Assessing the quality of sources in Wikidata across languages: a hybrid approach

Published in Journal of Data and Information Quality, 2021

Recommended citation: Amaral, G., Piscopo, A., Kaffee, L. A., Rodrigues, O., & Simperl, E. (2021). Assessing the quality of sources in Wikidata across languages: a hybrid approach. Journal of Data and Information Quality (JDIQ), 13(4), 1-35.

Wikidata is one of the most important sources of structured data on the web, built by a worldwide community of volunteers. As a secondary source, its contents must be backed by credible references; this is particularly important, as Wikidata explicitly encourages editors to add claims for which there is no broad consensus, as long as they are corroborated by references. Nevertheless, despite this essential link between content and references, Wikidata’s ability to systematically assess and assure the quality of its references remains limited. To this end, we carry out a mixed-methods study to determine the relevance, ease of access, and authoritativeness of Wikidata references, at scale and in different languages, using online crowdsourcing, descriptive statistics, and machine learning. Building on previous work of ours, we run a series of microtasks experiments to evaluate a large corpus of references, sampled from Wikidata triples with labels in several languages. We use a consolidated, curated version of the crowdsourced assessments to train several machine learning models to scale up the analysis to the whole of Wikidata. The findings help us ascertain the quality of references in Wikidata and identify common challenges in defining and capturing the quality of user-generated multilingual structured data on the web. We also discuss ongoing editorial practices, which could encourage the use of higher-quality references in a more immediate way. All data and code used in the study are available on GitHub for feedback and further improvement and deployment by the research community.

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