Kat Thornton


Please don’t get hit by a bus! Towards a resilient and sustainable Wikidata tool ecosystem
Susanna Ånäs, Dalton Martins, Sandra Fauconnier, Kat Thornton, Antonin Delpeuch, Alicia Fagerving

A panel discussion to brainstorm about a sustainable and resilient future of Wikidata's key volunteer-built tools.

Many everyday edits and contributions to Wikidata are powered not by Wikidata’s own editing interface, but by an ecosystem of very diverse software tools which are designed and maintained by external parties.

Quite often, individual Wikimedia volunteer developers create and maintain such software in their free time (examples include tools like QuickStatements and the Wikidata reconciliation service). In some cases, tools are part of larger projects that receive occasional funding (examples include OpenRefine, GLAMpipe, the Wikimedia Commons mobile app, the ISA Tool, and many others).

The resulting Wikidata tool ecosystem is extremely rich and interesting, but also notoriously vulnerable. Development on such tools can easily stall when maintainers don’t have (the privilege of) free time (anymore), move on, and/or when temporary funding runs out.

This panel discussion and group brainstorm wants to look at this situation with a practical and solution-oriented mindset. What actions can we take as a community to make this tool ecosystem more resilient? Does the Movement Strategy process offer tools for taking up this challenge? Which tools should be developed centrally to ensure the core practices of the content communities, and how can we simultaneously encourage lightweight experiments in the community?


  • Sandra Fauconnier (moderator; ISA Tool; OpenRefine)
  • Susanna Ånäs (co-moderator; Wikimaps; GLAMpipe; Wikidocumentaries)
  • Kat Thornton (Science Stories)
  • Lucie-Aimée Kaffee (ArticlePlaceholder extension; Scribe)
  • Antonin Delpeuch (OpenRefine; Wikidata reconciliation service)
  • Alicia Fagerving (Wikimedia Sverige)
  • Birgit Müller (Wikimedia Foundation)
  • Quim Gil (Wikimedia Foundation)

Image credit: Jan Maszkowski (1794-1865) - The Artist's Children (1844). National Museum in Wrocław, Public Domain

Sustainable future
Room 3
Writing schemas for Wikidata
Kat Thornton, ericP

Join us for a collaborative schema writing workshop. Members of the ShEx Community Group will write a schema live in this workshop. We'll go over the basis of contributing schemas to Wikidata's E namespace.

Reusable data
Room 1
Multimedia Biographies for Diverse Scientists with ScienceStories.io
Kat Thornton, Kenneth Seals-Nutt

Have you ever wanted to share a multimedia biography of a scientist from a diverse background? Meet sciencestories.io, powered by Wikidata! We will demo sciencestories.io and explain how contributions to Wikidata, Wikimedia Commons and English Wikipedia help extend and improve these stories. We will go over the other types of resources that can be added to stories like Vimeo videos, YouTube videos, IIIF images, works from HathiTrust, Internet Archive and more. Join this session to celebrate stories of amazing people.

Reimagining Wikidata
Room 3