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The Wikibase Stakeholder Group commissions production and maintenance of open source extensions to Wikibase, and documentation for organizations that want to operate and maintain a fully-fledged instance of Wikibase. Membership is open to organizations using Wikibase for mission critical work, open source projects producing tools that interface with Wikibase, Wikibase service providers, and software developers and consultancies.

Wikibase is regarded not solely as an extension to the Mediawiki framework, but as a integrated set of tools that make it possible to manage, edit, query, and present linked data.

The group plans on producing software and documentation that will empower the use of Wikibase for new use-cases and in new settings. Its focus is not on a single domain such as science, humanities, or GLAM, but rather on identifying projects that will benefit as many stakeholders as possible.

Members of the group pool financial and human resources, so that the group can 1) define and consolidate desirable features and documentation for Wikibase, 2) produce or commission these projects, and 3) maintain these projects.

When producing software, the group will focus on extensions to Wikibase instead of contributing to Wikibase core, to be independent from official Wikibase release cycles. All projects are published in a road map and coordinated with Wikimedia Deutschland, ensuring that extensions produced by the group align with the overall Wikibase road map without duplicating efforts. The group is open to handing over features to Wikimedia Deutschland so that they can be integrated into Wikibase core.


Rhizome acts as the fiscal sponsor of the group. This includes: managing project funds, maintaining technical infrastructure, and providing a stable home for the initiative among changing members. Rhizome takes 7% of all incoming funds as management fees, but does not charge for running costs.

Any institution can apply to become a member of the initiative. Members can be approved if they are able to commit human or financial resources to projects the initiative has published on its road map, or are interested in proposing and supporting new projects.

Membership is fluid, organizations can join and leave depending on internal projects and usage of Wikibase, but are encouraged to stay on (even in a passive role) to support maintenance of previous work.

All members join a technical steering committee that makes decisions on new projects.

Additionally, an advisory board oversees that projects follow open source best practices and structurally avoid reproducing or further enabling unethical practices. The group defines and adheres to a Code of Conduct.


  1. The member organizations discuss possible new projects, for instance publishing new documentation, creating a new Wikibase extension, or updating an existing project to work with a new release of Wikibase.

  2. Members gain understanding of the requirements to implement a project. They can commit their own work resources to the cause, external developers and consultants can be asked for a quote, or both. Once a decision has been made how to implement a project it is published on the road map.

  3. Members pool resources to implement the project by transferring funds to the initiative’s managed account, or committing their time to a work plan. Optional: funds can be raised from non-members, too.

  4. External contractors and/or members of the group carry out the work in an open development process on the group’s public source code repository.

  5. The initiative pays work invoices from pooled funds.


The group requires digital infrastructure to discuss and decide on projects, publish road maps and project results, and handle its financials.

  • Rhizome will act as a fiscal sponsor to the project.
  • Discussions will take place on a Loomio instance hosted by Rhizome.
  • Source code will be published under a GitHub organization account maintained by Rhizome.
  • GitHub pages will be used to publish the project road map and documentation under the domain name, owned by Rhizome.

About Rhizome

Founded in 1996, Rhizome is a 501c3 non-profit organization based at the New Museum in New York City. Rhizome’s mission is to champion born digital art and culture. As part of this mission, it has maintained a digital preservation program since 1999, which, since 2014, has focused on the development and stewardship of open source tools for the field.

Rhizome’s financial operations are audited on a yearly basis by Rich & Bander, LLC, and are monitored and administered by a full-time controller.

Page last modified: 2021-05-25.