Help:Wikidata

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Here are the agreed-upon recommendations related to Wikidata usage on WikiTree.

For more help or to discuss anything related to Wikidata and genealogy, use the G2G tag wikidata.

Contents

What is Wikidata?

Wikidata is a free and open database that can be read and edited by both humans and machines. It's a project of the Wikimedia Foundation, which also hosts Wikipedia. (Although WikiTree is not a Wikimedia Foundation project, our technology is built on an early version of the same software.)

Wikidata hosts a variety of data, including data on historical figures and other people who fit Wikipedia's definition of notability.

Where does Wikidata get its information?

Any individual can submit information to Wikidata, but the vast majority comes from automated data extraction from other large databases. There is no check on the accuracy of this data, or whether the imported information has a reliable primary source.

Some of the information on Wikidata is accurate. Some is not.

If you're considering using information from Wikidata you need to evaluate its original source.

Information from WikiTree appears on Wikidata property P2949. (Thank you to Sälgö-1 for initially setting this up.)

How does Wikidata help WikiTree's mission?

WikiTree's mission has two sides:

  1. grow an increasingly-accurate single family tree, and
  2. make it free and accessible to the world forever.

WikiTree+, leveraging links added by WikiTree volunteers, utilizes Wikidata for both sides.

First, WikiTree+ compares profiles on WikiTree with profiles on Wikidata that appear to represent the same people. Nothing is automatically imported from Wikidata, but hints are displayed on suggestion reports so that members can investigate possible ways to add or improve WikiTree profiles.

Second, WikiTree+ automatically uploads WikiTree data to Wikidata. This enables it to be seen and used creatively by other websites and independent developers. In addition to directly enabling more people to access our data this indirectly helps us gain a wider audience. It improves our visibility and reputation around the Internet. If Wikipedia and other websites have more links to WikiTree this improves our overall rankings in Google and thereby helps all our profiles be found by more cousins.

Wikidata is Not a Source

Wikidata itself is not the original source for any information. Therefore, it should not be cited as a source on WikiTree profiles. You need to find, evaluate, and cite the original source.

To find the original source to investigate and cite, click the "references" link below any given fact on a Wikidata page, then follow the advice on Help:Sources.

Keep in mind that information on WikiTree may be more accurate than what appears on Wikidata.

Wikidata contains information from a variety of sources, some of which are unreliable, and some of which (like WikiTree) are themselves derived from other sources. This can be confusing and misleading. As stated in a discussion on Wikipedia: "Wikidata's indiscriminate bot sourcing from Wikipedia, from other unreliable sources, and mass import-export with other databases gives false or unreliable information a false appearance of authority. It can become difficult or impossible to trace the origin of claims."

Usage on pre-1700 and project-managed profiles

Wikidata only includes information on people who are historically-significant or otherwise notable. Therefore, many of the corresponding WikiTree profiles are managed by projects and should only be edited using sources that project members have identified as reliable.

Data from the following sources appears in Wikidata and is generally considered unreliable by project members:

  • ThePeerage.com
  • Kindred Britain

Consult with the project in advance before using any information from Wikidata if you can't determine its original source or if you're uncertain whether the original source is reliable.

Linking WikiTree and Wikidata

Simply linking WikiTree profiles with corresponding Wikidata pages has powerful benefits. It enables WikiTree+ to:

  • improve its suggestions,
  • share correct data on WikiTree with Wikidata, and
  • bring WikiTree to a wider audience.

Creating the link is easy.

First, find the Wikidata ID for the person. An easy way to find this is through Wikipedia. For example:

  1. search for the person using Google, e.g. search for John Adams,
  2. click to John Adams' Wikipedia page,
  3. click "Wikidata item" in the Tools menu on the left side of the Wikipedia page,
  4. this leads to John Adams (Q11806) on Wikidata where Q11806 is the Wikidata ID.

Second, add the Wikidata link template as a "see also" link beneath the sources on the WikiTree profile. For example:

== Sources ==
<references />
See also:
* {{Wikidata|Q11806}}

Advanced link parameters

There are two optional "parameters" for the Wikidata link template.

The first is for creating a Wikipedia link. If you include "|enwiki" in the link tag, a link to the person's Wikipedia profile will be included alongside the Wikidata link. For example, {{Wikidata|Q11806|enwiki}} will create a link to John Adams' English Wikipedia page. See Template:Wikidata for how to create links to Wikipedia in other languages.

The second, "|sameas=yes" or "sameas=no", is for clarifying whether or not the WikiTree profile represents the same person as the Wikidata item. If the WikiTree profile and the Wikidata item clearly represent the same person this is optional. However, in some cases it may be necessary to:

  1. confirm that they are the same with sameas=yes because the WikiTree profile and the Wikidata item have conflicting information that may make them appear to be different people. See Hints for linking Wikidata and WikiTree profiles below.
  2. confirm that they are different with sameas=no because the people represented by the WikiTree profile and the Wikidata item can be confused or conflated. This will prevent WikiTree+ from giving hints based on the Wikidata profile and help prevent others from confusing them in the future. See How to permanently dismiss hints below.
  3. confirm that they are different with sameas=no because you are mentioning the Wikidata item for a relative or someone else on a WikiTree profile. For example, if you were linking to John Quincy Adams' Wikidata item from the WikiTree profile for John Adams you would use sameas=no.

You do not need to edit anything on Wikidata

WikiTree members indirectly contribute to Wikidata by contributing to WikiTree profiles that contain the Wikidata link template, as explained above.

This is the most useful thing you can do. The template enables WikiTree+ to connect the two profiles and will automatically transfer data from WikiTree to Wikidata. (No data is automatically transferred from Wikidata to WikiTree.)

See below for more on how improving WikiTree indirectly improves Wikidata.

Wikidata-Related Hints from WikiTree+

Here are the different types of Wikidata-based WikiTree+ hints. These are derived from comparisons between WikiTree profiles and profiles on Wikidata that appear to represent the same people.

Hints for linking Wikidata and WikiTree profiles

Most hints are intended to help you add or improve WikiTree profiles. These hints are different. They help you link WikiTree profiles to Wikidata profiles.

In each of these, WikiTree+ has identified a case where a WikiTree profile is linked to a Wikidata profile, but the father, mother, or spouse of the WikiTree profile is not linked to the corresponding Wikidata profile. WikiTree+ would generally assume that the relative is the same person but in these cases it cannot be automatically assumed because some of their data is different. A genealogist needs to investigate.

If you decide that the Wikidata profile of the father/mother/spouse is intended to represent the same person, link to it using the {{Wikidata}} template on the profile of the corresponding father/mother/spouse on WikiTree. You do not need to resolve conflicting information. You or others can do that at a later date. Simply adding the link helps WikiTree+ improve its hints and helps WikiTree profiles reach a wider audience.

If you decide that the father/mother/spouse is not the same person, mark the suggestion status as "false suggestion (hide forever)." You may also want to add Research Notes to WikiTree to explain that a mistake is being propagated by other sources.

Hints for connecting two WikiTree profiles

These are cases where two Wikidata profiles are connected as parent and child but the WikiTree profiles that appear to represent the same two people are not connected as parent and child.

These two hints are easily confused with 541 Wikidata - Clue for father and 543 Wikidata - Clue for mother. The latter two, listed under "Relatives missing on WikiTree" below, are cases where there appears to be no profile for the father or mother on WikiTree, i.e. you would need to create a profile for the parent. In hints 564 and 566 both profiles exist and only need to be connected if they are indeed parent and child.

As in all cases, it cannot be assumed that the information on Wikidata is correct. Sources may indicate that the two profiles are not parent and child, or there may be no reliable sources that establish the relationship.

If the relationship can neither be proven nor disproven it may be appropriate to connect them speculatively, i.e.:

  1. Add the person as father or mother.
  2. Mark the relationship as Uncertain.
  3. Explain the connection and sources in a Research Notes section.

See the important section above before making speculative connections on pre-1700 or project-managed profiles.

If the information on Wikidata is disproven or unlikely mark the suggestion status as "false suggestion (hide forever)." You may also want to add Research Notes to WikiTree to explain that a mistake is being propagated by other sources.

Hints for finding duplicate WikiTree profiles

The following hints alert you to potential duplicate profiles on WikiTree that may need to be merged.

These are cases where a Wikidata profile links to two different WikiTree profiles:

These are cases where the father or mother identified in the WikiTree profile is different from the father or mother on Wikidata. There are various reasons it could be different. The information on Wikidata may be inaccurate. But it is possible that WikiTree has two profiles for the parent.

These can be extremely complicated to solve.

If the information on Wikidata is incorrect mark the suggestion status as "false suggestion (hide forever)." You may also want to add Research Notes to WikiTree to explain that a mistake is being propagated by other sources.

Hints for adding to WikiTree

These are cases where there is information on Wikidata but the corresponding field for the WikiTree profile that is presumed to be the same person is blank.

Relatives missing on WikiTree

These are cases where the WikiTree profile does not have a father or mother but the Wikidata profile that appears to represent the same person does have a parent.

As in all cases, it cannot be assumed that the information on Wikidata is correct. The father or mother on Wikidata may not really be the father or mother.

If the relationship can neither be proven nor disproven it may still be appropriate to add the father or mother speculatively, mark the relationship as Uncertain, and explain everything in a Research Notes section. See the important section above before adding speculative relationships for pre-1700 or project-managed profiles.

If the information on Wikidata is disproven or unlikely mark the suggestion status as "false suggestion (hide forever)." You may also want to add Research Notes to WikiTree to explain that a mistake is being propagated by other sources.

Locations missing on WikiTree

These are cases where the WikiTree profile does not have a birth or death location but the Wikidata profile that appears to represent the same person does have a location.

WikiTree recommends estimating dates and we have often discussed the value of approximating locations. The community had considered requiring at least one location for all profiles in the same way that we require at least one date. An approximate location, even one as vague as "North America," could help distinguish between people and prevent the creation of duplicates.

If both location fields on a WikiTree profile are currently blank it may be wise to use the location given on Wikidata even if it is from unreliable sources. If this is done, be sure to mark the location as Uncertain and explain everything in Research Notes. However, see the important section above before adding speculative locations to pre-1700 or project-managed profiles.

If the location on Wikidata is disproven or unlikely mark the suggestion status as "false suggestion (hide forever)." You may also want to add Research Notes to WikiTree to explain that a mistake is being propagated by other sources.

Gender missing on WikiTree

Dates missing on WikiTree

These are cases where the WikiTree profile does not have a date but the Wikidata profile that appears to represent the same person does have a date.

As in all cases, it cannot be assumed that the information on Wikidata is correct. The sources for the dates may be unknown or unreliable.

WikiTree has an agreed-upon policy on estimating dates. One date is required for all profiles. It may be advisable to use a date on Wikidata that is neither proven nor disproven if it's marked as Uncertain and explained in Research Notes. However, see the important section above before adding uncertain dates to pre-1700 or project-managed profiles and discuss it in advance with project members unless there are no other dates on the profile.

If the date on Wikidata is disproven or unlikely mark the suggestion status as "false suggestion (hide forever)." You may also want to add Research Notes to WikiTree to explain that a mistake is being propagated by other sources.

Precise dates missing on WikiTree

These are cases where the date on the WikiTree profile only has a year (YYYY) or a month (Mon YYYY) whereas the date on the corresponding Wikidata profile has an exact day (DD Mon YYYY).

It cannot be assumed that the date given on Wikidata is correct. An exactly wrong date is not better than one that is approximately correct. But if the date is neither proven nor disproven there are benefits to including the date, marking it as Uncertain, and explaining it in Research Notes. See the important section above before adding uncertain dates to pre-1700 or project-managed profiles.

If the date on Wikidata is disproven or unlikely mark the suggestion status as "false suggestion (hide forever)." You may also want to add Research Notes to WikiTree to explain that a mistake is being propagated by other sources.

Hints for correcting WikiTree or the mistakes propagated by Wikidata

These are cases where information on Wikidata differs from information on WikiTree.

Of course, if the information on WikiTree and Wikidata is different you will need to thoughtfully investigate and evaluate the original sources for both before changing anything.

If the information on Wikidata is disproven or unlikely mark the suggestion status as "false suggestion (hide forever)" and add Research Notes to WikiTree to explain that a mistake is being propagated by other sources.

Don't underestimate the value of your work here. If you are someone with the ability to evaluate these sources you will be doing a great service by explaining your conclusions in Research Notes so that future genealogists can benefit from them. Be explicit about the mistakes that appear on Wikidata.

You do not need to directly edit the mistakes on Wikidata. WikiTree+ will automatically upload data from linked WikiTree profiles. Although Research Notes are not uploaded, Wikipedians and others who are thoughtfully using Wikidata will investigate the WikiTree references and see what you have written.

Moreover, your Research Notes will help prevent the mistakes propagated by Wikidata and others from returning to WikiTree. Without your explanation of the sources, others are likely to repeat the mistakes they are seeing elsewhere.

We can never fully prevent genealogical myths from spreading on the Internet, but we can propagate correct information and demonstrate the difference.

How to permanently dismiss hints

If a WikiTree+ hint is based on incorrect information on Wikidata, you can permanently dismiss the hint by marking it as "false suggestion (hide forever)".

If a WikiTree+ hint is based on an incorrect connection between a WikiTree profile and a Wikidata item, you can permanently dismiss all hints based on the connection by using the sameas=no parameter in a Wikidata link template as described above.

Sameas=no should only be used if the Wikidata item represents a different person or contains conflated information from multiple people and a majority of the information represents a different person. It should not be used if the Wikidata item generally represents the same person but contains some incorrect information.

In either case, be sure to explain your conclusion in a Research Notes section.



This page was last modified 16:40, 10 September 2020. This page has been accessed 1,118 times.