Monday, May 14, 2018

#AfricaGap - #Wikidata; its quality as Wikidata matures

Currently there are 45 countries that I monitor for their national politicians. When I add a specific national "position", I do several things; I add existing politicians that are known in a particular category and I include a definition of what that category contains.

I give hardly any attention to details; my objective here is simple I want to see how this (underdeveloped) data evolves. There is a huge gap in what we know about Africa and as it is, we hardly inform about Africa, we need Africans to help us gain the most basic facts straight for ourselves.

As Wikidata matures, we gain subsets of data that is of varying quality. The most mature living data are our interwiki links. It is live data and it serves a purpose. Changes require attention to detail it has an immediate effect in the discoverability of information. When data comes alive, when it serves a purpose, it has people who will invest their time to get the data right. They will give attention to detail because that serves their purpose.

For arcane subjects like the Ottoman Empire, even Africa, there are few people who find a purpose in the data. Arguably there is so little data that almost everything added is a 100% gain in quality (a person exists, he is a member of parliament of ***, I do not understand African names so it could be male or female I do not know). Sometimes there are whole lists of people like these people from the Bosnian Eyalet, it is easy enough to complete such a list. But will it serve a purpose? How to give it a purpose?

There is no uniform quality to Wikidata. There are whole areas where we are 100% of the mark as we do not have the data nor the ability to link to data elsewhere. There are other areas like in biomedical literature where our quality is such that it is actually useful. As this becomes known thanks to its evangelists, more attention is given by a wider public and more attention to detail is given in the process.

Arguably the quality of subsets of our data depends on its usefulness. When it is useful, people will come and give the attention to detail as it serves their purpose.
Thanks,
      GerardM

Saturday, May 12, 2018

#Wikidata - #Copyright and linked data

There are many points of view when it comes to copyright and data. In the Wikipedia world the discussion is different because each text has its own copyright. Data is different because you can not own ie copyright a separate fact.

When data is open or opened up, it follows that much of the data that exist in multiple sources is identical. When the data is the same, it has two benefits. The first is quality. When multiple sources agree on something, it is more likely to be correct. The second is copyright; whose copyright?

Every now and again, the license used by Wikidata is questioned. Typically by Wikipedians who think they know their stuff. They will be the first to tell you the importance of sources and, indeed many factoids in Wikidata do not have a source. When a factoid is sourced, a statement like John Doe died on Friday, 13th, that factoid only links to the source and hardly to the place where it came to the attention of the person or the bot adding it to Wikidata.

When I add the fact that someone is a member of the Somalian parliament, when a list is used like this one, that information is sourced, there is no added value except for a name being on a list. It has been in the news that in the last year parliamentarians have been murdered, there is no article for them and consequently even in Wikipedia it is only a name on a list, no added value, no arguable reason for copyright.

Value is in the links, it is in knowing the same data to be true in many sources. Claiming copyright, particularly in data, is predatory. It prevents people from bringing facts together. Only when facts are brought together informed knowledge exists. Only in linked data, sourced data, there is a handle on fake facts and fake news.
Thanks,
      GerardM

Thursday, May 10, 2018

#Wikimedia - What I am willing to do for the #AfricaGap

Africa hardly gets attention in Wikimedia projects. When the one project that brings together, Wikidata, does not know the people who are or used to be president of an African country, this is obvious. There is no reasonable argument to counter this.

What I can do is "watch the gap". To do this I have a growing list of African National politicians. The list is not complete, I am still adding countries. I do not add ministers and I have not included "first wives", this to reach out to people who care about that other gap, a gap that is no longer as wide.

When people add data about politicians, it will update Listeria lists. There are many of them and they will show up on my watch list. It means that I can tweet about changes as they occur.

To be perfectly honest; I expect it to be like in a railstation; typically you wait for the trains and are watching a chasm and not a divide.
Thanks,
     GerardM

Friday, May 04, 2018

#Wikimedia - Introducing the #AfricaGap

Minding the gaps is  important in all our projects. The #GenderGap program is an excellent project that shows the important and impressive results possible when we make a deliberate effort.

One area where we are weak is in our coverage of everything Africa. One area where we are particularly weak is in providing support for our readers and editors in Africa.

There are many things that can be done to improve upon the current situation and I am grateful to the people who have worked so hard to get us where we are.

To mind a gap, it starts with awareness. My "Africa" page provides some insight in the politicians of African countries. Obviously most politicians are missing and as my page links to Listeria list, every time a new African politician becomes known in Wikidata, it will show up on my watch list.

I intent to include all African countries and their national politicians. I will remain committed to bring more information about Turkey and its history, this project will show through the daily Listeria updates the extend of our African efforts. It would be cool when 1% of the humans we know is from Africa.
Thanks,
     GerardM

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

#Wikimedia - please mind the Africa data gap

A friend attended a Wikimedia conference in Africa. He asked me for the number of people known to be from Mozambique. A question like this is really relevant, I asked for a query and I am happy there is a result however, only 319 people known from Mozambique in Wikidata (that is all Wikipedias together) is a really low number. It is not an exception, countries like Rwanda or Niger, Malawi or Gabon do not fare better.

When you consider that there are more people known to be from Andorra (339) it is obvious that there is a real issue with how we cover "the rest of the world".
Thanks,
     GerardM


Sunday, April 15, 2018

#WeMissTurkey - six times #Listeria for best results

Reading about the history of the Ottoman Empire is a different experience on every Wikipedia. Typically most of the "humans" involved do not have an article and the spelling of the names differs. In English one title is pasha, in Catalan it is paixà and in Turkish and Bosnian it is paša. In all these languages it is part of the name of many dignitaries.

There are often multiple items for the same person thanks to these differences in spelling. Disambiguating the information together comparing the articles. The English, Catalan, Turkish, Bosnian, Greek and Arabic Wikipedia have their reasons to have an interest in the Ottoman Empire. For this reason I copied the Listeria list from my English user page to the ca.wp, tr.wp, bs.wp, el.wp and ar.wp.

When labels in a particular language are changed or when data is added, the Listeria list will update on a daily basis. So as we work on Ottoman information, the best effect will now show six times on my user page.
Thanks,
      GerardM

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

#WeMissGerardM - Got banned from #Wikidata

A friend of mine got into problems on #Wikidata.

The story:
She had proposed a property that was talked into something else that would not work for her or me. There was no obvious consensus particularly because of a lack of agreement how the property would function. Someone in power stated consensus and created the property and my friend proposed for its deletion.

What followed was awful because it shows how we interact. When someone says:  "This is a disruptive and bad-faith nomination" in my book this is aggressive and a personal attack. When someone else follows up with a request for a ban because of something that happens elsewhere it becomes a mob howling for blood. The arguments used were personal, had no relation to what happened at Wikidata and I objected strongly.

What else:
I objected to the language used, to the fact that you do not attack someone this personally. The language used is in my opinion not critical but overly aggressive even brutal. I object to how we behave, the language used, the personal attacks. It is not the first time that I objected to the way how we treat each other. Given that a friend was victimised this time I did not back down. Now I am banned from editing Wikidata for a week even though the admin who banned me agrees that I did not do anything that is a "banning offence". What I did was not let others "get away with murder" and not agree that the common good gets damaged by me in this way.

What next:
I do not know. I will miss working on the Ottoman Empire, I will miss working on awards, I will miss working on the BHL. But I will miss my friend most and I am sad that we Wikidatans treat each other in such an adversarial way.
Thanks,
      GerardM

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

#WeMissTurkey - #Bosnia and its Otoman governors

We miss Turkey as readers and contributors of our project. In the larger picture, when we write about the history of the world, we have to pay attention to the Ottoman Empire. Its history ended only 96 years ago and its influence is underestimated.

Take Bosnia; many people from the eyalet of Bosnia have been really influential and many people were beylerbey of the Bosnia eyalet. Adding all these people can be done from a list on the Bosnian Wikipedia. The list is in Bosnian and paša is pasha in translation and that makes it a lot of work.. In Catalan, the same word is paixà and Catalan is a language that covers the history of Africa rather well. Many people known in Bosnian are known in Catalan and not in English.

The dignitaries of the Ottoman Empire often stayed for a short period before they moved on to another place. Getting the curriculum vitae for the top will help understand history. In true Wiki fashion we have a start and it will improve when we collaborate.
Thanks,
      GerardM


Thursday, March 29, 2018

Dear #Vogelnieuws - more birds for the #Oostvaardersplassen

In an editorial the Dutch birding organisation is pleading for a more bird friendly Oostvaardersplassen. They specifically want room for the Eurasian Spoonbill and Eurasian Bittern. The reason why they are in decline are carp, mature carp. They eat anything including small fish and, they can live to be some eighty years old. There is no real predation on the carp.

There is only one predator that will have a significant impact when it finds its way into the Oostvaardersplassen; it is the Wels Catfish. A current proposal is to drain the Oostvaardersplassen regularly consequently most water animals will die and repeats will be "needed". When the Wels Catfish is introduced after a drainage, they will eat the maturing carp and ensure a more healthy age distribution in carp and make room for birds and other fish as well.

In this way we come to rely on ecological processes and realise a more complete (age) distribution of species. In the editorial they call for ecological connections so that animals can migrate for optimal results. Introducing such connections for fish as well would be of a huge benefit for the birds that predate on smaller fish. One of the fish that would find its way into the Oostvaardersplassen is the Three-Spined Stickleback. It serves birds like the European Spoonbill really well.

One other thing to consider; the Oostvaardersplassen was developed to support the goose, a bird that was rare at the start of the Oostvaardersplassen. When we make the ecosystem more complete, we will end up with a different environment, an environment that will be more diverse with more species finding their niche.
Thanks,
     GerardM

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

#WeMissTurkey - Beylerbeys of the Bosnian Elayet .. in Bosnian

The Ottoman Empire was huge. It existed for 623 years and its armies threatened Vienna at one time. When you want to understand the existence of countries and the politics of the modern time, it helps to have a sense of the past.

The Wikimedia coverage of the Ottoman Empire is patchy. We do not have all information readily available about its geography and administrations over time.

For me, adding information is easiest when the source is the English Wikipedia but other Wikipedias are often more complete. The Ottoman Empire was for a long time divided in Eyalets and they were governed by Beylerbeys. The list of Beylerbeys for the Bosnian Elayet is linked to many articles on the Bosnian Wikipedia. Articles about people that did not include even the most basic information in Wikidata. Adding missing information was easy but labels differ from English; they show in red in Reasonator.

When all red links are linked to Wikidata, it would be easy and obvious what English labels to add. It requires just one thing; acknowledgement that list in different language Wikipedias provide the same information.
Thanks,
       GerardM

Sunday, March 25, 2018

#WeMissTurkey - Lutfi Pasha, a Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire

In October 2013 I wrote about Lutfi Pasha. I wondered if he as an author of several books would have an VIAF registration (he does) and if the information from Wikidata would end up at the VIAF registration (it does). It shows in the "personal information" that the German National Library and ISNI still call him Turkish where Wikidata knows him to be from the Ottoman Empire. At this time VIAF links to sixteen Wikipedias for more information. :)

As a young boy Lutfi Pasha was taken from his parents and under the Devshirme system brought to the palace where he was converted to Islam and given a thorough education. Lutfi Pasha had a distinguished career; he even married the sister of the later Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. His downfall? he beat his wife and was banished.
Thanks,
       GerardM

Saturday, March 24, 2018

#WeMissTurkey - The Shihab and Ma'an families

The Shihab family succeeded the Ma'an family because of a marriage. That and because the male line of succession came to an end. There is no complete name for Mrs Shihab-Ma'an but it is what is needed to link two families and to link the succession of power.

When you consider history, it is often told through the conflicts and the succession of office holders (Fashr-al_Din II and three of his sons were execured).. It is not only what shaped history, the relations through marriage prevented many conflicts and allowed for cultural development in times of peace.

Mrs Shihab-Ma'an was married to Haydar Shihab and her son Mulhim became the next Emir. My big question: does anyone have a name for her? She must be notable by linking two families.
Thanks,
        GerardM

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

#WeMissTurkey - the geography and organisation of the #Ottoman Empire

This map shows the development of the Ottoman Empire over time. Its accuracy may be disputed but it is among the best Wikimedia has to offer at this time.

This animated gif is really good at what it does. With all the basic parts available, it becomes possible to expand on these maps. The Ottoman empire was divided in "eyalets" and these were divided in "sanjaks". The size and the composition of these eyalets changed over time. An animation of these changes helps understand developments in for instance the Balkan.

At this time sanjaks are added to Wikidata and, this proves to be not that straight forward. Most of them do not have an article in any language. The spelling of the same sanjak differs in places and for some eyalets a modern interpretation is sought in order to provide some "legitimacy" of later developments; in one instance even the mentioning of the composite sanjaks is deliberately missing.

The governance of the Ottoman Empire was obviously along the line of these eyalats and sanjaks. For the eyalets there were "beylerbeys" and for the sanjaks "sanjak-beys". These offices were largely non-hereditary and during one time the composition of them was for quite some time by people originating from the Balkan.

When you consider the administrative organisation of the Ottoman Empire, there is a list of all the Sultans and their Grand Viziers. For the successions of other important functionaries there is still a lot that can be done.

When you are willing to help; please. Adding labels in other languages particularly Turkish will make a real difference. Adding missing humans in Wikidata and link them into a succession of functionaries will help a lot. It enables the provision of lists and they may be used in any language. When you are able to hack maps.. That would be really important; it is how all this information may come together.
Thanks,
      GerardM

Thursday, March 15, 2018

#Wikipedia - throwing the baby out with the bath water

Dear Asaf; there are no pet peeves. There is only my wish for us to be the best we can.

When YouTube is to use Wikipedia to give a background to its offerings, there will be a lot where Wikipedia falls short. We do not offer information on May Ying Welsh for instance. We do not know about the Pardes Humanitarian Prize and, do we report on the current Dalit protests in Maharashtra?

It is not a peeve when I notice how many errors can be found in Wikipedia, particularly in lists, and people do not concentrate on the differences of what Wikipedia knows and what is known elsewhere. This is particularly sad because time invested curating these differences is well spend and it is imho the most effective defence against fake news and fake facts.

When my question is "will YouTube use more than just English", you know as well as I do that English Wikipedia is less than 50% of what our audience read. When the other half does not deserve consideration, it is more than a peeve. It is in these other languages where the danger of fake news is even worse.

Basic facts on any NPOV article are the same in any language.  When they differ, they are where you can expect misinformation. With curated basis information available, it is possible to use natural language technology to provide at least some basic information. You have expressed that this is not something for the Wikimedia Foundation to be interested in (Cebuano remember?).

Asaf; you may hold the keys to what I post on the Wikimedia mailing list and you may privately consider me problematic. However, it is your excess in public ridicule and lack of arguments that is a disservice to what we aim to achieve; it is why we face of. In this you represent an attitude that will not see us provide the best we can offer in a changing landscape where we now have an opportunity to become relevant in debunking the worst of what YouTube has to offer.
Thanks,
       GerardM

Sunday, March 04, 2018

#Oostvaardersplassen - unintended consequences

When there are too many animals and there is too little for them to eat, they die. This happens regularly in winter in the Oostvaardersplassen, a nature reserve in the Netherlands.

The Oostvaardersplassen were created to provide a place for geese to feed. It takes deer, cattle and horses to prevent the development of a wood. Geese like grass short and it is why these animals were released in the Oostvaardersplassen

In the past there have proposals to provide more room for the animals because in winter they die in huge numbers. Providing room is not possible by an unending cycle of adding new grounds to the Oostvaardersplassen but it is possibe to make a connection to the Veluwe and extend this to the nature alongside of the Dutch rivers connecting even further to Germany. This plan that was actively developed was at the last moment shot down by politicians.

Given that "animal lovers" are bringing hay feeding some of the animals, it resulted in such an upheaval under the animals that Staatsbosbeheer prefers to feed them themselves. In the past they pronounced what they would do when pressed. They will shoot the animals and bring the numbers down by half maybe even more. Nature will respond positively after such a catastrophe. It will invigorate nature and make the Oostvaardersplassen less of a meadow.

Natural predation like by a pack of wolfs would make a difference. Wolfs are finding their way into the Netherlands, they only have to find their way to the Oostvaardersplassen and call it home.
Thanks,
       GerardM

Friday, March 02, 2018

#Wikidata - Vikram Patel and missing awards

Mr Patel received many awards; for one of them you see illustrated what the award looks like. This award was missing in the Wikipedia article. Another award, the Chalmers Medal by the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, was mentioned but there is no information about other award winners.

Other awards for this society had their own item but no enrichment had taken place. They are now at least linked and award winners with a Wikipedia article are now also linked.

Linking people through awards, through their employers, their education provides an entry point to a subject like "Tropical Medicine and Hygiene". When this is a subject that matters to you, Mr Patel is the first one listed to have received the Chalmers award; this award started in 1923 so you can add all of them to Wikidata or write Wikipedia articles to these notable people.

When you consider notability, would it not be an argument to use against the Wikipedia deletionists when there is plenty of information at Wikidata?
Thanks,
      GerardM

Thursday, March 01, 2018

#Wikipedia - Why the deletion of a George Polk Award winner?

There used to be an article for May Ying Welsh. She received the George Polk Award in 2011, wrote a script for a film she directed Bahrain: Shouting in the Dark, a film that was well received.

The article is gone. But it is not because there was no notability. May Ying Welsh remains notable at Wikidata because she won the Polk award, wrote and directed a movie.. Structural need is why many people are added.

I could ask to see what the article looked like. But what is the point? My point is that Wikipedia fails itself and its audience because of a self imposed lack of information. A message that is not allowed to be raised on the Wikimedia mailing list.
Thanks,
      GerardM

Thursday, February 22, 2018

#Wikimedia - The George Polk Award winners; how to catch them all

It is this time of year again; the George Polk Awards have been announced. Last year I spend a lot of time adding information to and cleaning the data at Wikidata. There are over 500 award winners known so Reasonator does not catch them all.  Listeria shows more data but multiple entries are an issue.

There are multiple reasons to complete a list like this. In this way celebrated journalists like Michael Winerip  or Michael Schwirtz finally get their presence in the Wikimedia world. It is a way to celebrate journalism, important enough in this time of fake news and, it is a demonstration how data at Wikidata can extend the quality of Wikipedia's information.

Given the amount of award winners, it takes too much time to do all the work in one go. It is now largely a matter of adding the red and "black" linked award winners. At this time it is the 2014 award winners who are being added.

The problem is that time spend on one award takes away time from other projects, equally deserving. Projects like completing information on US governors or British governors. How to register information like epidemics because their impact is not fully appreciated. How to make plain that a source has a negative impact when it is actually retracted..

Anyway, congratulation to the George Polk Award winners for 2017; that their career may blossom with this recognition.
Thanks,
     GerardM

Sunday, February 11, 2018

#Wikidata - William Gorges, first colonial governor of the Province of Maine

Mr Gorges was born in Britain, he died in Britain. He was tasked to oversee investments for two years by a nephew and as a result he was the first colonial governor of the province of Maine. Consequently he is said to be a citizen of the USA, (he died in February 1658)..

The problem with nationality and citizenship is that we tend to adopt people as belonging to something that did not exist at the time and consequently it is a falsehood. It is the same with all these generals, governors of the confederacy; they did not identify with the United States of America, they had their own state they swore allegiance to, so why call them citizen of the USA? How dare we?

It is the same for people from Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland. They may have opposed the Brits but from a nationality point of view, their behaviour was judged by the British laws.

Associating people with states / nations that may not even have existed at the time are false facts, pure and simple.
Thanks,
       GerardM

Friday, February 09, 2018

#Wikimedia and #Cochrane - sharing resources and sharing results

Jane Falconer, a medical librarian, wrote a real interesting blog post. She writes about the importance of reliable information to front line health professionals and stresses the importance of systematic reviews that are conducted according to recognised and tested methodologies.

The big problem: what to include in the systematic review, and what to exclude in projects like are PRISMA and Cochrane. This is the same problem we face when we seek sources for Wikipedia articles and, the Wikimedia solution to provide sources is the "The Wikipedia Library Card Platform".

Cochrane and the Wikimedia Foundation are partners and one scenario I can see is one where this partnership is intensified. When Cochrane shares its results with Wikidata, they can have all the data of Wikidata anyway the quality and the relevance of the Wikidata data improves. When Cochrane volunteers may share the Library Card Platform, it would bring a major contribution to the volunteers at Cochrane. The relevance of the data at Wikidata will improve substantially. This in turn will help us verify the content of medical information and the quality of the sources in all our Wikipedias.
Thanks,
     GerardM

Saturday, February 03, 2018

#Wikidata - Just another award; the 2018 Newberry Library Award


I read it on Twitter; Mrs Carla Hayden received the 2018 Newberry Library Award. There are many awards that do not keep track of all the awardees. Personally I found only one other award winner. I asked on Twitter for more information and a friend found several more.

This is one of the awards that I want to keep track of. So I added a Listeria page on my user page. Every time the underlying data changes, Listeria will pick it up.

In the mean time, Mrs Hayden, congratulations.
Thanks,
       GerardM

Saturday, January 20, 2018

#Wikipedia - entering the rabbit hole

When you start reading Wikipedia, when you continue with a next article and the next, you become part of a click stream identifying what people read and how they get there. It is hugely interesting and dumps for this click stream are available for the English, Russian, German, Spanish, and Japanese Wikipedias.

Just consider; all articles on the same subject have a Wikidata identifier. This makes it possible to aggregate these click streams. When a particular link between articles is popular in multiple Wikipedias, there is a good chance that adding a missing article will be popular as well.

It is always a question if suggestions like this will be taken up, if they indeed prove to be read more than just an average new article in a domain. That is however the subject of follow up research. In the mean time it provides an argument to collect the click streams for any and all Wikipedias. Providing educated guesses of what will be popular stimulates people to write what will be read.
Thanks,
     GerardM

Thursday, January 18, 2018

#Wikimedia - #Personal - there is no silver bullet

For everything that ails any of the #Wikimedia projects, there is no silver bullet. To complicate things, there is no agreement what it is that ails these projects mostly because there is hardly any collaboration.

I am not a Wikipedian. I love Wikipedia but I do not identify with it. I have been involved in many projects including Wikipedia and my global account is testament to that. My involvements have been substantial and central in my motivation is: how can we share the sum of all knowledge, how will we reach the biggest audience and have the biggest effect.

I have been called "monomaniacal with my silver bullet du jour". Over time several topics have occupied me and this has resulted in an evolving understanding of what I perceive as issues with what we do and how we do it. When you are interested in how my opinions evolved, read my blog, it runs from 2005.

The English Wikipedia is Wikimedia's success. Its biggest problem; over 50% of its target audience does not speak English. At that, organisational attention in any project attention is mostly for English. There are several solutions possible that help us "share the sum of the knowledge that is available" more widely.
  • localisation of the user interface makes our software better usable and more user friendly
  • the user interface of Wikidata makes it easy and obvious to add labels in *your* languages
  • the data of Wikidata is used to generate texts that are cached, not saved, when there is no Wikipedia article on the subject
  • Advertise the information we have; things like finished books in Wikisource
I do promote translatewiki.net for the localisation of the MediaWiki software and I would love to see the Internet Archive and the OCLC to use translatewiki.net and have their services localised in all the languages that Wikipedia supports.

Reasonator is still the best interface on the Wikidata data. Data becomes informative and it makes it easy to add labels in *your* language. In essence this is again all about "sharing in the sum of all available knowledge". Hidden gems are the "Concept cloud" and the QRcode available on every Reasonator page. Reasonator is just one of the many tools by Magnus that makes Wikidata usable.

My main motto is "what is the purpose". When I was particularly involved in Wiktionary, I collaborated with many people in many Wiktionaries and this is where I learned to appreciate the lack of coordination that exists between projects. Thanks to wonderful people like Sabine Cretella, I developed the ideas and in the end a data model for a project that became the basis for OmegaWiki. This data model was inspected and approved by among others Alan K. Melby. Thanks to Jimbo I got into contact with Barend Mons and became involved in bio-medical data and science. The development of OmegaWiki happened parallel to the main work in Wikiproteins.

At this time Wikidata and the opportunities it presents has my interest. Contrary to some, I am not an apologist for everything Wikidata and contrary to what some say, I do not blame the development team but the group pressures that so often result in unhappy compromises and decisions. It is for instance an acknowledged fact that Wikidata descriptions are problematic and that automated descriptions are superior.. "Never mind; it is what we do" is the prevailing sentiment.. (as always).

There is no silver bullet and consequently a result is only achieved after a lot of work. I want functionality that mimics an Algerian project I blogged about way back in 2013. To achieve this I am adding dates to the governorships of all USA states. It allows for queries like this. A next stage will be when a map of the USA is shown with all its states and a slider to move in time. It is then easy to show the governors at that time..

I am not sorry that I keep on returning to issues mentioned it the past, what some people miss is the amount of continuous effort that goes into achieving them.
Thanks,
      GerardM

#Wikipedia - Cebuano; be inspired

In an answer to the Wikimedia blogpost "Inspire New Readers campaign: Raise awareness of Wikipedia where you live" I replied: 
Make sure there is a lot to read. It is counter intuitive but the Cebuano Wikipedia approach with a twist could make a huge difference. The difference; caching generated content and not saving it. Do not mistake the absence of information in hand written articles as preferable over providing no information.
I was asked to expand on it.

My comment was not intended to dwell on the past, given the overload of acrimony not that inspiring, but on a future where we share in "the sum of knowledge that is available to us". The Cebuano Wikipedia is one of the biggest Wikipedias because a bot started with publicly available data on a subject, build a text with variables for the data and build Wikipedia articles from the data. As a result all that data had to be linked in Wikidata and there were a lot of complaints. The one undeniable point; there are errors in the data and even when we fix it, it is not fixed in that Wikipedia.

The twist: the public data is imported in Wikidata first. The text is generated in the same way but it is not saved as an article but cached. It follows that when the data is in error and corrected, the cache will expire and the new text will have the latest and greatest. In this way we do provide information in the local language to the best of our knowledge and ability.

Wikidata has an ever growing amount of data on subjects that are unlikely to generate Wikipedia articles in any language. It does not mean that we could not provide information. What it takes is accepting counter intuitive arguments use tools like Reasonator, make use of the LSJbot and accept that search results should include what is stored elsewhere, something that has been in production on several Wikipedias for years now.

Our objective "share the sum of all knowledge". I will happy when we share the knowledge that is available to us.
Thanks,
      GerardM

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

#Wikipedia - fiduciary responsibilities for #Wikipedia #Medical

Retraction Watch has a very relevant article for one of the most important resources for medical information: Wikipedia. Its title: “A concerning – largely unrecognised – threat to patient safety:” Nursing reviews cite retracted trials. It is a follow up interview of an article in the International Journal of Nursing Studies with Richard Gray the principal author.

Given that Wikipedia is the most read resource by medical practitioners, the interview has many relevant pointers on ensuring safe practices. I quote them from the paper and with some modifications they apply to any and all sources used in Wikimedia content.

  1. A retraction filter (or whatever mechanism the database in question allows) must be applied to the end output of any search strategy.
  2. Journals/databases must make retractions more visible (step 1 above depends on it).
  3. Collaborations (e.g. Cochrane, Campbell, The JBI) need to incorporate into their handbooks directives around retraction. For example, a scan for retractions after data sourcing; a scan for retractions before data extraction; a scan for retractions before review submission.
  4. The reporting guidelines for systematic reviews (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses, PRISMA) needs to include an item stating that authors have checked if any included studies have been retracted.
  5. Journal editors should require authors, when submitting manuscripts, to confirm that they have checked that none of the included studies have been retracted. Authors should also include a statement in the paper stating they have done this.
  6. Proofreaders may also have an important role to play. For example, authors of one review included in their reference list a citation that clearly indicated the reference was for a retracted paper. Proofreaders could be trained to spot and report these anomalies.
Registering retractions in Wikidata would be a start.
Thanks,
     GerardM

#Wikidata - Rachael E Jack; Spearman medal winner

On Facebook I mentioned a 2016 blog post about the Spearman Medal. I checked for missing entries; they were the two 2017 award winners, Mrs Claire Haworth and Mrs Rachael E Jack.

Adding award winners to Wikidata is something I do regularly. It always starts with a search. Mrs Jack was known as "Rachael Jack" on Wikipedia and by drilling down into the ORCID information I found confirmation that this is indeed the same person.

Mrs Haworth is known to ORCID as well, and through a link to a profile, there was a confirmation that it was the same person; the award winner of the Spearman medal.

Typically I do not spend that much time on red links. What I wanted to know is the value of the network. Given the titles of publications known at ORCID, some of the publications of Mrs Haworth could already be found in Wikidata and were linked.

Thanks to all the work done on scholarly publications, scaffolding information for Wikipedia articles become available.. These two ladies are notable if only because of being recipients of the Spearman medal.
Thanks,
     GerardM

Saturday, January 06, 2018

#Wikidata - Lindsay McLaren; #science under attack

Mrs McLaren is the first author of a paper about the (negative) effects of the cessation of adding fluoride to drink water. Retraction Watch mentioned the aggressive attacks on Mrs McLaren by people opposed to the addition of fluoride to tab water and it refers to an article in the National Post.

Adverts bought from Google may give the impression that something is wrong with the science. Not so. Reason enough to put some positive spin on Mrs McLaren and provide her with an item in Wikidata. You may consider this to be an invite to write a Wikipedia article..
Thanks,
      GerardM

Monday, January 01, 2018

#Wikidata - #CocaCola, what science in paid "science"?

Greenpeace has a reputation on the science it uses to base its actions on. Its objective is one that should be not controversial but it is because it affects business as usual for industries like the plastic bottled drinks of a Coca Cola or the production of oil by a Shell.

Industry has a long tradition of performing research and of keeping it confidential when this is considered in its interest. Another, new strategy is to commission research to find the numbers to shore up its market position.

When the numbers do not add up because reality is different, the last bastion to defend is the integrity of the science and its scientists. Even when a case goes to court, the findings of a judge are disputed when other scientists do not consider the legal findings. In a post at the Dutch Greenpeace website, 5 reasons to dispose of rebate and 12 reasons to reinforce rebate, multiple examples of doctored science are mentioned. Mentioned in a way where research is invalidated by research. When a bad faith actor like the plastic bottle industry buys research, it follows that the research is easily suspect and with the same brush, the organisations, the people involved.

When science is pseudo science, when both Wikipedia and Wikidata use sources to establish points of view it follows that this pseudo science is used to establish a neutral point of view. That is exactly why a Coca Cola invests in these programs; just to shore up its business. Obviously the court cases, the papers trouncing pseudo science should be prominently included. This pseudo science has no place in the Wikimedia projects except when it is obvious for what it is.
Thanks,
      GerardM