Martin Poulter, University of Oxford
Wikidata is a community-driven knowledge base that does for structured data what Wikipedia does for human-readable explanatory text. This talk reports on the benefits and pitfalls of sharing museum collections data on this platform.
Whereas the museum catalogue is an authoritative source controlled by the institution, Wikidata can be edited by anyone. Whereas the catalogue is monolingual with some non-English names, Wikidata is intrinsically multilingual, supporting hundreds of language communities. Wikidata embodies a "things, not strings" approach, using authority file identifiers rather than names for people, places and concepts. In this way, the platform connects collections data to other kinds of knowledge including biographical, geographical and bibliographic. The shared data set enables new kinds of visualisation, as well as finding links between collections, and makes it easy to create third-party apps. This talk also looks at the question of sustainability of Wikidata versus other platforms.