Monday, July 06, 2015

#Wikidata - Inspired Teacher of #India

Subjects and relevant subjects taught in university are not necessarily the same. When medicine is taught in India, diseases that are prevalent in India are relevant while diseases prevalent in Europe and North America are not so much. An article in the Metro India suggests that Indian textbooks do not have their priorities right and therefore subjects that matter are not taught or researched in University.

The Inspired Teacher Award is a new award for India and as it means that professors are honoured when they teach subjects that matter, it is quite wonderful. 

As a reward it is quite special; it is not the money it is time with the president of India and top bureaucrats that provides them with a platform to have their voice heard. At this time there are no articles nor items for the individual professors, something that is bound to change.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

#Wikidata - Dr B.R. Barwale, winner of the World Food Prize

The English article on the World Food Prize mentions that Dr B.R. Barwale is the 1998 recipient of that award. Google has it that Mr Barwale was born in 1931 in India.

Because Wikipedia does not know that Mr Barwale was born in 1931, he is not in a category "Born in 1931" and consequently Wikidata did not know that Mr Barwale was a human and therefore he was not automatically awarded the World Food Prize.. This was added by hand.

The World Food Prize has a website, it mentions Mr Barwale in plenty of detail. Arguably, as a source the website of the World Food Prize provides many details for its laureates. It is however like Wikipedia not a source that makes for easy automated comparisons.

#Wikidata - #verifiability

Verifiability for Wikidata is different from verifiability for Wikipedia. One sentence like "Mr X was born on 7-5-1959 in Zwaag, he became known for activities in Y" contain multiple statements and Wikipedia could use one source while Wikidata needs the same source multiple times. The sources for Wikipedia are nice out of the way and for Wikidata they are in your face.

Yet again there is a discussion about verifiability and to be honest, it is boring. On a typical day the vast majority of new statements come without any sources. To be brutally honest, I have never added sources and I do not intent to either. I do remove sources when I update information that is wrong and is sourced.

Wikidata is hardly the only source of linked data and it is relatively easy to compare databases. This is when the idiosyncrasies come out. It is where you have to  map data from one database to another. Once this is done, you can compare multiple sources and find how they match and mismatch.

Arguably this is more powerful as individual sources because there is little interest in adding missing sources per statement.  There is a lot more interest in finding out why there are differences between the data in databases. It leads to a finetuning of the mapping or it leads to changes in the data on either end.

Wikipedia does need sources for each Wikidata statement. What it needs is confidence. Confidence in best practices that ensure the data is as good as we can make it.

Monday, June 29, 2015

#Wikidata - كيفين بيكن and the #Syrian #refugees

When you consider the size of the camps where Syrian refugees are kept, the people lose their face, are no longer seen as individuals. But exactly because of the size, there must be professors, engineers, soccer stars and actors among them. Seen in that light Mr كيفين بيكن is not that far away from any of them.

I am sure that for all them it is a "significant event" to be in such a camp. Would it make a difference when we knew for many refugees how "near" they are to Mr Bacon? Would it convince you that these people need food, drink, shelter and schooling for their children?

Sunday, June 28, 2015

#Wikidata - #Vara and the J.B. Broekszprize

Awards are funny. They are presented with a lot of fanfare. They show the relevance of a subject; the reason why the award is presented and the person who the person is presented to. However, it takes effort and money to maintain an award and often the needed stamina simply disappears.

The J.B. Broekszprize was awarded by the VARA at least until 1996. The award was given to people and organisations who "humanised society". It is obvious that this effort was recognised at the time and, to understand the relevance of people and organisations it is great to know about awards like this.

At Wikidata we can and do recognise awards. People are added just because they received an award. Sometimes, it seems obvious that a person like Rob Hof is the 1995 winner of the award. But it needed some research to make sure that he was. Not even the Beeld en Geluid Wiki knew about Mr Hof..

Awards point to the legacy of people and organisations. They add relevance to both and they help in understanding an era that has come and gone.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

#Wikidata - #Hillary Rodham Clinton II

Mrs Clinton has been the recipient of many awards. The current count at Wikidata is at 23 and, it is quite an impressive list.

There is one funny bit in there, you have to know Dutch to spot this loonie. Mrs Clinton has been awarded several honorary doctorates. The screen shot shows nicely that there are two items for the same thing. You may see one for the University of St Andrews and one for Yale University.

Obviously the two could be merged. One reason why I won't is because Reasonator does not show redirects nicely and I do not want to lose all that information.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

#Wikidata - #Hillary Rodham Clinton

Mrs Clinton will obviously be a topic of many conversations. It is probably the best annotated USA presidential candidate on Wikidata. It is best looking at it from a Reasonator perspective because there is so much that you would drown in all of it on Wikidata itself.

When you look at the screenprint, you see a lot of text that was generated based on the currently available data. When you look at it, you may find that she received a Grammy award as well. I am certain that even though the information is extended, it is not complete. There are even technical issues to be found that need to be sorted in Wikidata itself.

When you complete all the data and all the interconnections to Mrs Clinton, one thing is sure. Many more people will be that much closer to Kevin Bacon. It would be interesting to learn how Mrs Clinton compares to the other candidates. Who will bring more people closer to Mr Bacon?

#Wikidata - #Amnesty International and the Dr. J.P. van Praag-award

Amnesty is one of the organisations I consider essential in this world. It is known for its work on human rights and it will tell any country where it fails in its commitments or in its actions. It is a participatory organisation and it is up to anyone to choose their levels of commitment.

Organisations are awarded for their work and I have added several of them spurred on by a friend who added the Dr J.P van Praag award to Amnesty. Typically I only add awards to people. It is easier and there are fewer false positives.

Reading the Dutch article, the question arose if Amnesty was indeed the beneficiary of this award. The text says in Dutch.. "Amnesty International (afdeling Nederland) voor haar werk voor gewetensgevangenen.". It says that it is the Dutch chapter who was awarded the award.

Given that other Amnesty chapters have items in Wikidata, it was easy to add one for the Dutch chapter and make it the recipient for the award. It follows that people tagged as member of Amnesty are actually member of the local chapter ... :)

NB I would not be surprised when more awards have been given to Amnesty, much of this may be found in articles in languages I do not read.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

#Wikidata - #OSA The Optical Society

In a previous post I wrote that I wanted to have all the awards of the Optical Society in Wikidata. I now admit that I failed.

The Optical Society has many awards and only some of them are known to Wikidata at this point. The funny part is that Wikidata knows about one more award than English Wikipedia does. It is an award conferred both by the Optical Society and the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft.

I did add most of the people who received an award but given that so many did not have an article it was not of interest to me to add all the missing ones. Maybe it is of interest to the Optical Society to complete information about itself and its awards..