that start in March.

Header image by Pierre-Selim Huard, CC BY 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.


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