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A gradually growing definition of the site's technological design challenges and decisions.


Wikidocumentaries is a project which aggregates content from Wikimedia projects, openly licensed GLAM archives through queries and from the visitors. The project allows less notable topics, such as biographies of ordinary people, or local history events.

Content modules

Each content page consists of content modules that are added to the page depending on the page type, topic type and available content.

Modules can have different formats, based on the same content. They can be either

  • Page modules, when they are part of a topic page or the landing page
  • Linkboxes, when they are added as related info or teasers. There may be need for different formats.
  • Module pages, when the module is expanded to use a full page

See full list of Content modules

Reading content through APIs

Content is primarily not stored in Wikidocumentaries. It is read from organisations and platforms that offer open and openly licensed content for use through APIs. The structure of the API calls will be stored in Wikidocumentaries and the information stored about the topics will be used to construct the queries.


Each topic can be complemented with more info, the relating article can be made better, images can be tagged with names, keywords or location etc. The site will host tools for working with the materials displayed.

Using Wikibase

The site runs on a Wikibase, which stores a subset of Wikidata items. Wikidocumentaries will read Wikidata for new and changed info, and Wikidata will import data from Wikidocumentaries when it meets certain criteria.

Other data to store in the Wikibase are definitions of APIs in various repositories where Wikidocumentaries expects to find content. The technology of Wikidocumentaries is based on an experimental setup of using Wikidata data to create the backbone of the site information.

Using ShapeExpressions

  • The scope of automatically created item may at some point be defined as a Shape Expression, which will probably be stored in the Federated Wikibases registry. This definition can help add whole thematic areas at once in a coordinated manner.
  • The newly created items in Wikidocumentaries can be automatically imported to Wikidata, when they meet a certain criteria. This can also be expressed as a ShEx.


  • What can be a realistic schedule for deploying Shape Expressions?

User interface

Wikidocumentaries starts by creating the necessary functionalities in the MediaWiki interface. The goal is, however, to create an independent interface that reads the underlying Wikibase and MediaWiki information through an API.


  • What is the best way to include linked images from the web?


About Technology Content modules Design Tools



Wikidocumentaries blog

Wikidocumentaries demo

Phabricator project

Facebook group

Using Wikibase

Federation with Wikidata

Repositories and APIs

Main toolbar and footer


Topic page header


Wikidata infobox






Newspaper articles


Social network

Family tree


Landing page

Topic page

User page

Organisation page

Project page

Tool page

Local article



Content module





Visual editor

Query tool

Creating topics

Uploading images

Geolocating tool

Image viewer

Rectifying maps


Identification tool