Wednesday, August 16, 2017

#Wikipedia - #BlackLunchTable / Brooklyn Hip Hop

The Black Lunch Table project has an editathon on August 20th. It will focus on on important but underrepresented New York Hip Hop/rap artists.

In preparation they have created entries in Wikidata for artists with and without a Wikipedia article. In this way they can prepare information for the editors to use in their articles.

Magnus created a new tool and it shows who edited Wikidata. As a result we can create a query for the edits for the New York Hip hop event for the month of August.

It shows who has been doing all the work.

Monday, August 14, 2017

#Wikimedia - Women in blue

Dear Rosie, I saw your presentation. You want women in blue. In it you mention 300 lists of women. That is a lot of lists. In the mean time the biggest list of women with no article in a Wikipedia can be found on Wikidata.

There has been research in suggesting subjects to people and it works. Leila Zia, one of the WMF researchers wrote about a project they did. So the mechanism is there and you know, Wikidata has oodles of women with no article in "your" Wikipedia that have enough relevance given.

So how about a generator for ideas for articles to write? Leila knows many algorithms and Wikidata knows about many if not most of the women that are on your lists.. Come to think of it, why not add all the lists in Wikidata in the first place?

Sunday, August 13, 2017

#Wikidata - Three award winners of the #ASBA

The ASBA or the "American Society of Botanical Artists" started of in the USA only to become a truly international organisation. They are an important player in the revival of botanical art, they have many local chapters and they have a number of awards.

The three ladies to the right; are the winners of three awards. They now have their Wikidata entries.

I was introduced to people at the New York Botanical Garden and they indicated to me the relevance of illustrations. After that I got into contact with a lady from New Zealand who created a Google list of women scientific illustrators and artists. Her objective is to collect information for Wikipedia articles and many of them already do have an article.

The NYBG is planning future events and for its preparation they do like to include information about awards including awards about botanical illustrators. When the information in the spreadsheet is entered from the start in Wikidata, there is no need for Google lists; Wikidata can play its role in stead.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

#Wikidata - Harriet Martineau and some social opportunities

When you do not already know about Mrs Martineau, do read one of the many Wikipedia articles, she is considered to be the first female sociologist and introduced many subjects into sociology that were up to that time not considered.

The picture is a crop of a painting at the National Portrait Gallery by Richard Evans. The picture is known at Wikidata, at Commons the Creator template is missing.

At the Biodiversity Heritage Library Mrs Martineau was know for her book a complete guide to the English lakes. It was the only book known for her at Open Library.  Given the relevance of Mrs Martineau this was strange and sure enough she was known as "Martineau, Harriet" and changing the link to the book was easily done.

At Wikidata meanwhile, there was a hidden link to Mrs Martineau to Open Library thanks to all the good work of the Freebase volunteers. Approving the change was obvious.

At Wikidata there is now a link to both VIAF, to the BHL, to OL for Mrs Martineau and to over 20 more sources. The BHL has links to both Open Library and VIAF. When the links differ, it becomes obvious where work needs to be done.

The result is a better service for all the people who make use of any or all of these resources. We truly should collaborate and strengthen our partners, the partners we share data with.

#Standards - the International Plant Names Index

#IPNI is a collaborative project between three august bodies in the taxonomy of plants. They are the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the Harvard University Herbaria, and the Australian National Herbarium.

There are three areas where IPNI sets the standards: plants, authors and publications. The objective is to disambiguate any taxonomic reference to a plant in scientific literature to the correct taxon given the taxon name, its author information, publication information and date.

IPNI publishes several graphs indicating the success of their work. I have been involved in this work as a consequence of a database project I did for my father who loved his cacti and succulents.

One example of what information IPNI provides can be found in this page for the "genus" Echninocactus. In my understanding, the correct full taxonomic name is: "Echinocactus Link & Otto Verh. Vereins Beford. Gartenbaues Konigl. Preuss. Staaten 3: 420. 1827". It has all the required information, it has type information, it has links all as you would expect of a standard like this.

To appreciate the work of IPNI; in stead of "Link & Otto", there may have been: "Link and Otto" or "Link et Otto" or ... obviously the information for the publication is easily made into a different abbreviation.

Wikidata included only a subset of the full taxon information. It is easy enough to understand why; Wikipedia only needed the most current one. It is an easy model; works relatively well and it breaks in the corner cases. With the development of WikiCite there is a great and possibly easy opportunity to expand on the current work given the expanding collaboration with botanical partners like the Biodiversity Heritage Library.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

#Wikidata - Mrs Helen M. Duncan is not the only geologist

There are many ways of updating Wikidata. Individual statements for individual items are made. They are worthwhile but on the grand scale of things they have little impact. Another approach is to seek sets of data that can be updated all at the same time.

Mrs Duncan is among others relevant to the Smithsonian Institute. The approach of adding loads of data for many people has the advantage that when the same issue like Mrs Duncan not being identified as a geologist, is fixed for many people at the same time.

To do this, I identified a category that implied the missing statement and I used PetScan to add all of the missing data in one go. Together with Mrs Duncan I made 1005 humans a geologist.

These are small numbers, they hardly register. But as it is, there are Wikidata administrators actively preventing edits because Wikipedia cannot cope with the volume of changes in its recent changes. 

There is no plan, no timetable for the underlying problem to be solved. Wikidata people are told not to make mass edits. It is however the only way to make a real difference and make Wikidata halfway usable.

There are two options:
  • improving Wikidata as fast as we can and in the best way possible - as a consequence changes at Wikidata will not all be visible in some Wikipedias
  • allow Wikidata to edit to the extend that Wikipedias can keep up with the volume of changes - as a consequence people will go away and new projects will not start
There is a prima facie case to be made for the edits to be seen in the Wikipedias. Its efficacy has not been studied and some say that the user interface sucks too much to be useful. Arguably keeping these changes is based on beliefs/assumptions and not on established facts. 

We should imho make all the edits we can make and when the Wikipedia recent changes are to be salvaged, give it the highest priority particularly at the Wikipedia end. It sucks that we can not provide all changes to them but hey that's life. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

#Wikidata - in #defence of Erika Herzog

On Facebook, Erika made a few comments that were not well received. A few really positive things did come out as a result but there is a need to defend Erika and her central argument. She asked if there had been a process of consulting the English Wikipedia community because the user interface of Wikidata is so poor. She said:
"... But I am pretty sure a lot of En Wikipedia editors are going to be sort of upset about this shift that requires them to actually edit Wikidata without a form input method (on WikiMarkup). Is there a form input on Visual Editor for this?"
On Facebook she is attacked for all the wrong reasons. A Wikimedia functionary asks: "How is this a Wikidata matter? English Wikipedia is where you want to discuss this." Erika's answer is spot on: "Actually no it's not. I'm tired of this response. It's not helpful or realistic. This is a Wikidata item in terms of buy-in and outreach to incorporate more Wikipedia editors. It's disingenuous to posit otherwise. This needs to be a discussion on both sides, and I think the onus is more on the Wikidata side as the usability and UX is poor at best."

One positive outcome of the Facebook thread is that it is mentioned that there is a method under development to edit Wikidata from Wikipedia templates. However welcome, it is going to introduce its own problems because the primacy of the data remains at Wikidata. The user interface of Wikidata is indeed awful. As one of the more prolific Wikidata editors I only use it for editing. For displaying the data I use Reasonator exclusively. Compare this with this for instance and you will see why.

The reason for this are applicable priorities. The WMF has too many concurrent ambitions for Wikidata and the staff is overextended. When the question is if Wikidata is sufficiently user friendly for an average Wikipedian, the answer is no. At this time Wikidata cannot cope with all the changed committed to it as it is, the wise words of Johan Cruyff apply; every disadvantage has its advantage.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

#Wikidata - Franziska Michor and #notability

Because of Facebook I read something about Franziska Michor. What triggered me was that she received an award. Her occupation, biomathematician, does not even exist (yet) on Wikidata.

To understand what a biomathematician does, it is great to watch the TedMED presentation by Mrs Michor. It gets me to the question of notability; I was amazed that Mrs Michor did not have a presence on Wikidata. I do not know if TEDMed is part of the TED project we had and I have no clue how to add this presentation.

The problem with an ever increasing scope of Wikidata, the challenge becomes less one of introducing data but more of maintaining data. This is particularly true when you look at Wikidata from a mathematical point of view. With Mrs Michor there are several datasets that gained notability and can do with some tender loving care: biomathematicians, TEDMed talks and the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise.