Wikimedia Deutschland Receives Grant from Arcadia to Advance Development of Wikidata

Berlin, July 09, 2021: Wikimedia Deutschland has received a grant of 822,800 EUR from Arcadia, which it will put toward community-centered software development of its products Wikidata and Wikibase. The grant will be used to make the software more usable by cultures underrepresented in technology, people of the Global South and speakers of minority languages.

The generous grant comes from Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin; it will enable Wikimedia Deutschland to strengthen community collaboration within the international Wikimedia Movement over the next three years. Wikimedia Deutschland’s goal is to create a long-term, sustainable environment for underrepresented communities to build their own extensions to the Wikibase software that solve their own unique challenges.

“We believe that the right place to build capacity and grow Wikidata’s contributor base is with partners in their local contexts. Arcadia’s generous grant will allow us to enhance the diversity of our movement and increase Wikibase’s scalability and robustness,” says Franziska Heine, director of Wikimedia Deutschland’s software department and the organization’s deputy director. 

All the data in the open knowledge base Wikidata is linked and can be freely used by anyone at any time. Wikidata is the largest collection of interlinked data in the world and has been continuously developed in close collaboration with an international community of volunteers. Currently, the platform contains approximately 90 million data objects. The software that powers Wikidata is known as Wikibase. It delivers the infrastructure for the participation of humans and machines in the world of linked open data, in any language. Wikibase is now also used by numerous other institutions such as the German National Library or the Library of Congress.

 “Arcadia is committed to making knowledge and data free for anyone,” says Dr. Ross Mounce, Director of Open Access Programs at Arcadia. “We are pleased to support Wikimedia Deutschland in developing Wikidata and Wikibase in a sustainable and scalable way.” 

Arcadia’s decision to fund Wikidata’s development follows several years of work on the part of Wikimedia Deutschland to support the creation and curation of structured data around the world. Wikidata has a mission statement: “Giving more people more access to more knowledge”. With the help of Arcadia, Wikimedia Deutschland will be able to take this mission to the next level. 

About Arcadia Fund:

Arcadia is a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin. It supports charities and scholarly institutions that preserve cultural heritage and the environment. Arcadia also supports projects that promote open access and all of its awards are granted on the condition that any materials produced are made available for free online. Since 2002, Arcadia has awarded more than $777 million to projects around the world.   

About Wikimedia Deutschland: 

Wikimedia Deutschland is a non-profit association with over 85,000 members that promotes free knowledge. Since its founding in 2004, the association has supported various Wikimedia projects – first and foremost Wikipedia. The association advocates free access to Free Knowledge and is thus committed to a fundamental human right to education. Wikipedia, like other sister projects, is independent and free of advertising and only possible through volunteer work and donations.

Contact:

Elisabeth Giesemann, Communication Manager Software Development, Elisabeth.giesemann@wikimedia.de