Monday, March 13, 2017

#Wikidata #quality - is it actionable?

T. Geronimo Johnson
The Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence is a great example to explain about Wikidata quality. The item is linked to a Wikipedia article and it has several red links. For all the red links a Wikidata item has been created and, the winner for 2015 and 2016 are only known to Wikidata.

The Wikipedia article for the 2016 winner knows about the award. The article mentions the Sallie Bingham Award, an award that Wikidata does not (yet) know about. Wikidata knows about the VIAF registration for the winner; this is relevant because it means that the international libraries know about this author. The Wikipedia article mentions several universities that were attended; including them in Wikidata is easy and obvious. Doing so improves quality for both the author and for the universities involved. The quality of Wikidata is equal or better than Wikipedia when it knows about the same or more articles than a Wikipedia category does.

Several of the winners including T. Geronimo Johnson, the 2015 winner, are "red links". The minimum needed for Wikidata is to know that he is male and, the winner of the award. With a little bit of effort his VIAF identifier can be found. Consequently we know that the T. stands for Tyrone. Adding the VIAF identifier will show the Wikidata identifier in a months time on the VIAF website and, it allows for quality checks in Wikidata.

Quality for Wikidata is different from quality for Wikipedia. It is less in traditional sources and it is more in connecting to sources like VIAF. When a Wikipedia, a Wikidata and sources like VIAF are in agreement a fact is verifiable and becomes more immune to "alternative facts".

When editing Wikidata quality is in completeness, in combining information from multiple sources, in making Mr Johnson the 2015 winner by adding a qualifier. It starts however with making an effort.

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