Saturday, January 18, 2014

What #Wikidata has to offer to languages in the #Incubator

One of the objectives of Wikidata is to provide "information box support". These info-boxes use information from Wikidata on articles that are linked to it. The information is shown in the local language. For Incubator, things are .. complex. For starters, incubator is a multiple language wiki. To make it worse, Incubator includes some languages that will never have a Wikipedia.

Wikidata is more inclusive in its support for languages than any of the other projects. It can support extinct languages, it can support constructed languages, it can support multiple scripts for the same language and, the requirements are minimal. What is required is that the language is recognised in the ISO-639-3 and that a script is actually in use or has been used.

Let us consider the Maithili language. There is an incubator project for this language for a Wikipedia and for a Wikibooks. It can be used in Wikidata. Currently there is one label for one item. When all the labels used on relevant items like "India", "Gandhi", "Delhi", "horse" and "rabbit" have been added, millions of items will show at least a few labels in Maithili. The information for the info boxes for these five items are complete as well and could in theory be used in the Incubator project.

Info-boxes supported in the incubator that use Wikidata data seems to be an achievable goal. Adding Wikidata search support in the Incubator is actually a no-brainer because it just works. Thanks to the Reasonator all that data will be really well presented, it will even be informative. That is a step up from many of the awkward stub articles that are often found in the Incubator.

Wikidata is a great start for providing information in any language. All you need to do is add missing labels. The next step is start a stub with an informative info-box. This can be followed up by taking the time to write a decent article.

You know what, this does work equally well in any Wikipedia.
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