WikiCite is a project to make source metadata available for citation and analysis. This includes importing library catalogs into the Wikipedia ecosystem so that, for example, when anyone references a source in Wikipedia articles then Wikipedia can also provide publishing context. Example applications include the following:
- Report how often and where Wikipedia cites any given publication or author
- Create bibliographies for individual authors, or entire universities, or any arbitrary group
- For Wikipedia article development or any public research project, assist in identifying publications on a given topic
For WikiCite to be complete, the following must be in place
- All library cataloging metadata must be within the Wikipedia ecosystem as free and open structured data
- Many people find this surprising, but for many publications library cataloging data (just title, author, year, etc) may not exist or may be non-free
- WikiCite is leading a movement to open this data
- Backend Wikipedia resources must be able to compute the data. As of 2021 the Wikidata Query Service is unable to manage common queries related only to academic publications.
- Example query that fails: "all academic papers published at (university) in (2020)"
- Database science can fix this; also technology improves and becomes less expensive every year
- User-facing resources must make results easy to understand for users
- Technological development and community development must happen together
- Although the tools are not complete, they provide useful but incomplete results, and community testing even now is essential
The WikiCite content has developed over the years, especially since the 2016 WikiCite Conference in Berlin. Over that time 1000s of people have participated in WikiCite events, and from 2016-2021 and beyond, the WikiCite data collection has been the largest single project in Wikidata as measured by participants in events and amount of content in Wikidata.
Here in Wikispore the exploration is to make WikiCite its own Wikimedia project, and not only a part of the Meta-Wiki discussion about citation management for Wikipedias or the Wikidata discussion for collecting source metadata. Reasons for making WikiCite its own project include the following:
- The collection of source metadata for all publications is a public domain dataset, but neither is it free or available. Wikipedia could free it.
- This is a finite project. Eventually humanity will have a list of all publications for all previous years, and when this exists, it will be a library resource for everyone, forever after.
- Having a collection of structured data citations would greatly advance Wikipedia's fact-checking processes, especially by making citations available across languages to back claims when readers use a different language than the original cited sources.
- There is a commercial product environment where major technology companies and publishers sell similar products which provide the same service, but for relatively low-cost and high impact, Wikipedia could make this free for the world
- Besides usefulness for citation management and browsing literature, having a comprehensive collection of source metadata enables meta-research, such as reporting publishing interest by geography or matching other datasets to publishing outcomes
- Beyond existing and conventional citations, there are needs to cite other media resources, and the Wikipedia community is ideal for developing those standards. Conventionally authors cite papers; but they may also cite software, datasets, or algorithms which increasing are themselves automatically generating media content and knowledge.