Friday, April 08, 2016

#Wikidata - labelling and the ArticlePlaceholder

The ArticlePlaceholder is a Wikimedia extension. It has huge potential to rapidly increase the available information in any and all Wikipedias because Wikidata has more data than any Wikipedia has articles. The big initial issue: How to translate the labels into the language of a Wikipedia.

There are many approaches and the initial one is to concentrate on "red links" first. With "red links" linked to Wikidata items, the ArticlePlaceholder may express the data as information for that Wikipedia. That is one big incentive to write the missing article :). Missing labels associated with properties may be added to localise all the information available on an item

It then becomes interesting; What to do next? There are the categories, the lists associated with articles. It would work, it would rapidly expand the number of items linked through ArticlePlaceholders. It would also rather quickly expand the number of items that seek a translation of their label. These can be found and sorted in order of prevalence.

Another approach would be to add labels as many labels as possible in Wikidata. When this results in terms that can be found, ArticlePlaceholders may be created when they are requested. When we keep track of the requests for ArticlePlaceholders, we can even prioritise the writing of missing articles.

Adding labels can be done in multiple ways; we can use dictionaries, we can transliterate. We can even use bots to do all this automagically for us. The biggest difference will be made when we seek and find collaboration. For most languages there are schools where students need to write papers. Particularly in the smaller projects this may make a huge difference. As they research their topic, they can localise all the missing labels starting from a "Concept cloud" for a subject.

Once this work gets underway, small Wikipedias will rapidly increase the number of subjects that are being served. The big question is not if it will be worthwhile but how it will affect Wikipedia article writing.

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