During this year’s Wikimania 2023 in Singapore, a group of six Wikimedians hailing from the MENA region: Nada from Palestine, Ali from Iraq , Nanour from Syria, Nassima from Morocco, Houcemeddine and Yamen from Tunisia, converged to explore the importance of Wikidata and its manifold advantages. In the course of their discussions, they sadly acknowledged the existing gaps in initiatives and expertise within the Arabic community.
It is truly noteworthy that, despite Wikidata’s emergence over a decade ago and the fact that we are living in a data era teeming with untapped potential, this project remains somewhat underutilized by Arabic Wikimedians when compared to the prominence given to Wikipedia and Commons. A telling example of this was observed durin Wikiarabia 2022 in Dubai, which coincided with Wikidata’s 10th anniversary. The official program featured no dedicated sessions for Wikidata, with the majority focusing on Wikipedia and other wiki projects.
In addition to this conspicuous absence, and despite a few notable initiatives within the Arabic community (e.g.Wikidata Training workshop as part of Arabic Wikipedia Day), a palpable gap in expertise can be discerned, particularly when considering Arabic participation in the global Wikidata Conference and other conferences. This deficiency may be attributed to various factors, including the limited availability of Arabic training materials, the need for some special skills when dealing with SPARQL queries and a potential lack of awareness regarding the vast potential inherent in the world of structured data.
In light of these findings, the group has taken a proactive stance and decided to launch a new initiative: the “Wikidata Arabic Community” an endeavor designed to celebrate the 11th anniversary of Wikidata with a mission to promote Wikidata and structured data within the Arabic-speaking region and among Arabic-speaking Wikimedians, with the aim of unlocking the complete potential of structured knowledge for the advancement of society.
The vision of this initiative is to create a vibrant and unified Arab community specialized in Wikidata. This community will serve as a gathering place for enthusiasts, experts, and learners alike, fostering the exchange of experiences and expertise within the Arab world. By doing so, we aim to significantly contribute to the development and enrichment of Wikidata, enhancing its content with valuable Arabic data. Ultimately, we envision a future where Arabic-speaking communities actively participate in shaping the global knowledge landscape through Wikidata
For more details, please refer to the Wikidata Arabic Community on Meta-wiki.
Happy Birthday Wikidata !!
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