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Template:Short description Template:Selfref Template:Selfref Template:Primary sources Template:Use dmy datesTemplate:Infobox website

Wikidata is a collaboratively edited multilingual knowledge graph hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation. It is a common source of open data that Wikimedia projects such as Wikipedia,[1][2] and anyone else, can use under the CC0 public domain license. Wikidata is powered by the software Wikibase.[3]


Wikidata is a document-oriented database, focused on items, which represent any kind of topics, concepts, or objects. Each item is allocated a unique, persistent identifier, a positive integer prefixed with the upper-case letter Q, known as a "QID". This enables the basic information required to identify the topic that the item covers to be translated without favouring any language.

Examples of items include Template:Wikidata entity link, Template:Wikidata entity link, Template:Wikidata entity link, and Template:Wikidata entity link.

Item labels need not be unique. For example, there are two items named "Elvis Presley": Template:Wikidata entity link represents the American singer and actor, and Template:Wikidata entity link represents his self-titled album.

But the label and the description text needs to be unique together. So, an Item is related with a unique identifier (QID). An identifier is linked to a pair: a label and a description, to dissolve any ambiguity.

Item types are general and lexemes.

Main parts

Wikidata screenshot

A layout of the four main components of a phase-1 Wikidata page: the label, description, aliases and interlanguage links.

Fundamentally, an item consists of:

  • Obligatorily, an identifier (the QID), related to a label and a description.
  • Optionally, multiple aliases and some number of statements (and their properties and values).


Wikidata screenshot
Three statements from Wikidata's item on the planet Mars (Q111). Values include links to other items and to Wikimedia Commons.

Statements are how any information known about an item is recorded in Wikidata. Formally, they consist of key-value pairs, which match a property (such as "author", or "publication date") with one or more entity values (such as "Sir Arthur Conan Doyle" or "1902"). For example, the informal English statement "milk is white" would be encoded by a statement pairing the property Template:Wikidata entity link with the value Template:Wikidata entity link under the item Template:Wikidata entity link.

Statements may map a property to more than one value. For example, the "occupation" property for Marie Curie could be linked with the values "physicist" and "chemist", to reflect the fact that she engaged in both occupations.[4]

Values may take on many types including other Wikidata items, strings, numbers, or media files. Properties prescribe what types of values they may be paired with. For example, the property Template:Wikidata entity link may only be paired with values of type "URL".[5]

Property and value

Example of a simple statement consisting of one property-value pair

Wikidata's method of structuring data involves two main elements: properties and values of those properties (termed "items" in Wikidata's terminology).[6][7]

A property describes the data value of a statement and can be thought of as a category of data, for example, Template:Wikidata entity link for the data value Template:Q or education for a person item.

As said, properties, when paired with values, form a statement in Wikidata. Values can include qualifiers.

The most used property is Template:Wikidata entity link, which is used on more than 95,000,000 item pages.[8]

Properties have their own pages on Wikidata and as an item can include several properties, this results in a linked data structure of pages, under the same statement.

Properties may also define more complex rules about their intended usage, termed constraints. For example, the Template:Wikidata entity link property includes a "single value constraint", reflecting the reality that (typically) territories have only one capital city. Constraints are treated as testing alerts and hints, rather than inviolable rules.[9]

Optionally, qualifiers can be used to refine the meaning of a statement by providing additional information that applies to the scope of the statement, within the values. For example, the property "population" could be modified with a qualifier such as "as of 2011". Values in the statements may also be annotated with references, pointing to a source backing up the statement's content.[10]


In linguistics, a lexeme is a unit of lexical meaning. Similarly, Wikidata's lexemes are items with a structure that makes them more suitable to store lexicographical data. Besides storing the language to which the lexeme refers, they have a section for forms and a section for senses.[11]


The creation of the project was funded by donations from the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and Google, Inc., totaling 1.3 million.[12][13] The development of the project is mainly driven by Wikimedia Deutschland under the management of Lydia Pintscher, and was originally split into three phases:[14]

  1. Centralising interlanguage links – links between Wikipedia articles about the same topic in different languages.
  2. Providing a central place for infobox data for all Wikipedias.
  3. Creating and updating list articles based on data in Wikidata and linking to other Wikimedia sister projects, including Meta-Wiki and the own Wikidata (interwikilinks).

Initial rollout

Wikipedia screenshot

A Wikipedia article's list of interlanguage links as they appeared in an edit box (left) and on the article's page (right) prior to Wikidata. Each link in these lists is to an article that requires its own list of interlanguage links to the other articles; this is the information centralized by Wikidata.
Wikidata screenshot
The "Edit links" link nowadays takes the reader to Wikidata to edit interlanguage and interwiki links.

Wikidata was launched on 29 October 2012 and was the first new project of the Wikimedia Foundation since 2006.[1][15][16] At this time, only the centralization of language links was available. This enabled items to be created and filled with basic information: a label – a name or title, aliases – alternative terms for the label, a description, and links to articles about the topic in all the various language editions of Wikipedia (interwikipedia links).

Historically, a Wikipedia article would include a list of interlanguage links, being links to articles on the same topic in other editions of Wikipedia, if they existed. Initially, Wikidata was a self-contained repository of interlanguage links.[17] Wikipedia language editions were still not able to access Wikidata, so they needed to continue to maintain their own lists of interlanguage links, mainly at the end of the articles' pages.Template:Citation needed

On 14 January 2013, the Hungarian Wikipedia became the first to enable the provision of interlanguage links via Wikidata.[18] This functionality was extended to the Hebrew and Italian Wikipedias on 30 January, to the English Wikipedia on 13 February and to all other Wikipedias on 6 March.[19][20][21][22] After no consensus was reached over a proposal to restrict the removal of language links from the English Wikipedia,[23] the power to delete them from the English Wikipedia was granted to automatic editors (bots). On 23 September 2013, interlanguage links went live on Wikimedia Commons.[24]

Statements and data access

On 4 February 2013, statements were introduced to Wikidata entries. The possible values for properties were initially limited to two data types (items and images on Wikimedia Commons), with more data types (such as coordinates and dates) to follow later. The first new type, string, was deployed on 6 March.[25]

The ability for the various language editions of Wikipedia to access data from Wikidata was rolled out progressively between 27 March and 25 April 2013.[26][27]

On 16 September 2015, Wikidata began allowing so-called arbitrary access, or access from a given Wikidata item to the properties of items not directly connected to it. For example, it became possible to read data about Germany from the Berlin article, which was not feasible before.[28] On 27 April 2016 arbitrary access was activated on Wikimedia Commons.[29]

According to a 2020 study, a large proportion of the data on Wikidata consists of entries imported en masse from other databases by Internet bots, which helps to "break[] down the walls" of data silos.[30]

Query service and other improvements

On 7 September 2015, the Wikimedia Foundation announced the release of the Wikidata Query Service,[31] which lets users run queries on the data contained in Wikidata.[32] The service uses SPARQL as the query language. As of November 2018, there are at least 26 different tools that allow to query the data in different ways.[33]

On the other hand, in the Wiktionary lateral pane, the tools now includeTemplate:When a "Wikidata item" to help create a new item and links to new pages.Template:Citation needed For example, this is useful when the item is only in the English Wiktionary and needs to be linked to another Wikimedia project, rather than to Wiktionaries in other languages.

Below is a SPARQL example to search an instance of (P31) television series (Q5398426) with main subject (P921) about island (Q23442) and aviation accident (Q744913). However similar results can also be found directly on Wikipedia using category intersections if the appropriate categories exist and are allowed.

SELECT ?item ?itemLabel
  ?item wdt:P31 wd:Q5398426.
  ?item wdt:P921 wd:Q23442.
  ?item wdt:P921 wd:Q744913.
  SERVICE wikibase:label {bd:serviceParam wikibase:language "[AUTO_LANGUAGE],en".}

Below is another SPARQL example to find an instance of (P31) television series (Q5398426) where cast member (P161) includes Daniel Dae Kim (Q299700) and Jorge Garcia (Q264914). The television series condition prevents displaying a television series episode (Q21191270) / two-part episode (Q21664088) and does not show results that are a film (Q11424).

SELECT ?item ?itemLabel
  ?item wdt:P31 wd:Q5398426.
  ?item wdt:P161 wd:Q299700.
  ?item wdt:P161 wd:Q264914.
  SERVICE wikibase:label {bd:serviceParam wikibase:language "[AUTO_LANGUAGE],en".}

The bars on the logo contain the word "WIKI" encoded in Morse code.[34] It was created by Arun Ganesh and selected through community decision.[35]


In November 2014, Wikidata received the Open Data Publisher Award from the Open Data Institute "for sheer scale, and built-in openness".[36]

Template:As of, Wikidata information was used in 58.4% of all English Wikipedia articles, mostly for external identifiers or coordinate locations. In aggregate, data from Wikidata is shown in 64% of all Wikipedias' pages, 93% of all Wikivoyage articles, 34% of all Wikiquotes', 32% of all Wikisources', and 27% of Wikimedia Commons'. Usage in other Wikimedia Foundation projects is testimonial.[37]

Template:As of, Wikidata's data was visualized by at least 20 other external tools[38] and at over 300 papers have been published about Wikidata.[39]

Wikidata's structured dataset has been used by virtual assistants such as Apple's Siri and Amazon Alexa.[40]


  • Mwnci extension can import data from Wikidata to LibreOffice Calc spreadsheets[41]
  • There are (at October 2019) discussions about using QID items in relation to what are being called QID emoji[42]
  • Wiki Explorer - Android application to discover things around you and micro editing Wikidata[43]
  • KDE Itinerary - a privacy conscious open source travel assistant that uses data from Wikidata[44]

See also



  1. 1.0 1.1 Wikidata (Archived October 30, 2012, at WebCite)
  2. Data Revolution for Wikipedia. Wikimedia Deutschland (March 30, 2012).
  3. Wikibase — Home.
  4. Help:Statements.
  5. Help:Data type.
  6. Lua error in Module:Cite_Q at line 13: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  7. Lua error in Module:Cite_Q at line 13: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  8. Wikidata:Database reports/List of properties/Top100.
  9. Help:Property constraints portal.
  10. Help:Sources.
  11. Wikidata - Lexicographical data documentation.
  12. Dickinson, Boonsri. "Paul Allen Invests In A Massive Project To Make Wikipedia Better", March 30, 2012. 
  13. Perez, Sarah. "Wikipedia's Next Big Thing: Wikidata, A Machine-Readable, User-Editable Database Funded By Google, Paul Allen And Others", March 30, 2012. 
  14. Wikidata - Meta.
  15. Pintscher, Lydia (30 October 2012). " is live (with some caveats)". wikidata-l (Mailing list). Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  16. Roth, Matthew. "The Wikipedia data revolution", Wikimedia Foundation, March 30, 2012. 
  17. Leitch, Thomas (2014-11-01). Wikipedia U: Knowledge, Authority, and Liberal Education in the Digital Age (in en). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-1-4214-1550-5. 
  18. Pintscher, Lydia (14 January 2013). First steps of Wikidata in the Hungarian Wikipedia. Wikimedia Deutschland.
  19. Pintscher, Lydia (2013-01-30). Wikidata coming to the next two Wikipedias. Wikimedia Deutschland.
  20. Pintscher, Lydia (13 February 2013). Wikidata live on the English Wikipedia. Wikimedia Deutschland.
  21. Pintscher, Lydia (6 March 2013). Wikidata now live on all Wikipedias. Wikimedia Deutschland.
  22. "Wikidata ist für alle Wikipedien da", (in de) 
  23. Wikipedia talk:Wikidata interwiki RFC (March 29, 2013).
  24. "Wikidata is Here!", Commons:Village pump, 23 September 2013. 
  25. Pintscher, Lydia. Wikidata/Status updates/2013 03 01. Wikimedia Meta-Wiki. Wikimedia Foundation.
  26. Pintscher, Lydia (27 March 2013). You can have all the data!. Wikimedia Deutschland.
  27. "Wikidata goes live worldwide", The H, 2013-04-25. 
  28. "Wikidata: Access to data from arbitrary items is here", Wikipedia:Village pump (technical), 16 September 2015. 
  29. "Wikidata support: arbitrary access is here", Commons:Village pump, 27 April 2016. 
  30. Lua error in Module:Cite_Q at line 13: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  32. Announcing the release of the Wikidata Query Service.
  33. Wikidata Query Data tools.
  34. commons:File talk:Wikidata-logo-en.svg#Hybrid. Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  36. First ODI Open Data Awards presented by Sirs Tim Berners-Lee and Nigel Shadbolt.
  37. Percentage of articles making use of data from Wikidata.
  38. Wikidata Tools - Visualize data.
  39. Scholia - Wikidata.
  40. "Inside the Alexa-Friendly World of Wikidata", Wired, 2019-02-18. (in en-us) 
  41. Rob Barry / Mwnci - Deep Spreadsheets · GitLab
  42. Public Review Issues.
  43. Wiki Explorer in the Google Play Store
  44. Krause, Volker, KDE Itinerary - A privacy by design travel assistant, retrieved 10 November 2020

Further reading

External links

Template:Commons category Template:Scholia Template:Wikiquote

Template:Open data navbox Template:Wikimedia Foundation Template:Computable knowledge Template:Authority control files Template:Authority control