Wikimedia Search Platform

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The Search Platform team (part of Wikimedia Technology) is responsible for maintaining and enhancing the various Search features and APIs for MediaWiki. This includes the CirrusSearch extension which relies on, the search backend used at the Wikimedia Foundation to support Wikimedia projects.

Current work by this team is tracked on this Phabricator workboard and on the public Search Analytics Dashboard that monitors and analyze the impact of our efforts, as well as the External Search Traffic dashboard that very broadly looks at where our requests are coming from.

The Search Platform team was formerly part of the Discovery Department in Audiences; but, as part of the re-organization (tune-up) of June 2017, the Search Platform team is now part of Technology.

Pages of historical note:



Current Goals (FY 2017-18 Q3)

  • Objective 1: Implement advanced methodologies such as “learning to rank” machine learning techniques and signals to improve search result relevance across language Wikipedias.
    • Create and test advanced parser features
    • Evaluate and build new features for machine learning pipeline (T162279)
    • Begin to build relationships with external information retrieval researchers
    • Category search (keywords for sub-category searching)
  • Objective 2: Improve support for multiple languages by researching and deploying new language analyzers as they make sense to individual language wikis.
    • Continue to investigate morphological libraries for ElasticSearch plugins.
      • Implement Serbian, investigate Slovak
    • Improve search by using fuzzy (phonetic) language matching.
    • Continue general language support.
      • Investigate language analyzer config options
  • Objective 3: Investigate how to expand and scale Wikidata Query Service to improve its ability to power features on-wiki for readers
    • Acquire and productionize six new servers for WDQS, (see T178548)
    • Set up individual internal and external service endpoints with enhanced features for expert users
  • Address technical debt:
    • Elasticsearch 5.6/Logstash 5.6/Kibana 5.6 (ELK stack)
    • Maintain APIs
    • Translation extension

Structured Data on Commons[edit]

Current Goals (FY 2017-18 Q3)

  • Objective 1: Commons search will be extended via CirrusSearch and ElasticSearch and Wikidata Query Service, to support searching based on structured data elements describing media.
    • Search for file captions, including multilinguality (there will be multilingual file captures, there might be file summaries, and there might be additional related functionality implied designs when received); (also general design for search on FE)
  • Objective 2: Advanced search capabilities (e.g., Wikidata Query Service, SPARQL queries) will be updated to support the more specific media search filters and the relationships to the topics they represent
    • Upgrade and re-implement full-text search on ElasticSearch on Wikidata
    • Investigate using MCR with Wikidata

Other projects[edit]

Wikidata Query Service (WDQS)[edit]

Searching structured data on Wikidata is an integral part of Discovery in building the Wikidata query service. It provides a API through which tools can access Wikidata. Learn more about the Wikidata query service. Our current work is tracked on this Phabricator workboard and weekly deployments of WDQS are documented on wikitech:Deployments; while a public WDQS Analytics Dashboard is used to monitor and analyze the impact of our efforts.


Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) provide developers ways to interact with the MediaWiki software.

API:Search and discovery lists the search APIs available and in development. View our public API Analytics Dashboard to monitor and analyze the impact of our efforts.

The team[edit]

This list was last updated on December 12th, 2017.


Weekly status updates[edit]

See Discovery weekly status updates for the archive of past team updates (Subscribe)

Mailing lists[edit]

Search Platform - A public mailing list about the Wikimedia Search Platform team and projects (formerly Discovery Department). Examples of topics would include:

  • Announcements, including major upcoming initiatives, completed major releases, quarterly or annual plans, requests for feedback or input
  • Technical discussions and brainstorming regarding our work:
    • Search, Elastic, Cirrus, the Relevance Forge, and other relevant subjects
    • Our dashboards or related analysis
  • Other team news, such as changes to team structure, significant changes to processes, changes in how we use phabricator or other tools like gerrit

IRC channels[edit]


Meetup groups[edit]


The Search Platform team uses a "scrumban" process, which is a hybrid of Scrum and Kanban. It is described here: Search Platform Process.

Conferences, gatherings, and other events[edit]

Upcoming events[edit]

Past events[edit]

  • All Hands - January 2018

Data Analysis[edit]

The data access and analysis guidelines used by the Search Platform team around data sources, or by other teams around Search Platform data sources, are documented on Meta.


Useful reference for who can deploy code. It's nice to know whom to bug if you need something:

Person MediaWiki








Portals Deployer
dcausse YesY
ebernhardsen YesY YesY
jan_drewniak YesY
MaxSem YesY YesY
gehel YesY YesY
^d YesY YesY


Discovery team supports the following code:

Repository Phabricator/Diffusion Github mirror Active?
CirrusSearch extension mediawiki-extensions-CirrusSearch
Elastica extension mediawiki-extensions-Elastica
GeoData extension mediawiki-extensions-GeoData
Wikidata Query Service wikidata-query-rdf
Wikidata Query Service GUI wikidata-query-gui
WDQS deployment wikidata-query-deploy
WDQS GUI deployment wikidata-query-gui-deploy
PHP textcat wikimedia-textcat
Relevance Forge wikimedia-discovery-relevanceForge
Discernatron wikimedia-discovery-discernatron
Discovery Analytics wikimedia-discovery-analytics
Lucene Explain Parser wikimedia-lucene-explain-parser