Friday, November 28, 2014

#Wikimedia #Labs - my #stake is rare, bruised

I have a stake in Wikimedia Labs. I rely on it. I am not the only one. Wikimedia chapters rely on it; they need it for many of their activities. Glam is one area vital to them that relies on Labs.

For the Wikimedia Foundation, Labs is second tier. They have a few people dedicated to Labs. Good people, well intentioned people but what they offer is not production quality. They cannot for several reasons. There are not enough resources for them to do what is needed.

Chapters are second class citizens as well, The fact that Labs is vital to achieve their aims so far did not make a noticeable difference. In my opinion it is not only the Wikimedia Foundation who can and should make a difference. It is the chapters themselves as well.

I urge the chapters to invest in Wikimedia Labs.. It is BOTH the responsibility of the WMF and the chapters to provide adequate support. During business hours operational support should be available. Stakeholders in both WMF projects and chapter projects rely on adequate service.

Today is black friday in the USA. Yesterday was Thanksgiving. When all staff celebrate their turkey we are left to fend with even less.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

#Wikidata - #today, #tomorrow

In #Reasonator you can check out dates. The first people of today are known to have died. Who will die tomorrow is only known to God. All we have to do is wait and see.

When we are all done with Wikipedia, all the living people will have died, Hmmm, that is a long time coming. First we have to kill of the ones not known to be dead yet.

#Wikimedia - #empower the #chapters

It has been #budget time for the Wikimedia chapters. As it is centrally decided what chapters "get" and as the finances of the main organisation are not considered under equal terms, they are secondary by definition.

To prove this, a few points:
  • The WMF director defined criteria for quality for the chapters
  • The chapters are barred from involvement in the annual WMF fundraising
  • The chapters rely on funding from the WMF AND the metrics of success do not exclude the cost of WMF related admin
  • The chapters can not compete for the resources the WMF assumes its own for new endeavours
  • The chapters are not represented at the office of the WMF
Many of these points have a long history and are sacred cows to some. My point is very much that there are many small things that can make the distinction less stark. It starts with an awareness that chapters support open culture and a community in a country. They would benefit from shared resources that can be made available after minor modifications of what is already there.  Our movement is not only English Wikipedia and does not only have an USA or alternatively a world view.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

#Wikipedia - Hey, #College Boy II

Remember? At this time, of the sum of all the 195085 notable people with an alma mater, 158649 are men and 29059 are  women for 7377 no gender is known.

They include all the boys and girls of *your* university. Take the University of Virginia for instance. When I first looked at it, there were only 142 alumni. The category knew about at least 815 more of them. They are being added as well, software permitting.

This query has all the UoV alumni. These are all the men and these are all the women.. Maybe this is a good time to write Wikipedia articles, identify articles to Wikidata about the female UoV alumni.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

#Commons - the Como Cathedral

The Como Cathedral is a cathedral in Como, Italy. In it you will find works of art that are represented in Commons. This link to the works of art is established through an "institution template". It was easy to link the Como Cathedral by adding this: "| wikidata    = Q1101730" in the template.

At the moment there are 1149 templates waiting to be linked to Wikidata. With this link established, it is possible to either populate these templates with information from Wikidata or populate the templates with information from Wikidata.

It is a precursor for easily finding files in Commons that are linked to institutions. Many of them are GLAM partners of us and it is yet another way of establishing how important they are to us.

#Wikimedia #chapters, the data

Guess what, Wikimedia chapters are linked to many other organisations. These organisations are known in Wikidata and now the chapters are known as well.

For many GLAM partners we have all kinds of statistics. We could link the partners to the chapters that they are connected to.. It is the basis for information on the usefulness of the chapters.

#Wikimedia - the point of #collecting #data?

If #Wikidata is one thing, it is useful. It was useful from the start by including all the Wikipedia articles who are linked to articles in other languages. In the next phase statements were added and more and more articles were added that did not link to other articles. They were needed because they were a part in the expression of a statement. Then for all articles Wikidata items were created and still more items were created because they were needed in the statement of expressions.

There is a point to linking the articles. It enables people to read about the same subject in other languages. There is a point to adding statements to items; it enables articles to be linked to whatever. This combination enables us to report on Wikipedia in ways not yet done.

If you want to know about the gender division; currently these are the men, the women in all our projects. Since June 2014 90,850 more items became known to be women and 445,240 as men. Interesting but this information is not in a format that is "academic" or useful.  Having this information in a bar chart with regular intervals gives more insight in what we have. Using old dumps for this is one solution. Breaking the information up per Wikipedia provides even more granular information.

Providing statistics in this way is good for several reasons:
  • it is public and verifiable information
  • it stimulates people to add statements about gender
  • it stimulates people to write about men and women
  • it makes it obvious that it is Wikidata where we know these things

Friday, November 21, 2014

#Wikimedia - first #standardisation, then #specialisation

The hardware and software used by the Wikimedia Foundation is increasingly standardised. It uses the same software and the configuration is centrally maintained. Good news; it makes for a stable platform. A stable platform allows us to share in "the sum of all available knowledge".

With this process well under way, special attention can be given to special projects. It has probably escaped your attention that the WMF now has a "Services group". They are the engineers that support the standalone software components that often run on their own machines and have very specific jobs, such as "generate a PDF from this article".

Wonderful news. When it did not escape your attention, did you notice that Stas Malyshev is getting up to speed on the Wikidata Query Service[1], figuring out what we need to do to make it suitable for widespread deployment of WikiGrok[2])?

Effectively it means that Magnus's query tool will be used by an updated version of the Games [3]. Now is that not sweet; Wikidata data being USED to leverage our community to improve Wikidata even more.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

#Wikimedia & Project #Gutenberg - the sum of all knowledge

"To share in the sum of all knowledge" is the vision of the Wikimedia Foundation. The Swiss chapter does understand this really well. It has adopted Kiwix, an off line reader for content that is published in the ZIM format.

Project Gutenberg is a well established organisation dedicated to the digitisation of books. Its catalogue of 50.000 public domain books is now available to everybody, everywhere and offline as well.

Thanks to a hackathon, all books are now available in the ZIM format, you can search in all the books at the same time. The best news is that not only has this work been done for a first time, it is build in such a way that it can be easily repeated.

Future deployments may include all the books of Wikisource, books from other sources and even copyrighted works as well. The point of Kiwix is that it is an enabler, it allows for the dissemination of knowledge and to achieve THAT is what our aim is.

Congratulations to the Swiss Wikimedia chapter for providing the sustained support of this valuable project.

#Wikidata - C. Rudhraiya; #filmdirector from #India

Mr Rudhraiya studied at the Adyar Film Institute and, he recently passed away. According to some, he brought fame to his alma mater. Mr Rudhraiya also studied at the St. Joseph's College, Tiruchirappalli.

The point is not so much that Mr Rudhraiya was a studied man, it is more that we know this about him. As more information like this is known about "living persons", they get a better representation in Wikidata.

At this time only two movies of Mr Rudghraiya are known to be directed by him. There must be many more. It is possible to know all the people he worked with by connecting him through his movies, With more data this information becomes more complete.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

#Wikipedia - Nel Garritsen, a Dutch swimmer

Mrs Garritsen is one of only a few people who are known to have died and has an article in the Dutch Wikipedia. In that article it is currently not known that she died. We know it in Wikidata courtesy of the article in the English Wikipedia.

Every Wikipedia do things their own way. By not having categories for people who died in a given year, there is no way to know about the recent deaths known in the Dutch Wikipedia. It is also not possible to indicate to the Dutch Wikipedians what people are known to be dead in other sources.

Mechanisms like this help to ensure that proper information is available for "living people". Arguably, maintaining categories with the people who died in a given year are a valuable instrument in an implementation of "BLP".