Organising library structure, classifying and cataloguing texts

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Organising library structure, classifying and cataloguing texts
Location: At Varia (Gouwstraat 3, Rotterdam) and online
Date: 10th November, 2021
Time: 16:00-19:00 CEST
Tools: Wikibase, Wikidata
Guests: Lozana Rossenova


From self-managed libraries to open structured data, there are many ways to organise libraries. In this workshop we were joined by Lozana Rossenova, a designer and researcher, who presented some of her work on the Digital Archive of Artist's Publishing, an archive of net art made for Rhizome and the structuring of the data using the Wikibase extension of MediaWiki.


After Lozana's presentation, we took a deep dive into open structured data. This began with looking at the Wikidata website (, and learning more about the project. Items in the Wikidata database have particular "Q numbers", which are unique numbers used to identify the item. Many of these are historical and relate to the order in which items were initially entered ("the universe" is Q1, "earth" is Q2), however Q42 is reserved for Douglas Adams as an inside joke.

Items such as the Earth are labelled with aliases (also known as). They also have been given properties, and linked to objects. For example, Earth is listed as:

Earth; instance of; planet

Earth is the subject, instance of is the property, and planet is the object.

Earth (Q2)

Earth (Q2) does not have many aliases, unlike Rembrant (Q5598):

Rembrant (Q5598)


We began by making accounts on WBStack, a platform from which you can create new wikis with the Wikibase extension installed. From here you can choose a name for your wiki and URL:


Next step is to set skin and registration details:


In the features tab you can choose how to map existing properties in WikiData:


One of the crucial choices you make when registering a wiki is whether to federate the 10,000+ properties of WikiData, or to begin from scratch:


Finally, we started making items and adding properties on our wikis: