Wikidata for music

Dan Scott, Laurentian University /





Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License


Understand Wikidata's data model

Understand Wikidata's role

Embrace editing

Create notable entities

Share your finely honed skills


Log in

Same user name and password across all Wikimedia projects


Use the Wikidata Sandbox page for practice editing

Also recommended: Wikidata:Tours


Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0) license

Public domain, or as close as possible


Linked open data: great in theory…

Proof of concept: Laurentian University catalogue

By Charlie Kritschmar (WMDE) - Own work, CC0, Link

Data model

Entities: people, places, things (including concepts)

Statements: properties with values

Notability criteria: one of

Notable, via publicly available references

Links to a Wiki* page

Fulfills a structural need

Labels, aliases, and descriptions

Q####: machine-readable name and URL

Humans get one label and description per entity per language

Multiple aliases per entity

BonoLead singer for U2Paul David Hewson

Missing labels

Display falls back to Q###

No references needed for edits to label/description/aliases

Subclasses and instances

Subclasses: refined classifications

Instances: concrete members of a subclass

Music genres

SQID allows browsing of subclass / instance relationships

Music genre (Q188451)

May 2017: 1,250 instances, 16 subclasses

September 2017: 1,338 instances, 18 subclasses

A musician's statements

Buffy Sainte-Marie (Q467027)

instance of

genre (multiple values)

image (Wikimedia only)


date of birth (date constraint)

spouse (qualified)

part of (bands or ensembles, qualified)

Add a statement

Buffy Sainte-Marie (Q467027): played more than just the guitar

Mouth bow referenced in a Vogue article

Let's fix that

Add a qualifier

Buffy Sainte-Marie (Q467027): missing a date for Governor General’s Performing Arts Award

Referenced in a 2010 Toronto Star article

Let's fix that (in the sandbox)!

Reference pieces

Stated in

Reference URL


Publication date


Adding references in bulk

Enable Preferences -> Gadgets -> DuplicateReferences

  1. Add the reference once
  2. Reload the page
  3. Open a reference
  4. Click copy
  5. Click insert reference

Authority control

Check out Buffy Sainte-Marie's Identifiers:

Well-known: VIAF, ISNI, LC Authorities

Music: AllMusic, Discogs, MusicBrainz, Songkick

Social media: Twitter, Facebook, MySpace

… and many more to build out the network

Authority control: Wikipedia

Check out Buffy Sainte-Marie's Wikipedia page

See Authority control in External links

Edit the page to see the {{Authority control}} macro

Musician entities

genre (P136) captures the music genre(s) (Q188451) for the band, individual, or event (SQID)

occupation (P106) = musician (Q639669) or one of its subclasses (SQID)

instrument (P1303) = musical instrument (Q34379) or one of its subclasses (SQID)

Band entities

instance of = band (Q215380)

Band members are represented via has part (P527), and you can qualify each statement with point in time (P585) to reflect when members joined or left the band

inception (P571) is the when the band began

Music festival classes

Credit due to Eurovision Song Contest!

Festival class: Northern Lights Festival Boréal

Instance of both:

Music festival instances

Instance of a specific music festival

Series instances: Northern Lights Festival Boréal 2016

edition number (P393) indicates the festival edition

Link between editions with follows (P155) and followed by (P156)

participant (P710) statements link to performers

Wikidata for your edit-a-thon

  • Easy for beginners: just the facts!
  • Lower barrier for notability
  • Each edit benefits every language
  • Low-hanging fruit for the detail-oriented

Querying Wikidata with SPARQL

Intro to SPARQL and the Wikidata Query Service




Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License