OER Service Digital Skills Events

The OER Service runs a wide range of workshops and events as part of the University's Digital Skills programme. Our up and coming events are listed below, and you can find a full list of workshops we offer here:  OER Service Digital Skills. If you would like us to come to your school or college to run a session tailored to your requirements, please contact us at open.ed@ed.ac.uk.

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Introduction to Open Data with Wikidata and Histropedia – the timeline of everything

28th June 2018 @ 11:30 am - 12:30 pm

blue background with white lines connected by white dots.

Wikidata – “the source for open structured data on the web and for facts within Wikipedia.” (Wallis, 2014)

Wikidata is a free and open data repository of the world’s knowledge that anyone can read & edit. Wikidata’s linked database acts as central storage for the structured data of its Wikimedia sister projects. It differs from Wikipedia in that it is completely language independent and its structured data can be read and edited by both humans and machines alike.

Using Wikidata, information on Wikipedia can be queried & visualised as never before. The sheer versatility of how this data can be used is only just beginning to be understood & explored.

Did You Know: The answers provided by Google’s ‘Knowledge Graph’ panels were powered by its own structured data repository, Freebase, until Google decided to wind down Freebase in 2015 in favour of migrating their data to Wikidata & supporting Wikidata instead.

In this session we will explain why Wikidata is so special, why its users are so excited by the possibilities it offers, why it may overtake Wikipedia in years to come as the project to watch and how it is quietly on course to change the world.

What will the session include?

  • A practical activity where you will learn the ‘nuts & bolts’ of how to use and edit Wikidata, and help shape the future of open knowledge!
  • A showcase selection of the most exciting applications and visualisations that have already been built on Wikidata including Histropedia.

Histropedia is a website that visualises different events in the form of a timeline, usually using a category from Wikipedia or a live query on Wikidata. The website is open for anyone to use, edit, expand or even reuse its source codes. It’s developers strongly believe in the power of data visualisation when combined with free knowledge and open data. The mission is to discover new and interactive ways to explore ‘the sum of all human knowledge”.

Who should attend?

Absolutely anyone can use Wikidata for something, so people of all disciplines and walks of life are encouraged to attend this session. Basic knowledge of using the internet will be needed to get involved in the practical activity, but there are no other pre-requisites.

Anyone interested in open knowledge, academic research, application development or data visualisation should come away buzzing with exciting new ideas!


  • 11:30am – 11:35am: Housekeeping and Welcome
  • 11:35am – 11:45am: Introduction to Histropedia – the timeline of everything.
  • 11:45am – 12:00pm: Introduction to Wikidata.
  • 12:00pm – 12:15pm: Practical demonstration of how to edit Wikidata.
  • 12:15pm – 12:25pm: Visualising the newly added data.
  • 12:25pm – 12:30pm: Q&A and close.

NB: You will need to bring a laptop to take part. Please email ewan.mcandrew@ed.ac.uk at least 24 hours in advance if you need to borrow one.

Important! Please also create a Wikidata account ahead of the event. If you have a Wikipedia account you can use the same login details.


Bookings via MyEd: https://edin.ac/2y44qQL


28th June 2018
11:30 am - 12:30 pm


Ewan McAndrew


Room 1.07, 1st Floor, Main Library (Central Area)
George Square
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
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