The WikiData project will start on April 1st (yes, really) and will tackle many data re-usability issues by having structured storage much like done by Semantic MediaWiki (although it will not use SMW). The basic idea is to have a “data-wiki”, which will hold common data, much like Wikimedia Commons holds common media (mainly images). Initially this wiki will serve as an entity base for the different (language) Wikipedias, enabling the removal of inter-language links where people want to use the new data wiki instead. After that we’ll allow for adding properties to the entities, which articles will be able to pull into factboxes and have some editing UI on the Wikipedias to edit this data in place and send it back to the data-wiki. The final phase will be allowing for (limited) queries on the structured data of the data wiki from the Wikipedias to automatically generate lists and tables.
This is a real game changer, and if you ask me the most fundamental change Wikipedia will have seen since it’s inception. The goal of the Wikimedia Foundation is to make all human knowledge freely available to everyone. Having it in a structured format that can be queried makes this data available to so many more people and more much more easy to actually make sense of. External applications will be able to build on top of Wikipedia like never before. And of course the win for Wikipedia itself is huge as well. Data will be nicely consolidated instead of duplicated across wikis, and so be more consistent. And data that is now available on any Wikipedia will be available on all Wikipedias, vastly increasing the content on all non-English Wikipedias. The world encyclopedia will turn into the worlds database (ofc it’s function as encyclopedia will not get lost)
I can’t wait to get started on this!
A high level overview of the project and it’s phases can be found here. You can also follow me and Denny on twitter of updates. We might get a dedicated account later on, but for now @WikiData is not under our control :/