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Wikimedia Launches Open Travel Guide

Sam Leon - January 16, 2013 in External, Wikimedia

The Wikimedia Foundation has just announced its newest project, Wikivoyage, a free, online travel guide that anyone can edit.

Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, said of the launch:

“There’s a huge global demand for travel information, but very few sources are both comprehensive and non-commercial. That’s about to change,” said Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation. Wikivoyage is a great, useful service for travelers, and I’m expecting that with the support of the Wikimedia Foundation and the global Wikimedia editing community, it’s going to get even bigger and better.”

Wikivoyage has been a collaborative wiki-based travel guide since 2006 with communities in both Germany and Italy. Initially supported solely by the Wikivoyage Association, a German non-profit organisation, the content has now been migrated to Wikimedia servers and will benefit from the input of the global Wikimedia Community.

Wikivoyage is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license, which allows anyone the right to read, copy, print, save, download, modify, distribute, sell, and update its content in any way, provided the terms of the free license are respected. This includes giving proper attribution to the creators of the content and ensuring that any reuse or derivative works are also freely-licensed.

To find out more about Wikivoyage and start contributing visit the site here.

Meet the Open Knowledge Foundation in Berlin

Hauke Gierow - April 27, 2012 in Events, Meetups, OKF Germany, Open GLAM, Open Knowledge Foundation Local Groups, Wikimedia

We are excited to announce a number of events in Berlin in the next two weeks!

Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-S0627-0300 / CC-BY-SA

During the re:publica (Germanys biggest Internet-related conference, which is increasingly international) we will host three little Meetups. From May 2nd to 4th we will be waiting for you at the Wikimedia Tent at 6:15 PM CEST. We will have a space to relax, chat and discuss new ideas, cool talks and new projects. To enter, you will need a valid re:publica Ticket. Check out our Wiki for more details.

open-glam-crop After the re:publica Hangout, we will meet at the new office of Wikimedia Germany on May 8th at 6.00pm for our regular monthly meetup. We will speak with some people from the newly formed Wikidata-Allstar Team to learn about this new and exciting project. Also OKFN’s Joris Pekel will tell us more about the Open GLAM activities of the Open Knowledge Foundation. Check our Wiki for more details on this too!

See you guys in Berlin!

Wikidata: a new open data repository for the world

Lydia Pintscher - April 19, 2012 in External, Featured Project, Open Data, Wikimedia

This month Wikidata, a new project of Wikimedia Germany, finally started. The ambitious goal of the project is to create an open data repository for the world’s knowledge that can be accessed and edited by everyone, humans and machines alike. Wikidata will be a place where Wikipedia’s editors and others will be able to collect statements about the world we live in, and references for them. Wikidata will become an enormous open collection of knowledge.

The Wikidata Team by Phillip Wilke. CC-BY-SA-3.0

The thousands of editors around Wikipedia have been collecting open knowledge for more than 10 years now. There are Wikipedias in more than 280 different languages at the moment. Imagine what they will be able to achieve if given the opportunity to collect and use structured data. Imagine what 3rd parties could do with all the collected data.

Wikidata will contain information like the birthdate of a famous person, the length of a large river or the year a book was written. But it does not end there. Wikidata will not just collect facts. Wikidata will be able to represent the ambiguity of the world. It will be possible to have different sources for one item all saying different things about it. It will collect data like the length of the Amazonas where different sources might have varying numbers for. Wikidata will be able to provide the length in metres for those who prefer the metric system and in miles for those who prefer to use that instead.

Our goals for Wikidata are twofold:

1. We want to provide Wikipedia editors with a central place to collect and maintain data. This way the data will no longer have to be maintained in the article texts of each of the over 280 Wikipedias but instead in only one place. This should reduce the maintenance burden for each of the Wikipedias significantly. It will also help smaller Wikipedia communities who have limited resources and can then rely on the work of larger Wikipedia communities for boot-strapping articles and keeping them up-to-date. This will bring Wikipedia’s knowledge to many more people in their native language.

2. We want to help build a significant part of the open data ecosystem. Data in Wikidata will be licensed under a free license. APIs and exports into RDF and JSON will be available so everyone can access and use it. The software that will be running Wikidata is Free Software, just like MediaWiki, the software Wikipedia is running on. It will be possible to set up your own Wikidata-like instance for more specific use-cases or topics that Wikipedia’s community is just not interested in covering. We hope this can become a cornerstone of the open data ecosystem.

The initial development is going to be done in three phases. The aim of the first phase will be to improve language links. These are the links in the sidebar of each Wikipedia article leading to an article on the same topic in a different language. Right now they are stored in the source of each article in each language. After the completion of the first phase they will just be stored once in Wikidata. The second phase will be about infoboxes. After its completion, editors will be able to enrich infoboxes with data from Wikidata. Lists are the focus of the third and last phase. The goal is to allow automatic list creation based on data in Wikidata as opposed to creating and maintaining them by hand. It will then be possible to have the “list of 10 largest cities in the United States with a female major” created automatically. You can read more about each of the three phases in the technical proposal.

The project is realized with donations by the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, Google, Inc. and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Twelve people are employed to make Wikidata a reality over the next year and we hope you will join us and the Wikimedia community on the journey to bring structured open data to Wikipedia and beyond.

Wikimedia and New Collaborations at Third #OpenDataLDN Meetup in London

Kat Braybrooke - February 1, 2012 in Events, Meetups, Wikimedia


The following post is by Kat Braybrooke, a London-based Community Coordinator at the Open Knowledge Foundation.

Most Londoners agree that Monday night is usually the worst time of the week to hold an event. The workday is long, people are tired and public transit seems to be especially unpleasant. This past week, however, we witnessed a welcome deviance from the usual Monday grumpiness at the third #OpenDataLDN meetup – over 70 locals (some coming in from as far as Manchester, Leeds, and Oxford) gathered in a dimly-lit room at the Centre for Creative Collaboration over beers and laughter for a few hours of project-focused lightning talks, new ideas and inspiring discussions.

This time around, the event was co-hosted with the inimitable Oliver Keyes (@quominus) from the Wikimedia movement, who spoke about remixed data, geotagging and the use of Citations and other online apps to verify information and media. Following Oliver were the lighting talk presenters, who despite the massive failure of my computer’s impudent presentation software (apologies!), spoke about their projects with good humour and poise. Talks included Julian Tate (@julianlstar), who spoke about Open Transport in Manchester, Jo Pugh (@mentionthewar) about an upcoming National Archives Hackday, Velichka Dimitrova (@vndimitrova) about the OKFN Open Economics Working Group, Kevin Carter (@KPC_001) about Landscape Portrait, and Keiichi Matsuda (@keiichiban) about an upcoming PRISM data-art exhibit at the V&A.

After pitching their projects, all of which utilise and work with open data in new and interesting ways, the audience broke into groups to discuss each project further. Walking around the space, I was impressed by the diversity of backgrounds and skill-sets represented in each group. With economists talking to artists and government representatives, and public domain enthusiasts discussing transport with open aid advocates and scientists, it seemed everyone present had something interesting to add. By the end of the night there was an infectious feeling of positivity and mutual respect in the air that carried on to the pub afterward as people continued to jam on ideas and schemed about new collaborations.

In ending, local meetups of this kind always remind me how inspiring it is to be engaged in the field of open knowledge – and I have Monday’s crowd to thank for that. On the agenda for the next #OpenDataLDN, based on your much-appreciated Post It Note feedback, we’ll aim to facilitate even more informal conversations, highlight new ways to work with data (including how to use the Open Government License and how to work with cultural data) and perhaps even show a public domain film or two. I already look forward to it.

Click below to browse through all of the night’s conversations, photos, tweets and ideas – and stay tuned for the next #OpenDataLDN event here.

OpenDataLDN Storify

Special thanks to @lucyfedia and @StephenHignell for their photos of the event!

Monmouth the Wiki Town

Sam Leon - January 27, 2012 in Wikimedia

The following guest post is a guest post by John Cummings, Wikipedian and founder of the Monmouthpedia project.

Monmouthpedia is the first Wikipedia project to cover a whole town. The project aims to cover every single notable place, people, artefacts, flora, fauna and other things in Monmouth in as many languages as possible. We will use QRpedia codes, a type of bar code a smartphone can read through its camera that takes you to a Wikipedia article in your language. QR codes are extremely useful, as physical signs have no way of displaying the same amount of information and in a potentially huge number of languages. We aim to have 1,000 QRpedia codes in Monmouth by April including in the museums. We are going to have a free wifi network throughout the town and tablets in the museums to lower the cost of access to the information.

So far contributors have created 54 new articles and improved 70 articles, we’ve had 6 articles on the Wikipedia English language main page in “Did you Know?”. Contributors are choosing to learn how to edit Wikipedia and to give their time for the combined knowledge of others, I think this demonstrates how much people value free information and it’s benefits. It’s been amazing to teach people simple tools to give a wider reach to the information they have.

I started Monmouthpedia because I wanted everyone to have free and easily available information about the place in which they live. I grew up in Monmouth, I knew enough about the area to make a start by myself and make a plan that other people could see what I was doing and join in and add to and change. Local groups and the councils (Monmouthshire County Council have recently adopted the Open Government License) have been wonderfully supportive and there is a well connected network of people who are willing to help. Wikimedia UK have been very helpful and have put a lot of time and effort into supporting me. I feel as though for the large part I have been pushing against open doors, I’ve had a steady stream of new people to teach Wikipedia editing to since I started.

The project is still very much a work in progress, we are starting to work with schools and other groups, there is such a wide range of opportunities for so many groups of people to be involved, it feels like we’re trying something new every day.

For more info on the project visit, you can Tweet at it on @Monmouthpedia and to get in touch with John via email it’s john.cummings [at]

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