Monday, October 21, 2019

Adegoke O. S. - Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences

It is easy enough to add "O.S. Adegoke" to Wikidata and mark him as a fellow of the AAS.  With only initials there is no way to know the gender and to me that is quite unsatisfactory. This is when Google becomes your friend when you find Mr Adegoke is addressed as "Silvester".

There are some 384 fellows and slowly but surely they find their way into Wikidata. If there is a point to it, it is the same point why there are fellows of the African Academy of Sciences; "they provide Advisory and Think Tank functions and help to develop strategies that promote science in Africa and that are relevant to the continent".

The objective of Wikipedia and, by inference Wikidata, is to share in the sum of all knowledge. As we do not really consider what is relevant for our public in Africa and for those interested in Africa the AAS in its choices of its fellows at least points in the right direction. Adding the AAS fellows to Wikidata is a puzzle because the format of names differ. Some 240+ fellows are known at Wikidata as data but for it to become informative there is a need for suplemental data and even better Wikipedia articles.

Saturday, October 05, 2019

Rebecca R. Richards-Kortum

A text on the Internet read: "She’s Rice’s first-ever MacArthur grant winner. But her real claim to fame? Her clever medical inventions might just save your life." It is not as if I know her even though I added to her Wikidata item in the past .

I looked her up because she approves of the NEST360° organisation on Twitter. It is an organisation committed to reducing neonatal mortality in sub-Saharan hospitals by 50 percent.

Such organisations deserve a place in Wikidata, it has members I am adding. I consider it part of my "Africa project" even though it does not have a place there yet.

Yesterday I added an item for "neonatal care" and all the papers that are already included in Wikidata  about neonatal care need to be associated with the subject. Scientists like Prof Joy Lawn are to be marked for their specialty.

How is it possible that it takes a 60 year old white male from the Netherlands to add something this basic to Wikidata. We are talking about more yearly deaths than Ebola..

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

What data is wrangled is obvious when its presentation is considered

When you watch a game, you want to know the score. When you have a favourite author, you want to know all his/her publications and when you hear about a place you want to know where it is. Easy.

Such data may be included in a repository like Wikidata and, in essence the data is still simple. You still want to know the score, the publications or the location, the question is how do you get the data in a format that makes sense.

People are really good at understanding data when it is in an agreeable format.. These are three format for the same data; a scientist in Wikidata. This is how Wikidata presents its data and imho the data is really hard to understand. This is the same data in Reasonator, it is a general purpose tool that shows data and its relations. It can be used for all kinds of data, it is my goto tool to get to grips with data related to one item. Finally Scholia presents data formatted in a way that makes sense for this scientist.

Given how awful the default presentation of Wikidata is, it is obvious why everyone teaching the use of Wikidata focuses on querying the data and therefore people seek/work on the results provided in what is their default tool. I typically focus on particular subjects, today it was Dr Shima Taheri, I added a reference, some publications and genders for her co-authors. To do this I am triggered by the presentation of the data in the tools I use.

The holy grail for Wikidata is the use of its data in Wikipedia info boxes. However, people are taught to query data and that approach does not align well with the data items you find in info boxes. So when the purpose of Wikidata is in Wikipedia info boxes, presentation needs to become a priority.