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Birthday lists

Sven Manguard has written a fantastic op-ed for the one-year anniversary of Wikidata opening its gates to the data flood. In his outlook for the near future, he writes:

Several users have already created tools that approximate queries in certain cases, but there’s no substitute for the real thing. As mentioned above, the ability to generate lists of articles as specific as “female poets from South America born after 1955” is exciting.

Screen Shot 2013-10-29 at 14.57.19Well now… 😉

I took this as a personal “Wikidata birthday challenge”, and, lo and behold, there it is: the automatically generated list of female poets from South America born after 1935 (there were none born after 1955, which you all should go fix on Wikidata right now!). That list contains only two poets, though. Removing the “South America” constraint (which can yield funny results, as “which countries are in continent:South America” includes France), we end up with ~40 entries, which is a bit better.

This tool is written completely in JavaScript, which means it could just as easily run on Wikipedia proper. It uses a combination of several components, some of which I blogged about earlier:

  • Wikidata Query as the primary data source
  • a JavaScript component I have used in several other tools, to quickly retrieve item labels etc.
  • AutoDesc, which attempts to generate an automatic item description where a manual one is absent

Lists longer than 50 items are automatically paginated. You can use any query, in accordance with the API documentation. You can also change the language in which your results are displayed, without having to re-run the query; item labels, descriptions, and links to the respective Wikipedia will be updated accordingly. Where the Wikipedia in question does not have an article, the link will show up in the traditional red. Links to other Wikipedias are added, to give you an indication of the topic’s importance, and for easier translation in case you want to start writing the article. The permalink always points to the view you currently see, for easy bookmarking and sharing.

As you can see, the future is closer than you think. I look forward to the next Wikidata birthday, and the amazing improvements we will see by then.