The rise of Wikidata as a linked data source

[Wikidata: this image is in the public domain]
As I analyze the responses to the OCLC Research 2018 International Linked Data Survey for Implementers, I’m looking out for significant differences with the responses to the previous, 2015 survey. One change that jumped out at me was the surge of using Wikidata as a linked data source consumed by linked data projects or services.

Wikidata became the #5 ranked data source consumed by linked data projects/services described in the 2018 survey, compared to a #15 ranking in the 2015 survey. Here’s the comparison of the ranking of the Top 5 linked data sources between 2018 and 2015:

Linked data source 2018 Rank 2015 Rank
id.loc.gov 1 3
VIAF (Virtual International Authority File) 2 1
DBpedia 3 2
GeoNames 4 3
Wikidata 5 15

41% of the linked data projects/services described in 2018 reported using Wikidata as a source they consumed, versus just 9% of the projects/services described in 2015.

The North Rhine-Westphalian Library Service Center in Germany advised others considering a project to consume linked data  to “Check out if Wikidata  covers your needs and contribute to it.” The Ignacio Larramendi Foundation in Spain advised those considering a project to publish linked data to “increase the presence of bibliographic data in Wikipedia and Wikidata.” Other respondents’ comments about Wikidata accompanied why they are greatly interested in tracking its developments:

  • “Wikidata is becoming more and more significant for cultural heritage institutions including our library.” (National Library of Finland)
  • “Wikidata [is] a potential authority hub.” (British Library)
  • “It seems to be a great place where we can share our data and use their data to enhance ours in ways we hadn’t envisioned before.” (Smithsonian)
  • “…all facts taken from Wikipedia stored in Wikidata turned to linked data is a tremendous achievement and we’re actively working together to link our data offering with theirs even closer.” (Springer Nature)

Want to find out more about Wikidata from a library perspective? Check out the recording of the OCLC Research 12 June 2018 Works in Progress Webinar: Introduction to Wikidata for Librarians presented by Andrew Lih (author of The Wikipedia Revolution) and Robert Fernandez (Resources Development/eLearning Librarian, Prince George’s Community College and Wikimedia DC Chapter).

Karen Smith-Yoshimura, senior program officer, works on topics related to creating and managing metadata with a focus on large research libraries and multilingual requirements.

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