Own metadata for own blogposts – Bibliographies with open data and Wikidata

Our Public Humanities Summer has achieved a lot here: plenty of content and bilingual impulses for research & teaching in Digital Humanities. On the meta-level: a first evaluation and reflection on bibliographic metadata in scholarly communication. The following article was published in the Hypotheses editorial blog. The thesis: everyone should simply build and maintain the metadata of their own publications – Hands on-Public Humanities!

Note: This is the English translation (automatically with DeepL). The German original written by Jens Bemme (SLUB Dresden) can be found here.

Our Public Humanities Summer has achieved a lot here: plenty of content and bilingual impulses for research & teaching in Digital Humanities. On the meta-level: a first evaluation and reflection on bibliographic metadata in scholarly communication. The following article was published in the Hypotheses editorial blog. The thesis: everyone should simply build and maintain the metadata of their own publications – Hands on-Public Humanities!

How can libraries support scientists in blogging?, Mareike König will talk about this on November 10, 2021 and asked when announcing the talk on Twitter: “I will gladly accept suggestions” for the online workshop “New formats in #sciencecommunication for subject librarians and librarians from the philologies” – here on this internet. Metadata of their blogposts in ‘de.hypotheses’ showed us ‘Scholia’, a tool for displaying scholarly profiles, not yet until October 28 (but after that). The queries of the Wikidata application Scholia present bibliographic data and individual research profiles based on the free database Wikidata. Wikidata, in turn, is a data node for Linked Open Data applications with open data from third-party sources, e.g., the GND standards data or directories of historical place names.

Among other things, librarians are good at building metadata, which is part of the core business of librarianship: cataloging media and texts, making them formally accessible (titles, subtitles, authors, page numbers, bibliographic relationships, …) and describing and linking them in terms of content using keywords. These metadata describe ‘the world’ – in library catalogs and their union catalogs. And also in Wikidata, because: open metadata for content indexing can now be produced, maintained and used by anyone. That is what we are talking about here: Benefits, examples and tools for your own scientific communication with open (meta) data. What else do we do in libraries? We advise.

Wikidata deployment for the blog Saxorum

I work at SLUB Dresden in the area of regional studies, Saxonica, Citizen Science – as a lateral entrant, because I am not a librarian. Since February 5, 2019, we are also opening up our weblog for interdisciplinary regional studies in Saxony https://saxorum.hypotheses.org/ with Wikidata. With this, we want to give more visibility to the individual contributions and their content, link to other content on the web and use the possibilities for visualization. In addition, we want to arouse curiosity and show what is possible! We benefit from additional features that the Saxon Bibliography, a partial database of the K10+ union catalog, does not offer us. For our Saxorum blog, we first created a “data object” in Wikidata (Q61483181). Images in articles of the Saxorum blog that originate from Wikimedia Commons can since be displayed as image galleries. [1]Here is the code for the linked SPARQL query:



?post wdt:P1433 wd:Q61483181;

wdt:P18 ?image.


The Wikidata query of all previous Wikidata keywords assigned by authors for Saxorum blog posts, https://w.wiki/8pa also provides a frequency chart.


SELECT ?schlagwort ?schlagwortLabel (COUNT(?schlagwort) AS ?anzahl) WHERE {

SERVICE wikibase:label { bd:serviceParam wikibase:language “[AUTO_LANGUAGE],en”. }

wd:Q61483181 wdt:P527 ?saxorumblogposts.

?saxorumblogposts wdt:P921 ?schlagwort.


GROUP BY ?schlagwort ?schlagwortLabel

ORDER BY DESC(?anzahl)

Both queries help us to visualize the contents of Saxorum, one of the nice effects of using open metadata in digital scholarly communication. At the same time, Wikidata is only a supplement to classical library tools and not a replacement. Hypotheses provides evidence in the OA search engine BASE for all publications anyway, persistent URL for all contributions and high visibility on the web. In addition to Wikidata, we also catalog Saxorum posts in the Saxon Bibliography thanks to ISSN, and thus e.g. for the catalog of the SLUB Dresden.

Other blogs we have accessed in this way are:

  • Lusatia – Łužica – Łužyca. Aspects of the history of relations and interconnections of an East-Central European bridging landscape, https://lausitz.hypotheses.org/, (Q63432180)
  • BILDSEHEN / BILDHANDELN: Akteur*innen und Praktiken der (Amateur-)Fotografie, https://fotografie.hypotheses.org/, (Q86579638),
  • Uranium Stories of Wismut S(D)AG, https://wismut.hypotheses.org/, (Q105834694),
  • In part (depending on the contribution): SLUB TextLab, http://textlab.hypotheses.org/, (Q107658156) as well as SLUB Open Science Lab, https://osl.hypotheses.org/, cf. (Q104886617) and (Q108625437),

On our to-do list at the moment is: The HASAG Puzzle: Research blog on National Socialist corporate culture, forced labor and the murder of Jews, https://hasagpuzzle.hypotheses.org/.

#SciComm for Public Humanities

The weblog ‘Public Humanities’ http://publicdh.hypotheses.org/ startete 2021 bilingual with the summer vDHd2021 blog series Public Humanities in the Digital Humanities‘ to “explore the vastness of Public Humanities in the Digital Humanities”. The team now drew a first balance of the blog parade in an evaluation including statistics. As a co-author and as Saxorum editor, it was obvious to open up ‘Public Humanities’ with Wikidata, e.g. to add my contribution there in the blog to my own Wikidata bibliography. At the same time, I wanted to promote such open bibliographic metadata and Wikidata as a tool for open scholarly communication within the Digital Humanities community: it’s not called Public Humanities for nothing, (Q107768881)!

This has already worked: Other authors also created new Wikidata items to be able to link themselves as author e.g. incl. GND and ORCID in their own article items (yes, each article gets its own item). Only with named text strings at author:inside names the linking to the article does not take place. In order to comprehensively catalog all blogposts in ‘Public Humanities’ in this open way, the authors are now asked by the blog contributors whether they would like to create a personal item about themselves.

Blogging is an expression of one’s own scientific work: ideas, sketches, thoughts, links, first publications, discussion, interim results – open notebook or digital business card and personal academic forum. We link in Saxorum at the end of each blog post the respective Wikidata item of the blog post, also to create attention for this metadata. They are part of every publication there.

Little effort – great effect

Blog post cataloging in Wikidata takes only a few minutes: The data schema is predefined by existing Saxorum items and can be replicated by other blogs: Digital tools like the Wikidata extension common.js are useful to easily copy recurring data object statements into new items. Copy the linked *. js script for this and copy it to the same place (https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/User:NAME/common.js) in your own Wikidata account. Done!

This is OpenCitizenScience: What we do every day for ‘Die Datenlaube’ – we catalog the illustrated ‘Die Gartenlaube’ (1853-1899) transcribed in Wikisource with open data – is just as useful for contemporary texts like those in Saxorumblog. The metadata of ‘Die Gartenlaube’ becomes machine-readable and openly usable. We are at the same time completing the Saxon Regional Bibliography – and other bibliographies, hopefully soon – with historical articles not yet recorded. Third parties can process and reuse the open data: research, analyze, read, link, refine.

We like to call such incalculable but intended side effects of linking with open metadata #TrickleDownDatenlaube on Twitter to show that the benefits of open cultural data of the journal ‘Die Gartenlaube’ (or the metadata of own publications) can go far beyond themselves. What are these benefits in detail?

Wikidata: Benefit

Wikidata items should tend to increase the visibility of blogposts and blogs. They are relevant for search engine optimization (SEO). Search engines use Wikidata as a machine-readable database and rank posts higher that use it.

Bibliographies with Scholia are visualizations for publication lists, for topics, citations (Wikicite) and co-author networks. Gallery queries for illustrations from Wikimedia Commons and keyword bubble charts are other ways to visualize content from weblogs using wikidata’s own query service. Scholia is a Wikidata aggregator, a combined multiple query of certain features of bibliographic items for scientific publications and events.

Open Data cataloging from the first blog post enables metadata engineering even before official cataloging in the OpenEdition blog catalog, which begins about half a year after the start of a hypothesis blog. Wikidata items function as bibliography if cited sources are also indexed in Wikidata. (Wikicite: Property:P2860)

Your own bibliographic metadata is an easy way to start learning about the possibilities of Wikidata and practicing ‘linking data thinking‘.

Wikidata, thats too?


“I only want to maintain ORCID” is an understandable reaction from researchers. From our point of view, however, it is definitely worthwhile to keep an eye on both: Wikidata and ORCID. There are digital tools to synchronize ORCID and Wikidata afterwards: the ORCIDator or SourceMD and https://sourcemd.toolforge.org/index_old.php – all tools that unfortunately do not always lead to the goal: “There are error messages of various kinds. Many of them are due to the fact that ORCID is only semi-structured. The OpenRefine tutorial is good and suitable for such purposes. ORCID is not a good data source, but often the best we have for such things,” wrote Open Data specialist DanielMietchen when asked. Wikidata offers structured data – well suited for Open Science! I maintain ORCID and Wikidata independently: all publications openly in Wikidata, ‘larger’ texts in ORCID or Hypotheses blogposts also using the BASE/ORCID interface.

For academic success and fun with your own metadata, once again: just start, try and see how these practices fit into your own publishing and research methods as Open Science methods and Open Data building blocks. If you want to go deeper: examples and open instructions for Wikidata, Scholia and WikiCite can easily be found – on this internet.

[1] Wikidata query service: https://query.wikidata.org/, queries can be embedded in blogs and other websites and linked with perma-shortlinks, cf. as an example the contribution by Solvejg Nitzke: Sachsens arboreale Merkwürdigkeiten, oder: Wie man Geschichte(n) verwurzelt, 2019, https://saxorum.hypotheses.org/2396.

Contributed image: bubble chart with query https://w.wiki/8pa, frequency of Wikidata keywords in Saxorum blogposts.

Jens Bemme studied transport economics and works in the area of regional studies and citizen science at the Saxon State Library – Dresden State and University Library (Saxonica Department). He researches historical cycling knowledge around 1900, especially of Upper Lusatia and the Baltic provinces. His other interests are village ovens and Die Datenlaube.

The wikidata item for this text is (Q109491700).

This article is licensed under the following license: CC-BY 3.0. When reusing, please include the attribute rel=”canonical” in the link to the original post!

How to cite this Article: Bemme, Jens (2021): “Own metadata for own blogposts – Bibliographies with open data and Wikidata”. In: Seltmann, Melanie and Schumacher, Mareike (eds.): Public Humanities. https://publicdh.hypotheses.org/420.

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