Wednesday, November 03, 2021

Sabina Nowak a Polish scientist, an expert on European wolves

Dr Nowak has a Wikipedia article in several languages. Her notability is obvious because wolves is a very hot topic in many European countries. When people have opinions about wolves, it is obvious that in a European context you cannot dismiss the research of Dr Nowak over the years. 

When the notability and the quality of a Wikipedia article is assessed, it is obvious that an encyclopedic article is not best served with a list of papers Dr Nowak contributed to; the Scholia template provides more in depth information. However, Scholia only functions when the papers are known and attributed.

In Wikidata, there were two items that needed to be merged. Three papers were linked, an additional nine could be attributed. Additional identifiers were added, of particular significance is Google Scholar as it knows many if not most of the papers of a scientist. 

Adding missing papers is easy; you search with a DOI for the paper and when Wikidata does not know it, it is suggested to add it using the quickstatements tool. The best bit is that when CrosRef knows the ORCiD identifier for an author, it will either identify the author or will add the ORCiD identifier as a qualifier. 

Adding the Scholia template to any Wikipedia article about published scholars makes sense; the data is a "work in progress". It changes as more papers and co-authors become known. It is also an invitation to our communities and scientists to improve both the Wikipedia article and the data represented in the Scholias for any scientist.

Thanks, GerardM 

Saturday, October 09, 2021

Herbivory and fire. Automate citations to display them in @WDscholia

When what is there does not easily burn, a fire will be not that damaging. In a forest, a prairie particularly those with wild grazers and browsers, the damage by a wild fire is substantially less. Science describes this effect and science describes the effect of beavers who have a similar beneficial effect.

For the paper "Effects of large herbivores on fire regimes and wildfire mitigation" Wikidata has an item, it links to its eight authors but there are no citations. Like any quality article there are plenty of references on the website for the article but we do not know them yet in Wikidata. There is a bot that goes around and adds citations in its own sweet time but when volunteers like me take an interest, it would be great to tool up for attention for a single paper.

What it would look like is easy; it would show the papers that are known to be citations and enable a one click solution to add them as a citation. Then it would show the papers not known to Wikidata but with a DOI. They can be added one at a time. What is left is the stuff that is cited but takes more effort to annotate. 

The benefits are obvious; science connects what is said before to what is said in a paper and eventually it will be linked to those citing a paper. As more papers from more authors get this royal treatment, Scholia as a tool will become even more relevant for those who care about the references in related Wikipedia articles; its references are referenced.

It is easy to suggest that it should not be hard to implement; there is a bot and it only needs to function for only one paper in stead of serially. It then has to find its way as a tool in Scholia and that opens up a box of user interface related issues. Well worth it (I think) but it then we also need to get the message out that Scholia is very much an active as well as a passive tool.

Thanks, GerardM

Friday, August 13, 2021

You are a #scientist and, you want your papers to be read

People have to know that there is something new out there and Amy D. Willes gets it, she tweeted the news and illustrated it with gorgeous cover art. On Twitter I follow Jens Svenning, he retweeted the news from Amy and it is why there is now a Scholia for the paper.

When you want your paper to be read, you receive optimal results when your paper is used as a reference in Wikipedia. Current Wikipedia references have their references and when people want to review an article, it is only the later papers that provide new insights.

So what can you do for yourself and your papers:
  • Check if your papers or you as a scientist are known
    • a paper has a DOI
    • you have an ORCiD, a Google Scholar et al identifier.. your Twitter id is appreciated
  • You can check your profile using Scholia and you can add papers using Scholia
    • It will identify co-authors with an ORCiD identifier when they are known on the publication at Crossref
Adding yourself or any other scientist is a start; when there is a Wikipedia article, it is great to add a {{Scholia}} as a reference particularly as it will get updated from new papers, cited papers, new papers or because of co-authors that become known.

Obviously a well developed Scholia is a stellar argument to support the notability when a new Wikipedia article for a scientists is considered.

PS you can also add a "main subject" to a paper for instance "woolly mammoth".. 

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Making Wikicite a success by putting the Wikipedia editor first

Wikicite as a project has come to an end after a five year run. Much has been achieved (read the article). One great follow up idea is to harvest all the references of all the other Wikipedias and have all this data together so that we can analyse our quality even better.

All the data, all the Wikicite activities have been valued; people have been thanked, accomplishments announced and it is now left open how to move on. The best way to move forward is to bring a public to the data and add value. 

Every Wikipedia article has its references and we put Wikipedia editors and readers first when we show all the known references and its relations with older and newer publications. One button that provides the latest information will create buy in, makes it more interesting. It links to papers, to authors and requested updates are not part of a serial but of a targeted process.

A similar service we can provide for the authors of scholarly works. They will find in Wikidata what we know about them, identifiers of VIAF, ORCiD, Google Scholar, ResearchGate, Twitter even Scopus. They can improve the information on their publications they can add identifiers, references to other publications, co-authors, subjects and see it improve the associated Scholia representations. What we can do for them is regularly harvest information and update Wikidata with the new or altered information.

When we truly build relationships, it is no longer essential that everything should be on Wikimedia servers. Why have a same project at the Internet Archive and at the Wikimedia Foundation? Why not share the work load. When we put our Wikipedia editors first, we provide them with the best information on literature, publications we have on offer. Most references are in the WaybackMachine anyway, we already rely on this so why not collaborate and share both the effort and the cost?

When we truly care about sharing the sum of all knowledge, it is in the eating that we find the proof, not in the dogma.

Thanks, GerardM

Monday, July 05, 2021

The pain that is in maintaining lists of African governmental politicians

At the French Wikipedia, there is a category with 16 Finance ministers of Morocco. A category is an unsorted list and the French category contains a few more entries than the English category. Both Wikipedias do not have a (sorted) list.

I maintain list of African heads of state and African governmental ministers, so this is just a next list to prepare. The workflow is as follows: I create an item for a position, on the talk page I add a template that contains the data and pointers to what is missing. Typically such information can be found on a Wikipedia list, this time I have to rely on templates on Wikipedia articles.. All my lists are "works in progress" and are on my watch list.

I have added copies of the Listeria lists to many Wikipedias. The texts are in English, the data is shown in the local language. It being in English is a reason to refuse these lists in several communities.

The Listeria functionality is replaced by Wikimedia Foundation maintained software. All the list definitions and expressions exist in one place. The data is shown in a language that can be selected. When a list changes, it is reflected on watch lists. You can watch for all data and possibly for data and labels in "your" language. A project can opt in to enable the use of these lists when they don't, functionality is available to compare a list with the centrally maintained list.

Thanks, GerardM 

Sunday, July 04, 2021

The pain that is in maintaining the same list 300 times

As you may know, the board of the Wikimedia Foundation recently changed its composition. The President of the board resigned. This was easily reflected in English. Tonight there is a meeting of candidate board members for the Middle East and North Africa.

Obviously the information in Arabic needs to be correct and at this time it is not. There are many more languages supported by Wikimedia in the Middle East and North Africa and all of them could have information about the board and what it stands for. This inspired me to come up with the following user story..
An administrative person of the Wikimedia Foundation is tasked with maintaining  specific lists relevant to the movement. The data is maintained at Wikidata and lists that exist potentially in all Wikimedia languages, some 300, are updated with software maintained by the Wikimedia Foundation. Each WMF list is on a watch list; when changes occur in the list, quality is centrally maintained.

Thanks, GerardM 

Saturday, July 03, 2021

Two "user stories" for Nigeria

I spoke with my Nigerian friend Olatunde Olalekan Isaac on Facebook about growing more interest for Wikimedia content in Nigeria. I will not bore you with a verbatim discussion we had. Bringing you two user stories is much more satisfying.

Nigerian kids looking for pictures of a fireman goto their Wikipedia and search for an "onye oku oku". The search engine knows from where the request comes and shows the pictures of Nigerian firemen first.

The pictures are from Commons, in the meta data of the picture it says where the photo was taken. Happy kids, happy teachers and happy Nigerian Wikimedians because this brings more attention for the projects they care for.

At first it is an experiment that brings more traffic in their language. They then launch a photo contest in Nigeria.

People find pictures in Nigerian languages and to increase the choice of pictures to choose from, a photo contest is launched of everyday Nigerian objects, traffic signs, shops of all kinds, professionals, "be bold and show us your Nigeria" is the mantra. People find more pictures about Nigeria and even after the contest people continue to increase the selection people use for an illustration.

The Wikimedia Foundation has another challenge, there are copycats all over the world and the public use of Commons increases by 200% in a few months time.

Thanks,  GerardM 

The promise of things to come that is in @Wikicite

Wikicite is for me the biggest disappointment of all the Wikimedia projects. A disappointment not because it is not worthwhile, not because it did not bring us insights about what happens in English Wikipedia but because all the papers, conferences and data did not result in a transformation into active user stories. Closest comes Scholia where it identifies Wikipedia articles where a scholarly paper is used as a reference. 

Wikicite conferences have come and gone. They brought the best and brightest minds together discussing all kinds of ideas, all kinds of research. Once the papers were presented, the assertions discussed and analysed, when the conference was done they went home. From what I can observe in Wikimedia land, not much has changed.

Wikimedia Foundation has a real good friend in the Internet Archive. It already does much of what Wikicite could do. It archives everything that is used as a reference. When a reference goes dark, it links the reference to the backup. In FatCat it has information on scholarly papers and many of the papers, in Open Library it has information on books and many of the books. Many bots originating from the IA run on many Wikimedia projects. 

When it is up to me, I would have Wikicite as a joint project of the Internet Archive and the Wikimedia Foundation. A joint project will be based on the existing reality that is in the Internet Archive. Wikicite and Wikimedia projects bring it additional data, a public and additional user stories. Funding from the Wikimedia Foundation enables the development that such a synergy brings.

Data for all the citation in English Wikipedia linked to scholarly papers was available. We know in Wikidata, in FatCat, in Orcid, in Scopus how to disambiguate authors. When all this data gets integrated, a user story mentioned in a previous blog post is not fancy and easily becomes best practice. Thanks to collaboration with the Internet Archive there is less duplication of effort and the sum of the shared knowledge we hold is so much bigger; we can provide an even better service to our public.