Saturday, September 20, 2014

#Wikidata - Hal Newton; #baseball player

Mr Newton died in 2014 and, as his demise was only recently picked up it came up to my attention only now. I added his date of birth and death. I skimmed his article and added two clubs he played for by hand; the Calgary Stampeders and the Toronto Argonauts. For a third club there was a category so I added all of the players of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats using AutoList2.

Then it hit me. Adding all this data to Wikidata is very similar to collecting baseball cards. Sometimes you get one card at a time, sometimes you get a whole collection. All of them have to be fitted in so that they can be displayed most advantageously.

At that Wikidata is very much the box where all the cards live. Reasonator is like a display book; it shows off what there is and it is where you get the best impression of what is still lacking.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

#Wikipedia - To bot or not to bot II

In a mail it was announced that the Lsjbot finished adding plants to the Swedish Wikipedia. Several classes of subjects have so far been added and it had quite a surprising effect on the vitality of the Swedish Wikipedia:
"We are also gladdened by the hard numbers. Reader accesses show a healthy increase even from our already high number. And a trend of a slight decrease of editors has now turned into an increase. We can not say for certain why and it could be temporary but we believe the botgenerated articles has a part of this positive development".
These hard numbers referred to fly in the face of all the pundits who claim the opposite. Evidently, Wikipedia works best when it does what it is meant to do; share in the sum of all knowledge. There is no sharing when no information at all is provided for "esthetical" or whatever reasons.

We can argue about the best way of providing additional information and, it is good that a door is kept open for Wikidata to play a role. In the end both for all the Wikipedias and for Wikidata it is about priorities and I agree with Anders that the quality of the data is key in this. In addition the priority of Wikidata should be much more centred on what we do it all for; making information available to people not so much machines.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

#Wikidata - Ted Belytschko, engineer

Mr Belytschko was an #engineer. He did a really good job; he was awarded with medals and other awards in his lifetime. Several of these awards have been added in Wikidata;
When you check out these awards, you will find that Mr Belytschko who is known to be awarded these medals is the only known recipient. It is quite obvious that in reality this is not the case. As more people are known to be recognised as engineer, more appreciation will exist for this really important occupation.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

#Mortality - You make your choice and, then you die

#Vaccination is a serious subject. It allows you to prevent yourself and your loved ones from deadly deceases like the whooping cough. A report by the Hollywood reporter has it that an outbreak of whooping cough can be expected soon with deadly consequences in the Hollywood area.

When people make their own choices, they have to live with the consequences. I really wonder if the people who leave themselves vulnerable to such deadly deceases understand that they are also responsible for those they infect in turn, When they fall ill, they expect to receive treatment at no extra cost. They expect that their health plan pays for it but, should it?

With whooping cough there is sufficient research about the efficacy of the vaccines and its risks. For ebola experimental vaccines are used. Like whooping cough it is a deadly decease. I wonder if these people will refuse an experimental ebola vaccine when the decease arrives in their backyard.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

#Wikidata - great progress on the number of statements

It is obvious; with 15,703,625 items, it takes a lot of effort to improve the quality of Wikidata. Statements are added all the time to specific items and that reflects well on the quality of those items but the underlying health of Wikidata is probably best expressed in its statistics.

The latest statistics show that we can finally say that "50% of our items have none, one or only two statements". Arguably not much can be said about these items and consequently these items are not informative. The trend however is wonderful; it shows in the graph; slowly but surely Wikidata is gaining data and by inference becomes more informative and useful.

The next challenge for us will be to be able to say "50% of our items have none, one, two or only three statements".. That will be a happy day.

#Wikidata - Eberhard Schlotter

Mr Schlotter died on september 8th. During his life many of his achievements were celebrated with awards. According to Wikidata he received among others the Q2571516 this award was named after Mr Q2573984 a noted German sculptor.

When you look at the information for the award, Reasonator will provide you with sufficient information as can be seen in the screenshot. Mr Loth is named by Reasonator as well.

My hope is that when Wikidata gets its UI make over, a good look will be given at the functionality of Reasonator and its killer features like, showing labels where they are available, will be adopted.  A machine may make sense out of Q2571516 but for me a text like "Wilhelm-Loth-Preis" is much more informative.

#Wikipedia & #Wikidata - #Authority control

One objective for Wikidata is to include information to be used in articles of Wikipedia. One template in particular provides a great example of this ability; it is the "Authority control" template. The rather technical information that it provides points to external sources where you will find information about the same item.

All these external sources have their own purpose and in essence, you may find additional information and hooks to functionality about all kinds of everything. It is for instance well possible to inform you about the availability of a book in *YOUR* library in several countries like the Netherlands.

Authority control is not restricted to the English Wikipedia, as you can imagine, it is called different in many other languages; Normdaten is for instance the name in German. All these templates face the challenge how they keep up with all the new external sources that are added all the time at Wikidata. The English version only supports some 12 sources while Reasonator knows about more than 200 external sources.

For all these sources statements are added all the time and new sources are added on an almost weekly basis. This makes it obvious why it is best to choose for Wikidata when external sources are to be added in an article. The template makes it easy; it shows everything from Wikidata what it currently supports.

Monday, September 08, 2014

#Wikidata - The #Ukrainian - #Russian #War 2014

Soldiers die in the Ukraine. With depressing regularity they appear in the ToolScript I use to find people who died in 2014. I think many of them can be found in this category.. Currently there are 294 entries.

The Ukrainian Russian war is just one of the wars that are happening today. Sadly most other conflicts are not documented with the same quality of detail. Consider the cultures of Iraq and Syria that are being wiped away including their people. All the "little" wars in Africa. These conflicts are huge in their impact on people and cultures.

We hardly know them.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

#Wikidata introduces some media files from #Commons

At Wikidata we use images. They are included as statements and they show up for instance in Reasonator where they prove once again that a picture paints a thousand words. In a round about way this shows one aspect of what "Wikidatification of media files" can do for us.

Magnus did it again.

His new tool, "Wikidata Commons Search" shows what we can do already based on the limited amount of data that is available, Thanks to the labels in Wikidata we CAN search and find "things" in any language. These things can be any kind of mediafile as the example shows so well.