Wikidata:WikiProject British Politicians/Wikifying Westminster

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Welcome to the Wikifying Westminster Workshop. This workshop took place on 19th August 2017. This page documents what happened at the event and outlines how the event was run!


  • 10:00 - 10:10: Introduction of participants
  • 10:10 - 10:30: “So, what’s the point in using/uploading data to Wikidata?”
  • 10:30 - 11:00: Brainstorming and project selection
  • 11:00: Tracks begin
Track 1: Learning Track 2: Hacking
Drop in tutorials Project work.
  • 12:00 - 12:30: lunch break
Track 1: Learning Track 2: Hacking
  • 17:50 - 18:00: wrap-up and showcase

Background: What data did we have to work with before the event?[edit]

Very good foundational data on legislators in:

  • UK (back to 1997)
  • Scotland (back to founding of the devolved Scottish parliament in 1999)

Cabinet information for:

  • Scotland

Coverage of people, but little or no parliamentary data for them:

  • Welsh Assembly
  • Northern Irish Assembly
  • UK back to ~1715 (and partial coverage before that)

More details and a status checklist can be found on WikiProject British Politicians.

"Learning" Track Projects[edit]

Getting data into Wikidata[edit]

  • BIOGRAPHICAL DATA. Add things like birthplace, birthdates, educated at, any notable relations, etc. This task was used as an introduction to teach people how to add data to Wikidata. It was split into three sections:

Getting data out of Wikidata (Querying)[edit]

  1. How to query Wikidata (very basic introduction to SPARQL)
  2. Applied SPARQL - querying political data hands-on session (practising increasingly more difficult queries)

"Hacking" Track Projects[edit]

  • GET NORTHERN IRELAND ASSEMBLY DATA COMPLETE - Now complete back to 1998 (i.e the formation of the Assembly - the furthest back it is possible to go)
    • This excellent spreadsheet of the undergraduate universities and subjects of prominent UK politicians, going back to when John Major was crowd-sourced. It would be great to add this data to Wikidata (using academic major (P812) as a qualifier to educated at (P69)) so that you could get the same data through a SPARQL query.
    • Progress: this query should list all the known undergraduate institutions and subjects that cabinet ministers studied. We've started adding these subjects to fill in the gaps, and hope to do more a bit over over the next week bit-by-bit!
    • Problems: the key problem we found was that we weren't sure how to model when people did joint subjects, like "Maths and Politics" - for the moment we're doing the more obvious subjects first.
  • QUERIES. We have a list of interesting/fun queries, and have been working through many of them. During the event, we added queries for:
MPs descended from people who were in the UCL Legacy of British Slaveowners database Query
Number of female MPs and of ones named “John” over time Query
Given names of MPs with date when first MP with that name entered parliament (i.e. 2017 had the first Darren in Parliament. We wanted to find out: When were some other firsts?) Query

Potential projects for future events[edit]

These projects did not get worked on - but could be candidates for future events!

  • "DOCTORS" - What quirky PhDs do MP's have? Potential data sources:
    • Parlparse contains data back to 1801, but the people/parties/constituencies aren’t yet reconciled to Wikidata.
  • CABINET etc — we (will) have the definitive database of all UK MPs ever, but not necessarily the information on what other major positions they held. Find ways of adding at least cabinet-level positions.
  • CONSTITUENCIES - we have a lot of entries for constituencies but it gets a bit confused once we start dealing with older constituencies which shared a name (if not boundaries) with a current one. We also don't have good data for how constituencies were connected across time, or their start/end dates.
  • REPORTS. Developing error-checking or sanity-checking reports (example: contrast report) would be really helpful, especially queries that we can run automatically and use to look for inconsistencies (e.g. someone serving after they died).

Other non-UK specific[edit]

There are several missions ongoing. If you want to add data but are not sure where to start, please see:

  • NUMBER OF SEATS - The number of seats in each legislature is a core dataset which does not yet exist in Wikidata.

Useful Links[edit]

Potential Inspiration[edit]


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