EventsBoston Rock City: Explore Wikidata and Learn about Local Music

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Boston Rock City: Explore Wikidata and Learn about Local Music

2:00 PM – 5:00 PM


The BPL is partnering with Harvard Library for a guided exploration of Wikidata and local music history. Join us for two days of music and Wikidata editing, no prior experience necessary! Project staff will provide you with everything you need to generate new Wikidata entities. You'll also get to learn about how we can use these new Wikidata entities to synthesize and visualize data.

No previous Wikidata experience, music-reading ability, or Boston rock knowledge are required. This edit-a-thon will take place on Friday, May 21 and Saturday, May 22. This event is free to all and will take place via Zoom; please register in advance at the link provided. Join for either day or both, and for a little or as much time as you’d like.

We’ll provide: instructions, tools, data sources, visualizations, optional Discord chat, and a soundtrack. If you have questions, please contact Harvard Library staff member Peter Laurence at And if you're ready to join us, use the registration link to reserve your spot!

The subject of this project is the Arthur Freedman Collection. This audiovisual archive captures over four decades of Boston rock music performances. Beginning in the late 1970s, Arthur Freedman recorded countless shows, adding to an enormous home archive. In 2011, Arthur Freedman donated this collection to Harvard Library. It is now fully catalogued, and library staff are working on permissions so that many of these recordings can be publicly streamed online.

Harvard Library has worked with band members to provide greater detail about these collection items. These musicians have added their own information and archival materials, including setlists, personnel listings, and gig flyers.

Our next step is to draw on community knowledge! With your help, we can create a Wikidata presence for bands and venues represented in this collection. Wikidata is a free and open knowledge base that can be read and edited by both humans and machines. By describing bands and music venues in Wikidata, we can synthesize this data into a resource of interest to scholars and fans alike. We are testing ways in which Wikidata and other open, structured data repositories can be used to cultivate and capture community knowledge.

Suitable for:
Young Adults (Ages 20-34)
All Adults
College Students
Older Adults
Workshops & Classes

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