Sunday, August 27, 2017

#Wikidata - surge of new items

Lately there has been a surge of new items coming into Wikidata. They must be quite good when you consider the number of statements. The items with no statements are mainly part of the original load, the Wikipedia articles, and their number is slowly but surely decreasing (1.35% the last month).

With more items in Wikidata, there is more data to support, to edit. As it is, limits are put on the amount of edits. This can be appreciated because of the current performance problems but it is obvious that as this upward trend continues, more people and more data will come to Wikidata to edit as well as to query.

There is plenty of data waiting in the wings to be added. The big challenge is promoting the data that is of use and will enable more collaboration both with people and with organisations.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

#OpenLibrary - Charles Horn and its other volunteers

There are several reasons why Open Library and Internet Archive deserve attention. They provide downloadable books in many language and their Wayback machine comes to the rescue when links in references in Wikipedia go stale. Have a look at the presentation from Wikimania 2017 (from11:46).

The Internet Archive is officially one of the partners of the Wikimedia Foundation. When you ask who in the Wikimedia Foundation is the goto person for contacts with Internet Archive, there is no answer. It is as if there is no structure in contacts with our partners even when it plays dividends to collaborate in a more structured way. When you consider the "Coleman Boat" it is just as if the macro elements are totally missing and it is left for the micro elements to make the difference.

Macro effects of collaboration with the Open Library would be:
  • references are made to downloadable eBooks from Wikipedia - People read books
  • localisation are made at - People read books in "other" languages 
  • books at Open Library are in Wikidata - links to eBooks are available
  • identifiers are widely shared and widely curated -  work of volunteers has the biggest impact
At a micro level, collaboration is happening. Charles Horn, a volunteer at Open Library is a stellar example. Charles added identifiers to Wikidata and VIAF in the Open Library database. He provided us with a large file of redirects and was instrumental in removing multiple identifiers to Open Library for authors.  He recently produced a Wikidata query to find duplicates and the Wikidata community was made aware of this maintenance work. 

Many of the macro opportunities become possible when conditions at Open Library are met. One big issue is the need for disambiguation and de-duplication. This is not helped with the massive amounts of data involved and the lack of data on the individual author level. While individuals like Charles have an immense effect, it is in the collaboration on a macro level where even bigger differences can be made. Consider; many books include identifiers like an ISBN or a link to the Library of Congress. So it is possible to leverage a tool developed at the Wikimedia Foundation to retrieve associated meta data or to find associated data at the OCLC.

It takes just a bit of friendly prodding from the macro people at the associated organisations, some reassurance that there is support for these efforts and there will be a lot of talent at the micro level making a big difference. Cooperation and coordination is what the organisations are to provide and we will share more of the knowledge that is available to all who come looking.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

#Wikidata - Martin Reints and {{Authority control}}

Martin Reints received the Herman Gorter Award in 1993. There is a Wikipedia article about him and consequently he was known in Wikidata. There was no "authority control" information for Mr Reints in Wikidata yet and this was quickly remedied.

The most interesting part is that the VIAF registration for Mr Reints already included a link to Wikidata. Proof perfect that librarians are actively working on keeping their house in order. There was an Open Library entry for Mr Reints and the Dutch article had a link to the DBNL-website for Dutch language authors.

Open Library I found is very much about books. Their data on the books they have is great; identifiers like ISBN-10 or ISBN-13 and links to the online catalog of the Library of Congress. This makes a lookup at the OCLC for identifiers of all the authors easy and disambiguation becomes more effective.

Wikidata is very much about data. You can query Wikidata for all the winners of the Herman Gorter Award and it the results you can add the links to VIAF or to the Open Library. This ability to query makes all kinds of applications possible like: "what books written by authors who won the Nobel Prize are available in your library?"

Saturday, August 19, 2017

#OpenLibrary and winners of the Herman Gorter Award

If you want to know if the Open Library is of relevance in other languages, you have to do some research. I wanted to find out if there are publications by the authors who won the prestigious Herman Gorter Award?

This award was conferred from 1945 to 2002 often to multiple authors. The first author not known to Open Library is H. C. ten Berge. He received the Herman Gorter award in 1964. There were several authors where Wikidata did not have a link yet for Open Library.

Now consider this: what if we could query Wikidata for all the authors and their publications in Open Library? 

Just a little bit more metadata about books, publications is what we need.. It is not really a big deal, only a few million additional records..

Many if not most of the books at Open Library have links to authorities like the Library of Congress. This makes it possible to link these books through the OCLC to "your library system". It knows about authors and that is what makes it possible to use tools in stead of people to enrich Wikidata and open up all that is in the Open Library for all of us.

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.