Thursday, May 13, 2021

Ponderings on a book: Flammable Australia The Fire Regimes and Biodiversity of a Continent

Books are often used as a reference in a scientific publication. As I often add "citations" to individual papers, I find that books are a headache. Wikidata only "knows" about this book through two book reviews. When you google the book there are two versions of the book. Open Library "knows" about both versions but has no readable version. What I need is a reference to only one chapter of the book.

The first thing I did was changed the reviews into reviews, add the book and linked the reviews to the book. Open Library knows about two versions of the book. I linked both versions to the same author and linked the 2001 version to Wikidata. Finally I added the chapter in a haphazard way to the paper I am working on.

It is unlikely that I will ever read the book and it is very likely that others will frown on the way I added the book to Wikidata. However, for me "level 0 of data quality" applies; with data available particularly linked data, it is much easier to find fault and improve on what is there. I know that a bot will format the ISBN-10 entry I included.

The one reason why I add books is because books linked to OpenLibrary may be read by a wider public. Obviously not all books are available at this time, but the cumulative effect of adding all the books, all these links enrich the ability to read, to share in the sum of available knowledge.

Thanks, GerardM

Sunday, May 09, 2021

The @Wikimedia's #endowment aim is to reduce risk.

When you assess risk, when the purpose of the Wikimedia's endowment is to ensure the future operation of Wikipedia and probably other projects like Commons as well, money is not the only risk to consider.

The current government of the USA operates in a way that poses no or little thread to the continued operation of the WMF. However, the USA is a two party system and the same can not be said when the Republican Party is to return to power. 

All the servers that run the Wikimedia projects are currently in the United States. With servers able to run the full stack of Wikimedia projects elsewhere, two objectives are served. 

  • up to date data becomes closer to the readers close to the new servers
  • the risk of an USA that turns on the Wikimedia Foundation is mitigated
The WMF does not need to use the endowment to make this happen. Given its current finances, it should be an operational decision.
Thanks,
        GerardM

Sunday, May 02, 2021

Wikipedia is a "Work in Progress"

In many ways Wikipedia reflects the world as both are ever evolving. Once an article is finished for the moment, it in effect becomes a time capsule comprised of text, images and references. All these sleeping beauties wait for an update that comes once the realisation sets in that the article is behind the times. With 6,290,486 articles, it is obvious that there is a Bell curve of articles ranging from "up to date" to "out of date". 

So far the "Watch list" has been reactive. There are a few areas that can indicate that an article needs attention because it may be out of date. Wikipedia articles have references, when a reference is a "scholarly article", it is normal when an article will be cited by future articles. These publication can strengthen or weaken the assertions made in a Wikipedia article.

In Wikidata there is a bot that continuously updates "scholarly articles" with its citations. When one of these articles is used as a reference in Wikipedia, it merits attention. This can be reflected both on a Watch list and on the article itself.

Having the latest literature available will help settling disputes among editors as well.
Thanks,
      GerardM

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

How to find pictures of a თახვი (it means beaver) or a Wisent? Please help!!

Wikimedia Commons is the biggest repository of freely licensed media files. It serves a global multi lingual community editing Wikipedia and it has the ambition to serve students as well. When you live in Georgia and you don't speak English, you search for a "თახვი" and this picture is all that you find.

There is a tool for that. Hay's sdsearch does a good job when its interface is localised. Sadly, no such luck for Georgian. Wikimedia produced a tool as well; Special:MediaSearch does a good job. You have to know that the tool exists and when you do, you find that for Dutch it does not work at all

It is suggested that you can change the preferences for best result. I fail at getting the results that Special:MediaSearch used to provide. There is no documentation.. Please Help!!

Thanks, GerardM

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Scholarly articles in @Wikidata and its link with #Fatcat

 "Dam-site selection by beavers in an eastern Oregon basin" is a scholarly paper. It has a DOI that is not functional, it is known to Researchgate and consequently we can find a PDF of the paper. 

This paper is cited by a paper I have an interest in. I am adding its references into Wikidata (this is its Scholia) and I added the "Dam-site selection" paper to make a complete reference.  The result is something like this.

The PDF of the paper is available for download and as is to be expected, the Way Back machine of the Internet Archive has a copy as well for the URL of the download page. And then there is Internet Archive's Fatcat

"Fatcat is a versioned, publicly-editable catalog of research publications: journal articles, conference proceedings, pre-prints, blog posts, and so forth. The goal is to improve the state of preservation and access to these works by providing a manifest of full-text content versions and locations."

Wikidata is used as a source of Fatcat and as I include an additional paper, it will at some stage be picked up by Fatcat. If there is one thing to wish for, it is a function where entering a Wikidata Qid will trigger Fatcat to update its data based on the Wikidata info. If I can have two more wishes, one would be an icon for Fatcat. The second would be a Fatcat identifier making it easy to link from Wikidata to Fatcat.
Thanks,
        GerardM

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Wikicite: "No #rewilding in Wales" but why or why not?

No rewilding with a background of bracken

There is rewilding practice, there is rewilding science and there is rewilding controversy. Never mind how you define rewilding, it has been practices for a long time and rewilding practitioners want scientists to study the efficacy of their work. 

There are many papers that are about rewilding or touch on rewilding and as I am fascinated by rewilding, it is all too easy to concentrate on the papers and people that I like. So I am adding all the cited papers for "Abandoning or Reimagining a Cultural Heartland? Understanding and Responding to Rewilding Conflicts in Wales - the Case of the Cambrian Wildwood". The full text is available only as a PDF and as a consequence I have to google for every citation not yet in Wikidata. The result is a wealth of additional papers (they have a DOI), and new books etc have a mention on the Wikidata item.

As more papers on conservation, rewilding and its politics find their way in Wikidata, not only the Scholia for that paper evolves all the papers it touches have at least one "citing paper". The version of the tool that I use, SourceMD, is the first iteration of a tool that in a later iteration looked up authors from ORCiD ... Sadly no longer available. It has me use the author disambiguator to replace author strings with references to authors expanding the Scholia representations for authors and papers even more.

When you find scholarly papers interesting and you know what papers it cites, it should provide a mix op opinions balanced to make what is the point of the paper. At that it is comparable to a NPOV article in a Wikipedia. One provides original research and the other reflects on the available research.

What I do is in a wiki way.. When another paper takes my attention away, I leave a paper to eventually return to it. It is one reason why I work sequentially from top to bottom and add everything.

Thanks, GerardM

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Wikicite from the ground up: attending a symposium on "rewilding"

 

Professor Dr Liesbeth Bakker has as a role to establish the science behind the rewilding practice. Professor Bakker has been appointed as the Special Professor of Rewilding Ecology at Wageningen UR in April 2020. Because of the Corona pandemic, her maiden speech is for now replaced with a one time symposium on the subject. Anyone can attend, it is wildly popular and you can attend to this one day event as well

Rewilding is being practices on a large scale, it did not happen overnight, there is a large amount of scholarly work that will be the basis of what Professor Bakker will consider in her own research.

What I can do for the occasion is make a Scholia for the conference? I can add more citations to papers, I can attribute papers to scholars. The bottom line for citations is that they are an invite to read more papers, to get to a better understanding of what is considered. Providing a better understanding of rewilding is the role Professor Bakker. When the public is to understand subjects like rewilding, ecology Wikipedia is the first place people go to. Its references can now link to Wikidata but from there it is still a huge step to a Scholia for a paper and better understanding of a paper.

When the subject matter of rewilding is to be more inclusively covered in Wikidata, it follows that the ecology of Wikidata has to play its role. It consists of items, properties and qualifiers. It has its data with  bots and users all iterating on. Applying this ecology for a purpose is a challenge.

As a paper like "Wild Steps in a semi-wild setting? Habitat selection and behavior of European bison reintroduced to an enclosure in an anthropogenic landscape" has no references in Wikidata, there is not much in its Scholia. Compare that to this paper where references exist to all the cited papers. Wikidata provides a rabbit hole that can help bring context to subjects, authors and papers. What to do for rewilding is very much a collective challenge.

Thanks, GerardM