|It is proposed that this informational page become a policy or guideline. Please see the discussion on its talk page or the project chat.|
The following is a proposed Wikidata policy or guideline. The proposal may still be in development, under discussion, or in the process of gathering consensus for adoption.
|This page in a nutshell:|
Aliases are alternative names for items that are placed in the Also known as column of the table on top of every Wikidata item page.
Multiple items can have the same alias, so long as they have different descriptions. Some items may not have any aliases as they may only be known by one name.
Please note: this page describes the use of aliases for items, not properties. While there are commonalities between the two when it comes to the usage of aliases, it is recommended that you visit Help:Properties for more information on properties.
Language-Independent General Principles
This page is a work in progress, not an article or policy, and may be incomplete and/or unreliable.
Please offer suggestions on the talk page.
Criteria for inclusion and exclusion
The label on a Wikidata entry is the most common name that the entity would be known by to readers. All of the other common names that an entry might go by, including alternative names; acronyms and abbreviations; and alternative translations and transliterations, should be recorded as aliases. Use the criteria below to determine appropriate aliases for items and, when unsure, ask on the Project Chat.
You should always include:
- Full names for people commonly known by a nickname or by a fraction of their full name (for example, many association football players are known almost exclusively by an abbreviation of their full name)
- Scientific (binomial nomenclature) names for species, unless the species has no common name (in which case the scientific name would be the label)
- Alternative spelling for foreign words when there are multiple translation/transliteration systems in use for the specific language (for example, both Pinyin and Wade-Giles are used to translate Chinese characters into English letters).
- ASCII versions of items where the label contains non-ASCII characters (for example, the item H₂O: Just Add Water also includes "H2O: Just Add Water" as a label), for English. Note that accent marks and chemistry formulas that use subscript are all done with non-ASCII symbols.
- Library forms of titles for works whose title begins with a definite or indefinite article. (for example, the title of Dostoyevsky's novel The Idiot (Q210784) is often translated in English as "The Idiot", so "Idiot" should also be included as an English alias. In Dutch, it is translated "De idioot", so "Idioot" should also be included as a Dutch alias.)
You should include:
- Surnames or nicknames of famous individuals, who are often referenced by those names (for example, William Shakespeare (Q692) is often called "Shakespeare" or "The Bard").
- Abbreviated forms of author names which are used on their published works (for example, the works of Karl Otfried Müller (Q62113) were all published under the name "K. O. Müller").
- Abbreviated forms of scientific (binomial nomenclature) names for species, where those abbreviations commonly appear in titles of scholarly articles (for example, Caenorhabditis elegans (Q91703) is most often abbreviated as "C. elegans", and Saccharomyces cerevisiae (Q719725) is typically abbreviated as "S. cerevisiae") These abbreviations should be placed under Latin, in addition to any other language.
You should not include:
- Alternative capitalization (the term search engine doesn't use capitalization, so it won't matter)
- Common spelling mistakes (later on fuzzy searching will be available, which will handle spelling mistakes)
- Alternative word order for people names (first name followed by last name vs. last name, comma, first name)
- Section headers that may be part of the Wikimedia page for the item in question
- People, objects, events, or locations that are not individually notable, but are redirects to an article or page on a Wikimedia site (for example, band members that redirect to the band's page or products that redirect to the company that produces them)
Description: association football player from Spain
Alias(es): Xavier Hernández i Creus
The association football player Xavi's full name is Xavier Hernández i Creus, but he is popularly known only as Xavi. On Wikidata, Xavi is the label while the full name is an alias.
Label: American lion
Description: extinct species of lion
Alias(es): North American lion, Naegele’s giant jaguar, American cave lion, Panthera leo atrox, P. atrox
The first three aliases are alternative common names for the American lion. The fourth alias is the scientific name for the species, and the fifth alias is a common abbreviation of the scientific name.
Follow Wikimedia namespace conventions
Wikimedia sites can contain several types of pages that are found outside of the main namespace (for example, non-article pages in Wikipedia). These include templates, category pages, help pages, and Special pages. If a page normally displays on a Wikimedia site with a namespace in front of it, you should keep that namespace in the label. If the label begins with "Wikipedia:", "Category:", "Template:", or "MediaWiki:" you should also include the page title without "Wikipedia:", "Category:", "Template:", or "MediaWiki:" as an alias if the namespace exists in Wikidata.
Label: Wikipedia:Blocking policy
Description: Wikipedia policy on blocking accounts
Alias(es): Blocking policy
If you input "Wikipedia:Blocking policy" into the search bar in the upper right, it will take you directly to the page "Blocking policy" on Wikipedia. In other words, not only would you be unable to find the item on Wikidata, but it would take you directly to the URL "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blocking_policy" (which isn't a functioning page). For this reason, we use the alias without the "Wikipedia:" piece for ease of searching.
Label: Help:Watching pages
Description: Wikipedia help page explaining the watchlist feature
Alias(es): Watching pages
"Help:Watching pages" is a page on Wikipedia, however the Help namespace is also used on Wikidata. If Wikidata were ever to create a help page called "Help:Watching pages", you would not be able to use the search bar in the top right corner to find the page with the interwiki links because the search bar would take you directly to the Wikidata help page. For this reason, we use the alias without the "Help:" piece for ease of searching.
Guidelines for aliases in English
Aliases should use the same capitalization rules that labels do, so long as they apply. This means that most terms should not begin with a capital letter, but proper nouns should begin with a capital letter. If an alias is not a proper noun but the label is a proper noun the capitalization can differ. As with labels, in the rare case that something intentionally breaks capitalization rules, the capitalization on Wikidata should reflect this, and not try to correct it.
For related Help pages, see:
- Help:Label, which explains what labels are and what rules they follow
- Help:Description, which explains what descriptions are and what rules they follow
- Help:Items, which explains what items are and what rules they follow
For additional information and guidance, see:
- Project chat, for discussing all and any aspects of Wikidata
- Wikidata:Glossary, the glossary of terms used in this and other Help pages
- Help:FAQ, frequently asked questions asked and answered by the Wikidata community
- Help:Contents, the Help portal featuring all the documentation available for Wikidata