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Wikimedia Deutschland starts project for reuse and central access to structured data

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The German Wikimedia chapter has recently launched a new project called Wikidata. The project aims to deliver a single, common source of structured data that can be used across all language versions of Wikipedia.

Wikipedia currently has more than 280 different language editions sharing a lot of similar information like birth dates and definitions. Until now, there was no central database from which each language edition could pull this information so entering it manually was the only option.

The Wikidata project will now provide a single source of structured data for all language editions, enabling editors from the different language editions to retrieve data from this central source instead of having to enter it manually. This approach is similar to how Wikimedia Commons is used for sharing multimedia files.

The use of Wikidata is expected to result in higher consistency and quality among Wikipedia articles on the different versions and to make available a larger set of information in the smaller language editions.

Wikidata and DBpedia

At first glance, it seems as if there is substantial overlap between Wikidata and DBpedia as both handle structured data on Wikipedia. The projects differ in their goals however:

DBpedia extracts structured data from the infoboxes in Wikipedia, and publishes it in RDF and a few other formats and also hosts a community effort to define extractors for the data that can be used on Wikipedia and other platforms.

 Wikidata on the other hand, allows infoboxes to be created from structured data stored in a database. This allows DBpedia to reduce its efforts in extracting data by reusing the structured data provided by Wikidata.