[WikiEN-l] Consistency of infoboxes [Wikitech-l] New Wikipedia interface in development

David Gerard dgerard at gmail.com
Thu Jul 12 15:33:58 UTC 2007

Although infoboxes can annoy a lot of people (certainly me), they do
vastly increase the utility of Wikipedia in one very important
respect: they provide data in a machine-parseable form.

This is REALLY COOL STUFF and makes the Wikipedia database useful for
all sorts of things, including ones we haven't thought of yet. Note,
for instance, that the {{coord}} template is already used by Google
Earth and other mapping applications.

So, how's our progress in making infoboxes more consistent?

- d.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: David Gerard <dgerard at gmail.com>
Date: 12-Jul-2007 16:31
Subject: Re: [Wikitech-l] New Wikipedia interface in development
To: Wikimedia developers <wikitech-l at lists.wikimedia.org>

On 12/07/07, Thomas Dalton <thomas.dalton at gmail.com> wrote:

> > > SemanticWiki would be a key feature in making that idea a reality.
> > > Parsing the plain text articles can only provide very limited data for
> > > answering such questions.

> > Infoboxes and so forth are very popular on en:wp - Google already uses
> > {{coord}} like this, but the other infoboxes are a pretty good source
> > of this sort of parseable data. Note that infoboxes are not entirely
> > consistent as yet.

> That's what I mean by limited: you can only get data that is in
> infoboxes. SemanticWiki would allow the parsing of far more data.

Although the SMW extension isn't live on WMF servers, we can at least
gather the data in a parseable form like this. The various infoboxes
are slowly converging and becoming more consistent in their fields;
they may conceivably supersede or incorporate {{PERSONDATA}} on en:wp.
(The consistency usually works by a process of people making them
consistent then doing a bot run to fix the articles.) Then the data
will easily be converted to SMW form.

So we'll get there, but slowly :-)

- d.

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