Wednesday, August 16, 2017

#Wikipedia - #BlackLunchTable / Brooklyn Hip Hop

The Black Lunch Table project has an editathon on August 20th. It will focus on on important but underrepresented New York Hip Hop/rap artists.

In preparation they have created entries in Wikidata for artists with and without a Wikipedia article. In this way they can prepare information for the editors to use in their articles.

Magnus created a new tool and it shows who edited Wikidata. As a result we can create a query for the edits for the New York Hip hop event for the month of August.

It shows who has been doing all the work.
Thanks,
      GerardM

Monday, August 14, 2017

#Wikimedia - Women in blue

Dear Rosie, I saw your presentation. You want women in blue. In it you mention 300 lists of women. That is a lot of lists. In the mean time the biggest list of women with no article in a Wikipedia can be found on Wikidata.

There has been research in suggesting subjects to people and it works. Leila Zia, one of the WMF researchers wrote about a project they did. So the mechanism is there and you know, Wikidata has oodles of women with no article in "your" Wikipedia that have enough relevance given.

So how about a generator for ideas for articles to write? Leila knows many algorithms and Wikidata knows about many if not most of the women that are on your lists.. Come to think of it, why not add all the lists in Wikidata in the first place?
Thanks,
       GerardM

Sunday, August 13, 2017

#Wikidata - Three award winners of the #ASBA

The ASBA or the "American Society of Botanical Artists" started of in the USA only to become a truly international organisation. They are an important player in the revival of botanical art, they have many local chapters and they have a number of awards.

The three ladies to the right; are the winners of three awards. They now have their Wikidata entries.

I was introduced to people at the New York Botanical Garden and they indicated to me the relevance of illustrations. After that I got into contact with a lady from New Zealand who created a Google list of women scientific illustrators and artists. Her objective is to collect information for Wikipedia articles and many of them already do have an article.

The NYBG is planning future events and for its preparation they do like to include information about awards including awards about botanical illustrators. When the information in the spreadsheet is entered from the start in Wikidata, there is no need for Google lists; Wikidata can play its role in stead.
Thanks,
      GerardM


Saturday, August 05, 2017

#Wikidata - Harriet Martineau and some social opportunities

When you do not already know about Mrs Martineau, do read one of the many Wikipedia articles, she is considered to be the first female sociologist and introduced many subjects into sociology that were up to that time not considered.

The picture is a crop of a painting at the National Portrait Gallery by Richard Evans. The picture is known at Wikidata, at Commons the Creator template is missing.

At the Biodiversity Heritage Library Mrs Martineau was know for her book a complete guide to the English lakes. It was the only book known for her at Open Library.  Given the relevance of Mrs Martineau this was strange and sure enough she was known as "Martineau, Harriet" and changing the link to the book was easily done.

At Wikidata meanwhile, there was a hidden link to Mrs Martineau to Open Library thanks to all the good work of the Freebase volunteers. Approving the change was obvious.

At Wikidata there is now a link to both VIAF, to the BHL, to OL for Mrs Martineau and to over 20 more sources. The BHL has links to both Open Library and VIAF. When the links differ, it becomes obvious where work needs to be done.

The result is a better service for all the people who make use of any or all of these resources. We truly should collaborate and strengthen our partners, the partners we share data with.
Thanks,
      GerardM

#Standards - the International Plant Names Index

#IPNI is a collaborative project between three august bodies in the taxonomy of plants. They are the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the Harvard University Herbaria, and the Australian National Herbarium.

There are three areas where IPNI sets the standards: plants, authors and publications. The objective is to disambiguate any taxonomic reference to a plant in scientific literature to the correct taxon given the taxon name, its author information, publication information and date.

IPNI publishes several graphs indicating the success of their work. I have been involved in this work as a consequence of a database project I did for my father who loved his cacti and succulents.

One example of what information IPNI provides can be found in this page for the "genus" Echninocactus. In my understanding, the correct full taxonomic name is: "Echinocactus Link & Otto Verh. Vereins Beford. Gartenbaues Konigl. Preuss. Staaten 3: 420. 1827". It has all the required information, it has type information, it has links all as you would expect of a standard like this.

To appreciate the work of IPNI; in stead of "Link & Otto", there may have been: "Link and Otto" or "Link et Otto" or ... obviously the information for the publication is easily made into a different abbreviation.

Wikidata included only a subset of the full taxon information. It is easy enough to understand why; Wikipedia only needed the most current one. It is an easy model; works relatively well and it breaks in the corner cases. With the development of WikiCite there is a great and possibly easy opportunity to expand on the current work given the expanding collaboration with botanical partners like the Biodiversity Heritage Library.
Thanks,
      GerardM

Sunday, July 30, 2017

#Wikidata - Mrs Helen M. Duncan is not the only geologist

There are many ways of updating Wikidata. Individual statements for individual items are made. They are worthwhile but on the grand scale of things they have little impact. Another approach is to seek sets of data that can be updated all at the same time.

Mrs Duncan is among others relevant to the Smithsonian Institute. The approach of adding loads of data for many people has the advantage that when the same issue like Mrs Duncan not being identified as a geologist, is fixed for many people at the same time.

To do this, I identified a category that implied the missing statement and I used PetScan to add all of the missing data in one go. Together with Mrs Duncan I made 1005 humans a geologist.

These are small numbers, they hardly register. But as it is, there are Wikidata administrators actively preventing edits because Wikipedia cannot cope with the volume of changes in its recent changes. 

There is no plan, no timetable for the underlying problem to be solved. Wikidata people are told not to make mass edits. It is however the only way to make a real difference and make Wikidata halfway usable.

There are two options:
  • improving Wikidata as fast as we can and in the best way possible - as a consequence changes at Wikidata will not all be visible in some Wikipedias
  • allow Wikidata to edit to the extend that Wikipedias can keep up with the volume of changes - as a consequence people will go away and new projects will not start
There is a prima facie case to be made for the edits to be seen in the Wikipedias. Its efficacy has not been studied and some say that the user interface sucks too much to be useful. Arguably keeping these changes is based on beliefs/assumptions and not on established facts. 

We should imho make all the edits we can make and when the Wikipedia recent changes are to be salvaged, give it the highest priority particularly at the Wikipedia end. It sucks that we can not provide all changes to them but hey that's life. 
Thanks,
      GerardM

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

#Wikidata - in #defence of Erika Herzog

On Facebook, Erika made a few comments that were not well received. A few really positive things did come out as a result but there is a need to defend Erika and her central argument. She asked if there had been a process of consulting the English Wikipedia community because the user interface of Wikidata is so poor. She said:
"... But I am pretty sure a lot of En Wikipedia editors are going to be sort of upset about this shift that requires them to actually edit Wikidata without a form input method (on WikiMarkup). Is there a form input on Visual Editor for this?"
On Facebook she is attacked for all the wrong reasons. A Wikimedia functionary asks: "How is this a Wikidata matter? English Wikipedia is where you want to discuss this." Erika's answer is spot on: "Actually no it's not. I'm tired of this response. It's not helpful or realistic. This is a Wikidata item in terms of buy-in and outreach to incorporate more Wikipedia editors. It's disingenuous to posit otherwise. This needs to be a discussion on both sides, and I think the onus is more on the Wikidata side as the usability and UX is poor at best."

One positive outcome of the Facebook thread is that it is mentioned that there is a method under development to edit Wikidata from Wikipedia templates. However welcome, it is going to introduce its own problems because the primacy of the data remains at Wikidata. The user interface of Wikidata is indeed awful. As one of the more prolific Wikidata editors I only use it for editing. For displaying the data I use Reasonator exclusively. Compare this with this for instance and you will see why.

The reason for this are applicable priorities. The WMF has too many concurrent ambitions for Wikidata and the staff is overextended. When the question is if Wikidata is sufficiently user friendly for an average Wikipedian, the answer is no. At this time Wikidata cannot cope with all the changed committed to it as it is, the wise words of Johan Cruyff apply; every disadvantage has its advantage.
Thanks,
      GerardM

Sunday, July 23, 2017

#Wikidata - Franziska Michor and #notability

Because of Facebook I read something about Franziska Michor. What triggered me was that she received an award. Her occupation, biomathematician, does not even exist (yet) on Wikidata.

To understand what a biomathematician does, it is great to watch the TedMED presentation by Mrs Michor. It gets me to the question of notability; I was amazed that Mrs Michor did not have a presence on Wikidata. I do not know if TEDMed is part of the TED project we had and I have no clue how to add this presentation.

The problem with an ever increasing scope of Wikidata, the challenge becomes less one of introducing data but more of maintaining data. This is particularly true when you look at Wikidata from a mathematical point of view. With Mrs Michor there are several datasets that gained notability and can do with some tender loving care: biomathematicians, TEDMed talks and the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise.
Thanks,
     GerardM

Saturday, July 22, 2017

#Wikidata - Prix de Coincy and Raymond Benoist


The Prix Coincy is an award conferred by the French Botanical Society. The first time it was awarded was in 1904 according to the French article but the first botanist who is known to have received it, got it in 1906. He was Edmond Gustave Camus a red link in the French article but he has articles in several Wikipedias.

Botany is one of those subjects that have appeal; people care about plants, how they are named and consequently many botanists have articles in multiple Wikipedias. This became obvious when all the red links and black links in the article were entered in Wikidata. Like Mr Camus most already existed and just had to be associated with this award.

There are a few items that are not that obvious; Raymond Benoist is one. The French article has it that he received the award but there is no source and at that the only source for the award is the French article. Another issue is with the 1949 award; they are likely three people, one is Louis Quentin, the others Henri and Madeleine Stehlé. Nothing wrong with being bold I suppose..
Thanks,
     GerardM


Sunday, July 16, 2017

#Wikidata Tool - The #Awarder

The Awarder is a tool I use everyday to add people known to have received the award to Wikidata. Its use is straight forward:
  • find a list of award winners, a list that includes the person and the year it was conferred
  • copy the source text into the awarder
  • identify the wiki the data is from
  • identify the award by its Wikidata identifier.
  • open the results in "quick statements" for processing. 
Easy. When done properly the result is as good as the information from the Wikipedia it came from.

There are a few points. Some lists, like the one on the John Wesley Powell award, have the year on a line and the data is implied for the following text. The results is ten people identified. There are a few red links in there for instance for "George M. Hornberger" and Awarder has identified him so that I can click on a button to find him in Wikidata. As I did not, I added him in Wikidata for later processing. Awarder does not identify organisations as award winners so I had to add the identifier for for instance the "California Department of Transportation". John Galetzka is the award winner for 2016. He is a "black link" so I identified him in the tool with brackets and as a result I could add him as well.

For fifteen award winners it is now known that they won the award. Slowly but surely it adds to the relevance of these people in Wikidata and the missing award winners become easier to identify for the implied notability.
Thanks,
       GerardM

PS thank you Magnus for a great tool

Friday, July 14, 2017

#Wikidata VS #Wikipedia - the issue with input, output

I was told that I should not talk about quality because "on the basis of my work I did not give a good example". Basically I was told to stop what I am doing. As I have written a lot about quality and argued how we can achieve greater quality it is not funny nor is it appreciated but the guy has a point.

With 2,304,191 edits there must be a lot that is wrong in what I have done. No matter how careful I am, the percentage of errors that is to be expected means that with 6% there must be at least some 138,252 errors that I introduced. The problem is that depending on your outlook this is acceptable or it is not. When in stead of me 100 people did the same work, the result would have been the same; together they would have introduced around 138,252 errors as well.

I totally agree that we need to bring our errors down. There are three steps where errors have their origin; input, process and output.
  • My input is based on the Wikipedias; their content all have their own issues. They all operate on their own little islands; there is no or little coordinated effort to make the quality of the information we provide a collective ambition.
  • My process is based on identifying what I want to work on; typically awards, often the enrichment of data around one person. For tools I mainly use what Magnus provides; they provide superior usability. Reasonator makes Wikidata statements intelligible, it provides superior disambiguation and automated descriptions. Awarder adds both the year and the person who received an award. It allows me to effectively cover a lot of ground. They are the tools I use most, others like PetScan are also invaluable.
  • There is too much output I generate and consequently I do not care for individual edits. I justify them all for the process, the routines I follow. I added "Claudia Wills" based on the information in the article of the eponymous award. Like other notable birdwatchers, Mrs Wills does not have her own article and I added her to complement the information on the award.
We share in the sum of knowledge and when the quality of what we provide is to improve, our movement has to become dedicated to the quality of all our information. The typical Wikipedian does mostly care about his or her own project and that is fine; we do not need all of them in an effort to improve our overall quality. The effort I propose can be hidden from view.

A Wikipedia article contains many links; they are blue, red or black. All the blue links are implicitly linked to Wikidata items. Many issues become evident when they can be compared with the links in articles in other Wikipedias or Wikidata. Some Wikis have additional links and they can be mapped to red links and black links. This prevents problems when articles are written with the name suggested in this link.

Once articles on a same subject in many Wikipedias are linked, all kinds of additional functionality become easier; one that is close to my heart is when a new award winner becomes known..
Thanks,
      GerardM

Saturday, July 08, 2017

#Wikimedia project - #PlantsAndPeople

#Wikidata is a great to encourage collaboration and reporting for Wiki projects. The results of projects like the Black Lunch Table have been encouraging so for; reports for articles in multiple languages, gender ratios were possible because of the Wikidata link.

A new initiative is PlantsAndPeople. There have been editathons in the past and more are planned. It is about both people and plants so the kind of questions that may be asked will be quite interesting. For instance how many taxons were described by the people in the project and how many people were honoured in taxon names.

At this moment the people who are the subject of editathons are added. This list will grow slowly but surely and only once it is done, it can replace list in Wikipedia. It will take quite some time to get there because it makes sense to add additional data as well. This is the best way to quickly improve the quality of the data involved. So far quite a number of mycologists and ethnobotanists have been added. A question has been raised in Wikidata about people named in taxons and a picture that should be in Commons is waiting for someone else to transfer it.

When you are interested; join in the fun.
Thanks,
      GerardM

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

#Wikipedia - there once was a lady from #Estonia

Once upon a time there was a Wikipedian from Estonia. He decided to write about a fellow countryman, Kersti Kaljulaid. When your Estonian is as good as mine, it is not a name you remember or a person you are likely to have come across.

At the time this was the same for the English Wikipedians; she could not be notable because there were not enough sources in English.. So for all the good reasons the article was in danger. Our Estonian Wikipedian said: "wait a week". A week later Mrs Kaljulaid was the president of Estonia.

I have taken the liberty to add additional data in Wikidata. Mrs Kaljulaid received two awards and others award winners have been added. No sources for them in English either. To be brutally honest, incidents like this prove why English Wikipedia is only a subset of the sum of all knowledge. Because of this insistence on English sources, English Wikipedia can not cover the sum of all knowledge. People who seek reputable information on foreign subjects will not find it.
Thanks,
       GerardM

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Comparing #Wikipedia using blue, red and black links

There are reasons to compare Wikipedia articles on the same subject in multiple languages. When you just want to read, you may find additional information in another language but as you can imagine, the content should be largely the same. Consequently, the links in an article should go to articles that are about the same topic.

One problem with "blue" links is homonymy. You write a subject in the same but they are not the same; John Doe is one example. Finding these issues, issues that are surprisingly common, can be done by a bot using the Wikidata identifiers for the linked articles.

When there is no article to link to, there is no implicit link to Wikidata. There are two options; we can fake a link by accepting the red or a "black" link as synonymous or we can link a red or a "black" link to Wikidata. The latter is precise and has additional benefits.

When all links are associated with Wikidata items, it is obvious what links in what language are missing or are additional. They are of interest because they may imply potential information to be added to articles or they may point to errors even vandalism. Another benefit is that it helps establish a baseline for a NPOV or neutral point of view without a need to understand the language.
Thanks,
      GerardM

Saturday, July 01, 2017

#Wikipedia - Blue, red and black links

Lists in Wikipedia, like this list of award winners of the Tony Kent Strix award on the right exist as blue, red and "black" links. At the moment only an article in English exists about the award and based on past experiences it is likely that other award winners are known in other Wikipedias.

Based on the information in the article, it was easy enough to add the missing information in Wikidata for all the "black links". When you now compare the information in Wikidata with the Wikipedia article, it is feasible to link fixed text to a Wikidata item. This makes it feasible to trigger a warning once a blue link is possible based on new  Wikidata information. In this way a link to Jack Mills is already likely.

When we can compare the information in an article with data in Wikidata, there is an additional way to compare the information and prevent errors and vandalism. Wikidata is after all superior in its use as a tool for disambiguation.
Thanks,
     GerardM


Friday, June 30, 2017

#Wikidata - Rina Spigt en een prijs van de #VARA

Two years ago I blogged about the J.B. Broekszprize and the VARA. It mentioned a Mr Hof and the fact that it is assumed that this Mr Hof received the award in 1995.

Mrs Spigt was awarded the prize for a radio series about Mary Zeldenrust-Noordanus according to the Dutch Wikipedia article. She is the only one for whom it was not known in what year she received the award.

The best way of finding out? I asked her. Mr Spigt is on Facebook. It is an effective way of digging up some facts.

I always illustrate a blogpost so I googled for images and found this image of Mrs Spigt with her father. Another fact established. I did ask Mrs Spigt if she wanted additional information in Wikidata. A picture is welcome for instance. When you do ask, you may get confirmation about facts. Maybe not sourced in the Wikipedia way but nevertheless correct.
Thanks,
      GerardM

Thursday, June 29, 2017

#Wikimedia - Funding #Wikieducation is problematic

How can you not love WikiEducation.. It has a great reputation bringing the editing of Wikipedia to curricula. When you check out their Twitter account, their blog, their results they do an awesome job.

You can once you realise it is instrumental in maintaining the existing bias that favours English and English Wikipedia. Realistically you cannot even blame them for it because they define their operations as limited to the USA and Canada.

Still there are problems.
* People assume that the example of using university students to write articles is to be followed. For most of the Wikipedias there is too little content. The type of articles is not what is needed, more basic articles are needed.
* The Wikimedia Foundation has a huge bias for the English Wikipedia and consequently the 70% of the word population who do not speak English are underserved and less than 50% of the traffic of the WMF is English Wikipedia.

The solution is not to defund Wiki Education. A solution will only come once the WMF acknowledges that they have a diversity problem, a problem they do not acknowledge.
Thanks,
      GerardM

PS Does Wiki Education support French?

Saturday, June 24, 2017

#Wikipedia - Sister projects in search results

The Wikipedia Signpost informs that the discovery team extended the results for search on Wikipedia. New is that English Wikipedia now includes results from
WikisourceWiktionaryWikiquote and  Wikivoyage and that is indeed welcome news.

There is one puzzling part in the information; "Wikidata and Wikispecies are not within the scope of this feature." It is puzzling because including Wikidata search results is where search has been augmented for years in many Wikipedias including the English Wikipedia by the people who added this little bit of magic Magnus provided.

As you can see in the screenshot of the search for Wilbur R. Leopold, an award was conferred on him and the origin of this factoid is the article on the award. Thanks to Wikidata, information is available for Mr Leopold. There are so many references in Wikidata that have no article in a Wikipedia or any other project that from a search perspective it is probably the next frontier.

When wiki links, red links and even black links can be associated with Wikidata items, it becomes even easier to add precision to the search results. Adding these links is the low hanging fruit to improved quality in Wikimedia projects anyway. 
Thanks,
     GerardM


Sunday, June 18, 2017

#Wikidata - John P. A. Ioannidis and his awards

I am a self confessed award junkie. They are imho important because they are an indication of who is notable and who is less so.

Three awards are associated with professor Ionannidis in Wikidata. One award was also conferred on Hans Rosling and this gives me added confidence in Mr Ionannidis and other recipients of the Chanchlani Global Health Research Award.

Professor Ionannidis throws cold water on much of the practice of scientific practice and consequently on its practitioners. One of his papers has the title: Why most published research findings are false and it is inherently a challenge as well to what we write in the Wikipedias and Wikidata.

At Wikidata a wholesale import is happening of papers, science facts and its authors. This is a great idea, particularly when papers that dismiss much of the nonsense papers gets a prominent place. The result will be that the Neutral Point Of View gets an other twist; it balances what we include with actual science.
Thanks,
     GerardM

Saturday, June 17, 2017

#Wikidata vs #GeoNames - the first to throw a stone

Wikidata has some vocal people vilifying GeoNames. They insist that no data from GeoNames is included in Wikidata because "the quality is so bad". In my last post I wrote down assertions about Wikidata. One of them is that "Never mind how "bad" an external data source is, when they are willing to cooperate on the identification and curation of mutual differences, they are worthy of collaboration".

I wrote an email to Markc Wick, the founder of GeoNames and with his permission I can publish our mail exchange.

Hoi,The import of data from GeonNames into Wikipedia has been controversial. People say that the quality of the GeoNames data is not "good enough". It resulted in the deletion of thousands of articles from the Swedish Wikipedia. I am not Swedish, I did not follow their discussions but the problem is it sours collaboration with other parties because "their data might not be 100%".
This happened in the past, I care for the future. In Wikidata we do link to GeoNames (example Almere [1]).
There are several ways in which we can help each other and potentially even benefit from a collaboration. Wikidata is licensed with a CC-0 license and therefore GeoNames can have all our data and do with it as they please.
My initial proposal is for a comparison of the shared data. The data where GeoNames differs from Wikidata is potentially problematic. Concentrating on these differences together will improve both our and your data.
Would you be interested?
Thanks,
       GerardM
       Gerard Meijssen
His answer is everything I could hope for:
Hi Gerard
Thanks a lot for your email. A couple of weeks ago I have started to parse the wikidata extract and look for the matching attributes. Unfortunately I got interrupted and have not yet looked at the result of the parsing. I will continue as soon as I find the time.
The goal is to add the wikidata identifier to the alternatenames table with pseudos language code 'wkdt'. What I have noted so far is that sometimes the geonameids in wikidata go the wrong concept. For instance going to the city feature when the article is speaking about the administrative division or vice versa. This is one of the things I would like to check before adding the wikidataid as alternatename. GeoNames also has links to wikipedia.
I don't think wikipedia should import all geonames features, not all of them are relevant enough to justify a wikipedia article.
Best Regards 
Not only is there an interest to collaborate; Marc is checking the links in Wikidata referring to GeoNames and as can be expected he finds issues. As I asserted, this is to be expected and collaboration is the only way forward for optimal results.
Thanks,
      GerardM

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

#Wikidata some assertions

Wikidata is no different from any community, there are differences of opinion. Everybody has his or her own perspective but there are assertions that can be made that have a more universal resonance. 

The assertions below represent the underlying arguments I use in my blog posts and in the discussions I take part of. They are the ones I feel are not necessarily "political" or have a negative impact.
Thanks,
       GerardM
  1. There is no data store without problems, this includes Wikipedia and Wikidata.
  2. The data we hold is best understood by applying set theory. The data in Wikidata consists of many subsets; probably the most valuable subset for the WMF are the interwiki links.
  3. The error rate in each subset can be assessed and is by definition different from the overall Wikidata error rate
  4. The absence of data often indicates a bias in the data Wikidata holds. A good example is the lack of data relevant to the global south.
  5. Given the huge influx of data from Wikipedia, the biggest imports have been from English Wikipedia and it is one reason for the existing biases in Wikidata.
  6. An absence of data prevents the application of tools. Tools may suggest writing a Wikipedia article, tools may compare data with other sources.
  7. Concentrating on the differences between Wikidata and any other data source is the most optimal way of improving the quality of existing data in either data set.
  8. Having an application for the data in Wikidata is the best way for improving the usefulness for a subset of data.
  9. Each contributor to Wikidata works on the data set(s) of his/her own choice, these data sets interact in the whole of Wikidata. This may raise issues and this can not always be avoided.
  10. Examples of problematic data must be seen in the light of the total of the data set they are part of. Statistically they may be irrelevant.
  11. Never mind how "bad" an external data source is, when they are willing to cooperate on the identification and curation of mutual differences, they are worthy of collaboration
  12. Wikidata improves continually and as such it is "purrfect" but it will never be perfect.

Monday, June 12, 2017

#Causegraph, an other way of looking at #Wikidata


Causegraph is a tool to visualize and analyze cause/influence relationships using Wikidata. If you have not seen it yet, give it a spin.

Randomly looking at the galaxy of relations, I found a Charles Frédéric Bassenge, he is in Wikidata because he is the father of Pauline Runge. He is in Wikidata because she has an entry in WikiTree. What amazes me most is the quality of the data for the father and his absence in WikiTree. 

Causegraph works on the basis of there being a direct relation between two persons. For Jacob Palis, the doctoral students and doctoral advisers are included and not the other TWAS award winners.

What is really good is that it is regularly updated. It would be even better when it was a Labs tool. This might enable real time updates .. <grin> there is always a wish for more and better </grin>
Thanks,
       GerardM

Sunday, June 11, 2017

How #Wikipedia gets into @Africa


This is a map showing how fiber is getting into Africa. The blind spots is where the Internet does not go. The red lines is where the future for the Wikimedia lies.
Thanks,
        GerardM

#Wikidata - Premio Almirante Álvaro Alberto

The Premio Almirante Álvaro Alberto is named after admiral Álvaro Alberto da Mota e Silva. They are both notable for their own reasons.

The award was mentioned in an article on the German Wikipedia for César Camacho. The award was not known to Wikidata and was added. The website of the conferring organisation gives me the impression that it is the "National Council for Scientific and Technological Development" and part of the Brazilian ministry of sciences. When you look for it in Wikidata, it is embarrassing.

The admiral is probably a child of his time. He was military and also a very relevant scientist. As a military man he held the rank of vice admiral and as a scientist he was twice the president of the academy of scientists. He was also very much involved in the Brazilian nuclear program.

When you consider the notability of Brazil, it is astounding how little is known in Wikidata. Many politicians have been added for Brazil; national senators and deputies. 

Brazil is one of the top twenty countries in the world I think, when you consider any and all of the "lesser" countries it is obvious that we know even less. When Wikipedia and by inference Wikidata is about the sum of all knowledge, there is a lot of white space where all our tools have no impact.
Thanks,
     GerardM

Saturday, June 10, 2017

#Wikidata - #diversity of #science - Professor Govind Swarup

Professor Swarup received the TWAS prize. The TWAS Prize is an annual award instituted in 1985 by The World Academy of Sciences to recognise excellence in scientific research in the global South. It follows that when attention is given to scientists like Mr Swarup, it should be easy to link to other scientists, particularly those from the global south.

With twenty two awards Mr Swarup does not disappoint. Many of the awards are from India; one of the conferring organisations, the Indian Science Congress Association, lists 41 awards. Its rule that a scientist can now receive only one award in his lifetime indicates how many scientists are recognised by the ISCA.

Making the TWAS prize winners more complete by adding the awards helps to improve the diversity of scientists. It is not only women who have not been fully recognised it is also the scientists from the global south.
Thanks,
      GerardM

Monday, June 05, 2017

#Wikimedia - Felix Andries Vening Meinesz and the sum of all #knowledge

Mr Vening Meinesz was an important Dutch scientist. There are a few pointers to his relevance; he was a member to several august bodies and he was awarded many awards, awards from several countries.

One of the medals is the "Alexander Agassiz Medal". When you look at the English Wikipedia article, you find no red links while many award winners do not have an article. Otto S. Pettersson for instance is/was known to Wikidata but he was not associated with the award. When you google for another awardee, it is most likely that the 1926 award winner was Jacob Bjerknes, not Wilhelm Bjerknes.. Even sources get it wrong..

In many ways, awards are rather boring. Getting all the information right is a lot of work and when it is to be written in Wikipedia articles, there are too many Wikipedias and awards for all the awards to get an article in all of them.

When awards are fed to Wikipedia articles from Wikidata like it is done for sources, it becomes a lot more manageable. Increasingly Wikidata knows about more awards for more people. What does it take to reach the necessary tipping point? Which Wikipedia will consider this first?
Thanks,
     GerardM

#Wikidata - a #young face for #science


These are members of the "Jonge Academie".  They are Dutch scientists and for this academy to remain young, membership expires after ten years. Similar academies exist in several other countries. Countries like Pakistan and Belgium.

With politicians riding roughshod over scientific facts, rejuvenation of science is important. The notion that scientists are old is all too easy and it is equally easy to dismiss young scientists for a lack of relevance. Check out these Dutch scientists, they are relevant and will be for a long time.
Thanks,
      GerardM

Saturday, June 03, 2017

#Wikipedia - Bias and the King #Faisal International #Prize

The King Faisal International Prize is an international award recognising five distinct areas. They are: Service to Islam, Islamic Studies, Arabic language and literature, Medicine and Science.

When a Wikipedia is to write in a NPOV way about the King Faisal International Prize, all five categories need to be included. Just listing Medicine and Science and having the article as a "science award" ignores the scientific realities in the other three categories or prevents the inclusion of other theological or literature awards.

This is an unfounded bias and remediation is needed in order to achieve NPOV.
Thanks,
     GerardM

Thursday, June 01, 2017

#Wikipedia - another #German #Award


It is funny in its own way that the only award winner that has no "red" or "blue link" on this award page are Wikipedians; German Wikipedians. They won the 2016 GDCh-Preis für Journalisten und Schriftsteller.

Typically we do not give much attention to our achievements and as such the understated attention can be understood. At Wikidata we need to have an item in order to recognise an award winner. As there was a photo of the award ceremony, it was obvious to add it to the item for these award winners as well.
Thanks,
      GerardM

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

#Wikidata - Thomas Scheibel - a German scientist

When Wikidata is filled, it is typically content from the English Wikipedia. This adds to an existing bias. Germany is known for the high quality of its scientist and, Mr Scheibel is one of them.

Recently all the German "science awards" have their data imported in Wikidata. Mr Scheibel is only one of many Germans who's career is now better represented. Four of the awards bestowed on him are now well represented. For recent awardees Wikidata was searched for their presence; something like 25% of these people already existed.

The diversity of Wikidata is better served when more data from the "other" Wikipedias is imported. This is best done by people who know a language and for me Dutch, German and French are obvious targets. I can manage in many other languages but it is easier to make mistakes.

What we need is champions for the data for countries and cultures. They can ensure that we are truly of global relevance. This is one way of ensuring that we will be of relevance in 2030.
Thanks,
      GerardM

Sunday, May 28, 2017

#Wikimedia #GLAM - donation of pictures from #Syria

The Tropenmuseum was asked to make available pictures they have from Syria. Today, it is my pleasure to inform you about a donation by the "Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen,

At the time we celebrated the Erasmus Prize and, at the time we worried about Bassel Khartabil. There is little hope for Bassel but there is hope for us to become informed about Syria.

It is Ramadan, and whether you believe or not, this is an auspicious time to consider the information we have on Syria.

Share the pictures you hold in Commons. As we learn just a little more about the country, its peoples and history we may find them to be just like us.
Thanks,
       GerardM

Friday, May 26, 2017

#Wikidata - Theodor Eschenburg award

Mr Eschenburg was a German journalist. Mr Eschenburg received nine awards, you will not (yet) find this in Wikidata and had one award named after him; the Theodor-Eschenburg-Preis.

All the information about award winners etc is in the article of the conferring organisation; the Deutsche Vereinigung für Politikwissenschaft. That works fine in Wikipedia but the award is surely not an alias for the award in Wikidata.

When I find such issues, the situation is easily by creating a new item.

NB when you look at the Reasonator page for Mr Eschenburg, check out the long line of notable people he is part of..
Thanks,
       GerardM

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

#Wikidata - Chuck Davis and #VIAF


Mr Chuck Davis used to dance, and make people dance. He came first to our attention because he was awarded the Capezio Dance Award and consequently a Wikidata item was created on March 26. His Wikipedia article was linked on 22 May 2017‎ seven minutes after the article first appeared.

The most fabulous thing is that when I checked on May 23, VIAF already had a link to his Wikidata item. It is proof positive that librarians are actively including Wikidata to VIAF. This is the perfect argument to intensify the collaboration with librarians to give readers of Wikipedia and readers of library books the best of our shared sum of all knowledge.
Thanks,
       GerardM

NB Mr Davis died on May 14, 2017.

Monday, May 22, 2017

#Wikimedia - Presenting #authors in #Scholia

In a fairly rapid pace more and more literature and its authors are included in Wikidata. Many publications are used as sources in a Wikipedia and others get included because scientific "facts" supported by sources find their way in Wikidata as well.

Scholia is a tool that indicates where authors fit in (it does more <grin> but this blog post is only about this </grin>).

When multiple publications are known for an author, it shows the distribution of the publications in time, the number of pages (when known), venue statistics, a co-author graph, the topics, associated images, a topics-works matrix, education, employer/affiliation, academic tree, locations, citation statistics, citations by year and finally citing authors. There are two ways of expressing an opinion, it is exhaustive or it is a bit much. Whatever your choice, a tool like Scholia is awesome. Just the thought that Wikidata already has a relevance that justifies a tool like this.
Thanks,
      GerardM

#Wikidata - One size fits all but only size 47 serves me well

When a Wikipedia decides on its policies; in the end it is a "one size fits all". It is the policy wonks who decide and all editors have to abide by it and all readers suffer the consequences. Shoes are made for walking but you only get the best mileage out of shoes when they fit.

When you look at the categories for different Wikipedias they are not the same. Some explicitly exclude the standard information of other Wikipedias. As a result there is no universal standard and this is detrimental to readers who frequent multiple Wikipedias.

At the same time, a Wikipedia community may define its policies and practices as they see fit. This does not mean that they define what individual readers actually prefer only what they get presented. The amount of categories in use and their structure is a good example how editors define information given or withheld from readers. Increasingly the combined information from categories from Wikipedias find their way into Wikidata. When a Wikipedia does not include a category, by using the definitions for a category it is possible to present many if not most of what a category could have been.

The question is not can we show what articles of a Wikipedia would be in a category, the question is if our readers will be supported and if not what arguments we have to disallow readers the structures they personally prefer.
Thanks,
      GerardM


Thursday, May 18, 2017

#Wikidata - Manfred Rudersdorf has no #Wikipedia article

Professor Manfred Rudersdorf (left) has no Wikipedia article. As an historian he is expert on the history of "his" university. In the picture you see the presentation of this book to the rector of the University of Leipzig.

When you inspect the Reasonator page for Mr Rudersdorf, it is remarkably complete. It demonstrates that the inclusion from sources external to the Wikimedia Foundation slowly but surely results in proper information.

When you think of it, finding people like Mr Rudersdorf is obvious. There is only one sum of all knowledge and much of it is connected in one way or another. In fact it is a puzzle and we Wikimedians are all too familiar with puzzles.
Thanks,
     GerardM

Monday, May 15, 2017

#Wikidata - Johanna Mestorf is not a #German

Johanna Mestorf was the first "German" female Professor. She was however not German as Germany did not exist; Mrs Mestorf was from the Kingdom of Prussia. Wikipedia has it that Prussia existed from 1701 to 1918 and Mrs Mestorf died in 1903. In the totality of the German speaking world Mrs Mestdorf was prossibly the first female Professor.

Current nationalities and previous nationalities do not match. Trying to understand historic facts from a modern perspective produce a fake perspective.

Not calling Mrs Mestorf German may be problematic for some. But hey is that not what a neutral point of view is about?
Thanks,
      GerardM

Sunday, May 14, 2017

#Wikipedia - #German #Science #Awards II

Adding awards to scientists makes it obvious that there are many scientists out there. The German Wikipedia knows about some 366 German science awards and, they are not provincial. For many awards any deserving scientist may be recognised.

As you move through the list, German Wikipedia practices are different. Some Wikipedians do not like red links so the award winners are just text. Luckily for me, others still allow for red links and this helps a lot.

The Heinrich-Emanuel-Merck-Preis article sees a lot of red. When an effort is made to connect these red links, Wikidata already knows about many of them. Petra Stephanie Dittrich is one such. Many scientist like her have been included because they are included in AcademiaNet.

When I add missing people, given that this is about German data I prefer to add the labels in German. Mr Jonathan V. Sweedler is of the "University of Illinois" and therefore likely American but that is a detail I frequently leave to others.

There is yet another group of scientists finding their way in Wikidata. They are the authors of papers that are used in citations or to establish fact in Wikidata. Awards are another relevant aspect of these scientists.
Thanks,
     GerardM

Saturday, May 13, 2017

#Wikimedia - #Classifying Saadia Zahidi

Mrs Saadia Zahidi came first to the attention of the Wikimedia movement because she featured in the BBC's 100 Women both in 2013 and 2014.

The BBC is really British but the conclusion that Mrs Zahidi is British is a stretch. She studied at three universities; two in the USA and one in Switzerland. She grew up in Pakistan and is a member of the Executive Committee of the World Economic Forum also in Switzerland.

It is easy to claim relevant people as being part of a group. The urge to classify is obvious but classification is inherently discriminatory. With people this is more or less accepted. For Mrs Zahidi her affiliation with the World Economic Forum is missing but she is at least recognised as an author, It was easy enough to add {{authority control}} in her Wikipedia article.

Classification is a hot button subject at Wikidata. There are those like me that resent this weird notion that subclasses are a good thing to have. There is a lengthy discussion about the validity of subclasses for guns, spacecraft and such stuff. It is so convoluted that you need to be an expert to understand the classes in the first place. What makes this nonsense so infuriating is that it makes Wikidata solidly a one maybe few language resource. The argument that it combines things that are the same can be easily ignored because proper statements and a query provide the same result.

Classification is discriminatory. In the past an explanation was asked and not forthcoming. It is wrong to call Mrs Zahidi British. At best she lived or lives in the UK. It is wrong to have tiny subclasses it largely prevents the use and usefulness of Wikidata.

As a movement we should hold back our urge to classify. Classification is a judgement; we should be more descriptive.
Thanks,
      GerardM

Monday, May 08, 2017

#Wikipedia - #German #Science #Awards

There are many different awards known on the German Wikipedia. The category for Science awards alone includes some 366 entries.

For whatever reason most of the implied data has not been transferred to Wikidata. It is probably because there are no or few categories for people who received an award. This is where Awarder, yet another tool by Magnus can make a difference.

The Aby Warburg Prize for instance included much information and by running the tool missing recipients were added including the date it was awarded. The Adolf Windaus Medal did not know any recipients and it takes as long to add all of them. When you run on data from both the German and the English Wikipedia, the result is even better as it was for the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy Award.

To complete the information, there is the "conferred by" and the "named after" property to consider as well as looking for people the Wikipedia does not know. You then find the missing links and people known on another Wiki project. It is easy to add new items for the "red links".

The Albrecht-Ludwig-Berblinger-Preis is a redirect. There are no links in the article for the people who were awarded an award. Adding an item for the award is easy adding at least one recipient is easy as well. This is where Awarder does not help.

The Augsburger Wissenschaftspreis für Interkulturelle Studien award information is in two parts. The first part with data until 2007 can be read by the Awarder. The second part includes a more complex table and cannot be read. In the past the Linked Items tool did the job. It did not include all the associated dates but it did produce a list of all the Wikilinks. They could be processed by PetScan.

Adding information like this from the German Wikipedia takes some effort. In this way we improve the global reach of Wikidata. For awards like the August-Lösch-Ehrenring there is the occasionally new information in the sources for the award. At some stage bots will pick up new information added in Wikidata to make suggestions to Wikipedia editors.

As a rule the quality of Wikipedia articles like this is good and it is worth the effort to promote science.
Thanks,
      GerardM

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Teaching #Wikipedia using local #news

One of the functions of Wikipedia is providing a background and, to understand what is in the news, you need a lot of background. This is one of the first things to overcome when children start reading the news.

When newspapers are introduced in the class, a first exercise is to just read and have the children select a few articles that are of interest to them. As a follow up they analyse the text for concepts that you have to know about to understand the article. They make lists for the selected articles.

On another day they select new articles, make similar lists but are asked if there is an overlap with other lists. They are asked to write a few lines for all the concepts in such a way that there is enough to understand the article coming from every original news article.

This is when Wikipedia is introduced. The children is shown that it provides basic and neutral information that help them understand, for instance, the news. Their next challenge is read Wikipedia and see how its articles help understand the news. When subjects are missing, they make a list.

The last thing to do is write stubs for missing Wikipedia articles. What then may follow is the standard course ware for writing Wikipedia articles. The objective for this approach is that it helps children to better understand the news; understand that news is a continuum. The news is compact and assumes basic knowledge and such information can be found in Wikipedia.
Thanks,
       GerardM

#Wikidata - Steven E. Petersen

Some say that Wikidata is only there to support Wikipedia. Maybe. Wikidata includes information about Mr Steven E. Petersen. The English Wikipedia has three red links for the Grawemeyer Award for recipients in the field of Psychology.

Mr Petersen was already known to Wikidata as the author of four publications. Some will argue that publications are the bread and butter of Wikipedia and they are.

The sum of all knowledge is one whole and as such all Wikimedia projects together are tools that bring all the information, all the knowledge to everyone. All do it in their own way and as such Wikidata does support Wikipedia and it supports Wikipedia among all the other things it is useful for.
Thanks,
      GerardM

Thursday, May 04, 2017

#Wikidata - Award for Scientific Freedom and Responsibility

Mrs Elizabeth Loftus won the Grawemeyer Award in 2005. When you read her Wikipedia article, she has been celebrated frequently for her work.  One way to consider the relevance of people is in the similarities people people share with others and Mrs Loftus shares many awards with many scientists.

As we all stand up for science, several of the awards celebrate science and taking a position that is not popular with the powers that be. One such award is the Award for Scientific Freedom and Responsibility it includes Mrs Jean Maria Arrigo and in my opinion her Wikipedia article does not do justice to the cause that got her this award. Often the true heroes of science do not get the recognition they deserve.

Not everyone goes out to march for Science. I am not in the USA and I do sympathise with this cause. What Wikimedians can do for science is document science, scientists and the scientific process and use scientific practices to ensure that Wikipedia does not carry the false flags some !@#$ insist on.
Thanks,
      GerardM

Sunday, April 30, 2017

#Wikidata and #Libraries - RAMP and #WorldCat identifiers


There are books and there are authors. Libraries are first and foremost in the book business. They register their books because otherwise they do not know what they have. Authors are important but they are secondary. Particularly the not so well known authors, authors with one book do not always get the full treatment. There is a registration, sort of, and it is waiting in the wings to be fully registered.

Libraries and librarians are Wikimedia's friends. A presentation from the IUPUI University Library shows how their wish for good documentation works for them. They release the rights to their "finding aids" and add missing "authority records" for people and companies. They then create Wikipedia articles based on their "finding aids" and add Wikidata records. They have it down to an art so much so that their tool, RAMP (Remixing Archival Metadata Project) lives as a web-based tool on WMFLabs. This invites any librarian anywhere to join the fun.

One of the articles is about Hugh Ned Brown. The article is good and the Wikidata is quite good as well. RAMP is a tool for librarians. It is wonderful and if there is one question left, it is how Wikimedians can contact librarians like the ones at IUPUI to fix the issues we find at our end.
Thanks,
      GerardM