Adding Wikipedia links when an article is created about a taxon

As discussed here, I wonder if someone could clarify the process by which taxon pages are matched to Wikipedia articles when the latter are created. Is this an automated or a manual process?

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As i do remember (can’t watch now as i cancelled curating), the setting is to take automatically scientific names for linking to corresponding Wikipedia articles. You may change this by editing the taxon page by entering the wished article name of Wikipedia.

It’s automated, but I think iNat has a local cache of the data from Wikipedia which may not immediately update when the article is created.

We use the Wikipedia title field if it’s set, or the taxon name to retrieve a Wikipedia article. If one doesn’t exist, or there’s no redirect, then no match is made and we may fall back to a different describer. If we get a Wikipedia response, we cache it for 24 hours.


Thanks for chiming in, everyone. Good to hear the links are automatically created every 24 hours. @kueda a more robust way of tracking new articles would be through Wikidata, which has 1) all the mappings to iNat taxon IDs as well as 2) the links to all the language editions of Wikipedia articles for those taxa.

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There’s a feature request for that here:

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Thanks @bouteloua, I responded there with some additional context.


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Are the links to Wikipedia updated every 24 hours? These articles were created in late Sept/early October and still don’t appear on the respective taxon pages.

I guess I said it was cached for 24 hours, and it is, except… it’s also cached for 30 days ( the description is cached for 24 hours regardless of where it comes from, but the Wikipedia response is cached for 30 days). 30 days is a bit extreme, so we’re going to set it to 7 days. Curators can also force a refresh by refreshing the Wikipedia summary on the taxon form. I’ll add a note there about that too.


will this apply to places, too?

can something similar be done for places?

Yes, the Wikipedia cache TTL will apply to the “Wikipedia Description” we show on the place pages as well. And yes, we could build some kind of manual cache refresh functionality for place descriptions, although that sounds like a subject for a different thread.