Wikimedia Proposes WikiData Project
Wikidata is a proposed new project for the Wikimedia Foundation: a free, collaborative, multi-lingual, secondary database, collecting structured data to provide support for Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, the other Wikimedia projects, and beyond that. (Excerpt of Wikidata introduction page)
Wikidata, the project web page states, "aims to create a free knowledge base about the world that can be read and edited by humans and machines alike. It will provide data in all the languages of the Wikimedia projects, and allow for the central access to data in a similar vein as Wikimedia Commons does for multimedia files. Wikidata is proposed as a new Wikimedia hosted and maintained project."
And according to the project's introduction page:
"Many Wikipedia articles contain facts and connections to other articles that are not easily understood by a computer, like the population of a country or the place of birth of an actor. In Wikidata you will be able to enter that information in a way that makes it processable by the computer. This means that the machine can provide it in different languages, use it to create overviews of such data, like lists or charts, or answer questions that can hardly be answered automatically today.
For this, Wikidata will provide an interface that is different from a wiki that allows you to edit text, like Wikipedia. It will provide a form-based interface that helps you enter the data in a way so it can be further processed.
The German chapter of Wikimedia plans to start work in April 2012, and to have the initial development finished in one year. A first step will be to enable users to bring the language links into the Wikidata central repository, and then to use these across the various Wikipedia language versions. This goal is planned to be reached in the summer of 2012."
UPDATE: WikiData Launched on 30 March 2012, with 1.3 million Euro in funding. See press release