Please don’t get hit by a bus! Towards a resilient and sustainable Wikidata tool ecosystem
10-30, 10:00–10:55 (UTC), Room 3

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

Link to notes

What will the participants take away from this session?

This session will be most useful for participants who are already familiar with various Wikidata and structured data tools; the session is not meant as a showcase, but for broader discussion.

Active contribution by the audience is very welcome. We strongly encourage active tool developers and end users, and individuals and Wikimedia movement entities interested in actively working on more resilience for Wikimedia's tool ecosystem, to attend this panel and participate in the brainstorm!

Ideally, we end this panel with a list of next steps and we continue the conversation after WikidataCon.





I am working for Open Access to cultural heritage at AvoinGLAM, connecting Creative Commons, Open Knowledge and Wikimedia in Finland.

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Wikimedia and GLAM-Wiki volunteer mainly active on Wikidata and Wikimedia Commons; OpenGLAM advocate; part of the OpenRefine team

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