Tuesday, May 23, 2017

#Wikidata - Chuck Davis and #VIAF

Mr Chuck Davis used to dance, and make people dance. He came first to our attention because he was awarded the Capezio Dance Award and consequently a Wikidata item was created on March 26. His Wikipedia article was linked on 22 May 2017‎ seven minutes after the article first appeared.

The most fabulous thing is that when I checked on May 23, VIAF already had a link to his Wikidata item. It is proof positive that librarians are actively including Wikidata to VIAF. This is the perfect argument to intensify the collaboration with librarians to give readers of Wikipedia and readers of library books the best of our shared sum of all knowledge.

NB Mr Davis died on May 14, 2017.

Monday, May 22, 2017

#Wikimedia - Presenting #authors in #Scholia

In a fairly rapid pace more and more literature and its authors are included in Wikidata. Many publications are used as sources in a Wikipedia and others get included because scientific "facts" supported by sources find their way in Wikidata as well.

Scholia is a tool that indicates where authors fit in (it does more <grin> but this blog post is only about this </grin>).

When multiple publications are known for an author, it shows the distribution of the publications in time, the number of pages (when known), venue statistics, a co-author graph, the topics, associated images, a topics-works matrix, education, employer/affiliation, academic tree, locations, citation statistics, citations by year and finally citing authors. There are two ways of expressing an opinion, it is exhaustive or it is a bit much. Whatever your choice, a tool like Scholia is awesome. Just the thought that Wikidata already has a relevance that justifies a tool like this.

#Wikidata - One size fits all but only size 47 serves me well

When a Wikipedia decides on its policies; in the end it is a "one size fits all". It is the policy wonks who decide and all editors have to abide by it and all readers suffer the consequences. Shoes are made for walking but you only get the best mileage out of shoes when they fit.

When you look at the categories for different Wikipedias they are not the same. Some explicitly exclude the standard information of other Wikipedias. As a result there is no universal standard and this is detrimental to readers who frequent multiple Wikipedias.

At the same time, a Wikipedia community may define its policies and practices as they see fit. This does not mean that they define what individual readers actually prefer only what they get presented. The amount of categories in use and their structure is a good example how editors define information given or withheld from readers. Increasingly the combined information from categories from Wikipedias find their way into Wikidata. When a Wikipedia does not include a category, by using the definitions for a category it is possible to present many if not most of what a category could have been.

The question is not can we show what articles of a Wikipedia would be in a category, the question is if our readers will be supported and if not what arguments we have to disallow readers the structures they personally prefer.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

#Wikidata - Manfred Rudersdorf has no #Wikipedia article

Professor Manfred Rudersdorf (left) has no Wikipedia article. As an historian he is expert on the history of "his" university. In the picture you see the presentation of this book to the rector of the University of Leipzig.

When you inspect the Reasonator page for Mr Rudersdorf, it is remarkably complete. It demonstrates that the inclusion from sources external to the Wikimedia Foundation slowly but surely results in proper information.

When you think of it, finding people like Mr Rudersdorf is obvious. There is only one sum of all knowledge and much of it is connected in one way or another. In fact it is a puzzle and we Wikimedians are all too familiar with puzzles.

Monday, May 15, 2017

#Wikidata - Johanna Mestorf is not a #German

Johanna Mestorf was the first "German" female Professor. She was however not German as Germany did not exist; Mrs Mestorf was from the Kingdom of Prussia. Wikipedia has it that Prussia existed from 1701 to 1918 and Mrs Mestorf died in 1903. In the totality of the German speaking world Mrs Mestdorf was prossibly the first female Professor.

Current nationalities and previous nationalities do not match. Trying to understand historic facts from a modern perspective produce a fake perspective.

Not calling Mrs Mestorf German may be problematic for some. But hey is that not what a neutral point of view is about?

Sunday, May 14, 2017

#Wikipedia - #German #Science #Awards II

Adding awards to scientists makes it obvious that there are many scientists out there. The German Wikipedia knows about some 366 German science awards and, they are not provincial. For many awards any deserving scientist may be recognised.

As you move through the list, German Wikipedia practices are different. Some Wikipedians do not like red links so the award winners are just text. Luckily for me, others still allow for red links and this helps a lot.

The Heinrich-Emanuel-Merck-Preis article sees a lot of red. When an effort is made to connect these red links, Wikidata already knows about many of them. Petra Stephanie Dittrich is one such. Many scientist like her have been included because they are included in AcademiaNet.

When I add missing people, given that this is about German data I prefer to add the labels in German. Mr Jonathan V. Sweedler is of the "University of Illinois" and therefore likely American but that is a detail I frequently leave to others.

There is yet another group of scientists finding their way in Wikidata. They are the authors of papers that are used in citations or to establish fact in Wikidata. Awards are another relevant aspect of these scientists.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

#Wikimedia - #Classifying Saadia Zahidi

Mrs Saadia Zahidi came first to the attention of the Wikimedia movement because she featured in the BBC's 100 Women both in 2013 and 2014.

The BBC is really British but the conclusion that Mrs Zahidi is British is a stretch. She studied at three universities; two in the USA and one in Switzerland. She grew up in Pakistan and is a member of the Executive Committee of the World Economic Forum also in Switzerland.

It is easy to claim relevant people as being part of a group. The urge to classify is obvious but classification is inherently discriminatory. With people this is more or less accepted. For Mrs Zahidi her affiliation with the World Economic Forum is missing but she is at least recognised as an author, It was easy enough to add {{authority control}} in her Wikipedia article.

Classification is a hot button subject at Wikidata. There are those like me that resent this weird notion that subclasses are a good thing to have. There is a lengthy discussion about the validity of subclasses for guns, spacecraft and such stuff. It is so convoluted that you need to be an expert to understand the classes in the first place. What makes this nonsense so infuriating is that it makes Wikidata solidly a one maybe few language resource. The argument that it combines things that are the same can be easily ignored because proper statements and a query provide the same result.

Classification is discriminatory. In the past an explanation was asked and not forthcoming. It is wrong to call Mrs Zahidi British. At best she lived or lives in the UK. It is wrong to have tiny subclasses it largely prevents the use and usefulness of Wikidata.

As a movement we should hold back our urge to classify. Classification is a judgement; we should be more descriptive.

Monday, May 08, 2017

#Wikipedia - #German #Science #Awards

There are many different awards known on the German Wikipedia. The category for Science awards alone includes some 366 entries.

For whatever reason most of the implied data has not been transferred to Wikidata. It is probably because there are no or few categories for people who received an award. This is where Awarder, yet another tool by Magnus can make a difference.

The Aby Warburg Prize for instance included much information and by running the tool missing recipients were added including the date it was awarded. The Adolf Windaus Medal did not know any recipients and it takes as long to add all of them. When you run on data from both the German and the English Wikipedia, the result is even better as it was for the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy Award.

To complete the information, there is the "conferred by" and the "named after" property to consider as well as looking for people the Wikipedia does not know. You then find the missing links and people known on another Wiki project. It is easy to add new items for the "red links".

The Albrecht-Ludwig-Berblinger-Preis is a redirect. There are no links in the article for the people who were awarded an award. Adding an item for the award is easy adding at least one recipient is easy as well. This is where Awarder does not help.

The Augsburger Wissenschaftspreis für Interkulturelle Studien award information is in two parts. The first part with data until 2007 can be read by the Awarder. The second part includes a more complex table and cannot be read. In the past the Linked Items tool did the job. It did not include all the associated dates but it did produce a list of all the Wikilinks. They could be processed by PetScan.

Adding information like this from the German Wikipedia takes some effort. In this way we improve the global reach of Wikidata. For awards like the August-Lösch-Ehrenring there is the occasionally new information in the sources for the award. At some stage bots will pick up new information added in Wikidata to make suggestions to Wikipedia editors.

As a rule the quality of Wikipedia articles like this is good and it is worth the effort to promote science.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Teaching #Wikipedia using local #news

One of the functions of Wikipedia is providing a background and, to understand what is in the news, you need a lot of background. This is one of the first things to overcome when children start reading the news.

When newspapers are introduced in the class, a first exercise is to just read and have the children select a few articles that are of interest to them. As a follow up they analyse the text for concepts that you have to know about to understand the article. They make lists for the selected articles.

On another day they select new articles, make similar lists but are asked if there is an overlap with other lists. They are asked to write a few lines for all the concepts in such a way that there is enough to understand the article coming from every original news article.

This is when Wikipedia is introduced. The children is shown that it provides basic and neutral information that help them understand, for instance, the news. Their next challenge is read Wikipedia and see how its articles help understand the news. When subjects are missing, they make a list.

The last thing to do is write stubs for missing Wikipedia articles. What then may follow is the standard course ware for writing Wikipedia articles. The objective for this approach is that it helps children to better understand the news; understand that news is a continuum. The news is compact and assumes basic knowledge and such information can be found in Wikipedia.

#Wikidata - Steven E. Petersen

Some say that Wikidata is only there to support Wikipedia. Maybe. Wikidata includes information about Mr Steven E. Petersen. The English Wikipedia has three red links for the Grawemeyer Award for recipients in the field of Psychology.

Mr Petersen was already known to Wikidata as the author of four publications. Some will argue that publications are the bread and butter of Wikipedia and they are.

The sum of all knowledge is one whole and as such all Wikimedia projects together are tools that bring all the information, all the knowledge to everyone. All do it in their own way and as such Wikidata does support Wikipedia and it supports Wikipedia among all the other things it is useful for.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

#Wikidata - Award for Scientific Freedom and Responsibility

Mrs Elizabeth Loftus won the Grawemeyer Award in 2005. When you read her Wikipedia article, she has been celebrated frequently for her work.  One way to consider the relevance of people is in the similarities people people share with others and Mrs Loftus shares many awards with many scientists.

As we all stand up for science, several of the awards celebrate science and taking a position that is not popular with the powers that be. One such award is the Award for Scientific Freedom and Responsibility it includes Mrs Jean Maria Arrigo and in my opinion her Wikipedia article does not do justice to the cause that got her this award. Often the true heroes of science do not get the recognition they deserve.

Not everyone goes out to march for Science. I am not in the USA and I do sympathise with this cause. What Wikimedians can do for science is document science, scientists and the scientific process and use scientific practices to ensure that Wikipedia does not carry the false flags some !@#$ insist on.