Wikidata:Planning a Wikidata workshop

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This page is to help you design a Wikidata Workshop, including a lesson plan describing the main pieces of a typical Wikidata workshop.

This page only includes recommendation based on the experience of other event leaders: please improvise, develop new practices, and share them here as part of the workshop lesson plan. In particular, please add editing activities that you have developed to the Activities section, to help others learn about how you do workshop activities.

Structure of a Workshop[edit]

Wikidata workshops can run in many different formats, and windows of time. The below lesson plans focuses on recommendations for a basic workshop with timing appropriate for a 2-3 hour workshop -- consider modifying this structure bases on the needs of your audience and the amount of time (see diagnostic section below).

Wikidata workshops typically have a mix of the following 5 parts:

  1. What is Wikidata? (5-10 minutes) ---’ Explaining what Wikidata is, and why it’s important
  2. Structure of Wikidata (10-20 minutes) --- Explaining Wikidata’s structure and community process
  3. Introduction to editing (5-10 minutes) -- Demonstrating how to edit, how to add a reference, and how to add a qualifier
  4. Editing Activities (Variable) --- Targeted Wikidata Editing Activities specific to the event, or the interest of your audience. In this section you will do a live demo of the edits you want participants to perform (5 minutes) and give participants time to edit themselves (variable depending on audience, activity, and time).
  5. Applying Wikidata (20-30 minutes) -- Introducing applications of Wikidata, the query service and case studies. This section is most important for professional audiences who you want to demonstrate the potential applications for Wikidata.

Additionally, your audience may be interested in including additional types of knowledge:

  • Query Service -- though you may introduce the the query service during the introduction of how to “Apply Wikidata” with many audiences and professional situations you will need to provide a separate environment for learning the Query Service.
  • Batch uploads -- An introduction to batch tools, relevant for audiences interesting in sharing their own data sets. Consider building this information from Wikidata:Data donation.
  • Using Wikidata for Templates -- Wikimedians may be particularly interested in embedding Wikidata within their own websites. External audiences will not need this information. For more information about this topic, see:Wikidata:Infobox Tutorial
Missing a section you include? Discuss it on the talk page

Logistics and preparation considerations[edit]

Like other editing events in the Wikimedia movement, Wikidata workshops can include a complex set of logistics, before, during and after the event. For a overview of planning for these events, see the training on the: the Programs and Events Dashboard

Wikidata workshops have their own particular challenges.

  • at this point in time, teaching Wikidata requires introducing a number of links, help pages and other materials. Fuzheado (talkcontribslogs) created a simple 1 page introduction to Wikidata that can help folks keep track of that information: for the one pager, and its translation into several languages see Wikidata:In one page.
  • Before a live demonstrations of Wikidata, it is best to prepare specific steps you plan on following for editing and interacting with the article. Teaching Wikidata requires introducing participants to a number of nuances in the editing interface and the data model, and it’s easy to forget these items if you are already familiar with the interface.
  • Wikidata frequently requires concrete datasets that folks can work from in order to make the project more accessible. Like in Wikipedia editathons, helping folks focus on particular topics, and giving them focused, simple editing activities that require limited outside research, can save time, and help contributors feel productive. For different tactics for editing around different data sets, see the Activities section section.

Diagnostic for your audience [edit]

Consider structuring your workshop differently, based on the audience needs. To diagnose your audience needs, we recommend asking yourself the following questions:

  1. Does your audience have familiarity with metadata that describes particular concepts or objects and how it can be used?
    • If yes, consider shortening the "Structure of Wikidata section"
    • If no, consider spending more time explaining the relationship between Wikipedia and Wikidata in the "Structure of Wikidata" section, and spending more time on the "Applying Wikidata" section in order for the audience to understand "why" you are participating.
  2. Is your goal to support your audience in learning how to contribute to Wikidata "as editors"?
    • If yes, spend more time on the "Activities" section of the Workshop, in order to reinforce those skills of finding tasks, and contributing to them.
    • If no, consider focusing on the "Applying Wikidata" section and reducing emphasis on editing and editing activities, to help your participants understand how Wikidata can be integrated into their own practices and processes. In some circumstances, you might skip editing altogether.
  3. Is your audience familiar with the Wikimedia projects, collaborative projects, free licenses, etc.?
    • If so, consider using examples and comparisons throughout the workshop to how other projects work.
    • If not, consider explaining Wikimedia projects, how licensing works on Wikidata, and highlighting the collaborative process which makes Wikidata work.
  4. Do your participants want to use Wikidata on other with Wikimedia projects?
    • If yes, consider focusing the "Applying Wikidata" section on how to use Wikidata within Wikipedia projects (i.e. templates, worklists, etc).
    • If no, consider spending more time explaining how different Wikipedia’s relate to each other in the "What is Wikidata" section.
  5. Does your audience have a shared domain of knowledge or interest?
    • If yes, make sure to focus on this topic in the examples, have prepared activities and queries related to this topic.
    • If not, consider preparing a thematic focus for the event that is relevant to your host institution, local geography or could be a popular conversation.

Core Sections[edit]

What is Wikidata?[edit]

The “What is Wikidata” section typically ensures that participants will be able to:

  1. Understand the goals of Wikidata
  2. Understand how Wikidata relates to other Wikimedia Projects, especially Wikipedia
  3. Understand why they should be motivated to contribute or use Wikidata, especially in the context of their own work

Recommended time: 5-10 minutes

Audience needs: none.

Things that you should include:

  • Describing the basic characteristics of Wikidata (free, collaborative, multilingual, interconnected) and it’s goals (repository of human knowledge, support for the Wikimedia projects and 3rd parties, hub in the linked open data web)
  • Describing how Wikidata serves Wikimedia projects, and how it fills important gaps in infrastructure for the community. I.e. Interlanguage links, or helping prevent Wikipedia Infoboxes go out of date in local language Wikis, especially for knowledge not “local” to the language (i.e. a politician from another language/culture).
  • Describing how Wikidata can help “answer” questions that previously would be very hard to do in either domain-specific or non-Wikimedia projects. Think of sharing some examples of questions that Wikipedia theoretically could answer, but would require reading large amounts of Wikipedia (or other sources) to collect that information (i.e. Which are the biggest cities with female mayors? which can be answered with the Wikidata Query: this query )

Depending on your audience and context….

  • If your audience is not familiar with the structure of Wikipedia, consider providing a brief introduction to structured templates like infoboxes, Wikipedia articles and the challenges of keeping those infoboxes up to date.
  • If your audience is not familiar with how Wikipedia is part of a larger community, you may have to spend more time “situating” Wikidata within the large, international and multilingual Wikimedia community.
  • If your workshop is part of an Affiliate program or partnership with a GLAM or other organization, consider explaining how Wikidata fits within that programming.

Examples or visuals that might be useful for this section:

  • Examples of Infoboxes from different Wikimedia projects, with different information. These infoboxes could be compared with Reasonator or Wikidata items in multiple languages.
  • Several example Wikidata Queries of hard to answer questions relevant to your audience, which would be hard to answer otherwise. Consider using, examples provided by the Query Service “Examples” library: see it on-wiki.

Here are some examples from various Wikidata presentations:

Structure of Wikidata[edit]

The “Structure of Wikidata” section typically ensures that participants will be able to:

  1. Understand the basic semantic data model of Resource Description Framework (RDF) and how it compares with the full Wikidata model.
  2. Understand different concepts relevant to editing Wikidata and how to figure out what content belong in those fields, including: label, description, statement, property, qualifier and references.
  3. Understand the relationship between “human readable information” (i.e. labels and descriptions) and “machine readable data” (i.e. Q#s and P#s) in the Wikidata interface.

Recommended time: 10-15 minutes

Audience needs: Wikidata-One pager

Things that you should include:

  • One of the best ways to introduce the RDF/Triple data model is outside of the Wikidata interface. Asaf’s introduction to the Wikidata model works well (see it on Youtube), transitioning from statements that describe the world in language (i.e Earth → highest-point → Mount Everest) transitioning it into statements with labels (i.e. Earth (Q2) → highest-point (P610) → Mount Everest (Q513) ) and showing the final machine-readable statements (Q2 → P610 → Q513).
  • Introducing the data model with a quality item (many presentations uses i.e. many presentations use Q42 for the Geek culture joke associated with the item, other quality items can be found at: ). The illustrations at Wikidata:Introduction are particularly useful. Moreover, the language and description of the data model there, is a good example of how it can be described.
  • If your audience is interested in contributing to Wikidata at scale or for professional purposes, it’s important to explain how Wikidata decides what the data model, properties and items are. For example, it is important explain the social dynamic of “anyone can create a Q number, but P numbers undergo a tightly controlled community consultation process”.
  • If your audience is focused on a particular class of item on Wikidata, it might be worth introducing the data model for that class of item. For example, see this Workshop by Dan Scott.

Depending on your audience….

  • Consider demonstrating the data model on a live item, that is relevant to the topic of the workshop.
  • Consider showing a live item, and how to change the interface language on the item, to demonstrate how the data model allows you to switch interfaces
  • Consider demonstrating how this data model translates from a Wikidata item into another interface (such as Reasonator).


Here are examples of this kind of section:

Introduction to Editing[edit]

The “Introduction to editing” section typically ensures that participants will be able to:

  • Find the editing button and contribute to the label and description of a Wikidata item
  • Find the editing button and contribute a property to a Wikidata item
  • Find the editing button for an existing property, modify the property with a qualifier and add reference to a Wikidata item.

Recommended time: 5-10 minutes

Audience needs: Computers, a Wikidata account.

Things that you should include:

  • You should demonstrate editing on an item that you have identified before the event, including adding a label, description and common property for that kind of item. Remember to indicate where the edit buttons are for each type of edit.
  • When adding a property, make sure to demonstrate that you can add the property and item using either the Q# or P# or using search in the interface language.
  • You should demonstrate how to add a reference to an existing statement. Much of the value of Wikidata over the long term, comes from the ability to reference statements to reliable sources of material. Like when demonstrating referencing during Wikipedia editing workshops, its important to prepare the reference ahead of time. Remember to describe the common fields for references on Wikidata (if you have custom gadgets for copying references or filling in references using Citoid, make sure to describe how they change the interface).
  • If you have custom gadgets or tools installed on your Wikidata account, consider disabling them or discussing how your interface is different from the standard interface for Wikidata.

Depending on the audience:

  • If you expect your audience to be editing intensively on a particular type of item or using properties with special characteristics (geo-coordinates, authorities, dates): make sure to show how the interface is different for that kind of data.
  • If you expect your audience to interact with Wikidata in multiple languages, consider showing how to edit and contribute in multiple languages. Demonstrate how to change the interface language on an item, using the language selector at the top of the page.
  • If you expect your audience to be contributing a lot, consider having participants activate gadgets or tools you think that are important for that kind of editing. Keep the list simple, and make sure to write instructions. (see for example in this presentation by Andrew Lih)


Wikidata Editing Activities[edit]

Unlike the other sections of a Wikidata Workshop, this section of your workshop will take on different structure or form .

Nevertheless, its important to consider to make sure that this section has participant learning outcomes. The “Editing activity” section typically ensures that participants will be able to:

  • Confidently contribute individual statements to Wikidata with references.
  • Identify at least a couple tactics for “finding ways to contribute” to Wikidata.

Recommended time Variable

Audience needs: Computers, a Wikidata account, focused instructions for completing editing tasks, support from experienced editors.

In preparation for this section, consider doing the following:

  • Preparing example items that model the outcome you hope your participants to finish after the activity.
  • Testing the workflow for your activity multiple times before teaching it, to be confident that the activity works well.
  • Preparing demonstration queries on the Wikidata Query service that show the cumulative result of participants. Participants might feel better motivated if they have a sense of progress over the course of the activity.


Once you create an activity with the form below, place a link in this list:

Have you run a Wikidata workshop, and want to add an example?


Applying Wikidata[edit]

The “Applying Wikidata” section can be before or after the “Editing Activities” section of the workshop. Consider focusing this section on applications specific to your audience’s interests.

The “Applying Wikidata” section typically ensures that participants will be able to:

  • Identify the applied value of Wikidata, particularly for applications like visualization of complex data.
  • Identify potential applications for Wikidata in their own work, whether through visualization, embedding Wikidata in their own software,
  • Be less intimidated by the SPARQL query service, so that they may choose to learn more of it in future workshops

Recommended time: 20-30 minutes or more

Audience needs: A computer, access to the internet, access to links for this part of the workshop.

Consider including:

  • Examples of applications of Wikidata both within and outside of the professional context of your audience. Some showcase examples can be found on phabricator
  • Demonstrations of various visualization tools such as:
  • A brief demonstration of the Query service and how to write a simple query. To make audiences unfamiliar with querying tools like SQL or SPARQL comfortable with the Query service consider going through a step by step process for writing the query (for a more complex process for teaching the Query Service section).

Depending on the audience:

  • If your audience is primarily Wikimedians, make sure to include examples of lists, infoboxes and other content on Wikimedia projects driven by Wikidata.


Other potential workshop activities[edit]

Introduction to the Query Service[edit]

Many audiences will need a separate session from an "Introduction to Wikidata" to provide an in depth introduction to the Wikidata Query Service. It is highly recommended to introduce Wikidata in a separate session from the Wikidata Query service.

If you plan to run a Query service workshop, make sure that you evaluate the level of Wikidata contribution skill that your audience has ahead of time. Make sure that audiences have at least a minimally amount of experience with that workshop.

After completing a Query Service workshop, Participants will be able to:

  • Understand how to read and modify a basic Wikidata Query using both SPARQL and the Query Helper
  • Understand how to construct basic queries that return multiple variables and labels.
  • Understand what kinds of visualizations are available for using Wikidata Queries

Recommended time: variable-- basic introductions to the query service can take more than an hour.

Participant needs: Computer with internet, previous knowledge of Wikidata's data structure, the Wikidata Query service in brief handout.

Things you should include:

  • Remember, for many audiences, the Wikidata query service will be the first time that they work with a Query language (SQL, SPARQL, etc). Therefore its very important that you start from the most basic elements, and incrementally increase the complexity of the information. A good tactic for doing this, is building several queries of different complexity in front of the audience. For example queries, see Wikidata:SPARQL query service/Building a query.
  • Make sure to demonstrate how to take an example query and modify it to suit a separate need. Many individuals will not immediately be writing Wikidata queries from scratch, but instead modifying existing queries. The Wikidata Query helper is particularly useful for audiences modifying queries.
  • Make sure to include both guided query writing, where the instructors guides the writing of the query, and a window of time for the audience to write their own queries. Having participants write their own query, reinforces the process and skills of modifying or writing a query, so that they can confidently do so in the future.

Depending on your audience:

  • If your audience is mostly Wikimedians, make sure to spend time showing them how to apply Wikidata Queries to various tools of used by the Wikimedia community, including Petscan, Listeriabot, WDFIST and Histropedia.

Examples and resources

Example Presentations[edit]

This page includes example trainings from members of the Wikidata Community, and used as part of the Wikidata:Training page and Wikidata:Planning a Wikidata workshop. If you find a training to be particularly useful or a good model for others to replicate, consider adding them here.

There are also additional trainings and presentations available on Commons.