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Wikidata & rNews - Structuring the world's data

From the perspective of your average computer, the web is beset by a nearly insurmountable pro-human bias. While our machines are designed to process highly structured data, we continue to create web documents that make sense only in the context of the human ability to parse natural language and understand styled layouts. As a consequence, much of the web's information remains inscrutable to machines.

Happily for our silicon-based brethren, things are beginning to change.

Two recent initiatives, Wikidata and rNews, aim to make the web more machine-friendly without sacrificing human friendliness, by providing tools for indicating machine-readable structure in human-oriented data.

At this meetup, you'll learn about both Wikidata and rNews from their creators.

Full details for each presentation below.


Wikidata is a new Wikimedia project, supporting the goal of the Wikimedia Foundation to develop and maintain open content, wiki-based projects over the sum of human knowledge, and provide the full contents of those projects to the public free of charge. Wikidata will provide an infrastructure to store and access data for use in Wikipedia articles, as well as for any other use. It will be similar to the way that Wikimedia Commons stores and provides public access to multimedia files today. Wikidata will be a powerful force for bringing structured data into Wikipedia, and making it available to everyone, for free.


The International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC) released rNews 1.0 in October 2011 after one year of development and community outreach work. With the integration into, rNews has quickly become the most versatile way to mark up publishing metadata in a Semantic Web compliant way. The three presenters are co-authors of the standard and we will look at the adoption rate of rNews (as we know it) and proposed changes (and maybe even problems) that have come to our attention.

About The Speakers:


Denny Vrandečić is director of the Wikidata project at Wikimedia Deutschland. He received a PhD at the Institute AIFB at the Karlsruhe Institue of Technology KIT and was a researcher at the Laboratory of Applied Ontology LOA in Rome and the Information Sciences Institute ISI at the University of Southern California USC in Los Angeles. He co-developed Semantic MediaWiki, consulted Freebase, was the founding administrator of the Croatian Wikipedia, founding member of the Wikimedia Research Council, co-organizer of several workshops at WWW and ISWC, and co-chair of tracks at Wikimania, ESWC, and AAAI. He worked in the EU-funded projects SEKT, ACTIVE, and RENDER, project Halo funded by Vulcan Inc., and the German national funded projects SMART and Cora.


  • Stuart Myles is Director of Schema Standards at the Associated Press
  • Evan Sandhaus is a structured data geek and the Lead Architect For Semantic Platforms for The New York Times Company.
  • Andreas Gebhard is Editorial Director at Getty Images. Co-author of rNews (

Through the generous support of The New York Times Company, we are able to offer this event free-of-charge.

Please note that if you plan to bring guests, please email the organizer, Evan Sandhaus ([masked]) with the names of your guests.

Join or login to comment.

  • Joel N.

    @kansandhaus @vrandezo @wikidata @nytimes props to everyone for an awesome #semweb meetup. Great venue, host, topics and speakers!

    July 25, 2012

  • Breck B.

    Great event and fun bar time afterwards.

    July 20, 2012

  • Sergey C.

    Both parts were great, rNews successfully getting there and I'm glad to see that Denny's work on getting semantic data into Wikipedia is going well too!

    July 20, 2012

  • Pierre de L.

    The WikiData talk was awesome and the questions that followed were interesting. It will be exciting when this project is completed.

    July 19, 2012

  • Carl E.

    The WikiData talk was fantastic! I wish we had another hour to talk about that.

    rNews is interesting, but the talk was way too basic (long) for a presentation to a Sem Web group. Anyone at a SemWeb meetup shouldn't need any more than: rNews is a semantic tag set for news articles, and a few examples. done. We get the value of structuring meta data.

    July 19, 2012

  • Pierre de L.

    The rNews data model tlk was informative. The WikiData talk was awesome and the questions that followed were interesting. It will be exciting when this project is completed.

    July 19, 2012

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