||The Wikimedia Foundation is embarking on a new global project that will once again change the way people access knowledge on the Internet. Knowledge Engine By Wikipedia is a federated knowledge engine that will give users the most reliable and most trustworthy public information channel on the web, applying fundamentals of transparent Wikibased systems to surfacing the most relevant and important information. Knowledge Engine By Wikipedia will democratize the discovery of media, news and information – it will make the Internet’s most relevant information more accessible and openly curated, and it will create an open data engine that’s completely free of commercial interests. Our new site will be the Internet’s first transparent search engine, and the first one that carries the reputation of Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation.
The emergence of the Internet had promised massive democratization of content delivery. On the creation side, that promise has been largely fulfilled. Any person can easily add content to the enormous internet system.
Simultaneously, as the availability of this information exploded, a few proprietary technologies began to consolidate channels of access to this data. This is accomplished through consolidation of access points into giant enterprises that today control user interfaces through device access, search, and media networks. The mechanisms by which the information on the internet is collected and displayed is largely obscured by proprietary algorithms.
An exception to this pattern is Wikipedia. As a nonprofit, ad-free and collaboratively built site it has no incentives leveled upon the commercial systems. It is fully transparent in what information takes precedence, and how it is produced. It does not use personal data to market or sell to users or to optimize for ad revenue, and it prioritizes personal information security to avoid undue bias or censorship. In other words, it is aligned with user needs for transparency, clarity and trust.
Knowledge Engine By Wikipedia will differ from commercial search engines in key areas:
- Public curation mechanisms for quality
- Open data access to metadata
- Protected user privacy
- No advertisement
Knowledge Engine By Wikipedia will surface important noncommercial results that are:
- High quality, highlighting web pages that have depth and factual currency.
- Credible, with knowledge sources that have earned readers’ confidence.
- Trustworthy, with pages that are elevated for accuracy and curated publicly.
- Transparent, giving users an open and truthful assessment of what they’re reading.
- Publicly curated, with users helping designate the most reliable pages.
- Open source, so anyone can use the results (and our software) without restriction.
- Secure, so users know we won’t mine their searches and sell that information for profit.
- Unbiased by commercial concerns. That’s the Wikipedia way.
How Is It Different?
The goal of today’s commercial engine is to give the user what they (or the interested party) think they want to know – the fact and data about a query: a medicine sold by a drug company, a movie ticket, or a most popular result.
The knowledge engine of tomorrow will guide the user to discover what they need to know that is only available with a crowd-based knowledge engine: a new or alternative medicine producing better results at a lower price point, a book summary and source language and versions of the movies based on it, the most relevant result to the user’s area of exploration.
Current engines rely on indexing and interlinking as the primary method for identifying and highlighting relevant results. In a world where data proliferation is rapid and unabiding, Wikipedia has a few advantages:
- Federating all open data via a structured index (Wikidata) into distributed data sources (both on and outside current Wiki projects) allowing for ease of translation, formatting a quality ranking.
- Open curation via vast, international community of editors.
- A global network of partners contributing information to the engine (galleries, archives, institutions, governments, etc.)
- User-centric privacy mechanisms and interests that allow users to easily contribute knowledge and donate their own information.
- Open data and metadata access for any party to develop interfaces and research based on the knowledge data.
Our Knowledge Engine Will Be:
We are building a knowledge engine that has speed, open data, and relevance at its core. A new entry point to the sum of all knowledge, Knowledge Engine By Wikipedia has the responsiveness of commercial search engines and the ethos of Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation.
An Efficient Experience
Quality is more important than quantity. The user doesn’t always need 10 or 20 or 200 results – they need the right set or even one result that provides a sufficient amount of knowledge with the contextual discovery to dig deeper. Still, in most searches, our knowledge engine will uncover a multitude of quality results, which should encourage a “down the rabbit-hole” discovery experience. The engine’s speed will bring consistency across the user interface, configuration options that adapt to users’ preferences, and an ease of experience that lets the user concentrate on the discovery task rather than the interface. Speed is crucial for global enablement but also for getting things done. Quickness and quality will be hallmarks of Knowledge Engine By Wikipedia.
We are building a unique engine that sets us apart from commercial engines. Our knowledge engine leverages open data sources and champions an open understanding of where and how the results are calculated and curated. We have the unique opportunity to merge open knowledge graphs and data sources in a federated landscape. By combining human and machine curation, we are forming a holistic, usercentered model to drive our knowledge engine.
A Multifaceted Tool
Knowledge Engine By Wikipedia is much more than a search input – it’s like a collection of powerful apps and portals rolled into a singular interface and input. We’re creating a tool where questions like “show me the progress of an event” display contextual maps and timelines, and where a query reveals multiple types of media and data displayed with charts and visualizations – all in a way that illustrates quicker and more completely than text alone. With Knowledge Engine By Wikipedia, the user instantly gets the context of a query in a larger perspective.
From an Open Community
We’re focused on creating resources and tools for an open knowledge-engine community, and building on the input of an advisory team. We will strengthen the Application Programming Interface and the resources around the knowledge engine to enable us and others to build, contribute to, and extend the engine. “Openness” – through curation, sourcing, and community – means everyone can contribute to Knowledge Engine By Wikipedia, and everyone can use the results and software without restrictions. It's what the Internet was meant to be and it’s what Wikipedia is, and what our knowledge engine will be, too.