Sunday, February 26, 2017

#Wikidata - John Dalrymple Governor of British Mauritius

There is a list that has a John Dalrymple as Governor of British Mauritius. There are enough John Dalrymples to allow for a disambiguation page.

When there are multiple people with the same name, it is important to exclude the ones that do not fit. A date of birth and death is relevant. The time of having been governor is from 10 December 1818 to 6 February 1819 and that excludes most of them.

There is only one likely candidate; the eight earl of Stair. There is no source but hey, it is at least likely; one source describes the governor as a general and, this one certainly was one. I am however not sure.

There is a Listeria list of British Governors. When someone knows better, he can adapt Wikidata and everywhere where the list is used things will improve.

#Wikidata - Cornelius Alfred Moloney

Mr Moloney was one of the Governors-in-Chief of the Windward Islands.  As a colonial administrator for the British his tours of duty included work in Africa and in South America.

As part of his endeavours, he had an interest in forestry and even wrote a book about it. This resulted in him being known in the IPNI database of authors. All of these authors had been added so it was just a matter of merging the two items for Mr Moloney.

When you read the article on Mr Moloney, it does not mention his publication but it does mention that during his tenure at the Windward Islands there were riots because of the cost of water.

Every historic event does not happen in a vacuum. Pertinent information becomes more and more available and this can be provided either in Wikipedia or in Wikidata.  For the Windward Islands it would be that it is a "British Colony" with as its Governor in Chief Mr Molloney and possibly a map to make it clear what is included.

One problem with understanding many facts is that they are better understood when a context is known. As we gain more data it becomes feasible to provide it.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

#Wikidata - Jamaica and William O'Brien, 2nd Earl of Inchiquin

William O'Brien, the second Earl of Inchiquin is an interesting person. When you consider what Wikidata knew about him, much of it is missing. No members of the Irish Privy council were known, and he was not noted as being a governor of Jamaica. It is not known that a ransom was paid by the English parliament to the Turks.

When you read the Wikipedia article, It is mentioned in one sentence that he was the first governor of Jamaica but that is all there is. There is not much more except that he died in Jamaica in 1692 and that he was Vice-Admiral of the Caribbean Seas.

When you consider the bias in all this, it is found in the lack of attention for countries like Jamaica. Their history is in the people who were responsible for what is their country. When you read about the family of the earl, you may note that he married women of substance and obviously they are notable enough for inclusion in Wikidata. What is not known is if his wife accompanied him to Jamaica..

Much of the source material on the history of countries like Jamaica can be found in British archives and museums. Improving on the articles on people like Mr O'Brien and sharing this information widely will make Wikipedia more useful outside of its immediate and current interest.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

#Wikidata - The "first" president of Haiti

When people express a strong interest for a subject; when there is a chance that this subject is finally getting the attention it deserves, it is a good moment to assist, particularly when it is just a matter of concentrating on what you do anyway.

So Haiti has presently my attention. I have added the known members of the Chamber of Deputies all six of them, I have added the succession on most of the Presidents of Haiti. The problem here is that I do not know enough to make sense out of the early rulers and I will the known members of the Senate.

When I am done with this, I hope to get a list of the present members of the Chamber of Deputies. It is easy enough to include them in Wikidata and this may be followed up by generating lists for use in any Wikipedia that will take it.

Lists like this are wonderful because they provide early structure. When someone adds an article, it is already linked in many places in that Wikipedia and this will make for meaningful early linking in a project. Lists of award winners, lists of politicians for a party or an office. It is all possible when you think in potential particularly when the objective is to share in the sum of all knowledge.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

#USA - The Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights

Just to confuse you; there are two awards by that name. This is about the award that was established in 1998 by the President of the United States Bill Clinton, honouring outstanding American promoters of rights in the United States. In 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton revived the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights and presented the award on behalf of President Obama.

For whatever reason, this award was not very much on the radar of Wikipedians because like with so many awards, it was not well maintained. There are only people for 2010 and there is one person, and he should be on the list for the "other" award. That award is conferred by "Jobs with Justice".

What happened after 2010? Several more years of a United States with President Obama and now, four weeks in the reign of the present incumbent, the sources for the award are gone. They were at a US Government website. Luckily the disappearance of Internet Sources is a well known phenomena, Wikipedians know how to deal with them. The question is if this award is deemed notable enough and there is the rub. It is not obvious what went missing and when the Wikipedia article is not complete, the removal of the data on the web serves its purpose.

Friday, February 17, 2017

#Sources: the Charles S. Johnson Award

Awards honour both the recipients, the organisation that confers it and often the person the award is named for. The Charles S. Johnson Award is named after Charles S. Johnson. He is notable; has his own Wikipedia articles. The organisation that confers it is notable; the Southern Sociological Society has its own Wikipedia article.

The awardees, well that is a problem because there is only a partial list of people who received the award. There are many gaps in the list and sources are available to indicate why they think someone received the award.

The Wikimedia blog has a post that mentions Lillian Smith. It mentions that she gave an acceptance speech at Fisk University in 1966. But there is no source for it. This does not mean that she did not receive the award, it just means that there is no source in the article.

When sources are provided to the Sociological Society, Mrs Smith will be connected to a list of other remarkable people. All notable in their own way. It is just a matter of connecting the dots.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

#Wikidata - Who is Ann Dale

Ann Dale won the Molson Prize in 2013. In a rare twist, the English Wikipedia does not list the winners of this award but other Wikipedias do. It was therefore easy to import the list from the German Wikipedia into Wikidata.

As there is a link to the website of the award, it was easy to include the more recent winners of the award. Most of the recent winners already had a Wikipedia article so it was easy to add them.

When you disambiguate for Ann Dale using Reasonator, there was a Ann Marie Dale. There was not much known for her except for her publications. Given that it was possible to find out that she worked for the Washington University in St. Louis, it was a miss. The information on the Molson Prize website provided the answer; it was a different Mrs Ann Dale.

The research by Mrs Dale is on governance, innovation and community vitality and is designed to provide useful knowledge to Canadian decision-makers. There might be something in her work that is of interest to the Wikimedia Foundation as well.

NB Mrs Ann Dale is now registered in Wikidata. More information is left to other interested souls.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

#Wikidata - recognition matters

It is not the first time that this blog features Raif Badawi. ├Źn 2015 he was awarded the Sakharov Prize and as the poster has it "CENSORED. JAILED. FLOGGED. BUT NOT FORGOTTEN."

He is not forgotten. In 2017 he received the Monismanien Prize. Raif was a blogger, what he had to say got him into trouble. Amnesty International recognises him as a prisoner of conscience.

It is important to register the recognition given to a few. They represent so many more people who are equally deserving. As we recognise awards, we recognise people and associate them with people that have been recognised in a similar way. It does not matter what for; it is how it works.

When recognition is given, it means something. Raif is recognised as a blogger.. others are reporters, doctors or Wikimedians.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

#Wikidata - Anne Ridley and #AcademiaNet

AcademiaNet is a database of excellent female scientists. It has identifiers for all of them and thanks to the excellent Mix'n'Match tool by Magnus many of these notable scientists are now part of Wikidata.

Anne Ridley is one of them. What AcademiaNet provides is much more information. It would be good when we confirm information using the AcademiaNet database and when they are so inclined, we could use their information to populate information about these notable women, making it even easier to write articles about them in Wikipedia.

Mrs Ridley is the first winner of the Hooke medal. She did receive additional awards..

Sunday, February 12, 2017

#Wikimedia Foundation and #Energy

The energy use of the Wikimedia Foundation makes the WMF a dirty supplier of data. The WMF position is that it has no data centre of its own and relies on the energy provided by the hosting company.

When you look at energy use in relation to Wikipedia, there are two components. There is supplying the data and there is consuming the data. The WMF has a problem in one and it has two problems that it can solve.

The WMF is making a war chest that should enable it to function in times when the current funding effort proves to be problematic; they are investing for a rainy day. One other problem for the WMF is that many people do not use Wikipedia and one of the reasons why is a lack of energy. The purpose of what the WMF does is share the sum of all knowledge..

We could invest in the generation of energy near the location where our servers are but we could also invest in increasing our reach and invest in green energy at the same time. When we provide clean energy and target schools they will still have to pay us back including some profit.

When the total sum of generated energy is at least the amount of energy used by our servers, we provide the argument why we are not a dirty data provider. More importantly we give a boost to a world that uses green energy and by focusing where it matters most, we ensure no new dirty energy is used.

There probably are existing funds that provide such investments. When the WMF adds its weight to them and promotes it as an open investment project, many people are likely to invest in this as well making the effort mushroom.

#Wikimedia language committee and #trust

The Wikimedia language committee was originally created to stem the flow of new projects that just did not work. At the end of a lengthy process a specialist is sought to certify that the language used is indeed the language a new Wikipedia is about.

Rehmat Aziz Chitrali is such a specialist for the Khowar language. When you read one of the Wikipedia articles about him, there are seventeen articles, it is obvious that he is more than qualified for the task.

With so many articles, it is obvious that awards he received may have well been documented in some but not in other languages. For Wikidata several but not all awards were added to do some justice.

When the news is in that the Khowar incubator is indeed in Khowar, we will soon have a new Wikipedia.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

#Wikidata - The Rumford Medal

The Rumford Medal is a prestigious award. It has been awarded to European scientists from 1800. The first recipient was Lord Rumsford himself.

The best information on the award winners was the Portuguese Wikipedia article. For once the data in the English article was not really usable because the names where combined in a template. A template that has been deprecated.

The Portuguese Wikipedia includes more articles so several Wikidata items only have articles in Portuguese. The 2016 awardee only has an English article and it does not mention that Mr Ortwin Hess received any awards at all. The article suggest that the award was last awarded in 2014...

When you add information from Wikipedia, it is important to inspect the data. When everything goes as planned, the items for the winners include that they received at least one award. Someone else may append the data for instance the date when people received their award.

The #Labor hall of Honour

When you add awards for one person, you will find other awards that are of interest. The Department of Labor's Hall of Honor is one such. It is a monument to honor Americans who have made a positive contribution to how people in the United States work and live.

Regularly new people are included. For some awards there are many red links. This time there was only one. Mark Ayers was added in 2012. When you google Mr Ayers, you find several dates of death.

To do the list justice, it is easy to add sources to the more relevant statements for Mr Ayers; him being part of the hall of honour and his death. It is left for other people to complement the data. As it is, the item fulfils its function; it completes a list.

Monday, February 06, 2017

#Wikidata - the Congressional gold medal

The United States Congress awards a gold medal to those who they think deserve it. Of interest is that the medal is made for the person involved. As an illustration you find the medal made for Rosa Parks.

When information is completed for a person like Mrs Parks in Wikidata, often Wikidata is lacking the associated items. For others like this gold medal there is a category that makes it easy to add other recipients for the award.

Adding information for one person adds somewhat to the quality of the information for that item. Another way of looking at quality is finding how connected for instance a Nancy Reagan and a Rosa Parks is. They were both honoured by Congress. To enable this, it is important to complete information when possible.

For Mrs Parks awards were added to Wikidata. Even when there is now only one recipient, it may establish a link to the organisation that conferred it. It makes it easy to add the award in the future and this is how slowly but surely quality at Wikidata improves.

Connecting as much as possible is what will make Wikidata great.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

The woman who bankrupted the #KKK

Her child was lynched. Her child was lynched by members of the Klu Klux Klan. It became a court case and not only was the guilt of the perpetrators proven, it was also proven that the Klan told its members to go out and lynch. In recognition of this fact, the Klan was penalised, they could not afford the money the organisation went bankrupt.

In recognition of all this, Mrs Beulah Mae Donald received the Candace award in 1988 and consequently she is notable enough for Wikidata.

In 2017 Mr Trump removed white supremacist groups from the Terror Watch Program. Does this mean that the definition of terrorism changed or only that the United States does not mind home grown terrorism?

Effectively the KKK is no longer considered a terrorist organisation. It is however well documented that more people died in America because of home grown terrorists than by terrorists of any other kind. For a definition of terrorism you may check an Amnesty International or the UN. When you consider their definition and apply it to observable fact it is no longer a political opinion.

My question to US Americans is; when black lives matter what does this say about your government. It is not only about Muslims being welcome there is this as well.

#Wikidata - Including the Candace award

I saw a short video on modern dance. It praised a Mrs Katherine Dunham. As I often do, I check out if Wikidata knows about it and see if it is reasonably complete. As always there was more to do and I added her to the Candace award. In the process I added some 79 ladies who are "Black role models of uncommon distinction who have set a standard of excellence for young people of all races".

I wanted an illustration and I turned to Google. Google did not know this award; it got confused with a Candace Cameron Bure, an actor who received some awards. I did provide Google with feedback :)

Google still provided me with relevant information; the Wikipedia article has it that the award was terminated in 1992 but I found that the organisation that confers the award was seeking nominees in 2009. The National Coalition of 100 Black Women is still going strong by the way.

It is however not obvious what happened after 1992. The one source that can provide some clarity is the NCBW. They can make a difference by adding information to the Wikipedia article. "Red links"  are fine. The point of role models is simple. It is one thing to recognise them, it is another to have people know about them.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Leupp, Arizona

According to the category system of English Wikipedia, Leupp, Arizona is a concentration camp. From 1907, Leupp became the headquarters of the Leupp Indian Land and it is only for a short time in the second world war that people were imprisoned there.

It is kind of ironic that a Wikipedia article that explains about the involvement of the Navajo also registers it as a concentration camp. It is probably why another project is necessary to document more fully what it is all about. Then again, it would be cool to collaborate with them and include all the information in Wikipedia.