Category Archives: Wiki

Sneak Peek at Wikimedia’s New Bold, High Concept Iconography

Wikimedia’s User Experience team invited me and a few others into the office to be part of focus group concerning a proposed new iconography.

The are two proposed new design languages, and an icon or “mark” for each Wikimedia project.
A selfie with two of the fablous design team, May and YuFei.
Penchant for selfies. Myself (left) with two of the fabulous design team, May (centre) and Yufei (right).

With free pizza proffed, the UX team Jared Zimmerman, May Galloway, and Yufei Liu, (pictured right) launched right into the need for these new set of icons, or “marks” as they are calling them.

  • The current logos don’t scale to 16 pixels square, and don’t overlay well.
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The Listiness of Wikipedia

View this report with the Ipython Notebook Viewer (where it looks best).

The Listiness of Wikipedia

Although it was only an aside, an answer of "What is a Reference work?" caught my attention at UC Berkeley iSchool's March 21st Friday Afternoon Seminar by Michael Buckland. One possible answer suggested was: works that are over 80% list.
Bates' classification of References works search patterns.
That definition, although seeming a bit short, was actually serious suggestion published by Marcia Bates in 1984. [Bates, Marcia J. "What Is a Reference Book: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis." RQ 26 (Fall 1986): 37-57] This is an elegant solution in my opinion as a way to define reference works because although heuristic, it's entirely quantitative.
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The Topmost Cited DOIs on Wikipedia

You’re surfing a topic of great interest to you on Wikipedia, so interesting that you actually click through to the references. You’re excited to read the original material, but all of a sudden you are foiled—you’ve hit a paywall! And $35 to read an article is just too steep.

This image of Xanthichthys ringens is sourced from an open-access scholarly article licensed for re-use. How can we make that reusability explicit when citing this source in Wikipedia articles? For further details, see this Signpost op-ed by Daniel Mietchen.

The Wikipedia Open Access Signalling Project, which I’ve recently joined, sees this as a fantastic opportunity to spread the word about the Open Access (OA) movement.… Read the rest

Kumusha Takes Wiki: Actionable Metrics for Uganda and Côte d’Ivoire

Live version available with github and IPython nbviewer.

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code4lib – VIAFbot and the Integration of Library Data on Wikipedia


In issue 22 of code{4}lib journal, the publication focused on libraries, technology and the future, I published with Alex Kyrios.

(A Japanese review of the paper, by National Diet Library also available.)

VIAFbot and the Integration of Library Data on Wikipedia

This article presents a case study of a project, led by Wikipedians in Residence at OCLC and the British Library, to integrate authority data from the Virtual International Authority File (VIAF) with biographical Wikipedia articles. This linking of data represents an opportunity for libraries to present their traditionally siloed data, such as catalog and authority records, in more openly accessible web platforms.

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10 Questions about #VIAF, #Wikidata and the #World

Gerard Meijssen blogs a lot about Wikidata, and has asked me to answer 10 questions about VIAF, which my bots made 12th most used Wikidata property (as of September 2013). Here is the a snippet of the interview, visit Gerard’s blog to read in full

Please describe what VIAF is and why it is relevant

We’ve all joked about what it would be like if people had numbers instead of names. The funny thing is though it would be much more convenient to organize our information about people if we did have numbers as well as names. National Libraries have already done this behind the scenes to make the reader’s life easier.

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Wikidata Babel Multi-Language Display Easter Egg

At Wikimania 2013 Hong Kong during a Wikidata presentation, there was a small nod to a hidden but useful feature of Wikidata – multi-language display. Wikidata items are language-agnostic in concept, they are identified by their Q-ID which is displayed in the URL. Depending on which language your interface is set to independent labels, descriptions, and aliases will be displayed in that language. With this feature you can enable the labels, descriptions, and aliases of many languages to appear at once.

This is a boon, because it allows you to better peer into the structural translation the names of over 14,000,000 Wikidata concepts into 270 languages.… Read the rest


You might be perusing through the latest issue of Refer Journal and come across my latest article Wikipedia in the Library. Andrew Gray of the British Library and I focus on the need and opportunity of bringing Library data in Wikipedia. Form the introduction,

Wikipedia has traditionally been a divisive topic among librarians and academics. Its goal is undeniably positive and almost utopian – access to all of human knowledge, in every language, offered freely to the world. In practice, however, it can typify “the problem of the internet” – a morass of disorganised information, of dubious accuracy and reliability, offered up without authority or control.

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The Most Unique Wikipedias According To Wikidata

If you read Wikipedia in a more than one language you’ll have noticed the sidebar sometimes ready to link you to the topic of the current article in one or more other languages. If you’ve been following the trends you’ll know that Wikidata is now in charge of keeping these language links in order. (To understand more about how Wikidata works watch my youtube tutorial starting at 5:15) One upshot of that is that we can easily count these links and understand more about the Wikipedia projects – like how “unique” different Wikipedias are. I define a unique Wikidata Item of a language X to be a Wikidata Item that has only one language link, and the language link is in language X.… Read the rest

A word FOR every Lanaguage IN every Language

Have you ever wondered what the word FOR every language was IN every language?
Data mining Wikidata could give us the answer. Using a new file released by Denny Vrandecic containing the Wikidata Item for each Wikidata Language I was able to create a full matrix of all the combinations.

Let L be the set of all Wikipedias. For every language X and language Y in L, does X have a label for Y? Create a matrix of all the possibilities, and if X has a label Y let’s colour that part of the matrix magenta, if not let’s colour it cyan.… Read the rest