Saturday, July 03, 2021

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. 

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