Catering to diverse GLAM needs to improve Wikidata

The Wikidata courses that wrapped up in December made for our largest group of new Wikidata trainees so far. After six quick weeks, we covered a lot of ground — from property proposals to taxonomic grouping of Wikidata’s Q-items (What does this mean? Take a look at this tool to see how groups of people, concepts, and things are organized — this example uses all occupations that fall under “artist”).

These courses had a healthy mix of participants with linked data experience and some without as much. Nevertheless, conversations gravitated toward some of the most specific details of Wikidata — property usage, data consistency, how to learn about using tools, and specific query requests. Catering to the diverse needs of libraries, museums, and the other nonprofits represented in the bunch presented a fun challenge for our discussions. Our training staff tried to balance examples that satisfied a large number of workflows and scenarios. By the end of the course we had covered a lot of ground including identifiers, propose properties, interacting with other Wikidata editors, and pulling specific data sets from Wikidata through queries.

So what did these two courses accomplish?

  • This round of our beginner course had 18 editors who made a total of 579 revisions to Wikidata. Specifically, they created 282 claims, changed 159, and removed 40. They created 15 new items and added 14 labels. They also updated 44 descriptions of items and edited 22 aliases. They edited 101 total items. (Click here to see the stats on their Dashboard). This kind of interaction with Wikidata indicates how committed these participants were to lending their expertise to contributing as much as they could. We’re pleased that this course had an emphasis on court cases – see, for example, the new item for Simmons VS South Carolina. As with Wikipedia there are several content gaps within Wikidata and law-related items are one of them. We’re always thrilled when our course participants can work to address those gaps.
  • This round of our intermediate course included eleven editors, who made a total of 834 revisions, totaling 484 new claims, 160 updated claims, and 27 claims removed from Wikidata items. (Click here to see the stats on their Dashboard). They created ten new items and updated 69 labels. They edited twelve descriptions and added 17 aliases. They edited a total of 178 distinct items. As an intermediate course, several of these course participants had some ideas for projects that would involve integrating Wikidata into their workflows at their respective institutions, which has made for some excellent and inspiring conversation. These data roundtripping conversations revolved around these project ideas, answering questions about Wikidata specifics. We’re pleased to add that every participant in this group was able to contribute to Wikidata.

As we transition from one year to another, we’re excited for what comes next with Wikidata and our program. At this time last year, our training courses and resources were just a glimmer in our organizational eye. Now here we are, five courses in, and participants have edited or added almost 8,000 statements to Wikidata. We’re proud of this and eager for what comes next.

Registration for our upcoming Wikidata courses is open! New to linked data? Join the open data movement in our beginner’s course. Have more experience with linked data or Wikidata? Sign up for our intermediate course that focuses on possible applications. Or visit for more information.

Want to hear from participants about what courses are like and how they’re using their new skills? Check out these testimonials.

Thumbnail image includes graphic by Creative Stall, PK via Noun Project.


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