What is Wikibase?
Wikibase is the free and customizable knowledge base that drives Wikidata. It is well suited for setting up data archives that interoperate with the semantic web via open standards. Increasingly, it is gaining interest among GLAM institutions, research communities and open knowledge advocates.
What are the benefits?
Publish and connect
Publish your data using standards and gain interoperability
Flexible and granular data model
Wikibase allows you to model your domain via its flexible data model
Transparent and traceable
Be precise about sources and track where data comes from
Wikibase supports provenance information on a statement level. Changes to statements can also be tracked over time via a full version history.
Control your own data
Avoid the restrictions of Wikidata by using your own Wikibase
Use your own license and restrict editing and access in line with your organization’s needs. Wikibase is built on top of MediaWiki, the standard wiki software for collaborative editing and knowledge sharing. This gives you access to MediaWikis permission system, review and approval workflows, notification systems and more, all for your structured data.
Avoid vendor lock-in and benefit from the open ecosystem
Mediabase and MediaWiki are open source software. MediaWiki is used by 1000s of organizations and is developed by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation for Wikipedia. There are 100s of MediaWiki extensions and tools that are freely available. Use the community for support or participate and help shape the future of the software.
Who uses Wikibase?
GLAM - galleries, libraries, archives, and museums
Prominent cultural heritage institutions that wish to participate in the semantic web are using Wikibase.
German National Library
The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek (DNB) is adopting Wikibase for its Integrated Authority File (GND). The GND is used throughout German speaking countries and contains 8 million records on persons, corporate bodies, geographical names and more.
The DNB is especially keen on the transparency and traceability that it provides on a statement level via qualifiers, references and the edit history.
Luxembourg Ministry of Culture
A competency network of 8 GLAM institutions are pursuing Wikibase for sharing authority information. They use the CIDOC-CRM ontology as a federation tool for data modelling and RDA-FR as normative rulebook for content.
Their focus areas include access rights, GDPR compliance, data monitoring and data/time information with uncertainty and imprecision.
Rhizome have been using Wikibase as the main repository for the ArtBase since 2015 and have pioneered ways to engage with the data modeling and presentation of cultural data as linked open data; commissioning new extensions to the software and contributing actively to the community.
French National Library
Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) and the Bibliographic Agency for Higher Education in France are building a new service for libraries and other GLAM institutions based on Wikibase.
The new shared service allows collaboratively creating and maintaining reference data.
The IFLA Wikidata Working Group was formed in late 2019 to explore and advocate for the use of and contribution to Wikidata by library and information professionals, the integration of Wikidata and Wikibase with library systems, and alignment of the Wikidata ontology with library metadata formats such as BIBFRAME, RDA, and MARC.
The Online Computer Library Center evaluated Wikibase together with 16 US based institutions. Their conclusions include that the precision of structured data exceeds that of contemporary library standards and that librarians can more easily see the results of their efforts without switching tools.
More Wikibase Examples
What is Wikibase ?
Wikibase is an open-source software suite for collaboratively creating interoperable knowledge bases.
Frequently asked questions
questions about our services
Yes you can! Contact us now with details about your project.
While we like open source, we can accommodate the needs of our clients. We can also advise on if open source makes sense for your organization or project.
Wikibase is an Open Source project lead by Wikimedia Deutschland, which develops Wikibase primarily for Wikidata. Many tools part of the ecosystem are also open source and maintained by various individuals. This limits what we can promise to our clients, even though we are very familiar with the ecosystem, both from a technical and community point of view.
Our standard approach is to host Wikibase wikis for our customers on dedicated VPS in Germany. Other locations are possible on request, and we can set up and manage Wikibase on your own infrastructure if that is desired.
As of February 2022 we provide Wikibase 1.35 Long Term Support. On request we can also provide Wikibase 1.37.
questions about Wikibase
Wikidata is a free knowledge base with millions of items available at Wikidata.org. Wikibase is the software that powers Wikidata. While it was originally developed for Wikidata, it is a free and open source software, enabling everyone to create their own structured knowledge base.
Why your own Wikibase rather than using Wikidata? Wikidata requires all data to be submitted with a CC0 license, which is often not practical for institutions. It also has an open editing environment, which is not seen as a trustworthy repository for institutional knowledge.
Wikibase is popular in the GLAM sector, where it is seen as a tool for digital preservation of cultural heritage and creating a web of linked data with other institutions. For more details see the list of users on the Wikibase website.