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An infobox is a template used to collect and present a subset of information about its subject, such as a document. It is a structured document containing a set of attribute–value pairs,[1] and in Wikipedia represents a summary of information about the subject of an article.[2] In this way, they are comparable to data tables in some aspects. When presented within the larger document it summarizes, an infobox is often presented in a sidebar format.

An infobox may be implemented in another document by transcluding it into that document and specifying some or all of the attribute–value pairs associated with that infobox, known as parameterization.


An infobox may be used to improve the appearance of an article on Wikipedia;[3] They are used on similar articles to ensure consistency of presentation by using a common format.[4][2] Originally, infoboxes (and templates in general) were used for page layout purposes.[2] The guideline Wikipedia:Manual of Style (infoboxes) (shortcut: WP:IBX) has details of infoboxes. An infobox may be transcluded into an article by specifying the value for some or all of its parameters.[5] The parameter name used must be the same as that specified in the infobox template, but any value may be associated to it.[5] The name is delimited from the value by an equals sign.[5] The parameter name may be regarded as an attribute of the article's subject.[6]

{{Infobox prepared food
| name             =
| image            =
| imagesize        =
| caption          =
| alternate_name   =
| country          =
| region           =
| creator          =
| course           =
| type             =
| served           =
| main_ingredient  =
| variations       =
| calories         =
| other            =
{{Infobox prepared food
| name             = Crostata
| image            = [[File:Crostata di mele e mandorle di Adriano a profilo.jpg|300px]]
| imagesize        = 
| caption          = Apple crostata with slivered almonds
| alternate_name   = 
| country          = [[Italy]]
| region           = 
| creator          = 
| course           = [[Dessert]]
| type             = [[Tart]]
| served           = 
| main_ingredient  = Pastry crust, [[jam]] or [[ricotta]], fruit
| variations       = ''Crostata di frutta'', ''crostata di ricotta'', many other sweet or savoury variations
| calories         = 
| other            = 
The infobox Infobox prepared food used on Wikipedia food-related articles, with no values specified for its parameters (attributes). The same infobox as implemented in the article crostata. Note that values are to the right of the equals sign (=), and that the parameter names are the same as those in the specification for the infobox template. The values are in wiki markup: entries enclosed in square brackets (e.g. - [[Tart]]) will be rendered as a link to the respective Wikipedia article (e.g. - Tart), and the linked file will be transcluded into the article in place of its markup.
File:Crostata infobox.png
The infobox for the Wikipedia article Crostata rendered by a web browser engine on a desktop computer

On Wikipedia, an infobox is transcluded into an article by enclosing its name and attribute–value pairs within a double set of braces. The MediaWiki software on which Wikipedia operates then parses the document, for which the infobox and other templates are processed by a template processor. This is a template engine which produces a web document and a style sheet used for presentation of the document. This enables the design of the infobox to be separated from the content it manipulates;[2] that is, the design of the template may be updated without affecting the information within it, and the new design will automatically propagate to all articles that transclude the infobox.[4] Usually, infoboxes are formatted to appear in the top-right corner of a Wikipedia article in the desktop view,[3] or at the top in the mobile view.

Placement of an infobox within the wiki text of an article is important for accessibility.[7] A best practice is to place them following disambiguation templates (those that direct readers to articles about topics with similar names) and maintenance templates (such as that marking an article as unreferenced), but before all other content.[8][9]

Baeza-Yates and King say that some editors find templates such as infoboxes complicated,[10] as the template may hide text about a property or resource that the editor wishes to change; this is exacerbated by chained templates, that is templates transcluded within other templates.[10]

As of August 2009, English Wikipedia used about 3,000 infobox templates that collectively used more than 20,000 attributes.[11] Since then, many have been merged, to reduce redundancy. As of June 2013, there were at least 1,345,446 transclusions of the parent Infobox template,[12] used by some, but not all, infoboxes, on 4,251,127 articles.

The name of an Infobox is typically "Infobox [genre]", however the more widely used infoboxes often have shorter names given to them, like taxobox for taxonomy,[8] warbox for military conflicts, and geobox for geography.

Machine learning

About 44.2% of Wikipedia articles contained an infobox in 2008,[13] and about 33% in 2010.[11] Automated semantic knowledge extraction using machine learning algorithms is used to "extract machine-processable information at a relatively low complexity cost".[1] However, the low coverage makes it more difficult, though this can be partially overcome by complementing article data with that in categories in which the article is included.[13] The French Wikipedia initiated the project Infobox Version 2 in May 2011.[14][15]

Knowledge obtained by machine learning can be used to improve an article, such as by using automated software suggestions to editors for adding infobox data.[13] The iPopulator project created a system to add a value to an article's infobox parameter via an automated parsing of the text of that article.[11]

DBpedia uses structured content extracted from infoboxes[2] by machine learning algorithms to create a resource of linked data in a Semantic Web; it has been described by Tim Berners-Lee as "one of the more famous" components of the linked data project.[16]

Machine extraction creates a triple consisting of a subject, predicate or relation, and object.[1] Each attribute-value pair of the infobox is used to create an RDF statement using an ontology.[17] This is facilated by the narrower gap between Wikipedia and an ontology than exists between unstructured or free text and an ontology. [18]

The semantic relationship between the subject and object is established by the predicate.[1] In the example infobox, the triple ("crostata", type, "tart") indicates that a crostata is a type of tart. The article's topic is used as the subject, the parameter name is used as the predicate, and the parameter's value as the object.[17][1] Each type of infobox is mapped to an ontology class, and each property (parameter) within an infobox is mapped to an ontology property.[19] These mappings are used when parsing a Wikipedia article to extract data.

Many Wikipedia infoboxes also include microformat markup, making the text rendered on the page readable by software.[20][21]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Baeza-Yates & King 2009, p. 31.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Liyang 2011, p. 385.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Broughton 2008, p. 357.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Broughton 2008, p. 17.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Broughton 2008, p. 18.
  6. Baeza-Yates & King 2009, p. 30.
  7. Broughton 2008, p. 234.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Broughton 2008, p. 235.
  9. The English Wikipedia policy about accessibility is specified in the Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style/Accessibility. The policy about wiki text layout is specified at Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Layout and Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Lead section.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Baeza-Yates & King 2009, p. 345Infobox templates made what should be a simple task of adding a statement about a property of a resource a complicated procedure which some participants could not complete without prompting. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "FOOTNOTEBaeza-YatesKing2009345" defined multiple times with different content
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Lange, Böhm & Naumann 2010.
  12. "Jarry1250's Toolserver Tools - Template transclusion count". List of Wikimedia projects. 7 June 2013. Retrieved 7 June 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Baeza-Yates & King 2009, p. 28.
  14. Geertman, Reinhardt & Toppen 2011, p. 493.
  15. The project is hosted on the French Wikipedia page Infobox/V2.
  16. Miller 2008.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Liyang 2011, p. 387.
  18. Virvou & Matsuura 2012, p. 315.
  19. Liyang 2011, p. 395.
  20. Wikipedia:WikiProject Microformats
  21. Heilman 2009.


  • Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  • Broughton, John (2008-07-14). Barber, Nan; Meyers, Peter, eds. Wikipedia – The Missing Manual. O'Reilly Media. ISBN 9780596553777.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  • Heilman, Chris (2009-01-19). "Retrieving and displaying data from Wikipedia with YQL". Yahoo Developer Network. Yahoo. Archived from the original on 2011-01-27. Retrieved 2009-01-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Lange, Dustin; Böhm, Christoph; Naumann, Felix (2010). Extracting Structured Information from Wikipedia Articles to Populate Infoboxes. Technische Berichte des Hasso-Plattner-Instituts für Softwaresystemtechnik an der Universität Potsdam, Hasso-Plattner-Institut für Softwaresystemtechnik Potsdam. Universitätsverlag Potsdam. ISBN 9783869560816.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  • Miller, Paul (2008-02-07). "Sir Tim Berners-Lee Talks with Talis about the Semantic Web". Transcription by CastingWords. Talis Group. Retrieved 2013-06-02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).

Further reading

  • Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  • Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  • Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).