Saturday, August 01, 2015

#Wikidata - the Forough Faroukhzad Award

When I wrote about the Radcliffe fellow Mrs Mehrangiz Kar, I mentioned that recognition came to her in the form of many awards. One of them was the Forough Faroukhzad Award. This award was only known as a string of text. I asked an Iranian friend if he could identify a few more people who received this award. He identified a few more for me and consequently, this award became incrementally more relevant

When you concentrate on the people of the Radcliffe college or alternatively the winners of the Forough Faroukhzad award, you make them better connected. It gets you to other universities or other awards. It may show you where those who teach were educated or it may show you nothing at all because the data is just not there.

A Dutch scientist published in a journal that dementia has a one in three link to heart and circulatory issues. It is highly likely that such knowledge may spur people to take better care of their health. The scientist does not have an article or an item. The organisation that reports on it funded the research. It has a high impact on research on this issue in the world and it is hardly known outside the Netherlands by people who are not working in this field..

The Hartstichting also issues awards and it makes it obvious why the persons involved are important. I can read Dutch, not Iranian. We need friends from all over the world making the connections. Giving us a view that brings a new perspective.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

#Wikidata - What is a Radcliffe fellow?

Mrs Mehrangiz Kar is a Radcliffe fellow. It is just one of the things that is to know about her. I think this fellow thing is a fancy way of saying that she was employed at Radcliffe college..  When you read the article about her, there are several quite relevant awards mentioned.

Registering awards, any and all awards, is a way of establishing relevance. Several of them so far did not merit their own article and therefore they are just registered as text. When you look close at all the Radcliffe fellows, you get an idea what they have in common. The same is true for people who received an award.

Every so often for their own political reasons, people will deny what is in their face when they look at it. The merit of the organisations that are of foreign origin is easy to dismiss.. "Gross interference", "not patriotic" is easy to utter and when the nation is said to be equal to the current incumbent.

The point of Wikipedia and Wikidata however, is not to take a point of view. Articles are there to be read, to inform. They may be the basis for an informed opinion. That is fine, that is what they are there for.

PS The point of Mrs Kar is that there are so many awards, relevant awards in the Wikipedia article that lack weight because they are not backed up with more information.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

#Wikidata - Sydney Hollander award

Some awards merit extra attention. One of them is the Sydney Hollander award. It was awarded to people and organisations that were instrumental in bringing an end to segregation in the United States. The award was brought attention to "best practices" and reinforced them. The first recipient in 1946 was the Baltimore Sun. It received the award because it finally ended the practice of indicating what race was desired in the "help wanted" section. At the time there was an argument if they deserved the award in the first place. Later the award proved to be a catalyst in bringing further changes to the Sun. After the award was received, the Sun began to cover the black community and interview notable people of colour.

The Sydney Hollander award had its end in 1964 because it was recognised that desegregation was now covered on a higher level. The need for the award was no longer so urgent.

Arguably, when Wikipedia is to document the history of the United States, an award like this and the achievements it celebrates deserve attention. One issue may be the lack of sources. There is not much to find on the Internet, there is not much to read in the Wikipedia article.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

#SignWriting #Symposium - including #Wikipedia

For a second year now the Signwriting Foundation organises their online symposium. For those who do not know, SignWriting is all about writing sign languages. This has been under development for over 40 years and it was founded by Valerie Sutton.

When a language can be written, it may have a Wikipedia and, it has been wished for for a long time. The problems are many. The characters have to show, the text is written online for it to be truly a Wiki.

In a presentation on this years symposium, Yair Rand informs us about a keyboard that has been developed to bring the reality of Wikipedia for a sign language even closer.

If there is one thing the people at SignWriting org teach us, it is that perseverance matters. With an input method, a Wikipedia in the American Sign Language is that much closer.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

#Wikimedia - #portal to all #knowledge

The Dutch Royal #Library donated, yet again, a wonderful collection of material to #Commons. This time 3100 images were uploaded using the GLAM-wiki uploadtool for the first time.

When you read the announcement, it is really interesting to find what is known in Wikidata and by inference in Wikipedia. One fun fact is that the old image for Mr Schoemaker has his name in a way that makes more sense in Dutch.; schoenmaker means, shoemaker or cobbler.

When you visit Wikidata for the subjects mentioned in the mail, you find not that much information but often a rich source of external sources. Some of it is really informative and well worth a visit. For Wikipedia articles, we provide badges for excellent material. It highlights quality where we find it. Maybe something like this can be done for external sources as well.

Having attention for the external sources we link to makes Wikidata more of a portal to all knowledge. It would extend from what Wikidata already is: the portal to all available knowlege in the Wikimedia Foundation.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

#Wikidata - what William O. Douglas Award?

#Wikipedia has an article about the William O. Douglas Award and, it is totally disappointing. When you Google for it, you find another William O. Douglas Award, and yet another William O. Douglas Award and maybe yet another...

The last one was awarded to Hillary Clinton in 2014, a fact that until now escaped the attention at both Wikipedia and Wikidata. There is no problem in having items for any and all awards. There is a minor problem when an article is incomplete in the way the Wikipedia article is.

Then again, it is probably an article nobody sees or reads. Arguably, such statements of facts (the award exists and is conferred by) probably have an easier life at Wikidata.

Monday, July 20, 2015

#Wikidata - Inge Genefke, and #torture

Torture is a crime where the victim is expandable, without any rights, someone who is not given much consideration. When Amnesty International asked for physicians to assist those who had been tortured, the Danish Inge Genefke responded to this request. She started locally and then founded the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims.

An award was named in her honour, the Inge Genefke Award and expanding the information on all these subjects, including the award winners is easy enough.

When you care about a given subject, like torture, and you want to expose the forces of good or evil, you can at Wikidata by adding information. It is all part of sharing in the sum of all available knowledge. It is all part of caring about what information is available in our world.