Sunday, February 26, 2017

#Wikidata - John Dalrymple Governor of British Mauritius

There is a list that has a John Dalrymple as Governor of British Mauritius. There are enough John Dalrymples to allow for a disambiguation page.

When there are multiple people with the same name, it is important to exclude the ones that do not fit. A date of birth and death is relevant. The time of having been governor is from 10 December 1818 to 6 February 1819 and that excludes most of them.

There is only one likely candidate; the eight earl of Stair. There is no source but hey, it is at least likely; one source describes the governor as a general and, this one certainly was one. I am however not sure.

There is a Listeria list of British Governors. When someone knows better, he can adapt Wikidata and everywhere where the list is used things will improve.

#Wikidata - Cornelius Alfred Moloney

Mr Moloney was one of the Governors-in-Chief of the Windward Islands.  As a colonial administrator for the British his tours of duty included work in Africa and in South America.

As part of his endeavours, he had an interest in forestry and even wrote a book about it. This resulted in him being known in the IPNI database of authors. All of these authors had been added so it was just a matter of merging the two items for Mr Moloney.

When you read the article on Mr Moloney, it does not mention his publication but it does mention that during his tenure at the Windward Islands there were riots because of the cost of water.

Every historic event does not happen in a vacuum. Pertinent information becomes more and more available and this can be provided either in Wikipedia or in Wikidata.  For the Windward Islands it would be that it is a "British Colony" with as its Governor in Chief Mr Molloney and possibly a map to make it clear what is included.

One problem with understanding many facts is that they are better understood when a context is known. As we gain more data it becomes feasible to provide it.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

#Wikidata - Jamaica and William O'Brien, 2nd Earl of Inchiquin

William O'Brien, the second Earl of Inchiquin is an interesting person. When you consider what Wikidata knew about him, much of it is missing. No members of the Irish Privy council were known, and he was not noted as being a governor of Jamaica. It is not known that a ransom was paid by the English parliament to the Turks.

When you read the Wikipedia article, It is mentioned in one sentence that he was the first governor of Jamaica but that is all there is. There is not much more except that he died in Jamaica in 1692 and that he was Vice-Admiral of the Caribbean Seas.

When you consider the bias in all this, it is found in the lack of attention for countries like Jamaica. Their history is in the people who were responsible for what is their country. When you read about the family of the earl, you may note that he married women of substance and obviously they are notable enough for inclusion in Wikidata. What is not known is if his wife accompanied him to Jamaica..

Much of the source material on the history of countries like Jamaica can be found in British archives and museums. Improving on the articles on people like Mr O'Brien and sharing this information widely will make Wikipedia more useful outside of its immediate and current interest.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

#Wikidata - The "first" president of Haiti

When people express a strong interest for a subject; when there is a chance that this subject is finally getting the attention it deserves, it is a good moment to assist, particularly when it is just a matter of concentrating on what you do anyway.

So Haiti has presently my attention. I have added the known members of the Chamber of Deputies all six of them, I have added the succession on most of the Presidents of Haiti. The problem here is that I do not know enough to make sense out of the early rulers and I will the known members of the Senate.

When I am done with this, I hope to get a list of the present members of the Chamber of Deputies. It is easy enough to include them in Wikidata and this may be followed up by generating lists for use in any Wikipedia that will take it.

Lists like this are wonderful because they provide early structure. When someone adds an article, it is already linked in many places in that Wikipedia and this will make for meaningful early linking in a project. Lists of award winners, lists of politicians for a party or an office. It is all possible when you think in potential particularly when the objective is to share in the sum of all knowledge.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

#USA - The Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights

Just to confuse you; there are two awards by that name. This is about the award that was established in 1998 by the President of the United States Bill Clinton, honouring outstanding American promoters of rights in the United States. In 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton revived the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights and presented the award on behalf of President Obama.

For whatever reason, this award was not very much on the radar of Wikipedians because like with so many awards, it was not well maintained. There are only people for 2010 and there is one person, and he should be on the list for the "other" award. That award is conferred by "Jobs with Justice".

What happened after 2010? Several more years of a United States with President Obama and now, four weeks in the reign of the present incumbent, the sources for the award are gone. They were at a US Government website. Luckily the disappearance of Internet Sources is a well known phenomena, Wikipedians know how to deal with them. The question is if this award is deemed notable enough and there is the rub. It is not obvious what went missing and when the Wikipedia article is not complete, the removal of the data on the web serves its purpose.

Friday, February 17, 2017

#Sources: the Charles S. Johnson Award

Awards honour both the recipients, the organisation that confers it and often the person the award is named for. The Charles S. Johnson Award is named after Charles S. Johnson. He is notable; has his own Wikipedia articles. The organisation that confers it is notable; the Southern Sociological Society has its own Wikipedia article.

The awardees, well that is a problem because there is only a partial list of people who received the award. There are many gaps in the list and sources are available to indicate why they think someone received the award.

The Wikimedia blog has a post that mentions Lillian Smith. It mentions that she gave an acceptance speech at Fisk University in 1966. But there is no source for it. This does not mean that she did not receive the award, it just means that there is no source in the article.

When sources are provided to the Sociological Society, Mrs Smith will be connected to a list of other remarkable people. All notable in their own way. It is just a matter of connecting the dots.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

#Wikidata - Who is Ann Dale

Ann Dale won the Molson Prize in 2013. In a rare twist, the English Wikipedia does not list the winners of this award but other Wikipedias do. It was therefore easy to import the list from the German Wikipedia into Wikidata.

As there is a link to the website of the award, it was easy to include the more recent winners of the award. Most of the recent winners already had a Wikipedia article so it was easy to add them.

When you disambiguate for Ann Dale using Reasonator, there was a Ann Marie Dale. There was not much known for her except for her publications. Given that it was possible to find out that she worked for the Washington University in St. Louis, it was a miss. The information on the Molson Prize website provided the answer; it was a different Mrs Ann Dale.

The research by Mrs Dale is on governance, innovation and community vitality and is designed to provide useful knowledge to Canadian decision-makers. There might be something in her work that is of interest to the Wikimedia Foundation as well.

NB Mrs Ann Dale is now registered in Wikidata. More information is left to other interested souls.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

#Wikidata - recognition matters

It is not the first time that this blog features Raif Badawi. ├Źn 2015 he was awarded the Sakharov Prize and as the poster has it "CENSORED. JAILED. FLOGGED. BUT NOT FORGOTTEN."

He is not forgotten. In 2017 he received the Monismanien Prize. Raif was a blogger, what he had to say got him into trouble. Amnesty International recognises him as a prisoner of conscience.

It is important to register the recognition given to a few. They represent so many more people who are equally deserving. As we recognise awards, we recognise people and associate them with people that have been recognised in a similar way. It does not matter what for; it is how it works.

When recognition is given, it means something. Raif is recognised as a blogger.. others are reporters, doctors or Wikimedians.