“Querying Wikipedia like a Database”

I’ve mentioned several times as having the potential to tremendously increase the value of Wikipedia by unlocking (in the sense of making queryable) all of the data in the encyclopedia.

dbpedia.org has taken a different approach to “Querying Wikipedia like a Database” (their excellent tagline) — extract datasets from Wikipedia, presumably with a manual mapping of relevant categories and data populating infoboxes to triples (described in What have Innsbruck and Leipzig in common? Extracting Semantic from Wiki Content).

I suspect Wikipedia implementation of Semantic MediaWiki would only help dbpedia.org, but the latter is already impressive, requiring no changes at Wikipedia. In addition to making some of the data in Wikipedia queryable they’re exposing non-Wikipedia datasets.

The Semantic Web is so here, now. Doubters repent! ;-) Like I said before:

Once people get hooked on access to a semantic encyclopedia, perhaps they’ll want similar access to the entire web.

10 Responses

  1. Daniel Horowitz says:

    I agree, everytime I use wikipedia I wonder ,when?

  2. sean says:

    Flickr machine tags:

    Nice of them to do offer more query-able tags finally.

  3. sean, yeah, flickr machine tags are a good step.

  4. Daniel Horowitz says:

    haha, good stuff.

  5. Ben Tremblay says:

    Innsbruck / Leipzig … a lovely paper, thanks. Last century (’98 or so) I was working on “taxonomy of movement” through a VRML project I devised in an ethology lab. Key to my approach was that “normal” is us, who would pair hoe with saw and turnips with wood, whereas “some other sorta folk” would very naturally pair hoe with turnip and … yes, quite. The fact of cognitive schema. “When all you have is a hammer …” has everything to do with ontology and taxonomy.

    More to the point (“Discourse is everything!”) earlier this centure (’01 or so) I was drilling through what I call “dialectical tension” and re-reading my favorite Habermas on discourse ethics. Bogged, I walked through the stacks and happened onto John Willinsky’s work on making scholarly papers accessible. (see “Public Knowledge Project”) What I realized with both those books not only at hand but in mind is that we very very naturally proceed as though Douglas Adams’ “42” was meant to be an answer. But perhaps it was only an answer in the sense of response, as in reply, as in reaction. Perhaps it wasn’t at all an answer. Framed differently it could have been a statement; non sequitor it could have been the errror code for “Your question is poorly formulated.”

    My point is that we would go on with “What does it mean to mean?” forever if we didn’t have to get the kids fed and dressed. 42. Things mean when they matter; information is data that makes a difference. A theory of semantics that isn’t operationally grounded is an excellent source of noise. But it’s late; I’m obviously tired.


  6. […] Web – Tim O’Reilly (O’Reilly Media) Integrating Wikipedia and SW – Ivan Herman (W3C) Querying Wikipedia like a Database – Mike Linksvayer (Creative Commons) ören Auer: “Bereits das Beispiel Google hat […]

  7. […] Mike Linksvayer said after the original release of DBpedia back in January: The Semantic Web is so here, now. Doubters repent! […] Once people get […]

  8. […] Protocol geeks may object, but I think it’s a fairly compelling argument, at least for explaining why what Creative Commons does is “big”. The problems of not having a top layer (I called it “content”, the slide photographed above says “knowledge” — what it calls “content” is usually called “application”, and the note above says “legal”, referring to one required mechanism for opening up permissions around content, knowledge, or whatever one wishs to call it) in which a commons can be taken for granted (ie like infrastructure) is evident, for example in the failure by lawsuit of most interesting online music services, or the inaccessibility of much of the scientific literature to most humans and machines (eg for data mining), as are powerful hints as to what is possible where it exists, for example the vast ecology enabled by Wikipedia’s openness such as DBpedia. […]

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