This post is contributed by Anne Britton, one of IOI's Research Fellows.

For the past month we've been exploring the potential of Wikidata as a public knowledge base for information about open infrastructure and its financial components. Wikidata, a sister project of Wikipedia, is a dynamic space with exciting room for growth and development.

We aim to help increase the transparency, accessibility, and availability of high-quality information on open infrastructure in a reusable, participatory, open fashion.

Developed by Wikimedia Deutschland and launched in 2012, Wikidata now includes some 95,691,650 items. Its data is free to use and licensed to the public domain. Users of Wikidata include Google Search and popular virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa, as well as Wikipedia and its handy sidebar infoboxes. Like Wikipedia, anyone can edit Wikidata.

Our attempt to systematically model open infrastructure via Wikidata is inspired by preservation modelling of Katherine Thornton et al. (2017); surveys of infrastructure and tools by John Maxwell et al. (2019), Katherine Skinner (2019), David Lewis (2020), SPARC Europe (2020); COAR's SComCat (2021); and compilations of terms such as Thésaurus de la science ouverte and the Framework for Open and Reproducible Research Training glossary.

Our preliminary exploration of Wikidata has found contributions by a broad range of editors on topics such as free and open software, data repositories, open access policies, and the open knowledge movement. Did you know, for instance, that Wikidata can be queried for a list of open science tools arranged by use, sponsor, developer, programming language, operator, or maintainer?

We've put together an assortment of data categories and data values that describe open infrastructure. But we suspect our working list omits important aspects, including economic and technical characteristics. And lots of basic facts remain to be added to Wikidata.

Black and white image from 1908 of a community working together to build a barn. Source: Library and Archives Canada

Like a community that joins together to raise a barn (see illustration from 1908), we imagine Wikidata as a potential site of cooperation for the virtual IOI community at large.

We would like your input! Please follow this link to a brief survey. We are keen to know if and how the IOI community would like to learn to use Wikidata as a powerful collating tool.

Thanks to Richard Dunks and Kaitlin Thaney for their contributions to this post.

Posted by Invest In Open Infrastructure