Welcome to the Items Tour
Welcome to Wikidata! This tour provides an introduction to the basics of editing Wikidata.
Please note that the page in the background is only a replica of a real page—you can think of it as a sandbox for you to play in and try new things. Your changes won't appear on Wikidata so there's no need to worry while making edits in this space. Let's get started!
Becoming an editor
Wikidata is a volunteer-created knowledge base of structured data that anyone can edit. Like Wikipedia, the project relies on the efforts of people worldwide who work together to collect and maintain data in more than 200 languages.
There are many ways to contribute to Wikidata. Some people translate documentation, some fix software bugs and write applications, and some add and edit data. All editors started somewhere—this tour will show you how to edit your first item on Wikidata.
The basic idea
Wikipedia is for encyclopedia content, Wikimedia Commons is a repository of media files, and Wiktionary provides definitions and lexical information about words.
In Wikidata, the focus is structured data.
This makes it possible for humans and computers alike to use the data. Structured data also opens up a whole lot of amazing opportunities you'll learn more about at a later point.
Creating a structure for data requires a lot of planning! In order to support something like all the knowledge available on Wikipedia, we first need a way of storing representations of this knowledge. These representations of knowledge are called items.
Items are flexible enough to represent abstract concepts like childhood, hunger, and weight as well as real-world objects like a television, a kayak, and a volcano.
Each item has its own page—where all the data about it is collected—and a unique identifier. This identifier always looks similar to Q###. While useful for machines and for representing knowledge in a lot of different languages, this identifier is not very human-friendly.
We will solve this in the first task of this tour. Let's take a closer look at the item page for Earth, the planet.
See how there is only a number identifying this item page? This is a unique identifier.
To avoid having to keep track of random identifiers like Q###, we give each item a name that most accurately reflects it. The names are called labels and should be added to all item pages. Since Wikidata is multilingual, labels can be added in any language (you can configure what languages you would like to see).
Got it? Great! Click the arrow to learn how to add your first label.
To add or modify labels, you just click on the "edit" button (in doing so, you'll also be taken to the next step).
Click into the text field and enter the label Earth for this item.
More on labels
Here are some useful things to know about labels:
- A label is like a page title which describes what the item is about. It should be as short as possible (e.g. Earth, not Planet Earth)
- Labels do not have to be unique as they are disambiguated by descriptions—more on this later
- Use the most common name (e.g. cat not Felis catus) and only capitalize proper nouns (like London, Jupiter, or Hillary Clinton—but not city, planet, or politician)
As already mentioned, descriptions are used to disambiguate labels by providing more details about an item.
For example, “2007 nature documentary film” and “one of the four classical elements” are both descriptions for items called Earth—neither of which are the planet we live on!
It's ok to have multiple items with the same label as long as each item has a different description.
Let's add our first description now!
Descriptions are edited just like labels. Just click into the text field! Something like third planet in the Solar System would be a good description for Earth.
More on descriptions
Here's what to keep in mind when creating descriptions:
- Keep it short—descriptions are not sentences.
- Try to be as accurate and as neutral as possible—avoid using information that will change over time or that is considered controversial and biased.
- Descriptions should not normally begin with initial articles like "the" or "a".
- If you're stuck, Wikipedia is a good resource for coming up with descriptions for items—often the first two sentences of the item's article will provide enough information.
There's only one last thing to do to name and identify our item: add any alternative names for Earth to the page.
An alternative name for an item, such as a nickname for a person or a scientific name for an animal, is called an alias on Wikidata. Adding aliases to our page will help map all alternative names and search terms for Earth onto the item you've worked so hard to improve!
Here's some more information about aliases:
- While an item can only have one label and one description per language, it can have multiple aliases
- Make sure to only capitalize proper nouns
It's also possible to add more than one alias to an item—new text boxes will appear for you to type in.
By the way, a good alias for Earth might be World.
Once you have finished, click on "save".
Congratulations! You've completed the Items Tour.
Want to keep editing? If you're ready to leave the sandbox and edit on the real site, the links below will get you started:
- Edit a random item
- Use the external tool the Terminator to find the top 1000 items missing a label or description
- Check the list of items without labels and/or descriptions
Want to keep learning? Click here to return to the tours portal.
Still have questions? Talk to someone over live chat on IRC #wikidata or check out the following pages for help: