Welcome to Wikidata! We're glad to have you here and are excited that you want to learn more about the project.
This guide is intended to serve as a basic orientation to Wikidata, and will help you understand and navigate the site.
Wikidata is the free knowledge base that anyone can edit. Just like Wikipedia, Wikidata is built on the MediaWiki wiki package which means that content on site pages (just like this one!) can be added, modified, or deleted in collaboration with others. Unlike Wikipedia, Wikidata also uses Wikibase software which allows for collaborative editing of structured data. The Wikidata site is organized in a way that allows contributors to edit both page content and edit data.
This organization is achieved through the use of namespaces, which are used by all Wikimedia sites. A namespace is a collection of pages whose names begin with a particular word recognized by the MediaWiki software. This word is followed by a colon; anything that comes after the colon is considered part of the page title.
- All help pages are in the help namespace, Help:
- All user pages are in the user namespace, User:
- For any help page, the page title will first be preceded by Help: as with http://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Help:Statements
- For any user page, the username will first be preceded by User: for example http://www.wikidata.org/wiki/User:Your_Username_Goes_Here
The main namespace of a Wikimedia site is always the exception to this rule as it contains no prefix and its pages do not follow a colon. The main namespace is typically reserved for the main content of a Wikimedia site; for example, encyclopedia pages are in the main namespace of Wikipedia. In Wikidata, the main namespace is reserved for item pages.
- All item pages are in the main namespace; their page titles immediately follow the forward slash after the word 'wiki'
- For the item France (Q142), the unique identifier (Q###) is the page title as with http://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q142
For more information on Wikidata namespaces, please see Help:Navigating Wikidata/Namespaces.
This is the standard page layout in the default theme of Wikidata:
In this theme, all pages, regardless of what namespace they are in, include the following elements: top tabs, a sidebar, a toolkit, and a search box. If you have a user account, the page will also display user options.
Each page in Wikidata provides a series of tabs at the top of a page which allow you to edit and engage with the content of the page. Examples of tabs include "Edit," "Discussion," and "View history." The top tabs available to you depend on which namespace the page appears in, as well as which gadgets you have enabled and the user permissions associated with your user account.
The toolkit, just under the sidebar, includes handy features for interacting with Wikidata. It's possible to customize what appears in your toolkit by enabling and disabling different gadgets in your user options under preferences.
If you have a user account, the top line of the page will show navigation to your user page, your talk page, your watchlist, and your contributions. User options also offer mechanisms for customizing Wikidata, setting your preferences, and enabling or disabling gadgets. For more on user options, see Help:Navigating Wikidata/User Options.
Using the search box
The quickest way to find something in Wikidata is to look it up directly. As discussed above, there is a search box with a magnifying glass icon near the top right of every page.
Please note that this search box, by default, searches only in the main namespace.
This means that if you were wanting to find the Wikidata documentation on aliases, Help:Aliases, and entered "aliases" in the search box, the only hits from the search would be items (as evidenced by their Q###s). However, if you were to search for "Help:Aliases", the search would know to look outside the main namespace and you would be taken to the correct page.
It's also possible to limit a search by namespace or namespaces; you can do so by using the advanced search option at Special:Search.
Wikidata's Wikidata Help portal provides documentation for users wanting to learn about editing data. Users can also learn how to edit data with Wikidata:Tours, a series of interactive tutorials that cover items, statements, sources, qualifiers, and more.
Editing the wiki
To learn about editing the wiki (i.e. everything outside of the main and property namespaces), please see the extensive documentation available from the MediaWiki site. These pages cover many important aspects of using the MediaWiki software and contributing to a Wikimedia site, including basic and advanced editing, how to create pages, editing conventions on talk pages, and setting up a user page. Please note that creating a user account is optional, but encouraged. You do not need to give your name or any personal details to do so.
Wikipedia, as the largest and oldest Wikimedia site, also has a lot of documentation available that Wikidata users may find useful. While the Wikipedia Tutorial and the Wikipedia Adventure are Wikipedia-centric, both provide a beginner-friendly hands-on introduction to editing.
Finally, to practice editing Wikidata, you can use the Wikidata Sandbox. This page is specifically just for experimenting and practicing, so feel free to mark up the page however you want. Another good place to practice is on a subpage of your user page, for example http://www.wikidata.org/wiki/User:Your_Username_Goes_Here/Edit_Practice. For information on creating pages, see Wikipedia's guide on user pages here.
Adding files to Wikidata
Wikidata does not support local uploading of files, such as images or audio files. If you would like to use files to mock-up a proposed feature, answer a help request, improve documentation, or for any other collaborative purpose, you must first upload the file at Wikimedia Commons. The file can then be added to Wikidata (except in the main and property namespaces) using the same syntax that you would use to display files on any other Wikimedia site.
For example, for "image.jpg" in Wikimedia Commons, the syntax for embedding a file on a Wikidata page looks like this:
- For more information on this, see also the MetaWiki page on embedding images.
For related Help pages, see:
- Help:Navigating Wikidata/Namespaces, which provides information about the different Wikidata namespaces
- Help:Navigating Wikidata/User Options, which provides tips on using and configuring user account settings
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