The Most Important Wikipedia Pages, From the First Open Wiki Ranking

By Jamie Condliffe on at

If you’ve ever wondered what the most important Wikipedia page was — about any topic — wonder no longer: a team of researchers has developed the first open Wikipedia ranking. Here’s what’s most important right now.

The Laboratory for Web Algorithmics at the Università degli studi di Milano has developed The Open Wikipedia Ranking. It uses a series of metrics — including harmonic centrality, PageRank and page views — to measure the importance of each page. You can read about the technicalities here, but you want to see the top ten, right? At the time of writing, they are (ranked by harmonic centrality; the results are very similar for other methods, though):

  1. United States
  2. World War II
  3. Association football
  4. United Kingdom
  5. France
  6. World War I
  7. Canada
  8. Germany
  9. China
  10. India

You can filter things a little, too. So if you want to know the most important inventors, say, then the list looks like this:

  1. Albert Einstein
  2. Thomas Jefferson
  3. Thomas Edison
  4. Leonardo da Vinci
  5. Enrico Fermi
  6. Benjamin Franklin
  7. Henry Ford
  8. John von Neumann
  9. Galileo Galilei
  10. James Cameron

But hey, go play with it yourself. If you think the listings look a little odd, the researchers agree that they can sometimes throw up some quirks:

Wikidata is an ongoing project. Some information is missing: when we looked for great jazzsingers Billie Holiday was not there,because no one ever set her “genre” to “jazz” (we did). David Cronenberg is listed as aco-director of “The TrumanShow” because of a mistaken automatic import from the Italian version of Wikipedia(we corrected that). If you look for classical music you’ll see a lot of important people missing: the “genre” tag is at thistime very unpolished (e.g., sometimes associated with “classical period” andsometimes with “classical music”). The most important album of all times seems to be Röksopp’s “Suzerainty”, but if you followthe link you’ll see it’s instead a complex political concept: Wikipedia has only the concept,and Wikidata has only the album, so there is no way to disambiguate.

Still, this is all part of the fun of giant collaborative resource, isn’t it? [The Open Wikipedia Ranking]

Image by Martin Kenny under Creative Commons licence