Wikidata and what it means for SMW


Markus Krötzsch

Wikidata and what it means for SMW

Abstract. Wikidata is one of the most prominent Open Data projects today. On the one hand, this is due to its prominent role in the Wikimedia ecosystem, where it is a data provider to all language versions of Wikipedia and many other sites. On the other hand, with its large, active community, the project is a ceaselessly growing resource of rich data, which is also relevant beyond the world of Wikipedia. The whole project thus opens up many avenues towards new applications, both inside and outside of Wikipedia.

At the same time, Wikidata is the first instance of a new type of semantic wiki. Indeed, the underlying software, Wikibase, is an extension to MediaWiki that can be used by any MediaWiki site. Only a few projects make use of Wikibase so far, but it can be expected to become much more widespread in the near future. This is one of the huge success stories of the Semantic MediaWiki community, which has been the main driving force for initiating Wikidata and has had significant impact on the shape of Wikibase from its very start until the present day.

But what does all this mean for SMW as such? Is it an outdated precursor of Wikibase that belongs into the museum of wiki history? Or maybe Wikibase is just a special-purpose application that fills an important but tiny niche in the Wikipedia world while being mostly irrelevant for other semantic wikis? Can the two projects be used together for obtaining a semantic super wiki – or are they rivals that compete for the same user base? And most of all, beyond hypothetical considerations, what is actually relevant or even essential for those running semantic wikis today? This talk will attempt to clarify some of these questions, and maybe initiate the discussion on others. This will also include an introduction to Wikidata and Wikibase, since they are not yet familiar to many SMW users and change at a pace that is hard to keep up with.

Published at SMWCon Spring 2014 (Talk)

Download PDF (last update: 22 May 2014)

Citation details

  • Markus Krötzsch. Wikidata and what it means for SMW. In Keynote at 9th International Semantic MediaWiki Conference, Montreal, Canada. 2014.


This presentation was given as a keynote talk at the 9th International Semantic MediaWiki Conference (SMWCon Spring 2014). A recording of the talk might appear there later.

More information on the subject and citable references can be found on the page on Wikidata.


Semantic Web, Wikidata, Semantic wikis