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Visualizing Wikidata Documentation - A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words[edit]

Public URL
Bugzilla report
Wikidata Outreach
wikitech-l mailing list announcement

Name and contact information[edit]

Emily Maemura
Web Page / Blog / Microblog / Portfolio
Toronto ON Canada
Typical working hours
9am-5pm EST


For my proposal I'd like to re-design Wikidata documentation to enhance user experience. One of the current priorities identified for Wikidata is outreach - as new users interact with the site, how can their experience of navigation and finding documentation be improved? Based on my first impressions of the site, and understanding that outreach is a priority, some ideas for tasks include:

  • Creating introductory infographics to explain the goals of Wikidata, how the site works as well as the data model (how entities are mapped).
  • Creating more detailed visualizations to characterize and describe the data available.
  • Designing and/or implementing tweaks to the User Interface (based on the comments at the Wikidata:UI redesign input page, and could also incorporate testing with completely new users).
  • Developing an item on the main page similar to the 'Featured Article' on Wikipedia - somewhere to showcase a selection/sample of datasets available, tools, or existing projects that use Wikidata's knowledge base

Possible mentors
Lydia Pintscher


Please describe the details and the timeline of the work you plan to accomplish on the project you are most interested in (discuss these first with the mentor of the project): While exact details are still to be determined, I see the work being broken down into two stages. Stage 1 (~4 weeks) would consist of a thorough survey and review of the existing documentation available on Wikidata, to summarize what is covered and in which namespace the documentation pages are located. Research on potential new users and use case scenarios would also be part of Stage 1 (to understand user personas, demographics, experience levels). The end of Stage 1 would produce a report of existing documentation coverage, with priorities of what documentation to address next. Stage 2 (~8 weeks) would involve synthesizing these findings and developing documentation for one priority area. Development would take place through iterations, while continuously testing with users for understandability.


Design and user experience relies upon incorporating feedback from all users. I intend to communicate and coordinate with the existing Wikidata community through existing resources like the wikidata-l mailing list and the Project Chat page.

About you[edit]

Education completed or in progress

Master of Information (completion June 2014), PhD in Information Studies (accepted for September 2014)

How did you hear about this program?

Email from my faculty supervisor

Will you have any other time commitments, such as school work, another job, planned vacation, etc., during the duration of the program?

I will be working part-time as a research assistant during the summer – hours and workload are very flexible for this position. My supervisor (who is also my research advisor who recommended the Outreach Program for Women) is aware that I am also applying for this program.

We advise all candidates eligible to Google Summer of Code and FOSS Outreach Program for Women to apply for both programs. Are you planning to apply to both programs and, if so, with what organization(s)?

No, just FOSS OPW.

I am passionate that users should have access to open datasets and hope my contributions to Wikidata will make data more available and usable. The need for a widely-adopted linked data site has been apparent as I've been working in digital preservation and curation, where a variety of individual tools and registries are available but lack integration with each other.

Past experience[edit]

Please describe any relevant projects that you have worked on previously and what knowledge you gained from working on them (include links)

I am currently working with MyPlanet as part of their Fellowship program. This project-focused internship provides students with a chance to work with the agile methodology in small groups to create a digital product (app or website). My role has been focused on user experience design, and I’ve also taken on responsibilities of the product owner, coordinating backend and frontend. The project is still in progress, and for now can be viewed on github here

Data analysis through courses in my master’s program, including a course on Data Analytics (including data cleaning and preprocessing, querying datasets with SQL, analysis using WEKA) and Digital Preservation and Curation (using a content profiling system to analyze preservation metadata, looking at the backend MongoDB database with NoSQL, as well as visualizations with Tableau).

I’ve also taken two courses on ‘Knowledge Media Design’ through which I’ve gained knowledge of prototyping, user testing, user experience design and community-based participatory design. The project blogs for these courses are available here and here.

Additionally, while not a specific project, my undergraduate degree and work experience in architecture has provided me with practical knowledge and skills in visual communication. Working as a marketing coordinator has provided me with knowledge of writing and content management.

Any other info[edit]

I've posted my initial idea to the Wikidata Project Chat page and drafted a diagram to show what I'm thinking to add to the glossary.

See also[edit]