Friday, March 24, 2017

#Wikipedia - Professor Joseph Torgesen

The article on Professor Joseph Torgesen is a stub. The cool thing is that the information on a minimal article allows for improvements in the data at Wikidata. The author of the article included information on education and employment. This was done through categories.

Petscan was used and as a result 244 staff members of the university of Florida State University and 107 alumni of the University of Michican were added including Mr Torgesen.

As Mr Torgesen is a professor and "must" publish, finding a VIAF registration was possible. Adding the {{authority control}} to the article enriched the article. One fact not in the article; Mr Torgesen was awarded the Samuel Torrey Orton award in 2006. This is why there was already an item in Wikidata for Mr Torgesen.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

#Wikipedia vs #Wikidata - Quality and low hanging fruit

When Wikipedia is to be the best, it has to understand and preserve its quality. When Wikidata is to be the best, it has to understand and preserve its quality. Both Wikipedia and Wikidata are wikis but their quality and how it manifests itself are utterly different. At the same time they intersect and this is where we find low hanging fruit.

In Wikidata we have "Author"s and subclasses of author. Many of them have a VIAF identifier and this means that libraries know about them. Information like VIAF is shown in the English Wikipedia when there is an {{authority control}} template. It shows nothing when there is nothing to show but it will update Wikipedia when the information is added to Wikidata.

The low hanging fruit:
  • English Wikipedia - All articles about someone who is known as an author of any kind gets the template.
  • Wikidata - For all the items for someone who is known as an author of any kind we seek the VIAF identifier.
  • OCLC - All the libraries in the world will be updated with a link to Wikidata within a month. This will make it easy for a librarian to find Wikipedia articles in any language.
  • Open Archive - It has a project called "Open Library" and it has freely licensed e-books. Wikidata includes Open Library identifiers. OCLC and OL have links combined with Wikidata identifiers. As these numbers include, people in libraries or from Wikipedia could find authors with free books.
  • other Wikipedias - they could include VIAF and OL identifiers as well. Open Library has books in languages other than English..
We live in an interconnected world. Wikimedia quality is in not being on an island but increasing the reach and enabling our readers.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

#Wikidata and #activism

When you care about something, you want to make sure that when you do something, it has an impact. There are many ways a difference can be made, you can protest, you can write in a blog, you can write Wikipedia articles and you can try to connect things in Wikidata.

For Wikimedians like me, sharing the sum of all knowledge, is why we are involved. As knowledge is key, it is important to make sure that facts are registered and access to knowledge becomes enabled.

The problem is that it is not obvious how and where a difference can be made. When the BBC gives diversity a prominent place because of its 100 women program, it seems obvious that we will write articles about these women. It is however not the first time that the BBC runs this program. We have written articles for women celebrated in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. But in what language are these articles written? How much are they read? How well connected are these women to universities, to political parties to organisations and what countries are they from?

For a Wikimedian these are interesting questions. For an organiser of editathons they are what measures success. Is this activism? Sure. How does it affect the legitimate concern of impartiality? Not really as Wikimedia has always been about what people fancy to work on.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

#Wikidata - the #Rome Prize

The Rome Prize is given to a high number of Americans artists. It is awarded every year to 15 artists and 15 scholars, they stay for an extended period in Rome. The first awards were given in 1905.

The award winners are mentioned in many articles, when there is no article yet, there is a red link. New articles are written all the time so problems can be anticipated.

The problem is in names; different people bearing the same name. When new articles are written, there is no consideration for these red links. Articles are written. When an article is written for a Rome Prize winner, he or she may be included on the category for Rome Prize winners and that works well.

Some will say that Red Links are bad. They have a point. However it is all in the delivery. When there is no article, it does not follow that there is no information. The information could already be in Wikidata and I added a few statements for 2016 winners..

Authors, the #OpenLibrary, #Wikidata and libraries

The Open Library is part of the Internet Archive. It makes books available for you to read. That is awesome and that is why Open Library is a natural ally of the Wikimedia community.

At our end we can do more of the things that we do anyway and share what we do. The good news is that Wikidata has a CC-0 license. The people at Open Library can use everything that we do and they do not even have to bother to say thanks.

When we add more Open Library identifiers and VIAF identifier to Wikidata we connect them, us and all the libraries in the world. Yes, individual libraries may have different ways of spelling an author's name but using these connections disambiguation slowly but surely becomes a thing of the past for Open Librarians.

What will we have in return? All the books at Open Library of these authors become available to our readers and editors. We are already in the process of adding identifiers to Wikidata for Open Library. For all the authors that have been connected, we can provide our identifiers to Open Library. This helps them with their outreach and disambiguation.

Through Wikidata more and more authors become connected to VIAF. This allows the librarians of the world to share these freely licensed books with their readers. A clear win-win situation don't you think?

Friday, March 17, 2017

#Wikimedia - Professor Chuck Stone, Tuskegee airman and member of Alpha Phi Alpha

Professor Stone is the founding NABJ President, he was included in the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame in 2004 and he received the Congressional Gold Medal from President Bush.

The description for the Wikidata item for Mr Stone is "American air force officer". This will not change; it is based on a bot that at one time decided that this would do. The automated description is: "US-American journalist (1924–2014); National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame and Congressional Gold Medal; member of Tuskegee AirmenAlpha Phi Alpha, and World Policy Council ♂" and the beauty is that this is updated as more information becomes available.

When you consider the quality of the information for Mr Stone in Wikidata, today 10 statements were added to the item. He has been added to the hall of fame with many others including some people Wikipedia does not know about. The World Policy Council is connected to Alpha Phi Alpha. The data is not complete; there is more to add.

When we consider quality, most of the data was added thanks to information available in the English article of Wikipedia. Yet there is information available that could find its way from Wikidata; how do we inform Wikipedia about the people who became part of the hall of fame for instance. Quality for Wikidata is not in single items, it is in how it connects and how it is used. With this realisation we learn from where some say Wikidata and Wikipedia fails and achieve the success that our combined data offers.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

#Wikidata - Black Art

Charles Alston is one of the artists who are of interest to the Black Lunch Table. Mr Alston died in 1977. One of his struggles was to have his art appreciated in the same way as any other art. It is why he refused to be exhibited in William E. Harmon Foundation shows, which featured all-black artists in their travelling exhibits. Alston and his friends thought the exhibits were curated for a white audience, a form of segregation which they protested. They did not want to be set aside but exhibited on the same level as art peers of every skin color.

Today is 2017 and the BLT addresses this black experience and gains the same attention for black artists by writing in Wikipedia about them. It is why many artists with a black experience gain more information in Wikidata, artists like Mr Alston. The one thing where Wikidata differs from Wikipedia is that it is all about connections. The more a person is connected, the more relevant in different settings. Mr Alston had a notable spouse, he was a founder and member of an art group, he studied and worked. All these things are easy and obvious in Wikidata.

From an artists point of view, other things are of relevance too; what awards did he gain, what museums have work in their collection and where did he exhibit. There is yet no obvious way how to make such a claim. Like so many young men of his time, he was in the army in the 372nd Infantry Regiment but that is not quite what Mr Alston is about. This could be relevant for people who care about the military and also, the 372nd was a black experience as well.

Most articles on the English Wikipedia for a person have categories about education, work at a faculty. Adding the implied information for everyone is almost as easy as adding it for one person. It makes adding statements something of a black art, an art that looks complicated an art that connects everything.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

#Wikidata - Who is Eric D. Wolff?

Eric D. Wolff is one of three authors of a paper called "Original Issue High Yield Bonds: Aging Analyses of Defaults, Exchanges, and Calls". They won the 1989 Smith Breeden Prize and the Wikipedia article has a red link for Mr Wolff, no link for Mr Paul Asquith and a blue link for  David W. Mullins, Jr.

The simplest thing to do is add an item for all the missing authors, connect them to the awards and be done. As they wrote a paper, it is reasonable to expect a VIAF registration and it was possible to find Mr Asquith.

The question is not if Mr Wolff is notable; he is as he won a prize. The question is how to reliably connect him and others to external sources. Making this effort improves quality for Wikidata; it is quality in action.

#Wikidata - actionable quality; Debora L. Silverman

Mrs Silverman is the 2001 winner of the Ralph Waldo Emerson Award. As Wikidata had only two statements for her, it was appropriate to add more information. The Wikipedia article is a stub but it had two categories for a university where she studied and one where she worked. Adding this fact to all the people in a category is relatively easy.

The Ralph Waldo Emerson award was given for "Van Gogh and Gauguin: The Search for Sacred Art". It makes Mrs Silverman an author and consequently there is a VIAF registration for her. Adding this has an effect when the {{Authority control}} template is available in the article.. I added it to the Wikipedia stub and was pleasantly surprised with the WorldCat information from the OCLC.

It is wonderful to find such quality information provided as a consequence from having VIAF information in Wikidata. That is actionable quality!