Four years into its existence, Wikidata is one of the youngest and largest members of the Wikimedia family. As of August 2016, the free database has been edited by more than 16,000 users from all over the world. Today, Wikidata features 24 million items. Its data is being used 266 million times in its fellow sister projects. Today, we’re excited to let you know that the Wikimedia Foundation will now directly support future development of Wikidata in a new agreement with Wikimedia Germany (Deutschland), an independent non-profit chapter that works to advance the Wikimedia movement.
Wikimedia Germany has built the software that powers Wikidata since the project’s beginning, along with contributions from volunteers around the world. Like other Wikimedia projects, the site itself is hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation. Over the years, engineers in San Francisco and Berlin have worked together to improve Wikidata and build a shared roadmap to further integrate structured data in the Wikimedia projects.
In the spirit of these joint efforts, the Wikimedia Foundation will now directly fund basic expenses for Wikidata software development. This replaces the previous model of receiving funding for Wikidata through the the Funds Dissemination Committee, per that committee’s recommendations in both 2014–15 and 2015–16. As with all projects funded by the Wikimedia Foundation, funding for Wikidata will be determined on a year-by-year basis. This will both streamline the planning process for Wikimedia projects and allow grant funding to be allocated towards new projects and experiments.
All software development of Wikidata will continue to be led by engineers at Wikimedia Germany, and importantly, with the community of developers who contribute to Wikidata’s software. Development of Wikidata has always been community-driven – a fact that has allowed it to grow exponentially in such a short period of time. In order to achieve both technical and social sustainability, the product management for Wikidata has been rooted from the beginning in public roadmaps and the input of its users. This is not only a cornerstone of agile engineering in general, but has been a key element of Wikidata’s quickly growing user base and of the substantial role it is already playing in the family of Wikimedia projects.
Wikidata remains a positive example of community-driven development. We look forward to partnering to support the project’s future.
Wes Moran, Vice President of Product, Wikimedia Foundation
Abraham Taherivand, Head of Software Development, Wikimedia Germany (Deutschland)