Projekt:Wikimaps 2016/Ansökan till Pelagios

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Application for the Pelagios Commons Grant / Wikimedia Sverige / 19.6.2016

WikiProject Historical Place (WPHP)

1 Applicant

Wikimedia Sverige is a very active player in the digital humanities and is focusing a lot of efforts into digitizing the cultural heritage. These efforts include the inclusion of large amounts of data into Wikidata about geographical objects that have changed over time. During the project Connected Open Heritage[1] (that takes place during 2016-2017) cultural heritage data from all over the world will be added to Wikidata. A successful outcome of the WPHP project will make it possible to enrich it with more data. Wikimedia Sverige is the main applicant and project owner.

Susanna Ånäs has initiated the Wikimaps project[2] and has in-depth knowledge about inclusion of geodata on the different platforms that are run by the Wikimedia movement. Susanna will be hired as a consultant by Wikimedia Sverige, through her company Revolve Interactive Oy[3], and will do the practical work during the project.

2 Project proposal

Structured geographical data about historical places would have a great value to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, and it’s 500 million monthly readers. This project will develop best practices and recommendations to make collective gathering of data about places possible.

At this point not many external resources of structured historical geodata are present in Wikimedia projects. Furthermore, there are insufficient practices to bring them in and structure in a unified way. Such data in a linked, structured form would have a great value not only to the online encyclopedia, but any humanities research.

Wikidata stores structured information from Wikipedias and beyond in a way that is readable for machines as well as people. It is a collaboratively maintained, multilingual database where thousands of volunteer decide what data to include and the way the information is structured. It has already reached such success that Google abandoned their similar project Freebase. The information on Wikidata can easily be integrated into Wikipedia as well as any other service. The data on Wikidata is under the CC0 license[4], which make reuse as easy as is legally possible.

Through this grant we will be able to reach the following three goals:

  1. Engage relevant participants within the Wikidata project as well as researchers, who will be reached particularly through the Pelagios network;
  2. Collaboratively produce recommendations and best practices on how to model historical places in a consistent manner in Wikidata;
  3. Prepare a Nordic initiative for pilot imports by gathering participating institutions and datasets from Finland and Sweden. The actual import will be a spin-off project, and will not be completed within this project.

To reach the first goal we have initiated WikiProject Historical Place, a project to collaboratively discuss the modeling of historical places in Wikidata. This will function as a hub for the discussions. We will invite a list of stakeholders, both people and organizations,, to join the project and then facilitate the discussion in order to create new and important material (the second goal).

The second goal will be about connecting the various resources around this complex topic to arrive at a jointly created recommendation. As part of the work we will be gathering a few case studies to form the basis for the discussion. Based on the recommendations we will also create step-by-step instructions on how interested participants can contribute with data about historical places into Wikidata. The benefit of using Wikidata as a spinal gazetteer[5] has been brought forward by Humphrey Southall in the Pelagios gazetteer group.

The third goal will be reached by identifying Finnish and Swedish institutions and their datasets of historical places and gathering the information in a report. There is already on-going collaboration with Linked Data Finland with the Finnish Ontology Service of Historical Places and Maps project[6]. The report will be valuable information in preparation for a larger Nordic project where data will be included in Wikidata from different institutions - in line with these new recommendations.

By reaching these goals the project will make it possible to utilize Wikidata for compiling data about historical places.

3 Budget

Expense Cost calculation Sum
Project management (salary incl. all associated staff costs) 8 hours * 35 euro 280 €
Project worker salary 120 hours * 22 euro 2 640 €
Administrative costs (accounting, salary payment) (salary incl. all associated staff costs) 16 hours * 35 euro 560 €
Meeting in Stockholm Travel and hotel for 1 person during 1 night 300 €
Other unexpected costs 100 €
TOTAL 3 880 €

4 Timeline

The work will take place over the whole grant period between the 15 August and 15 November 2016.

The major milestones are:

  • Aug–Sep Introduction of the Pelagios Gazetteer SIG to the Wikidata environment
  • Sep–Nov Gradual establishment of recommendations with case studies (on Wikidata)
  • Oct–Nov Index of actors and datasets in Finland and Sweden finalized

5 Project team

Project Management: John Andersson. John has been working for Wikimedia Sverige since 2012. He is amongst other things the Project Manager for the Connected Open Heritage project. His role includes making sure the project is delivered on time, coordinating with Wikimedia Sverige’s administrative staff and gaining synergy effects with Wikimedia Sverige’s other projects.

Project worker: Susanna Ånäs. Susanna has promoted the use of open environments for historical geographic data in the Wikimaps[7] project and other related projects. Wikimaps addresses the workflow of bringing historical maps and imagery from a memory organization to Wikimedia Commons and further utilizing them. She has started the WikiProject Historical Place. Before, she served as project manager in Wikimedia Finland, where she has run projects to engage cultural institutions in using Wikidata[8], releasing their content in Wikimedia Commons[9] and software development to facilitate this.[10] She is registered in the Pelagios Commons Gazetteer SIG.


  5. A gazetteer that is a reference gazetteer for individual gazetteers created in various research projects and initiatives