Open data for a global audience

December 10, 2018

Dragonfly hosted a Wikidata masterclass with Asaf Bartov from the Wikimedia Foundation in late November. He was accompanied by Dr Mike Dickison, currently the New Zealand Wikipedian at Large.

Wikidata is the database associated with Wikipedia that is open and editable by anyone. In its first six years, it has gathered structured data for more than 51 million items, and as Asaf says, it’s where the cool kids play.

Long-time advocates for open data, Dragonfly’s interest in Wikidata is the opportunity it presents to put publicly available data in front of a massive audience.

“Wikipedia is the 5th most viewed website, so any data placed there is widely available and potentially useful to a large number of people”, says Mike. “Wikidata also connects up disparate datasets, which makes its search function very powerful.”

Mike’s role is taking him around the country until July 2019, helping New Zealanders engage with Wikipedia and open knowledge.

“I’m finding that smaller organisations like Dragonfly are well ahead in their understanding and promotion of open data – they see the benefits immediately. It was good to have Asaf over here to help them, and others like them, take their next steps with Wikidata.”

While Asaf was heading home to the US, Mike’s next stop was Invercargill where he was to spend a week with DOC putting all their information about kākāpō into Wikidata.

“We have a growing body of detailed data about every bird in the species – all 148 of them. Each bird is named and in most cases we know their lineage and parents, siblings and breeding success. When the genome of every bird has been sequenced, that will be added too.”

Asaf was in New Zealand for the National Digital Forum, held in Wellington. Watch his talk online.

Contact Mike and find out more about his presentations and activities.