Updated: Dec 16, 2022
Semantic MediaWiki is the most popular software for managing the data and knowledge of your wiki, but there are alternatives.
Wikibase, Semantic MediaWiki, and Cargo
In this article we will discuss and compare the features of Cargo, Semantic MediaWiki (SMW), and Wikibase. All of them are knowledge management extensions to MediaWiki that let you store data in a structured and queryable way.
WikiTeq has decades of experience in MediaWiki along with Wikibase and has been significantly involved in the development of Cargo and SMW.
Benefits of Cargo
The main reason for creating Cargo was to provide a more straightforward way of managing data and to create an alternative to Semantic MediaWiki.
Working in tight collaboration with Cargo developers, WikiTeq can evaluate if there are advantages in using Cargo for your data structure and data management workflows. If so, we’ll be happy to build the Cargo-based solution for your MediaWiki. Contact us here.
Benefits of Semantic MediaWiki
The standard software for managing data in wikis is Semantic MediaWiki. It has by far the largest ecosystem, the most extensive assortment of features, and has been continuously developed since 2005.
The purpose of SMW is “to allow users to improve the structure and organization of the knowledge in a wiki by adding simple, machine-processable information to wiki articles” . SMW provides syntax to create ontologies, to store and retrieve data, and print it in a variety of formats (lists, tables, tagclouds, timelines, calendars, graphs, maps, etc.)
At WikiTeq, we have extensive knowledge and experience in building and hosting Semantic MediaWiki-based stacks. Whether you are looking for a self-hosted or a monthly hosting solution, we are here to help. Have questions or need custom development? Contact us here.
“Wikibase is not for everybody, though.”
Wikimedia Deutschland developed Wikibase for Wikidata with a different use case in mind than Cargo and Semantic MediaWiki. It is not meant for storing and using data within the wiki itself but instead for collaboration and organization of data to be used by third parties. This makes Wikibase a popular choice for various GLAM organizations.
Running your own Wikibase helps to keep control over your data while contributing to the distributed world of open knowledge, not to the central repository. It might make even more sense, as uploading to Wikidata isn't that simple.
Since Wikidata is the main priority for Wikibase, it can be a difficult task to set it up and use it. There are no upgrade instructions or stable releases, and although Wikimedia recently discussed supporting third parties, the extent of the support is yet to be seen. If you think your project is a good fit for Wikibase software, contact a developer like us for a free consultation.