Monday, June 29, 2015

#Wikidata - كيفين بيكن and the #Syrian #refugees

When you consider the size of the camps where Syrian refugees are kept, the people lose their face, are no longer seen as individuals. But exactly because of the size, there must be professors, engineers, soccer stars and actors among them. Seen in that light Mr كيفين بيكن is not that far away from any of them.

I am sure that for all them it is a "significant event" to be in such a camp. Would it make a difference when we knew for many refugees how "near" they are to Mr Bacon? Would it convince you that these people need food, drink, shelter and schooling for their children?

Sunday, June 28, 2015

#Wikidata - #Vara and the J.B. Broekszprize

Awards are funny. They are presented with a lot of fanfare. They show the relevance of a subject; the reason why the award is presented and the person who the person is presented to. However, it takes effort and money to maintain an award and often the needed stamina simply disappears.

The J.B. Broekszprize was awarded by the VARA at least until 1996. The award was given to people and organisations who "humanised society". It is obvious that this effort was recognised at the time and, to understand the relevance of people and organisations it is great to know about awards like this.

At Wikidata we can and do recognise awards. People are added just because they received an award. Sometimes, it seems obvious that a person like Rob Hof is the 1995 winner of the award. But it needed some research to make sure that he was. Not even the Beeld en Geluid Wiki knew about Mr Hof..

Awards point to the legacy of people and organisations. They add relevance to both and they help in understanding an era that has come and gone.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

#Wikidata - #Hillary Rodham Clinton II

Mrs Clinton has been the recipient of many awards. The current count at Wikidata is at 23 and, it is quite an impressive list.

There is one funny bit in there, you have to know Dutch to spot this loonie. Mrs Clinton has been awarded several honorary doctorates. The screen shot shows nicely that there are two items for the same thing. You may see one for the University of St Andrews and one for Yale University.

Obviously the two could be merged. One reason why I won't is because Reasonator does not show redirects nicely and I do not want to lose all that information.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

#Wikidata - #Hillary Rodham Clinton

Mrs Clinton will obviously be a topic of many conversations. It is probably the best annotated USA presidential candidate on Wikidata. It is best looking at it from a Reasonator perspective because there is so much that you would drown in all of it on Wikidata itself.

When you look at the screenprint, you see a lot of text that was generated based on the currently available data. When you look at it, you may find that she received a Grammy award as well. I am certain that even though the information is extended, it is not complete. There are even technical issues to be found that need to be sorted in Wikidata itself.

When you complete all the data and all the interconnections to Mrs Clinton, one thing is sure. Many more people will be that much closer to Kevin Bacon. It would be interesting to learn how Mrs Clinton compares to the other candidates. Who will bring more people closer to Mr Bacon?

#Wikidata - #Amnesty International and the Dr. J.P. van Praag-award

Amnesty is one of the organisations I consider essential in this world. It is known for its work on human rights and it will tell any country where it fails in its commitments or in its actions. It is a participatory organisation and it is up to anyone to choose their levels of commitment.

Organisations are awarded for their work and I have added several of them spurred on by a friend who added the Dr J.P van Praag award to Amnesty. Typically I only add awards to people. It is easier and there are fewer false positives.

Reading the Dutch article, the question arose if Amnesty was indeed the beneficiary of this award. The text says in Dutch.. "Amnesty International (afdeling Nederland) voor haar werk voor gewetensgevangenen.". It says that it is the Dutch chapter who was awarded the award.

Given that other Amnesty chapters have items in Wikidata, it was easy to add one for the Dutch chapter and make it the recipient for the award. It follows that people tagged as member of Amnesty are actually member of the local chapter ... :)

NB I would not be surprised when more awards have been given to Amnesty, much of this may be found in articles in languages I do not read.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

#Wikidata - #OSA The Optical Society

In a previous post I wrote that I wanted to have all the awards of the Optical Society in Wikidata. I now admit that I failed.

The Optical Society has many awards and only some of them are known to Wikidata at this point. The funny part is that Wikidata knows about one more award than English Wikipedia does. It is an award conferred both by the Optical Society and the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft.

I did add most of the people who received an award but given that so many did not have an article it was not of interest to me to add all the missing ones. Maybe it is of interest to the Optical Society to complete information about itself and its awards..

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

#Wikidata - the Michael S. Feld Biophotonics Award

When you, like me, had never heard of biophotonics, you would never have heard about the Michael S. Feld Biophotonics Award. As it is an award by the Optical Society and I wanted its list of awards to be complete I added yet another award.

The subject must be rather new because there is no image on the biophotonics article. The award linked to Mr Feld so there is room for improvement on English Wikipedia.

What I have done is add all the current winners of the award on Wikidata and Mr Tromberg, the winner for 2015. was the only one with an article. Yes, the award is still missing on the article.

NB As I complete more awards, the results of the Kevin Bacon challenge will change. It is fun.

Monday, June 22, 2015

#Wikipedia - business as usual is not an option

The New York Times featured an article titled: "Can Wikipedia Survive?" by Andrew Lih. It is a good article in that it describes the current state of Wikipedia. It raises several important points and the main one is that because of smartphones and tablets many people do not contribute as much as they used to.

Articles like that describe the status quo. The issues that seem important based on the old understanding of what Wikipedia is about. The older understanding was: "To share the sum of all knowledge" the current situation is that there are 280+ Wikipedias and each is on its own to do its own thing using the MediaWiki software. There are other projects that contribute to the old motto but they were outside of the scope of the article.

When you reflect on the original objective, all Wikipedias fail. Every Wikipedia has its own content and is distinct in what it has to say. Consequently they do not share the sum of all knowledge; they are not even aware of the knowledge that is available elsewhere.

When you analyse Wikipedia, it has several components; there are accumulations of text and there are accumulations of data. There have been experiments that show clearly that it is not always necessary for a person to write the text. The experience from several Wikipedias is that bot generated content leads to more readers and more editors. This is quite counter intuitive but hey, why dispute the facts? If there is one draw back, it is with updating said texts when need be.

We know that once enough data is available for a subject information may be gleaned from raw data. Wikidata provides raw data and Reasonator among others transforms it into information. This may finally be accepted when the overly long awaited Wikidata Query engine will become available.

What this may do is several things.
  • people will want to add items and statements to Wikidata
  • results will pop up everywhere once the facts are in
  • more software will be written to produce texts based on Wikidata data
  • articles generated in this way may be cached without saving the text
  • generated articles will change once more facts are known
This is not rocket science. It has been done before. The only question is does sufficient motivation to accept changes to Wikipedia exist. As Andrew Lih so eloquently asks "Can Wikipedia Surive?" the answer seems obvious. Wikipedia has to change in order to survive. This approach will help us improve content in any language.

#Wikidata - #People who died in 2015

I stopped registering the dead of 2015. I am happy with the result so far. People still die in 2015 and the number of people who are still waiting to be killed of has not increased that much.

The stress I felt to work on Wikidata is gone. I do more work in the house and when I work on Wikidata it is on things I actually enjoy.

Thanks to everyone who now registers the deaths of 2015 you make me feel happy.

#Wikidata - #IEEE Cledo Brunetti Award

The IEEE or the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers is an organisation that confers many different awards. One of them is the IEEE Cledo Brunetti Award

Adding the known Wikipedia articles is easy, they have their Wikidata item, it is just a matter of linking the two. Making a complete list is not as easy. According to the article, the data from 1986 to 2001 is missing and, only one of the winners after 2001 is linked to an article.

Mr Hiroshi Iwai is the winner for 2015 and, to make sure that he is on the list, I searched for him. Before I added him to Wikidata, I disambiguated another using Google translate to learn the date of death of one of the Mr Iwai's

The missing data is available; it is on the official website in a PDF. It is easy to make a list of all the people who have been awarded this prize