Practical – the Mix ‘n’ Match tool

One of the main benefits of using Wikidata is having a centalised hub of linked data that can link to and leverage other complementary datasets, furthering direct and indirect areas of research.

You can also add your own read/write applications to work on top of Wikidata.

It is the most cost-effective way of sharing your data and ensuring it persists, and is added to, in perpetuity.

Checking whether Wikidata has corresponding items to your database

Before uploading your data to Wikidata it is prudent to check whether Wikidata already has items in its database that correlate with items in your database. Using the Wikidata plugin on Google Spreadsheets is one way of checking this. e.g.

Typing London in cell A1 of Google Spreadsheets and typing the formula in B1 =WIKIDATAQID(A1) will ask Wikidata to return the Q number for ‘London’ in cell B1. This formula can be applied to entire columns of data making it that much easier to see where Wikidata has corresponding items and where there are gaps.

NB: The Wikidata plugin will need to be enabled first for this to work.

Mix ‘n’ Match

For large databases where there could be lots of potential matches, it is prudent to use the Mix ‘n’ Match tool to upload the catalogue and crowdsource the matching process prior to importing into Wikidata.

The manual for the Mix ‘n Match tool can be found here.

You can import your data into the Mix n Match tool using the Mix ‘n’ Match importer.

The following (tab-delimited,un-quoted) 4-5 columns are required, in this order:

  1. Entry ID (your alphanumeric identifier; must be unique within the catalog)
  2. Entry name (will also be used for the search in mix’n’match later)
  3. Entry description

Optionally, the following columns can be added in this order:

  1. Entry type (item identifier, e.g. “Q5”; recommended)
  2. Entry URL; if omitted, it will be constructed from the URL pattern and the entry ID. Either a URL pattern or a URL column are required!

You can see an example Googlesheet of data imported into Mix ‘n’ Match here.

Matching the Brooklyn Museum of Art catalogue

  1. Go to the Brooklyn museum artwork catalogue on Mix ‘n’ Match.
  2. Click on the 93% Unmatched section as this is where the lions’ share of the matching work is always done.
  3. View the Brooklyn Museum catalogue page on the far left of the entry. e.g. Vase
  4. Use the Google-search wikipedias option to check whether Wikipedia or Wikidata have an entry on this item that may already exist.
  5. If it already exists, navigate to the Wikidata item. (Found in a link on the left hand menu of the Wikipedia page).
  6. If it already exists, click Set Q in the Mix ‘n’ Match tool (found on the right hand side of the entry) and add in the Q number you have just found. This will add a statement to the Wikidata item with the Brooklyn Museum Catalogue identifier to the existing Wikidata item. These are now matched.
  7. If there is NO match then click on the red New Item option on the Mix ‘n’ match tool (on the right hand side of the Mix ‘n’ Match tool). This will create a new item with a statement added that has the unique Brooklyn Museum Catalogue identifier.
  8. If the item is really not notable enough for inclusion on Wikidata then click N/A. (found on the right hand side of the Mix ‘n’ Match entry).