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 With 6,290,486 articles, it is obvious that there is a Bell curve of articles ranging from "up to date" to "out of date".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 There are a few areas that can indicate that an article needs attention because it may be out of date.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.

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.

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

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Wikicite from the ground up: understanding wildfires

The world has to deal with climate change and one of its effects is the severity of wildfires. One paper on the subject is "Can trophic rewilding reduce the impact of fire in a more flammable world?" It is only one paper, there are others. It caught my attention after watching YouTube about goats and blogging about rewilding..

When I found the paper, it did not have any "cites work" statements. In the PDF of the paper, references to 91 other works can be found. Text in a PDF is problematic; you may scrape the titles and search for a match but you won't find them in Wikidata even when they are there. This is because of missing spaces and special characters that are different in Wikidata. It has been a lot of work finding and linking many of the citations. 

The effect of these references on the Scholia for the paper is staggering. It demonstrates the power of open data; authors of the cited papers are shown, there is an accumulation of the papers they have in common. The associated subjects are shown and have their own weight. 

The papers informs that there are 91 cited papers, at this time only 54 papers have been linked. All of them have a title, a DOI. The Scholia presentation is the best we have for the paper but it is as a consequence incomplete. Why not have a "Cites work string"? Combined with attributes like "series ordinal" and "DOI" even "Main subject" it completes missing information for the paper. Bots can pick up on this, check Wikidata for the DOI, add the paper when we do not have it and even replace the string when it is with the process of checking and importing papers. 

When people take the effort of understanding a subject like "wildfires" and enrich important papers, the power of their work followed by the work done by bots opens up scholarly papers even more to the people who care to learn from the scholarly papers themselves.

Thanks, GerardM

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Wikicite from the ground up: a call to action

Many of the world's ecological systems are under thread. All kinds of reasons may be given and there is an interplay between the many causes that affect a downward spiral. Similar patterns can be found in many places and when these patterns are broken up, an ecological restoration may be one of the consequences.

I was called stupid when I said that water management is essential and suggested that beavers in California could do a lot of good. Beavers have been extinct in California for over 100 years, the many gullies in a watershed rush water straight to sea. Consequently the water table is not restored resulting is an increase in the risk of fires. So I am stupid, but at least I read some papers lately.

I follow the Mulloon Institute on Twitter, they have been restoring the watershed of the Mulloon Creek, this Australian project has been running for more than 10 years and apart from all the other benefits it restored profits to farmers by 60%. To underpin their results, they perform scientific research with the aim of convincing incredulous farmers and government to consider alternatives. This project is recognised by the United Nations as a research project. 

One of the papers they produced is about a possible reintroduction of the Green and Golden Bell Frog in the Mulloon catchment. I understand this paper to be about  an indicator species. From a scientific point of view, there are no issues, the paper is richly referenced and when you want to read scientific papers about the Green and Golden Bell Frog, check out its Scholia..

The problem is that like so many papers, it does not have a DOI and the best insurance for it being available in the future is the "Wayback Machine". It was not known there and it is now.. When papers are to be known to the general public, adding a paper like this to Wikidata is a next step

More can be done; for instance adding the references in the paper to the Wikidata item. Maybe there is an update about an introduction of the Green and Golden Bell Frog in the Mulloon Creek, who knows.. I did not find it.

Thanks, GerardM