Editing issues

Saturday, 22 June 2024 23:18 UTC

Jun 22, 23:18 UTC
Monitoring - Things appear stable and we are monitoring.

Jun 22, 22:42 UTC
Investigating - We are aware that users are having trouble editing Wikipedia and other Wikimedia wikis, and we are investigating.

Let’s culturally diversify the Internet

Friday, 21 June 2024 13:31 UTC

Earlier this year, the Commonwealth Faith Festival, a partnership between the Commonwealth and the Khalili Foundation to foster peace-building through faith, was launched to an audience of diplomats, religious leaders, and academics in London as well as youth ambassadors across the Commonwealth via video link. The day’s discussions set the scene for peace-building initiatives by the youth ambassadors; the most outstanding of these will receive funding from the Khalili Foundation. Dr Martin Poulter, the Khalili Foundation’s Wikimedian In Residence, used a panel session to talk about his work to diversify Wikimedia and to call for more free sharing of cultural material. This is an edited text of the talk.

Wikipedia is the fifth most popular website, but it’s the only one of the top 70 that has a charitable purpose. All the rest have a profit motive. Wikipedia is an exception, driven by a vision that giving people open knowledge that they can access anywhere, immediately, for free, with no adverts is a good thing. The motive is to provide educational material, not to tell people what to think or what to do, but to give them something reliable and factual they can base decisions on.

It’s the biggest and most popular reference work ever created. Everybody uses it, and it’s so popular that even the people who don’t use it are using it. You might think, “I don’t go to Wikipedia. I type my question into Google, and a bit of text comes up answering my question.” Well, that text is normally harvested from Wikipedia or a similar source. Or you might think, “I’ve got a chat assistant. I talk to Siri or Alexa and ask it a question.” That’s often text read out from a Wikipedia article.

Photo of Martin Poulter speaking into a microphone.
Photo of Martin Poulter at the Commonwealth Faith Festival.

Maybe you don’t even use search engines anymore. There are the new chat bots, like ChatGPT. You can ask any question and it will give you an answer in any style. Those chat bots, those technologies were created by harvesting text from Wikipedia. They wouldn’t be able to talk about such diverse topics if that weren’t the case. So the quality of cultural information on Wikipedia is something that concerns all of us.

Wikipedia sets itself this very high standard of giving everyone in the world access to all knowledge and the ability to share knowledge and culture in their own language. But we know it’s way, way short of that ambitious standard. We know that English Wikipedia is much bigger than the others. We know that there’s a gender gap as well as geographical imbalances. A lot of these biases come from wider society: where is scholarship done? What’s considered worthy of celebration? Whose achievements are recorded?

The research Waqas Ahmed (Executive Director of the Khalili Foundation) and I have done is about cultural bias. We looked at coverage of the visual arts. The type of bias we’re looking at is not the kind that affects a single article. Particular articles might have problems, but that’s relatively easy to fix. There’s a more pernicious bias, which is systemic bias across the whole coverage of a subject. If there are thousands of articles and they’re all basically correct, but they’re all from within a particular cultural perspective, then Wikipedia is saying that by default art is associated with that culture.

We found that when you look up sculptors on Wikipedia, it’s overwhelmingly European sculptors and yet sculpture is found in all human cultures. Another example is a gallery of religious art that features the most high-quality images available to Wikimedia. There are about seven from Hinduism, about five from Judaism, six from Buddhism, one from Islam (when we first looked at it), and 70 plus from Christianity. It was not saying anything explicit, yet conveying that religious art is a Christian thing. Then you think of the rich history of Islam, which we’ll come back to; or Hinduism, with so many different traditions, so many kinds of colourful art; or Vajrayana Buddhism, where creating beautiful art is part of the exercise of the religion. It’s not that having a lot of information about Christianity is bad: it’s great that that’s freely available to people! But it needs to be balanced to give a truly global perspective.

The good news is that we can do something about it, you can all do something about it, and we are making progress, week by week and month by month. Because our patron is the great cultural philanthropist Sir David Khalili. His eight art collections, assembled over five decades, are all from outside the Western mainstream and each is considered the biggest or most complete of its kind. And so, working on Wikipedia, we’ve been able to share one and a half thousand images. A thousand of those relate to Islamic civilisation and Islamic history, broadly considered. These are now used in ninety languages and are hugely appreciated. They are used to illustrate hundreds of Wikipedia articles; that’s how we are reaching millions of image views every month.

I’ve been creating articles about aspects of Islamic history and culture. The sitaras: I’d never heard of these, these are the huge textile artworks that cover the door of the Kaaba or other sacred sites of Islam. We’ve been able to share pictures of them, explain how they’re made and their purpose. I write in English and I’m monolingual, but I’m seeing these articles translated into Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Indonesian, Malay, and — as of last week — Uzbek. It’s not me doing that; that’s the volunteer community appreciating the value of what has been given and seeing an opportunity to document an aspect of their own culture.

This is all descriptive. There’s no agenda of converting or de-converting anyone. It leaves the subjective response up to the reader, and I know people in the Arabic community whose reaction is a feeling of pride in their culture. Then there are people like me; I’m encountering a culture completely different from what I grew up with. I was not familiar with a sitara, the Musa va ‘Uj, or the Anis al-Hujjaj. For each of those, there is now a Wikipedia article that tells you what it is and why it’s important to that culture.

We’re also doing editathons. These are training events; we do them mainly with students in universities but they are public events. We’ve trained people to edit Wikipedia, to put in aspects of their culture or the culture they are learning about. That’s a lesson to everyone; you see something missing online, you don’t have to accept that. You can contribute!

You don’t have to be one of the world’s great art collectors to be a cultural philanthropist. We can all be cultural philanthropists, as individuals or institutions. If you’ve got a phone with a camera, you can take photographs. Obviously, you’re going to respect people’s privacy, respect sacred spaces; you’re going to make sure it’s okay to share your photo. But when you see that costume, that ceremony, or that music performance, take the photo, go to Wikipedia and click “Upload file”. Write one line telling us what you photographed and make it available for people to use. Show something that we have never seen, because we didn’t grow up in your part of the world, in your culture.

You can do this as an individual. Some people here are the bosses of organisations; you can do what Sir David has done and direct your organisation to work consensually with Wikipedia. No one’s entitled to your culture, but you can share it to reach millions of people. There’s no better way to reach a public audience.

A motto of the Wikimedia movement is “be bold”. We can actually diversify the online representation of faith and culture if we are bold, as people and as organisations. Thanks very much.

The post Let’s culturally diversify the Internet appeared first on WMUK.

Pnlarbi, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

On June 1, 2024, history was made at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) with the official launch of the KNUST WikiTech Club. Held at the College of Science, TF-34, was a turning point for the campus’s IT students. With anticipation, students and faculty are gearing up to embrace a new era of innovation and knowledge sharing.

Event Overview

The launch commenced with a welcome and introduction by Ike and Prince Larbi, Vice President and President of the Club, respectively. Elizabeth Tandoh managed participant registration, ensuring the start of the proceedings.

Pnlarbi, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
Pnlarbi, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Fostering a Culture of Innovation

The KNUST Wikitech Club is more than just a club; it’s a catalyst for fostering a culture of innovation and collaboration among students passionate about technology. With a mission to empower members through hands-on projects, workshops, and mentorship, the club aims to equip students with the skills needed to thrive in the evolving tech industry.

Launch Event Highlights

The launch event of the KNUST Wikitech Club was a testament to the enthusiasm and commitment of the KNUST community towards embracing technology and its potential to drive change. Attendees were treated to inspiring speeches from industry leaders and professors who emphasized the importance of practical learning and collaboration in today’s digital age.

The event also featured sessions where students had the opportunity to sign up for various interest mailing lists, ranging from web development and cybersecurity to artificial intelligence and open-source software. These mailing lists will keep them updated on the happenings of the Wikimedia movements which involves new projects, updates and many other relevant information.

Onboarding New Members

Central to the success of the KNUST Wikitech Club is its inclusive and supportive community. The onboarding process ensures that every member, regardless of their background or experience level, feels welcome and empowered to contribute. New members are introduced to the club’s vision and values, provided with resources to kickstart their learning journey, and paired with mentors who guide them through their initial projects.

Pnlarbi, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
Pnlarbi, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
Pnlarbi, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
Pnlarbi, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Live Session with Joris Quarshie

Joris Quarshie, Team Lead for the Africa Wikimedia Technical Community, set the stage with an overview of Wikimedia and its significance. He emphasized the global impact of Wikimedia projects and the need for more African developers to contribute actively. Joris detailed the Wikimedia movement’s structure, highlighting opportunities like Google Summer of Code and Wikimedia Hackathons for technical engagement.

Pnlarbi, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Panel Discussion and Project Demos

The event featured a diverse panel discussion led by Jael Boateng from the Open Foundation West Africa and Robert Obiri from the Africa Wikimedia Technical Community. They explored topics ranging from content creation in local languages to the technical intricacies of Wikimedia platforms like Wikidata and Wikipedia. Despite technical hiccups, the panel engaged participants on the importance of community-driven content creation and structured data.

Prince Larbi later presented the club’s future projects, including initiatives in Braille technology, UI/UX design, Embedded Systems, and 3D Modeling. Prince’s enthusiasm for these projects shone through attendees to envision the club’s potential impact.

Closing and Reflections

The day concluded with a closing prayer by Prince, followed by a photoshoot capturing the participants and organizers. A post-event meeting allowed core members to discuss challenges faced, including connectivity issues and last-minute adjustments. Solutions were proposed, such as improved planning timelines and enhanced logistical preparations, setting a clear path for future events.

Pnlarbi, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Looking Forward

As the KNUST WikiTech Club embarks on its journey, the launch event promises a vibrant future. Plans are underway to streamline operations, enhance technical skills through training sessions, and foster greater collaboration within the Wikimedia community. With support from sponsors like the Open Foundation West Africa and the Africa Wikimedia Technical Community, the club is assured to become a hub of innovation and learning on campus.

Acknowledgements

The success of the launch event would not have been possible without the support of our sponsors and the dedication of our core team. Special thanks to Open Foundation West Africa and the Africa Wikimedia Technical Community(AWMT) for their invaluable contributions.

In conclusion, the KNUST Wikitech Club launch at KNUST was more than just an event; it was a celebration of community, innovation, and the boundless possibilities of technology. As we continue to grow and evolve, we invite all students and tech enthusiasts to join us in shaping the future of technology through collaboration and creativity.

Before the time of the internet, newspapers were the main source of information about current events. Large institutions – publishers, banks, government agencies – maintained clipping archives to provide quick, random access to the collected information. The Hamburger Welt-Wirtschafts-Archiv, founded in 2008 and maintained until 2005, holded some 19 Million articles, organized in thematic folders on persons, companies and institutions, commodities and wares, and about countries and events/topics – the latter by far the largest of the four archives. From the outset, the archives were open to trade and industry, academic research and the general public. The thematic coverage was broad, and more than 1,500 sources from all over the world were evaluated – for tens of thousands of topics such as “Social position of women in the Ottoman Empire” or the first Channel Tunnel Company.

Mappen des Personenarchivs (2005)

Fortunately, the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics had, with funding from the German Research Foundation (DFG), digitized all the clippings and other material up to 1960. However, the publication of the material was slow, mainly because the intellectual property rights status of each clipping had to be checked individually. In 2019, the focus of ZBW as a research infrastructure institution for economics did not allow to allocate resources to further indexing the holdings of the press archives (PM20). Therefore, ZBW decided to place all metadata of the archives under a CC0 licence, and to start a cooperation with Wikimedia Deutschland. In a data donation to Wikidata, the archives’ metadata was integrated into existing or newly created Wikidata items – for example more than 5000 20th century company items were created while 3900 pre-existing were enriched with facts like “headquarter location”, “industry” or “board member”. By the end of 2022, all of the archives’ existing folders were connected to items in Wikidata, as well as the subject and geographical classification. In turn, Wikidata adds value to the ZBW’s PM20 website, in particular by providing a search function that makes use of synonyms, some of which were contributed as aliases during the data donation, some of which were added by other Wikidata users.

Adding value in a Wikipedia project

In early 2024, changes in European intellectual property law made it possible for ZBW to publish all digitized material up to 1949 (though sadly only within the EU legal area). Very different from the well-prepared, neatly organized folders published earlier, this meant fresh access to 3.8 million digitized pages from raw microfilm. The Wikipedia Projekt Pressearchiv was set up not only to make the press archives better known to Wikipedians and to help them with using it, but also to provide additional in-depth indexing of the material. Combined with earlier work by participants, the project has already added more than 15,000 links to the material, sometimes only at the top level of countries, wares or companies, sometimes deeper down the folder hierarchy. The project uses the Wikitech infrastructure to maintain code and the PM20 master database. In addition, it established a workflow to return dataset enhancements to ZBW, where they are integrated into the actual PM20 website in a largely automated process.

Handschriftliche Systematik des Länder-Sach-Archivs (Ausschnitt)

The collaboration has proven to be a win-win situation: the ZBW has been able to replace its previous highly sophisticated but hard-to-maintain web application with a much more sustainable site of static pages, interlinked with Wikidata and continually improved by volunteer community work. The Wikimedia projects gains convenient access to an enormous amount of well-organized 20th century contemporary material, often unavailable elsewhere. While many other press archives have already quietly disappeard, this collaboration ensures that these unique public archives will be preserved and kept open to Wikipedia authors as well as scholarly researchers and the general public.

The future of knowledge in a world of “Fake”

Thursday, 20 June 2024 16:41 UTC

Wikimedia Israel celebrates 20 Years of Hebrew Wikipedia with a conference about the “Fake” phenomenon on the internet

“Fake” Conference by Wikimedia Israel – Image by Gilad Kavalerchik, CC BY-SA 4.0

Wikimedia Israel marked the culmination of a year-long celebration of the 20 years of Hebrew Wikipedia with a special conference held on June 9, 2024, sponsored by the Wikimedia Foundation. The meeting focused on the immense importance and challenges of Wikipedia and Wikimedia in a “fake” and AI-generated content world.

Wikimedia Israel organized the conference with the Data, Governance, and Democracy Track at Reichman University. It brought together leading figures in Israel dealing with fake news, disinformation, and manipulation.

The goals of the conference were to:

  • Examine the impacts and consequences of fake on human society
  • Discuss the threats and opportunities of using artificial intelligence
  • Develop critical thinking skills among knowledge and information enthusiasts
  • Raise awareness of the work of Wikimedia Israel
  • Establish Wikimedia Israel’s place as one of the gatekeepers in the age of fake news
  • Increase and diversify Wikimedia Israel’s partners

About 200 people attended the event, including:

  • The Hebrew Wikipedia community, especially graduates of Wikimedia Israel editing courses
  • Academics – professors and students
  • The education system: teachers, principals
  • The GLAM community: galleries, libraries, archives, museums
  • Media professionals
Izik Edri, Chairman of Wikimedia Israel – Image by Gilad Kavalerchik, CC BY-SA 4.0

Itzik Edri, Chairman of Wikimedia Israel, opened the conference by presenting data from a survey conducted by the chapter related to online usage habits, AI tool usage, and the phenomenon of fake news on websites and social networks in Israel.

“The data shows that most of the Israeli public today is concerned that the content they read may be fake and biased by stakeholders. And that the AI tools that are flourishing and being adopted by all of us at a rapid pace are making a significant contribution to this.” Edri reflected that more than half of the public believes that developing AI tools will deepen the “Fake” problem and fear that these tools are already basing their responses on fake content on the net. “These are disturbing data that testify to the responsibility and importance of organizations like Wikimedia to provide tools, technological and educational, to the public to be able to identify “Fake” and biases and consume reliable knowledge.'”

Image by Gilad Kavalerchik, CC BY-SA 4.0

Professor Karine Nahon, Head of the Data, Governance, and Democracy Track at Reichman University, reinforced Edri’s words and said that she has witnessed in recent years a widespread process of weakening liberal democracies worldwide.

“On the one hand, the information and AI age has increased our participation as citizens on the edge, but at the same time, it has increased the feeling that it is possible to say anything without taking responsibility. In this era, fake news is a critical challenge to society and has a role in weakening democracies. Traditional intermediaries between citizens and the state (including traditional media, the public service) in democracies are frequently attacked to a large extent with the help of fake news weapons.

“There are thousands of shades of gray in fake news content, which makes it difficult to identify, and dealing with it is extremely complex. In addition, the flow of fake news content on networks has several characteristics: the first is that fake news content in a social-political aspect usually comes in conjunction with blatant, extreme, racist, inciting, or populist messages.

“The second characteristic is that empirically fake news spreads faster, further in terms of networks, and to more diverse audiences. False information can go viral and spread much more than non-false information. We must admit wholeheartedly that the classic liberal theories, which were the anchor for legislation on freedom of expression, have failed.

“The question, then, that should concern us, is not only how much and whether there is fake news, but to understand the role of such platforms that set the rules of the game in the public sphere, and their impact on us as a society and as individuals, and on our democracy.”

Michal Wander Schwartz, Executive Director of Wikimedia Israel – Image by Gilad Kavalerchik, CC BY-SA 4.0

Michal Wander Schwartz, Executive Director of Wikimedia Israel, spoke about the importance of the chapter that supports Wikipedia’s activities in Israel in raising awareness of the importance of the fight against “Fake”:

“Wikimedia Israel sees paramount importance in raising awareness of the importance of the fight against fake and is working in the education system, academia, and with the general public to provide tools for informed and critical consumption of information and to create free and reliable content on the net and in particular on Wikipedia.”

The conference brought to the agenda the central contribution of Wikimedia Israel, which is proud to be part of the forefront of the effort to maintain a digital space as clean as possible from “Fake”.


THE CONFERENCE PROGRAM


GREETINGS

  • Dr. Amit Lavie-Dinur, Dean of the Sammy Ofer School of Communications, Reichman University
  • Michal Wander Schwartz, Executive Director of Wikimedia Israel
  • Prof. Karine Nahon, Head of the Data, Governance, and Democracy Track at Reichman University

SESSION 1 – Behind the curtains of Wikipedia

The place Wikipedia holds in Israeli lives and will AI change that?

  • Izik Edri, Chairman of Wikimedia Israel

Panel of Wikipedia editors:

Mechanisms for monitoring bias, errors, and misinformation in Hebrew Wikipedia

  • Darya Kantor, Information Specialist at the Harman Library of Natural Sciences at the Hebrew University
  • Jonathan Berkheim, PhD student at the Weizmann Institute and science writer
  • Daniel Levy, retiree and Wikipedia writing enthusiast
  • Moderated by: Orly Simon, Head of Library Processes Department at the National Library of Israel
Shai Katz, Deputy Executive Director of Content and Programs, Wikimedia Israel – Image by Gilad Kavalerchik, CC BY-SA 4.0

Teaching Encyclopedic Writing in the Age of “Fake”: A glimpse into the training worlds of Wikimedia Israel

  • Shai Katz, Deputy Executive Director of Content and Programs, Wikimedia Israel

The Race for Truth: A Multi-Dimensional Look at Fake Through the Lens of Wikipedia

  • Dr. Shani Evenstein Sigalov, Lecturer and Researcher, Tel Aviv University; Board Member, Wikimedia Foundation
  • In conversation with Tal Schneider, Political and Diplomatic Correspondent, זמן ישראל (Zman Yisrael)

SESSION 2 – Deepfake and Non-Authentic Campaigns

When We Can’t Trust Our Eyes and Ears

  • Michael Matias, Founder and CEO of Clarity
Prof. Eirad Ben Gal, Tel Aviv University – Image by Gilad Kavalerchik, CC BY-SA 4.0

Exposing and analyzing AI-powered non-authentic network campaigns that undermine national resilience

  • Prof. Eirad Ben Gal, XPOZ and Head of the LAMBDA Lab at Tel Aviv University

Deepfakes and the 2024 Elections

  • Maya Horowitz, VP of Research, Check Point

SESSION 3 – Telling the Story in a Turbulent Ecosystem

Ziv Koren, Documentary Photographer – Image by Gilad Kavalerchik, CC BY-SA 4.0

Ignite Talk – Documentation, History, and Narrative Setting

  • Ziv Koren, Documentary Photographer

Narratives, Power, and Consciousness

  • Brigadier General (Ret.) Miri Eisin, Head of the Institute for Counter-Terrorism Policy (ICT), Reichman University
  • In conversation with Moshe Bar, Expert in Military Information Warfare

Rationality of Conspiracies, Polarization of Facts, and the Danger to Democratic Societies

  • Prof. Levy Spector, The Open University
  • In conversation with Tal Schneider, Political and Diplomatic Correspondent, זמן ישראל (Zman Yisrael)
From left to right: Dr. Hadas Erel, Shira Rivnai, Mati Marianski and Dr. Noa Morag – Image by Gilad Kavalerchik, CC BY-SA 4.0

Design of Disinformation – Not What You Thought

  • Mati Marianski, Artist and Entrepreneur in the Field of Artificial Intelligence
  • Dr. Hadas Erel, Head of the Social Robotics Group at the Media Innovation Lab, Reichman University
  • Shira Rivnai, The Sami Ofer School of Communication, Reichman University (How Disinformation is Designed Through the Network Ecosystem)
  • Moderated by Dr. Noa Morag, The Sami Ofer School of Communication, Reichman University

Policy – What Are We Missing?

  • Dr. Asaf Wiener, Deputy CEO of Research and Public Policy, Israel Internet Association
  • Dr. Dalit Ken-Dror Feldman, The Law Clinic for Technology and Cyber, University of Haifa
  • With the participation and moderation of Dr. Tehilla Altshuler, Law and Technology Expert, Senior Fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute

SESSION 4 – The Human in the Age of Information and Fifty Shades of Fake

Fake News and Alternative Facts: Between Trust and Belief

  • Dr. Yuval Karniel, The Sami Ofer School of Communication, Reichman University
Prof. Amir Amedi and Prof. Karine Nahon, Reichman University – Image by Gilad Kavalerchik, CC BY-SA 4.0

What’s Happening in Our Brains in the Age of Information?

  • Prof. Amir Amedi, Head of the Baruch Ivcher Institute for Brain, Cognition & Technology, Reichman University
  • In conversation with Prof. Karine Nahon, Head of the Data, Governance, and Democracy Track at Reichman University

Skepticism – The Solution or the Cause of the Misinformation Epidemic?

  • Prof. Ruth Mayo, Department of Psychology, The Hebrew University

SESSION 5 – Activism for and Against Fake

Crowdsourcing for Truth

  • Inbar Yasur, Information Specialist, Expert in Disinformation and Networks of Influence
Tomer Avital, Independent Journalist and Social Activist – Image by Gilad Kavalerchik, CC BY-SA 4.0

Spotlight on the Book: How to Overcome Fake News and Media Manipulation in Israel

  • Tomer Avital, Independent Journalist and Social Activist

Early Detection of Manipulation and Influence Attempts Through Data Analysis

  • Gil Feldman, Expert in Data Processing and Information Analysis

How Disinformation Became the Biggest Threat to the World – and How to Beat It

  • Achia Shaz, CEO Fake Reporter
Image by Gilad Kavalerchik, CC BY-SA 4.0
Illustration of a teacher in front of a class of students, behind her at the blackboard, the OpenRefine and Commons logos
Illustration for OpenRefine-Wikimedia Train-the-Trainer course (Sandra Fauconnier, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons)

“OpenRefine is a free data wrangling tool that can be used to process, manipulate and clean tabular (spreadsheet) data and connect it with knowledge bases (“spreadsheets on steroids” / “a swiss army knife for data”).”

OpenRefine has been one of the major tools for batch uploads, especially for Wikidata, and an important way to keep our movement (especially the Culture and Heritage part) sustainable. For the past few years, we invested in OpenRefine to increase its Wikimedia reach, especially by adding functionalities related to images and structured data on Wikimedia Commons. 

This support took the form of two funded projects:

The first funded project added Structured Data on Commons functionalities in OpenRefine, finally making it possible to edit structured data and wikitext on Wikimedia Commons using a single tool and upload images with SDC. 

Structured Data on Commons (or SDC) brings linked open data from Wikidata to the media on Wikimedia Commons, making the images more accessible, findable, and machine-readable. Therefore, it is an important addition to the open data ecosystem and imperative for cultural and heritage institutions that want to share their images and truly take part in the Open GLAM space – the global network that participates in the sharing of cultural heritage.

After the development of the Wikimedia Commons extension for OpenRefine, it became clear that it would be important to support the adoption of the new functionalities through outreach and training. OpenRefine is not an easy tool, with a low barrier to entry. Rather, it is just like a Swiss army knife, it serves several purposes and, therefore, it has many particularities and tricks. More than that, Wikidata and Structured Data on Commons are also very complex environments, with their own set of rules, including some that are still being decided – this is especially the case for SDC. 

Screenshot of an OpenRefine project on a web browser, with several lines of metadata and the illustration of a plant
A typical Wikimedia Commons project in OpenRefine (Sandra Fauconnier, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

To help potential users of OpenRefine overcome the high barrier to entry, we invested in training: one training for the interested user and contributor who could be starting from scratch and another to prepare advanced OpenRefine users to deliver training, courses, and workshops to others, thereby supporting wider adoption of the tool. 

#1 Train-the-Trainer course (advanced):

The Train-the-Trainer program 2023-24 was planned, designed, and delivered by Sandra Fauconnier. As the main coordinator of the previous projects, Sandra was the best-positioned person to prepare and coordinate a group of advanced users of OpenRefine. (Note: At the end of this post, you can find a quick interview with Sandra to learn more about her process for accomplishing all this work.)

At first, the course was planned for 8 people only, however, with the great demand of submissions and the necessity of having OpenRefine trainers covering different groups and languages, it was decided that 16 trainers would be accepted. 

The training took 6 months, between November 2023 and April 2024 and it was a self-paced course. Participants had seven categories to learn from and those were divided into several activities. For example, in one of the activities from the first category, 01 General OpenRefine onboarding 💎, participants were asked to take the Library Carpentry: OpenRefine course, if they hadn’t already, to make sure they understood OpenRefine for Wikidata.

Categories: 

  • 01 General OpenRefine onboarding 💎
  • 02 Wikidata editing with OpenRefine 📄
  • 03 Wikimedia Commons editing with OpenRefine 🏞️
  • 04 Specialized OpenRefine and Wikimedia Commons tasks 🧠
  • 05 Interaction with OpenRefine ecosystem; help other people 👥
  • 06 Create and improve training and documentation materials 🎓
  • 07 Teach own OpenRefine-SDC training + related support tasks 🧑‍🏫

The complete curriculum for this course is available here

In addition to the planned activities, the group met once a month – across two meetings in order to accommodate time zones. These meetings were a place to talk about doubts and difficulties, as well as to demonstrate the work that had been accomplished. Ad hoc communication took place on a Discord server.

So far, 11 people (including me!) completed the necessary tasks to qualify as a certified trainer:

  • Ada Jakubowska (Wikimedia Poland)
  • Bart Magnus (meemoo, Belgium)
  • Carla Toro Fernández (Wikimedia Chile)
  • Tamsin Braisher (Wikimedia Aotearoa New Zealand)
  • Giovanna Fontenelle (Culture & Heritage team, Wikimedia Foundation)
  • Jinoy Tom Jacob (Wikimedians of Kerala User Group)
  • Max Kristen (Kristbaum, Germany)
  • Lucas Nascimento Belo (Wiki Movimento Brasil)
  • Rute Correia (Wikimedia Portugal)
  • Sara Thomas (Wikimedia UK)
  • Will Kent (Wiki Education Foundation)

Certified OpenRefine trainers will be listed on this category (via a userbox) and on this page, where all the information related to OpenRefine and trainings will be available. And even if you have not followed the Train-the-Trainer course, but are delivering trainings related to OpenRefine, please feel free and encouraged to list yourself and to place the userbox on your user page. That way, other people can find and contact you.

Screenshot of Meta-Wiki with "Template:User OpenRefine Trainer", a blue diamond, and the phrase "This user teaches OpenRefine"
Screenshot of the OpenRefine Trainer template for the userbox used by certified trainers

#2 WikiLearn course (basic): 

Sandra Fauconnier also developed OpenRefine for Wikimedia Commons: the basics, an online course available at any time, for free, on the WikiLearn platform. Anyone with a Wikimedia account can enroll and follow it at their own pace, with computer-graded exercises. A certificate is awarded at the end to those who complete the course.

OpenRefine Wikimedia Commons course on WikiLearn (Sandra Fauconnier, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

As this is an introductory course and not only talks about OpenRefine, but also about Wikimedia Commons, the training is suitable for Wikimedians, Wikimedia affiliate staff, and partners, like GLAM staff or Wikimedians in Residence. Completing this training should take an average of 6 to 8 hours.

The course is divided into five parts. Here’s the complete outline:

0 – Getting started
– Welcome, and what we already expect you to know
– Self-assessment: Are you familiar with the basics needed for this course?
– Self-assessment feedback
– Course introduction
– Installing and running OpenRefine for Wikimedia Commons

1 – Wikimedia Commons and structured data: a refresher
– Wikimedia Commons, a repository of free media files
– File pages, wikitext, structured data
– OpenRefine and Wikimedia Commons
– Self-assessment: The foundations of Wikimedia Commons

2 – Uploading files to Wikimedia Commons with OpenRefine
– Checklist of things to know and do beforehand
– Preparing your data for upload
– Readying the data in an OpenRefine project
– The upload process
– Correcting mistakes
– Self-assessment: The OpenRefine upload process

3 – Editing existing files on Wikimedia Commons
– Preparations
– Readying the data in an OpenRefine project
– The editing process
– Correcting mistakes
– Self-assessment: The OpenRefine editing process

4 – Wrapping up, Completed section
– Advanced tips and tricks, and congratulations!

Throughout the course, the participants find not only written detailed guidelines but also subtitled videos. These short demos are also available on Wikimedia Commons in this category: Category:WikiLearn: OpenRefine for Wikimedia Commons: the basics.

The course is already available in three languages, other than English, with more to come:

Gray hexagon with dark blue border, "COMPLETION OF COURSE" in light blue. In white, a diamond, "OpenRefine" and a Commons logo
Badge for completing WikiLearn course OpenRefine and Wikimedia Commons: the basics (Sandra Fauconnier, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons)

If you are interested in translating the course into your language, you can check the status of the current translations here and learn about the translation process in this detailed video by Asaf Bartov:

Video introducing the course content translation feature on WikiLearn and how to contribute translations via Meta (Asaf (WMF), CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Mini interview with Sandra Fauconnier, OpenRefine’s Project Director:

  1. Why was it important to you to have OpenRefine trainings?

“I have seen that most people (including me!) need one or more introductions or tutorials before they are able to confidently and autonomously use OpenRefine. To make OpenRefine’s Wikimedia Commons features and extension as useful as possible for as many people as possible, we need active trainers and helpers around the world, and a variety of learning resources that accommodate diverse learning styles. I hope that this project has built the foundations for that, and I hope that it will help more Wikimedians and GLAMs contribute to Wikimedia Commons using SDC!”

  1. How did you organize yourself to write the WikiLearn course and coordinate the TTT course?

“For both courses I started with outlines, asking myself three questions: “If I would take this course, what would I like to learn?”; “What should every teacher or OpenRefine-Commons user know?”; and “What do I typically see people struggle with, and what therefore needs emphasis and extra explanation?”. After a while, in both courses, the program and details were adjusted based on input and requests I got from the participants and (in the case of the WikiLearn course) from a group of beta testers. This was extremely valuable!”

  1. And, finally, what do you still like to see developed or accomplished on OpenRefine or Wikimedia Commons?

“I am a very firm believer in the potential of Wikimedia Commons as a knowledge platform in itself (beyond the narrow encyclopedic scope of Wikipedia) and would like to see the Wikimedia movement work on more ways to make more impact with media, not just in long-form encyclopedic text with small illustrations. Coming from a GLAM background myself, and having worked on media databases for over 20 years, I think structured data on Commons is a huge step forward to make this possible. I would really like to see us invest in making it shine.”

If you want to learn more about OpenRefine, you can check its official website and its pages on Meta-Wiki, Wikimedia Commons, or Wikidata. You can also leave comments on OpenRefine’s community forum or join the Telegram group.

There’s no question that Wikipedian Nabor Barbera’s professional expertise aligned perfectly with the goal of our recent Wiki Scientists course to improve medical information on Wikipedia. New to Wikipedia but with over 40 years of experience as an eye physician and surgeon, Barbera drew from his extensive knowledge to find and fill gaps in ophthalmology content throughout the six-week course sponsored by the WITH Foundation.

But it was a personal connection to the course’s focus on adult disabilities that propelled his work on Wikipedia – and led him to make substantive additions to an already well-developed, well-regarded article on the site.

“My sister has Down syndrome and I am involved in assisting with her medical care,” said Barbera. “I was interested and motivated to share what I knew through Wikipedia.”

Screenshot of Down syndrome article on Wikipedia
Screenshot of Down syndrome Wikipedia article

Barbera added a new, robust section on ocular findings to the Down syndrome article, including information related to clinical signs of Down syndrome in an infant at birth, and the greater frequency of vision disorders such as congenital cataracts, strabismus, nystagmus, nasolacrimal duct obstruction, and refractive error among individuals with Down syndrome. 

“Wikipedia is one of the best examples of the realization of the original promise of the internet – constructive collaboration and dissemination of knowledge,” explained the ophthalmologist when reflecting on the power of Wikipedia to shape awareness and understanding of topics like disabilities. 

Throughout the course, Barbera also made enhancements to other eye-related articles, including Pseudostrabismus, which could lead to the incorrect diagnosis of strabismus. Pseudostrabismus, the false impression that the eyes are misaligned, generally occurs in infants and very young children, whose facial features are not yet fully developed.

“It was quite rewarding to look at the page view statistics with [our instructor] at the end of the course,” said Barbera. “It’s amazing how many views there were of the work in just a few weeks!  It helps me understand how significant the contribution can be, and I am sure others would share that sense of satisfaction.”

Praising his WITH course and its instructor, Wiki Education’s Will Kent, Barbera underscored the quality of his learning experience, the value of Kent’s encouragement and feedback, and his thanks to the WITH Foundation for supporting healthcare for those with disabilities. 

“One of the benefits of these courses is the fact that participants have an opportunity to learn from each other,” said Kent. “User Nabor Barbera led and fostered several useful conversations about disability topics, understanding the Wikipedia community, and exploring the useful (and sometimes baffling) user interface. These kinds of conversations embody the kind of drive, agency, and curiosity that make an engaged Wikipedian.”

While his course has officially ended, Barbera continues to review and edit Wikipedia articles, encouraging others to lend their own knowledge to improve the site for all.

Interested in learning how to add your expertise to Wikipedia? Explore Wiki Education’s upcoming courses for subject-area experts.

The Wikimedia Foundation develops an Annual Plan every year, where we outline our key goals and priorities and explain the work we will set out to do. Recognizing that the Foundation’s work supports and is supported by the Wikimedia communities, we actively seek input from communities when creating our plans. This year, one of the ways we sought input from communities was through the Talking:2024 initiative, a series of conversations where community members were invited to schedule a time to talk with Foundation leadership, staff, and trustees. When we announced the Annual Planning work on wikis, we also posted specific questions, aiming to better listen to the voices of individual contributors. The post was localized in various wikis and, in this article, we share the example of the Japanese Wikipedia (jawp).

The following are the questions asked with shared responses; in the form of a pie chart for the multiple questions Q1, 3, 5 and a selected feedback representing the overall trend for 2, 4, 6. Some of the feedback directly connected with a few of the Foundation’s ongoing and upcoming work by Product & Tech, for which comments we have added in. 

Throughout the survey responses a key theme that emerged was around newcomers – ranging from how to better support quality edits to how to bring in new generations of contributors and admins.

Trustworthiness of the Content

Trustworthiness of the content (articles), supported by the Five Pillars, Verifiability, etc  is the uniqueness of Wikimedia, and has been the driving force for many users to stay active on the Wikimedia projects.

Q1: Do you think this also applies to jawp? – 73.6% noted ‘agree’ or ‘somewhat agree’

Q2: Do you have any suggestions on how to help grow trustworthy content more quickly, while still adhering to the quality standards agreed upon within jawp?

“I feel that Wikipedia’s noble principles are the reason for distinguishing Wikipedia from mere curation sites.”

“More attention and awareness need to be brought to people that Wikipedia only publishes verifiable information.”

“Review of communication style within the community that is strict to the extreme norms.”

“I’m noticing new editors who edit without providing sources. They often edit based on uncertain information such as external social networking sites.”

Last January, at Japanese Wikipedia, the Editing team released “References Check” as a test. This feature encourages newcomers and unregistered users to add a source when they add a paragraph. These edits are tagged and can be found back in Recent Changes for instance, in particular when the user decided not to add a citation.

Previously, 25% of new users were adding a citation by themselves, without being asked. With References Check, this number increases to 49.7%.

The Editing team works on other “checks” and they are looking for ideas that would help your community. 

To continue to attract users and viewers

In order to keep attracting users and viewers, there is fierce competition among large online platforms (a term that refers to large online service infrastructures, especially social networking sites and giant tech companies which greatly influences how we get information) for users and viewers.

Q3: Do you think there are changes on jawp that have been influenced by other online platforms? – 81% noted ‘agree’ or ‘somewhat agree’

Q4: Do you have any opinions or questions about how to reach new users and readers, especially the younger generation, to ensure that jawp can continue in the way they should be in the future?

“It would be nice to have something like the beginner’s mark on a car license.”

It is possible to filter or highlight beginners in Recent Changes or Watchlist, by applying a coloured filter (for example with newcomers highlighted in green).

“I believe it is also important to attract users of all ages, including the elderly. Of course it is important to involve the younger generation, but the reality is that Japan is an aging society.” 

“Hold editing events at educational institutions can be held to show the younger generation that editing can be done by anyone”

“The younger generation does not understand verifiability. They tend to seek for truth or not. This may be an educational issue, not a wikipedia issue.”

The Foundation also sees the trend of how younger generations think and feel differently about information and has been developing Future Audience projects, further explained in this Diff blog

Security and Compliance

The battle against increasingly large-scale and diverse cyber-attacks against Wikimedia is also becoming something frequent. At the same time, Wikimedia faces evolving compliance obligations (It refers to compliance with laws and regulations as well as social norms in order to conduct service in a fair and impartial manner here) as policy makers around the world focus on how to handle personal information and share information online.

Q5: Do you think that the challenges of compliance obligations are likely to affect jawp in the future? – 70.6% noted ‘agree’ or ‘somewhat agree’

Q6: Do you have any comments or questions about how to maintain the sustainability of the jawp related to security and compliance? 

“It would be good if Wikimedia could make an appeal that ‘Wikimedia is committed to compliance’ during fundraising campaigns and other such events.”

“As well as anti-vandalism measures, I’d like to see AI be used to handle the situation automatically to some extent”

There is a work in progress model of Automoderator, a tool that analyzes recent changes and reverts bad edits which can be a very powerful tool.

We also would like to highlight that restrictions toward IP users were raised in response to multiple questions.  

“Since it is more common for IP address users (especially variable IPs) to edit against the 5 pillars and verifiability, it would be better to prohibit IP address users from editing if the purpose is to maintain a certain level of quality”

“From a security and compliance perspective, I think the most urgent issue for Jawp is to promote tighter regulation of open proxies”

“It seems to me that vandals who are not long-term abusers (LTA) are more likely to be IP address users than newly registered users. In order to reduce not only vandalism, but also posts with compliance problems, I think that banning IP address users from editing would reduce the burden on the community to deal with them and maintain sustainability.”

This is a really interesting topic. Two Wikipedias, Portuguese and Persian, have already disabled unregistered editing. The results are mixed. Although the number of vandalisms dropped, the collateral effect on good-faith contributions is concerning (see the details here). What’s more, the introduction of temporary accounts as a replacement for IP editing will also change the experience of unregistered editing, communication between registered Wikipedians and temporary account holders, and patrollers’ anti-abuse workflows. Taking all this into account, we do not recommend that communities disable unregistered editing. We invite everyone interested in the topics of anonymous editing, anti-vandalism, and related aspects to contact the Trust and Safety Product team.

Product and Technology OKRs share the actual project plans, and projects such as WE4 and WE4.2 are relevant to the issue of the IP users, and they show that jawp is not alone in the challenge of the administrators’ overcapacity which was mentioned in the feedback. 

“Due to the under-representation of jawp administrators, vandalism is not being dealt with properly”

We know the problem of patrollers, functionaries, and admins being burdened with their anti-vandalism work. As we mentioned, we will introduce temporary accounts as a replacement for IP editing. For different reasons, there might be a risk that administrators would continue to be burdened if we didn’t address different related aspects properly. So we decided to work on a variety of projects to support functionaries in dealing with abuse and vandalism from the future temporary accounts. This includes changes to abuse filters, CheckUser tools, global blocks for temporary accounts, and more. In the coming fiscal year, we will look for ways to mitigate abusive behavior without relying solely on IP addresses. That will involve using more signals to detect and mitigate abuse. We will have more details on-wiki later this month with proposed projects.

How the Foundation can better connect with the individual contributors to shape the Annual Planning is an ongoing journey, and we hope to continue discussing with you on how we can improve this process.

Meet Animesh Borah, an Assamese Wikimedian hailing from the Indian state of Assam, and a member of the Wikisource Loves Manuscripts Learning Partners Network—a community of practice dedicated to preserving cultural heritage through digitization and transcription efforts on Wikisource. As we delve into Animesh’s journey, we witness the profound impact of collaborative learning in safeguarding our shared history. Join us as we uncover Animesh’s experiences and aspirations within this dynamic network, highlighting the invaluable contributions of Wikisource Loves Manuscripts.

Traditional Assamese Xaasi paat puthi. CC-BY-SA 4.0, Bhrigu Bayan.

Sailesh: Animesh, what motivated you to join the Learning Partners Network cohort?

Animesh Borah: My journey into the Learning Partners Network cohort began with a simple yet profound desire: to collaborate with experienced individuals in the Wikimedia movement and collaborate for cultural preservation and digitization. This journey was sparked by learning about the Javanese Palm Leaves project from a fellow Assamese Wikimedian. Realizing the potential for similar efforts in preserving Assamese Xasi paat puthi, I was eager to contribute. However, I lacked the necessary awareness of preservation techniques and digitization methods for these documents. The Learning Partners Network cohort presented itself as the perfect platform to collaborate with like-minded individuals, gain insights from past projects, and contribute to the preservation and accessibility of cultural heritage materials.

Sailesh: What were some key learnings from the cohort?

Animesh Borah: The Learning Partners Network cohort proved to be a treasure trove of knowledge and collaboration opportunities. It brought together stakeholders from diverse linguistic backgrounds, creating a vibrant exchange of best practices and collaboration opportunities. I gained valuable insights into the digitization of manuscripts using specific methods, learning from both ongoing and completed projects. Discussions about creating a new hand text recognition model on Transkribus, along with training models and workflows, provided crucial information for my own initiatives. Additionally, I was introduced to the British Library Endangered Archives Programme, which sparked my interest and motivated me to explore potential collaborations and resources further.

Sailesh: Can you share any upcoming projects or initiatives you’re excited about that have been influenced by your participation in the network?

Animesh Borah: Inspired by the Learning Partners Network cohort, I embarked on a personal initiative to explore the cultural richness of several villages in my hometown, Jorhat, Assam. These villages have deep-rooted cultural connections, including ties to Thailand. During my exploration, I discovered a historical document written by the first village headman, detailing the village’s migration and history.

Following this inspiration, we are planning a documentation program for manuscripts in Assam, working closely with stakeholders to build capacity in manuscript preservation and digitization techniques. We are also preparing a comprehensive database of manuscripts from across Assam, which will serve as a valuable resource for researchers and enthusiasts. To address challenges in manuscript preservation, we will launch a pilot project to map out problems and work towards effective solutions. Once the pilot project provides valuable insights, we will extend the documentation program to other regions of Assam.

Recognizing the importance of understanding linguistic and cultural aspects, we will collaborate with linguists and researchers. We plan to leverage the Assam government’s Xasi Paat Puthi digitization project, maximizing resources and collaborating with a broader range of stakeholders. We envision developing a handwriting character recognition tool to facilitate the digitization process. Beyond manuscripts, we are excited to digitize other historical documents, such as letters, offering valuable insights into societal changes over time.

Sailesh: How do you see the network take shape in the future, especially for cross-language collaborations?

Animesh Borah: Envisioning the future of the network, especially regarding cross-language collaborations, several key developments can shape its trajectory. The network can evolve to include more multilingual platforms and tools that facilitate communication and collaboration across diverse linguistic backgrounds. Investing in language learning and cultural exchange initiatives will enhance participants’ language skills and understanding of different cultural contexts. Collaborating with language experts, linguists, and cultural scholars will enrich the network’s understanding of linguistic diversity and cultural heritage. Working with policymakers and advocacy groups, the network can advocate for initiatives recognizing the importance of linguistic diversity in cultural preservation and education.

Sailesh: Reflecting on your experience, what are the most valuable aspects of being part of a global learning network like this?

Animesh Borah: Being part of a global learning network has been an invaluable experience, enriching my journey in cultural heritage preservation. The most valuable aspects include learning from others’ experiences and insights, which have shaped my approach to my projects. The network provides a platform for exchanging knowledge, best practices, and innovative ideas related to cultural preservation and digitization. This exchange of information has helped me stay updated on the latest developments in the field and discover new techniques and methodologies. Additionally, the network has opened up opportunities for collaboration with like-minded individuals and organizations. Access to training, workshops, and resources has enhanced my skills and knowledge in cultural heritage preservation. Lastly, belonging to a global community of passionate individuals dedicated to preserving cultural heritage is immensely rewarding. Knowing that I am part of a larger network of individuals committed to a common cause fosters a sense of solidarity and mutual support.

Sailesh: Thank you, Animesh, for sharing your valuable experiences and insights. We wish you the best of luck in all your future endeavors, and may your work continue to inspire and contribute to the preservation of our rich cultural heritage.

Reflecting on the insights shared by Animesh, it’s clear that being part of a global learning network offers immense value, especially in the field of cultural heritage preservation. The ability to learn from others’ experiences, access a wealth of knowledge, and engage in collaborative efforts are just a few of the many benefits he highlighted. This network not only keeps professionals updated on the latest developments and methodologies but also provides a strong sense of community and mutual support.

Animesh’s journey underscores the importance of such networks in fostering growth and innovation. His experience reminds us of the power of collective effort in preserving our cultural heritage for future generations.

If you are interested in being a part of the Wikisource Loves Manuscripts Learning Partners Network, sign up here to join the network and contribute to shaping a future where cultural heritage is just a click away.

The recent cohort journey with the Wikisource Loves Manuscripts Learning Partners Network has been a period marked by significant achievements and exciting future plans on how to digitize manuscripts through Wikisource! The WiLMa Learning Partners Network is committed to fostering a collaborative ecosystem, bringing together communities with a shared interest in digitizing and transcribing manuscripts. 

WiLMa Learning Partners Network onboarding call. CC-BY-SA 4.0, Sailesh Patnaik

A major milestone was the successful certification of 12 community members who completed extensive training and workshops. These dedicated community members representing 15 language communities from our movement showed a strong interest in expanding the Wikisource Loves Manuscripts project into their own languages. The cohort aimed to equip participants with the necessary skills, resources, and support for successful manuscript digitization and transcription projects. The program was comprehensive, featuring learning showcases, hands-on training, practical assignments, and a peer learning space for sharing knowledge and best practices. This diverse group of participants are now well-prepared to continue preserving manuscripts, thereby enhancing digital access to reliable and locally relevant knowledge—a crucial aspect of Wikimedia’s sustainability and the broader Internet.

The cohort required a commitment of approximately 20 hours, or 3 hours per month, which included virtual sessions and assignments. Participants received advanced training in Wikisource and manuscript digitization, sessions on grants and partnerships, knowledge-sharing spaces, and hands-on training with Transkribus. Successful completion of sessions and training earned certifications, recognizing their achievements and readiness to contribute to future projects.

Throughout the cohort, the Learning Partners Network engaged in 510 minutes of collaborative sessions, creating valuable resources and connecting with key partners such as PPIM (Indonesia), Transkribus/ReadCoop, and the British Library’s Endangered Archive Programme. Some highlights included the development of the first handwritten Arabic model for Arabic Wikisource on Transkribus, exploration of scientific digitization methods for Assamese manuscripts, and deep dives into digitization workflows for languages like Odia and Kannada.

Members of the WiLMa Learning Partners Network at GLAM Wiki Conference, CC-BY-SA 4.0 Satdeep Gill.

Looking ahead, the cohort has laid out ambitious plans across various languages. Future initiatives involve indexing and transcribing collections on Wikisource, creating new Transkribus models, digitizing manuscripts, and forming partnerships with national institutions. The cohort emphasized the importance of staying connected, regional networking, and cross-regional collaboration. These efforts will lay a strong foundation for future collaborations and advancements in manuscript digitization and transcription. Further updates and information can be found on the Meta Wiki page.

As this phase of the journey with the Wikisource Loves Manuscripts Learning Partners Network comes to a close, it’s evident that a strong foundation has been laid for digitizing and preserving manuscripts through Wikisource. The dedication and collaboration of the network members have been remarkable. Now, equipped with new skills and knowledge, the participants are ready to move forward. By utilizing Wikisource, accessibility to these precious documents is ensured for everyone. It’s not just about preserving history; it’s about sharing it with the world. 

If you are interested in being a part of this initiative, sign up here to join the network and contribute to shaping a future where cultural heritage is just a click away.

Wikimedia Hackathon 2024 20240504 RSKY

The 2024 Wikimedia Hackathon, held from May 3rd – 5th  in Tallinn, Estonia, brought together a highly technical group of enthusiastic participants from around the world to collaborate, innovate, and drive progress on Wikimedia projects. 

This year’s hackathon was guided by two core objectives:

  • Innovate and Create: Design and build innovative projects that showcase creativity and technical expertise.  The hackathon embodied the spirit of innovation and creativity.  Participants designed and built projects that expanded the possibilities of how people interact with our content:  there were projects that transliterate articles in a new script, to help see our code, to show facts within a panorama, to celebrate what you read on Wikipedia, and to help you listen to articles.  The outcome was impressive, with over 80 hacking projects developed and 43 outstanding projects presented at the closing showcase, which can be relived through the video recording and showcase notes. This achievement highlights the hackathon’s innovation and creativity, where participants brought their ideas to life and demonstrated their technical skills.
  • Connect and Collaborate: According to post-event feedback, the hackathon fostered meaningful connections among participants, encouraging knowledge sharing, collaboration, and community building.  Participants shared their experiences and feedback on how the event helped them achieve these goals:
    • “I feel onboarded now, and part of the community.” (First-time participant who felt welcomed and integrated)
    • “I collaborated with other staff to prototype features and gather user feedback.” (Staff member who benefited from teamwork and feedback)
    •  “I established connections with people from the technical community and gained clarity on problem-solving.” (Participant who valued the exchange of ideas)
    •  “I met people in person for the first time, collaborated with them, and improved relationships.” (Participant who appreciated the in-person connections)
    • These testimonials highlight how the event’s built a sense of community–facilitating collaboration, and fostering meaningful relationships among participants.
Photograph by Mike Peel 

Program Highlights

  • We welcomed 176 participants from the 8 regions of the world. According to the post-event survey, 33% of respondents identified their region, aligning with the Wikimedia movement’s global regions. As seen in the chart below,  the majority of participants hailed from Northern and Western Europe, followed by North America. Notably, we saw an increase in representation from Sub-Saharan Africa compared to last year’s event, reflecting our efforts to promote global inclusivity.

Furthermore, a significant portion of our attendees (48%) benefited from scholarships to attend the event, highlighting the importance of these opportunities in facilitating participation. 

  • Our participant pool was diverse, representing various affiliations within the movement, including:
    • Volunteers with varying levels of experience (5+ years and <5 years)
    • Developers and technical contributors
    • Contributors to Wikipedia projects like Commons
    • Members of Wikimedia Chapters and Affiliates

This diversity enriched our event with a wide range of perspectives and expertise.

  • Out of the 57 (33% of total attendees)  participants who completed the post event survey 91% reported that the hackathon helped them achieve the goals that they set for themselves. Here are some of their achievements, in their own words:
    • Collaborated with staff and community members
    • Prototyped features and gathered user feedback
    • Learned about projects and people in their area of work
    • Resolved tensions and expressed themselves freely
    • Learned new topics and reinforced knowledge
    • Met people face-to-face and established connections
    • Discussed stalled tasks and gained understanding
    • Learned the “proper” way to run unit tests in MediaWiki core
    • Met people they had worked with for years and new people
    • Improved relationships and formed new connections
    • Completed various projects and made progress on others
    • Had fruitful discussions with community members
    • Learned more about MediaWiki’s backend and how to contribute
    • Shared knowledge and experiences with others
    • Understands better how developers interact within the community
Photograph by Mike Peel
  • During the Hackathon, participants collaborated on a wide range of technical areas, showcasing their diverse skills and expertise. Some contributors focused on MediaWiki / MediaWiki Core, while others worked on improving gadgets, user scripts, modules, templates. Technical areas of contribution included bug and feature request management, bots and tools, mobile or desktop apps, and documentation, among others. Additionally, participants with experience in UX/UI design, and project management also played a crucial role in shaping the projects. Overall, the Hackathon brought together a talented group of individuals who worked together to advance various technical areas, resulting in impressive project outcomes.
  • We gauged the participants’ opinions by asking them to rate several affirmations on a scale from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree”. This helped us understand their level of agreement or disagreement with various statements, allowing us to gather valuable insights into their thoughts and perceptions. The affirmations covered a range of topics, and participants were encouraged to share their honest opinions, providing us with a comprehensive understanding of their views and sentiments.  
  • What activity did you collaborate on with peers? – As a part of the post-event survey, we asked attendees to reflect on their collaborative experiences, inquiring about the specific activities they worked on alongside their peers. This question aimed to uncover the diverse projects and initiatives that emerged during the event, showcasing the creativity and innovation that arose from collective efforts. By sharing their responses, participants highlighted the various coding challenges, problem-solving exercises, and creative endeavors they undertook together, providing a glimpse into the dynamic and collaborative spirit that defined the hackathon.

Learnings and Recommendations

We also asked people the following question: “How else can we design the Hackathon in the future to help attendees learn, collaborate, and connect? and here’s are the responses we received broken down into these categories:

Suggestions for Improvement:

  • Provide a variety of simple and plain food options to cater to diverse tastes and dietary needs.
  • Increase senior management attendance to show appreciation for contributors’ work and foster open communication.
  • Foster closer collaboration between engineers and designers through joint sessions and projects.
  • Provide  event badges with additional information (e.g., project/area of interest) and use clear signs and customizable badges to facilitate connections.
  • Reduce barriers for newcomers by offering more affordable venues, clearer documentation, and a more welcoming environment.
  • Extend the event duration or consider bi-annual events, including one outside Europe, to facilitate more connections and knowledge sharing.
  • Implement a comprehensive health and safety policy, including carbon monoxide meters, air filters, mandatory COVID testing, and a table numbering/map system to facilitate collaboration and presentation organization.
  • For future events, consider using alternative operating systems for shared presentation computers to avoid any compatibility issues or limitations associated with macOS or Windows. 

Positive Feedback:

  • The event’s organization and format were excellent, featuring great talks, a convenient venue, and a well-structured schedule that encouraged learning, collaboration, and creativity.
  • The unconference-style format and co-located accommodation fostered a sense of community, allowing attendees to connect and work together seamlessly.
  • The event’s inclusive and diverse nature was made possible by the scholarship program, which should continue to be offered to ensure a diverse range of perspectives and ideas.
  • The flexible format allowed attendees to work on projects, collaborate, and enjoy meals together, making the event feel fresh and enjoyable for both new and returning attendees.
  • Overall, the event’s format, organization, and structure were perfect, providing a unique and valuable experience that should be continued in future events.

Suggestions for supporting longtime contributors at Future events

  •  Prioritize supporting existing contributors and offer mentoring slots for short-time contributors, while also improving support for global south attendees and clarifying the program schedule.
  •  Consider allowing shorter sessions (5-15 minutes) for sharing tech tips, pitching new projects for uptake by volunteers etc.
  • The event organizers’ commitment and dedication were impressive, and the scholarship program should continue.
  • Providing better support and resources for  Global South attendees to attend and fully participate in the event.

Conclusion & Recognition

Pulling off a successful event truly takes a village, and we had a talented village! 😀 A heartfelt thank you to our incredible Organizing Team🎖WMEE (Wikimedia Eesti), – Ivo Kruusamagi, WMF  – (Amanda Bittaker, Onyinyechi Onifade, Deb Tankersley, and Karen Hernandez), Travel Team (Erin Morris & Nikki Maller), and our vigilant Trust and Safety Representatives, who all worked tirelessly to keep everything on track.

A special shoutout also goes to our army of volunteers, the ever-helpful Volunteer Coordinators, the Mentors, Session Facilitators, Note Takers, Photographers and everyone else who jumped in to answer questions, review code, make connections, and generally save the day. You all contributed to the success of the event.

The Wikimedia Hackathon 2024 demonstrated the power of collaborative innovation in driving progress on Wikimedia projects. We’re proud of the projects developed and the connections made. We look forward to building on this success and creating even more impactful events in the future. See you at the 2025 edition of the hackathon! 🎉

ESEAP Conference 2024 Experience

Tuesday, 18 June 2024 22:17 UTC

This should have been my second time attending the ESEAP conference if not for the circumstances when I was about to board a plane for Australia in 2023. That event may have devastated me at first. Still, after a year of working again with my affiliate and with some of my regular functions as one of the grants committees for the ESEAP region and also a Let’s Connect Liaison for the ESEAP, I have thought that occasions such as this are the best time to build linkages among other Wikimedians.

The ESEAP conference 2024 took place in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, on May 10-12, 2024, with a theme of Collaboration beyond the horizon. It was made possible through the efforts of Wikimedia Community User Group Malaysia, the volunteers of the ESEAP Community and the Wikimedia Foundation.

Program Presentations

Introducing Let’s Connect in the ESEAP Region

Checking the number of registered participants from the ESEAP Region on the Let’s Connect database, I have noticed a low number of Wikimedians from our region. I have conducted several outreach campaigns through mailing lists, telegram, and other channels to invite participants, but the numbers haven’t improved. Let’s Connect was one of the most active peer-learning sessions conducted by the movement. As the years passed, more and more Wikimedians became involved in learning clinics and attending live sessions. I would not want to waste any of this opportunity, and the best way to re-introduce this program is through a talk at the conference. It should have been a lightning talk at first, considering that I am not really into speaking in front of a crowd, but one of my colleagues suggested that it should be longer than that, so I’ve opted for it to be a discussion. Seeing the session results, I was glad that I considered lengthening the session. At the last minute, before I was about to start, I was also informed that there would be a 15-minute additional time to talk about Let’s Connect, giving me a total of 45 minutes for the session. I took advantage of it as it would also benefit me since I am a low-pace speaker and had ample time to engage the participants in giving their feedback. There were a variety of nationalities inside the room, and I was lucky enough to have my Filipino friends, even not from my affiliate, to support me during the entire duration. I would want the session to be as informal as possible and avoid too many technicalities since I am looking at it as if I’m marketing the program to Wikimedians who haven’t heard about it. With the number of learning clinic draft submissions given to me, I can say that the session went well. Also, I have received emails inquiring more about our Let’s Connect program.

Hatch-A-Wikimedian Leadership Program

Our affiliate has started a program to use the Leadership Development Plan that the Leadership Development Working Group produced to develop new leaders for our group. This project is being funded by the Movement Strategy Implementation Grant and is expected to run until December 2024. During the session, I discussed the background of the project, its objectives, and the support it has received through funding, coaching, and resources. Currently, it is being implemented in three ways: in-person meetings, activities on the website, and online sessions. The session was more about inviting the participants and members of affiliates to use the LDP in their leadership training initiatives.

Wiki Advocates Philippines User Group Presentations

Four members of our affiliate have attended the conference, and each of us has a role to play in presenting our programs to our fellow ESEAP Wikimedians. Angelica Mirras presented our education initiative, the WikiDunong program. Bianca Brazal has showcased our works in human rights through storytelling about what happened during our community outreach during the Human Rights Day celebration. Imelda Brazal has tackled our gender initiatives through the Women@Work Program. It was a memorable experience when we witnessed a female taxi driver take us to a local park in Kota Kinabalu. This is rare in the Philippines, as drivers of utility vehicles are expected to be male. For our leadership initiative, I have also presented the Hatch-A-Wikimedian program. We are grateful that all our submissions were accepted at the conference, finding ways to amplify our work in the region. We always see to it that we maintain the transparency of our work and make it visible throughout the ESEAP countries to inspire other communities and learn from our strategies, how we conduct successful campaigns, and how we adapt to the needs of our local communities.

Regional Grants Committee Member Tasks

As part of this ESEAP Grants committee for three years now, I was glad to see several of the affiliate members who I happened to review grants either on the General Community Fund or the Rapid Fund. Seeing how their projects have been implemented and even surpassed their targets is a proud moment for me, as I always see that each of these grant requests will be supported through funding and our recommendations. It wasn’t easy to divide myself between handling our affiliate while we were at the conference, inviting people to participate in Let’s Connect, and doing my job on the committee. It was fulfilling that once I was just a simple editor in our local wiki, I now partake in one of the most significant decisions for the betterment of the movement and all the wiki projects. Being part of this committee is not limited to deciding the allocation of resources but also sharing our skills with several affiliates. It also shares each member’s expertise since we have distinct skills in affiliate management, campaign organizing, finance, partnerships, and others. The conference allowed us to meet with our program officer and share tips and updates on grant-related matters with the ESEAP community.

ESEAP Regional Grants Committee, Kunokuno, CC BY-SA 4.0

Mari-Mari Cultural Village Trip

We were the last group to arrive at the Mari-Mari cultural village, riding a grab car. Our tour guide defined “Mari” as come, similar to the word we used in Central Bikol. “Mari” means “Come here”. It was interesting to see different house structures among the various tribes in Malaysia, taste delicacies, and even try out the rice wine. What I enjoyed the most was the last native house, which had a wooden trampoline. Most of the structures are similar to how native Filipinos created their houses. We call it here “Bahay Kubo”. This is made of bamboo sticks, nipa, or anahaw as roofing, and for walls, we use “sawali”. It’s also bamboo, but only the outer layer is used and intertwined to achieve stability and lock each piece together. Dinner was served at the end of the tour, and our group was invited to join other Philipine-based affiliates such as the Pilipinas Panorama and Wiki Society, other unaffiliated Filipino Wikimedians were also present at the table, including Butch and Chlod. The ride back to the hotel was faster than going to Mari-Mari. I remember listening to karaoke, a Tagalog song, and all the while, I wondered if one of my friends from the Philippines was singing. Later on, I discovered that it was an Indonesian Wikimedian. Music is indeed a universal language.

Flights

Before our trip to Kuala Lumpur on May 9, we’d already stayed in Manila the night before. Manila itself is an 8-12 hour drive from our location. We met Ralff, a member of the Pilipinas Panorama Community, at the airport, and it was a fruitful encounter. We came to befriend him and later joined as regular members of their thematic affiliate. The Navan app benefited the scholars, and it was a good thing this was introduced. I was attentive to each announcement on the plane, not just because of the updates and safety reminders but also because I looked at the language compatibility between Malay and the Philippines. I remembered Selamat, which means thank you, and Salamat here in the Philippines. The word formation of their language is also somewhat similar to ours; in the airplane backseat, I saw this reminder: “Simpan pemegang peranti semasa di landasan, berlepas dan mendarat,” which translates to stow device holder during taxi, takeoff, and landing.

Upon arrival on May 9th, we were joined by some Wikimedians I already knew online and some I met during Wikimania in Singapore: Eugene Ormandy, Bijay from Timor-Leste, Johnny Alegre, and Belinda Spry from Australia. Going home on May 13th, we take the hotel van as early as 4:00 a.m., and with us are Mr. Murakami from Japan and Taufik Rosman from Wikimedia Malaysia.

The flight back to Manila on May 13 was not as smooth as the flight to Malaysia. It was a rainy day in Manila, with several thick cloud formations just above the airport. The pilot was advised to take a few moments to clear the landing area. We encountered a few turbulences as we circled five times above the Manila area.

Encounters and other experiences

We arrived on May 9th at 10:00 p.m. and searched for our dinner outside the Le Meridien Hotel. There is a lot of seafood at the market: shrimps, squid, varieties of fish, crabs, lobsters, and even seaweeds. Each is offered at an affordable rate and grilled on hot charcoal right before you. We have paid for 67 ringgit for four types of dishes, and this already comes with rice and fresh fruit juices. It may have been because of how I’ve spoken English that the lady who owns the stall recognized me as a Filipino, and then we continued to communicate using Tagalog. She told me she came from Jolo, Philippines, but started her family in Kota Kinabalu. This was not the only time I’ve met a resident there who speaks Tagalog. There’s a fruit juice store beside the sidewalk outside the hotel, and I happened to meet Rina, who also has roots from Jolo, and Adriana, from Zamboanga. They’ve told me that they master Tagalog because what they usually watch online are movies in the Philippines. It’s also interesting that even those who are not pure-blooded Filipinos can speak our language. One was an Indonesian I talked with while buying roasted chicken, and the other was a Malaysian in a retail store.

Every time I visit a different place, I want to check for a store that sells beer. Mostly, it was 7/11, and we strolled around during the first night at the hotel and couldn’t locate any after our dinner. Probably because we only searched in the nearest area. The next evening, there was ample time to check the streets for stores, and at that time, we located a 7/11 store, and there was also the Orange store, which sells beer. That’s also where I’ve encountered another Malaysian language that is very similar to ours, Tolak, which probably means push. The Tagalog equivalent of it is Tulak. But the opposite of it is Tarik, which perhaps means Pull. Tarik in Tagalog is defined as high or steep, particularly describing a mountain.

On May 12th, I joined Eugene Ormandy and two other Japanese Wikimedians for lunch. I’ve read Eugene’s Diff Blog posts, and it interests me how consistent he was in his writing and his motivations. I should’ve been recording our conversation since I wanted to write about the writer himself. It was not an effort put to waste, as I’ve learned from the Japanese community, their existing projects, and some problems they encountered. I’ve also talked with Yuriko Kadokura, who has worked as a librarian before and was able to publish a book of essays entitled “A 70-Year-Old Wikipedian“. Our conversation led to our commitment to translate each other’s posts to reach our local communities. Knowing the situations in different countries in the ESEAP Region also helps me in my task in the regional grants committee, as I can assess and evaluate the needs of each.

As we are far from the capital, meeting other Filipino Wikimedians takes too much effort, funds, and time. The conference has made it possible for us to reach out to each other, talk about plans, clear up some issues from the past, and, more importantly, know more about ourselves even outside of our Wikimedia work. Eugene Villar of WikiSoc has donated two Central Bikol Dictionaries we could use in our work. Johnny and Ralff from Pilipinas Panorama have been too welcoming for future collaborations between our groups. One of the most fruitful things was that Filipino communities are working for the next ESEAP Summit in Manila in 2025.

Learnings from the Sessions

Funding and Resources: The WMF has provided several pipelines for affiliates and individuals interested in improving wiki projects and community organizing. There is already an established structure for the process, from requesting, fund allocation, approval, and declining the request. Program Officers and the Regional Grants Committee of each region always welcome feedback from their grantees on further improving this process, making it more equitable and easy to access, especially for newbies.

Bridging the Gender Gap: Several campaigns across the community are being conducted in line with this advocacy, including SheSaid, Art+Feminism, WikiGap, and VisibleWikiWomen, among others. While we pursue adding more content about this objective, we opt to know that there are also other aspects of it. We may need to review the demography of participants and the access to devices of newbie editors who happen to be housewives who would need child support. Feminism also has many faces, and it’s always moving forward to equity among the population that we can consider most oppressed or lacking direct support: people with special needs, prisoners, senior citizens, and even illiterates.

Exploring untapped Wikiprojects: Each country and affiliate has its specific scope of focus regarding Wiki editing. We may have been working on Wikipedia or Wiktionary for years and neglecting other projects. A review among our users can help determine what our local community needs. Would they need access to old manuscripts? Would they need a bulk of free data? Aligning our work with the particular needs of the community we are working in makes our movement more beneficial.

Plans after the conference

ESEAP Summit 2025: Filipino Wikimedians have agreed to host the upcoming ESEAP Summit, and we will also apply what we see as best practices from the recently ended ESEAP Conference 2024.

Doing follow-ups: Several people have expressed interest in conducting learning clinics for Let’s Connect. I will continue communicating with them to further amplify our work in the ESEAP region for the broader WMF community.

Partnership with other ESEAP Affiliates: During the presentations, we encountered some projects that align with our affiliate work, and we envision partnering with these groups to strengthen our campaigns and outreach further.

A photograph of gloved hands preparing a sample for a reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) to detect the COVID-19 disease
Preparation of reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) to detect the COVID-19 disease. Image by Dean Calma | International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, an immense volume of misinformation and disinformation related to the virus, its origins, and potential treatments or cures circulated online and offline. False information proliferated through both social media and traditional news outlets. This caused confusion and mistrust among people, medical professionals, and institutions. Some public officials promoted untested treatments and unsafe behavior through official platforms, causing fatal consequences on some occasions. Furthermore, conspiracy theories about the origin of the virus gained traction online, claiming either that the virus was a hoax intentionally created in a laboratory, or that governments and corporations engineered it to exercise control over the population. The extent of misinformation and disinformation about the virus, the disease, and its treatment required concerted efforts to ensure the availability of factual and reliable information for the global public in as many languages as possible. Fortunately, the Wikimedia projects and their volunteer communities were already prepared to provide exactly what was needed.

Wikimedia volunteers contribute daily to multiple projects to guarantee that content available on Wikipedia and other free-knowledge projects is well-sourced, reliable, and neutral. Their efforts include countering disinformation campaigns and addressing inaccuracies that may arise from deliberate or unintended sources. During 2022, the Wikimedia Foundation mapped out initiatives and projects that Wikimedia communities and the Foundation have developed to address the challenges of disinformation. The results of this mapping exercise are featured in the Anti-Disinformation Repository, a collection of tools and activities that illustrate how Wikimedia is an antidote to disinformation. Such work is critical in parts of the world where access to educational resources and reliable information are limited or censored.

This story is part of a three-part series that explains how Wikimedia communities fight disinformation and showcases how crucial those efforts are for the online information ecosystem. 

Creating WikiProject COVID-19 and other efforts to counter health-related disinformation

When Wikimedians across the world identify a shared goal, they often create, translate, and curate articles in different languages through a form of collaboration known as a WikiProject. Concerned about the detrimental consequences of COVID-19 disinformation on people’s lives during the global pandemic, the Wikimedia community launched WikiProject COVID-19 in March 2020. This initiative sought to document and produce reliable articles on the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the COVID-19 disease, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the project, the Wikimedia communities coordinated their activities and joined efforts to provide comprehensive resources for individuals seeking reliable information and sources in multiple languages during this challenging time. Additionally, WikiProject COVID-19 facilitated collaboration with different experts and professionals, fostering a global effort to address the information needs surrounding the pandemic.

In parallel, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Wikimedia Foundation launched a joint collaboration aimed at amplifying public accessibility to accurate and reliable information about the virus. This collaborative initiative was accessible under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license, which allows everyone to access and share infographics, videos, and other public health assets on Wikimedia Commons. As a result, Wikimedia volunteer editors could improve and expand the online encyclopedia’s COVID-19 coverage with these new freely-licensed resources. 

Webinar: Building Special Projects on Wikipedia. Video by International Science Council, CC BY-SA 3.0, via YouTube.

The Wikimedia communities have implemented similar efforts to combat other health disinformation circulating online. For instance, Wikipedia’s Vaccine Reliable Sources began as an initiative to provide the Wikimedia community, which writes articles about vaccines, with sources for medical data that have been deemed trustworthy through previous Wikipedia deliberations. This initiative also sought to achieve a more robust consensus around reliable sources of vaccine information. The collaborative project included partners such as News Quality Initiative (NewsQ)—a Hacks/Hackers initiative—and Knowledge Futures, and continued with support from Craig Newmark Philanthropies and the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the Newmark Graduate School of Journalism in the City University of New York (CUNY).

As part of this collaborative effort, experienced Wikipedia volunteers contributed to gathering data and refining a list of reputable sources of vaccine information throughout 2022 and 2023. This list was urgent for Wikimedians because it helped them establish and follow a set of guidelines when creating and updating vaccine-related articles. Such guidelines were critical to ensuring that the information on the online encyclopedia was supported by scientific consensus and free of false claims or conspiracy theories. The work to determine what sources were appropriate for citation for vaccine information contributed to strengthening Wikipedia content about healthcare and promoting public understanding of vaccines, counteracting disinformation, and contributing to improve public health outcomes.

Conclusion

Efforts on Wikipedia to counter misinformation and disinformation about COVID-19 provided readers with freely available information in many languages, helping them to counter public confusion, fear, and mistrust. Professionals and experts from multiple disciplines relied on Wikipedia as a trusted reference during the COVID-19 pandemic, acknowledging its commitment to obtaining reliable and accurate information from reputable and verifiable sources. Between December 2019 and December 2020, articles about COVID-19 were viewed in 188 languages more than 579 million times.

Initiatives such as WikiProject COVID-19 helped to provide access to a vast repository of information, including scientific research, government reports, and research insights. Wikimedians and their collaboration partners demonstrated how public interest efforts could play a crucial role in ensuring comprehensive coverage of the pandemic across multiple languages and in many regions around the world where individuals faced barriers to accessing knowledge. This was particularly evident in areas where information about the virus and disease was scarce or where disinformation was rampant. 

When University of the Virgin Islands psychology major Reem Mohamad enrolled in an English course this spring, the last thing she expected was to change her long held skepticism of Wikipedia as a reliable source of information. Fast forward to the end of the semester – Mohamad not only published a brand new Wikipedia article, but also asserts the rigor of the site’s policies and standards to safeguard content quality.

“Since youth, I’ve always been taught that Wikipedia is an ‘unreliable source’ since everyone can edit a published article,” explained Mohamad. “However, since becoming an editor, I’ve realized the opposite is true. Wikipedia is a lot more structured and rigid in its publication regulations, making edits much more complex.”

Along with her classmates, Mohamad sought to develop new biography articles featuring diverse individuals with notable achievements in STEM as part of a special initiative supported by the Broadcom Foundation. Mohamad created the new article for Quinton Williams, an African American physicist and professor at Howard University.

For Mohamad, who plans to attend medical school in the future, the focus of her Wikipedia assignment felt particularly meaningful as a woman and person of color (POC).

“Seeing another person of color succeed in STEM made me happy,” said Mohamad. “Being a woman and a POC, it can sometimes be overwhelming and create feelings of doubt. ‘Am I going to succeed?’, is a question I frequently ask myself, but whenever I see fellow POCs succeeding in a field I am in, it diminishes my doubts and offers a sense of security.”

Reem Mohamad
Reem Mohamad. Photo courtesy Reem Mohamad, all rights reserved.

When fellow women and POCs read the biographies published by her class on Wikipedia, Mohamad hopes they feel the same sense of security and encouragement. 

To tackle the challenge of creating a new article from scratch, the fourth-year student created a schedule for herself, dedicating different days to specific tasks including robust research, organizing sources, and formatting the article. Not only did the assignment enhance her research skills, but it also sharpened her time management practices – both key competencies that she’ll bring to her next internship and future medical degree, noted Mohamad. 

“When writing about an important person and making that information available to everyone, I feel significant pressure to make sure that everything I report is as accurate as possible, since it can have negative consequences on the chosen individual and/or author if anything is reported inaccurately,” said Mohamad.

When reflecting on her favorite aspects of editing Wikipedia, the future psychiatrist emphasized the joy of seeing her small, individual sections of the article come together to create one cohesive biography about Quinton Williams. 

“It didn’t seem like much detail when formulating each section, but when I saw the whole article, I was truly amazed seeing all of the information reported,” she explained.

At times, finding appropriate and notable sources for the article proved to be a challenge for Mohamad. She recognized the impact of the support of her Wikipedia Expert, Wiki Education’s Brianda Felix, crediting much of her success with the project to Felix’s guidance through sources and citation practices.

And when comparing the Wikipedia assignment to a more traditional research, Mohamad knows her preference.

“It felt much more fun and rewarding as I made an actual contribution to public information,” said Mohamad. “I felt a stronger sense of accomplishment once the completed article came together versus when doing a traditional research paper.”

Interested in incorporating a Wikipedia assignment into your course? Visit teach.wikiedu.org to learn more about the free assignment templates and resources that Wiki Education offers to instructors in the United States and Canada.

AOL Keywords circa 1996

Tuesday, 18 June 2024 04:00 UTC

Have you ever wanted to examine all AOL keywords for its 5,122 public chatrooms circa 1996? Probably not, but since I had to uncompress an ancient sit file and then convert an ancient Hypercard deck to XML for myself, I might as well share the result.

https://reagle.org/joseph/2024/watson-1996-aol-keywords.html

Tech News issue #25, 2024 (June 17, 2024)

Monday, 17 June 2024 00:00 UTC
previous 2024, week 25 (Monday 17 June 2024) next

Tech News: 2024-25

Burning Out

Monday, 17 June 2024 00:00 UTC

I made a fedi post about ADHD-y burn-out earlier, and it got me thinking — we should probably try to normalise: “Today I got stuck on what should have been a really basic programming task and I needed to ask for help” in our everyday lives, if not for my own mental health, for (often newer, but not always) developers getting really down and upset because they are struggling with something.

weeklyOSM 725

Sunday, 16 June 2024 10:09 UTC

06/06/2024-12/06/2024

lead picture

Virtual OSM-Globe [1] | © openglobus | map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Mapping

  • Shinji Enoki recounted his experience with on-foot mapping using StreetComplete and EveryDoor. He enjoyed the gamified elements of both apps, but cautions readers about the risks of frequently stopping or looking at the screen while walking, as he has nearly tripped several times.
  • OSM contributor une abeille blogged about mapping focused on people and not just on vehicles or commerce, pointing out that OSM can be useful for a more humanised urban map.
  • The proposal to deprecate the cycleway=opposite family of tags can be voted on until Saturday 22 June.

Mapping campaigns

  • Mikko Tamura reported that in the span of just three weeks, since the OM Guru Climate Change Challenge 2024 began, more than 250,000 buildings, 11,000 km of roads, 15,000 POIs, and 8,000 km of waterways have been mapped. More than 4 million tiles were swiped, 11,000 Tasking Manager tasks completed, and 16,000 MapRoulette tasks finished.

Community

  • Arjun Gangadharan has written a blog post about his passion and motivations for mapping in OSM. He encouraged others to contribute to OSM and listed the various benefits of contributing.
  • hobbesvsboyle published a diary entry about how they collect road surface information during bike rides and the workflow thereafter to efficiently add the information into OSM using JOSM.
  • The Trufi Association released an update to its mission statement by expanding its operational scope from ‘public transport’ to ‘sustainable transport’ and ‘transportation justice’.
  • Kshitijraj Sharma conducted qualitative and quantitative analyses of the Overture Maps dataset version 2024-05-16-beta.0.
  • Martin Kokos has started a discussion on improving OSM tags for the visually impaired.
  • In the tenth edition of his OpenStreetMap NextGen development diary, Kamil Monicz has invited people to contribute to the project. There are openings for translators, graphic designers, and software testers.
  • Sawan Shariar is searching for students to volunteer as campus ambassadors to engage with their university community and to promote SotM Asia and SotM Bangladesh 2024. He is also calling for designers and creatives to help by creating a SotM Asia logo.
  • The UN Mapper of the Month is Angie Lorena Trujillo, an Environmental Engineer and GIS specialist from Colombia, who joined the UN Mappers OSM validation course.

Imports

  • Kai Johnson analysed the GNIS import that was done from 2008 to 2011 and concluded that there is still a lot to be done.

OpenStreetMap Foundation

  • Andrew Wiseman has provided a progress update on the vector tiles development currently being done by the Engineering Working Group of the OpenStreetMap Foundation.

Events

  • The State of the Map Europe 2024 tooted that the preliminary conference schedule for SotM EU 2024 is available and tickets can now be bought.
  • There’s only one week left to register for the 10th SotM France conference , to be held in Lyon from Friday 28 to Sunday 30 June.

Education

  • Raquel Dezidério Souto reported that the IVIDES had organised a workshop on mapping trees and vegetation in OpenStreetMap using iD, JOSM, and the FastDraw plugin.
  • Severin Menard tooted about the educational activities carried out by UN Mappers since 2021. A complete report of this successful experience can be found on their blog.

OSM research

  • Herrera-Murillo et al. have published a conference paper titled ‘Process Analysis in Humanitarian Voluntary Geographic Information: the case of the HOT Tasking Manager’, in which they analyse two years of individual contributors’ actions from the Tasking Manager logs, and process them from the perspectives of control flow, time, organisation, and outcomes of the mapping tasks that comprise a project. OSM data is also extracted for the analysis from the Bunting Labs OSM extracts service.

Maps

  • David Thompson shared OpenSidewalkMap, an OpenStreetMap-based webmap that displays the location of sidewalks.

OSM in action

  • Peter Van Geit explained how to use OpenStreetMap for planning a Himalayan traverse over multiple days and passing through many valleys. OpenStreetMap POIs such as human settlements, streams, peaks, and camp sites along the planned route can be imported into QGIS for processing the data, and the processed data can then be imported into a phone app, for example OsmAnd, to use during the hike.

Open Data

  • Using OSM AddisMapTransit has mapped over 2,300 public transport stops and 443 routes in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. These routes were then converted from OSM to standardised open transport data (GTFS) and submitted to the DigitalTransport4Africa repository.

Software

  • franzpc reported that GISCARTA has developed Geodata AI, a web API tool to extract OpenStreetMap data using natural language and AI.
  • Emerson Rocha has released SDM v0.5.0 beta, a web application to aid in OpenStreetMap data conflation.
  • llya Zverev (@zverik) is pleased to announce that he now has the support of OpenCage in the development of his Level0 OpenStreetMap editor.
  • Tim Hirrel has released TdhOGR, a GUI tool for converting various geospatial data formats, including OpenStreetMap, to another data format (based on the GDAL library), or to another coordinate reference system (based on the PROJ library).

Programming

  • Volodymyr Agafonkin, creator of mapping library Leaflet, has authored a tutorial showing how to programme a web map from scratch, with only a few lines of code.
  • There’s a discussion on GitHub about whether to switch the ‘OSM Carto’ raster map style to osm2pgsql’s flex output. A previous pull request for this is here.

Releases

  • OpenAndroMaps has released an updated version of their summer 2024 edition, with improvements to the LiDAR-based elevation display feature and the e-bike charging station display.

Did you know …

  • [1] … OpenGlobus is a TypeScript/JavaScript library for visualising high-precision virtual globes and various geospatial data using WebGL? It’s open source and available on GitHub.
  • … that one of the standard parking signs in the United States refers motorists to the uMap-powered website CityParkingWeb.com?
  • … that a proposal process is active? This is a way to introduce and discuss new OSM tags for features and properties.

OSM in the media

  • geoObserver discussed a very interesting video, titled ‘Urban Mapping: City Maps with QGIS and QuickOSM’.

Other “geo” things

  • Sebastiano Ferraris has published a numerical study that attempted to verify whether the seven famous cathedrals that form the ‘Sword of St Michael’ really lie in a straight line.
  • Daniel praised the What3Words team’s marketing skills shown during their presentation at Geomob Berlin on Wednesday 5 June, while also warning about its inherent technical flaws, which were discussed in depth by Cybergibbons in a 2021 article.
  • EO Solar , created by the Deutsche Luft- und Raumfahrtzentrum (German Aerospace Centre), shows which building roofs are well suited for photovoltaic systems. This dataset lists the solar energy potential of around 20 million buildings.

Upcoming Events

Where What Online When Country
Marseille Cartopartie : accessibilité voirie et l’écologie urbaine 2024-06-15 flag
Defence Colony Tehsil 9th OSM Delhi (Indoor) Mapping Meetup – Session 1 2024-06-15 flag
Kalkaji Tehsil 9th OSM Delhi (Indoor) Mapping Meetup – Session 2 2024-06-16 flag
Hannover OSM-Stammtisch Hannover 2024-06-16 flag
England OSM UK Online Chat 2024-06-17 flag
Missing Maps London: (Online) Mid-Month Mapathon 2024-06-18
Lyon Réunion du groupe local de Lyon 2024-06-18 flag
Bonn 176. OSM-Stammtisch Bonn (Juni 2024: 20 Jahre OSM – 15 Jahre Stammtisch Bonn) 2024-06-18 flag
City of Edinburgh OSM Edinburgh pub meetup 2024-06-18 flag
Utrecht OSGeo.nl Open Zomerpodium – OSGeo.nl Open Summer Stage 2024-06-19 flag
Karlsruhe Stammtisch Karlsruhe 2024-06-19 flag
Stainach-Pürgg 13. Österreichischer OSM-Stammtisch (online) 2024-06-19 flag
OSM-Deutschland Vernetzungstreffen 2024-06-20
OSMF Engineering Working Group meeting 2024-06-21
Rio de Janeiro (on-line) 💻 UCM (Maputo, MOZ) – Oficina sobre mapeamento com OpenStreetMap! 2024-06-21 flag
Dover Coffee and Mapping! 2024-06-23 flag
Bielefeld OSM Ostwestfalen-Lippe 2024-06-25 flag
City of Edinburgh Geomob Edinburgh 2024-06-25 flag
Kaiserslautern OSM Einführung und Schulung 2024-06-25 flag
San Jose South Bay Map Night 2024-06-26 flag
[Online] OpenStreetMap Foundation board of Directors – public videomeeting 2024-06-27
Lübeck 143. OSM-Stammtisch Lübeck und Umgebung 2024-06-27 flag
Lyon SotM-FR 2024 – Lyon 2024-06-28 – 2024-06-30 flag
Düsseldorf Düsseldorfer OpenStreetMap-Treffen (online) 2024-06-28 flag
中央区 マッピングパーティ in 北海道神宮 2024-06-30 flag
Tartu linn FOSS4G Europe 2024 2024-06-30 – 2024-07-07 flag

Note:
If you like to see your event here, please put it into the OSM calendar. Only data which is there, will appear in weeklyOSM.

This weeklyOSM was produced by Aphaia_JP, PierZen, Raquel Dezidério Souto, Strubbl, Ted Johnson, TheSwavu, barefootstache, conradoos, derFred, freyfogle, isoipsa, miurahr, rtnf.
We welcome link suggestions for the next issue via this form and look forward to your contributions.

SMWCon Fall 2024 announced

Friday, 14 June 2024 13:18 UTC

June 14, 2024

SMWCon Fall 2024 will be held in Vienna, Austria

Save the date! SMWCon Fall 2024 will take place November 4 - 6, 2024 in Vienna, Austria. The conference is for everybody interested in wikis and open knowledge, especially in Semantic MediaWiki. You are welcome to propose a related talk, tutorial, workshop and more via the conference page. The SMWCons are now being renamed to MediaWiki Users and Developers Conference.

Co-authored by Ian Ramjohn

Today, the US Supreme Court unanimously rejected a challenge to the abortion pill mifepristone, ensuring continued patient access to the drug by mail. Thanks in part to the work of Wiki Scholars course editors, the Wikipedia article on mifepristone is ready to inform the coming thousands of readers looking for additional context on the drug and the SCOTUS decision.

It’s no surprise that when news breaks, people turn to Wikipedia not only to understand key topics but also to make more informed decisions. With billions of views each month, the world’s largest encyclopedia covers nearly every subject imaginable, including healthcare content used by patients, policymakers, and healthcare practitioners alike.

When Justice Matthew Kacsmaryk of the district court for the Northern District of Texas temporarily suspended the US Food and Drug Administration’s approval of mifepristone in April 2023, the readership of the mifepristone article skyrocketed as people sought related information.

Screenshot of chart depicting jump in page views of the Wikipedia article on mifepristone in April 2023 (click to view)
Screenshot of chart depicting spike in page views of the Wikipedia article on mifepristone in April 2023 (click to view)

The judge’s decision relied heavily on two studies published in the journal Health Services Research and Managerial Epidemiology, which found that the drug could harm pregnant women who took it.

Although the papers have since been retracted by the journal due to unreported conflicts of interest on the part of their primary author and methodological concerns, and the US Supreme Court rejected the case (on the grounds that the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue), this case illustrates how individual studies, when taken out of the context of a whole body of knowledge, can create a completely misleading impression of the state of the field.

Cherry-picked sources are often used by activists to support their specific goals, but on Wikipedia, medical content is subject to special sourcing rules that strongly recommend relying on review articles published in the past five years. A properly-referenced Wikipedia article would never rely on a pair of studies that are, at best, outliers. These rules help ensure that Wikipedia articles reflect current understandings of medical topics.

But even with the best of intentions, Wikipedia articles can be out of date, and non-specialists may not know the current state of the literature well enough to catch error misstatements (either intentional or unintentional), which is why bringing subject matter experts to Wikipedia can be incredibly impactful.

In 2019, 2020, and most recently this spring, Wiki Education partnered with the Society of Family Planning to run a series of Wiki Scholar courses where expert members of the society improved Wikipedia articles related to women’s health, including the mifepristone article. In the recent course, an editor added a section on the use of the drug to medically manage early pregnancy loss, while two members of the 2020 cohort also made several small improvements. But it was a participant in a 2019 course who made larger – and more important – changes to the article

This editor, who went by the username UCDEBS, separated the existing safety information in the article into a section on side effects. Crucially, for the sake of context, they were able to add information about how rarely serious complications occurred (only 0.04–0.09% of people using the drug had complications serious enough to require hospitalization) and added more information about the duration of side effects. In addition, they added important information about contraindications. 

Ideally, people would get this type of information from their healthcare provider, but when access to abortion care is severely limited, women may need access to these medications under less than ideal conditions, making the availability of high-quality information online even more important.

Since the editor’s enhancements in 2019, the mifepristone article has been viewed nearly 1.5 million times, including the spike in readership following the April 2023 ruling in Texas. 

Screenshot of chart depicting page views of the Wikipedia article on mifepristone (click to view)
Screenshot of chart depicting page views of the Wikipedia article on mifepristone July 9, 2019 – June 12, 2024 (click to view)

And today, as readers explore the Wikipedia article seeking answers to questions about mifepristone, the impact of the information will soar once again.

Interested in learning how to add your own expertise to Wikipedia? Explore Wiki Education’s upcoming courses for subject-area experts.

Ramblings on iron and steel

Thursday, 13 June 2024 12:20 UTC

In the last few weeks I have stumbled on various little bits during Wikipedia edits that I thought were worthy of airing! One of them was a re-realization of the boon and the curse of iron and steel. It starts with something I heard a few years ago by economist Sashi Sivramkrishna and others who were following the trail of Buchanan Hamilton in Mysore (listen to the talk here) and they were apparently impressed by the impact of iron production particularly on the destruction of forests in southern India. And last week I found a Wikipedia entry that someone from Parangipettai had written as a draft and which had been left languishing. I went and ensured that it got moved from a draft version to a mainspace entry - it was on the Porto Novo Iron Works, one of the first large-scale iron smelting enterprises in India. The venture, started by a J.M. Heath, did not last long, one of the big factors being the lack of coal for smelting, and he had to make do with charcoal. In a few years, he ran out of charcoal, after depleting the forests of several districts nearby, and the factory had to move to the west coast near Calicut (Beypore). The first director general of forests Dietrich Brandis also noted the role of iron smelting in deforestation. 

Now to Josiah Heath, who is a real character and it is quite a surprise to see that the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography does not even have an entry for him, and there appears to be no available photograph of him (at least online). Heath sent out skins of various animals to the Zoological Society of London and there is a species of bat named after him. More interestingly it seem the fishing cat was described based on a specimen that he sent from India - which it would appear from all likelihood to have come from the Parangipettai region - more likely Pichavaram (wonder if the species still exists there). He also collected a specimen of a Eurasian Griffon Vulture from the same region. Heath apparently was impressed by traditional ukku (better known as Wootz steel) steel-making near Salem where he was initially posted and he seems to have discovered an important factor which he patented. It involved the use of carbon and manganese and he made money initially by distributing packets of his mixture - and later made the mistake of giving its composition. The steel makers of Sheffield, England quickly started using his technique and decided not to pay him any royalty - and he died in poverty. Of course today we could ask whether he actually stole the idea from traditional Indian blacksmiths and whether it could have been patented at all in the first place or of the numerous other injustices involved in all of this. 

Herr Meves
In another Wikipedia-related iron-connection, I found a little-known ornithologist who now has a Wikipedia entry (Wilhelm Meves). Meves was a German pharmacist turned ornithologist - and he decided to treat the brown feathers of lammergeiers with hydrochloric acid and tested them for iron and found that the colour was largely due to iron oxide. He found that this coating was on the outer surface and that the inside of the feathers was largely iron free. He suggested that the birds were bathing in iron-rich waters. Meves worked in Stockholm and mostly wrote in German but some of his findings made their way into the Ibis in English - thanks to John Wolley. And it seems both T.C. Jerdon and A.O. Hume were careful readers of Meves' works. Jerdon was aware of the bleating sound of snipes being produced by air-flow induced vibrations of the outermost tail feather. And Hume even repeated Meves' chemical analysis on his lammergeier specimens from Shimla and confirmed the presence of iron. Hume however noted that neither he nor any of his "intelligent native sportsmen" had ever seen a lammergeier bathe in water and suggested that the red staining may be derived from the blood of dead animals. Hume's original text (emphasis mine):

In the Ibis for 1862, it is mentioned that Herr Meves had, by a simple chemical test, ascertained the red colouring in this bird’s feathers, as also the rustiness observable at times in the feathers of the common Crane, (Grus Cinerea) to be due to a superficial deposit of oxide of iron ; as also, that the colouring matter on the eggs, arose from the same cause. Herr Meves suggested, that the stain on the feathers might be owing to the birds bathing in water containing iron in solution; but my belief is, that the Lammergeyer is a very dirty bird, (it swarms with vermin to such a degree, that cats and the like will seldom touch it when dead,) and never washes! I have been watching this bird, off and on, for the last twenty years, and I have never yet seen it bathe ; nor have I ever yet met with any one, amongst the numerous intelligent native sportsmen whom I have had to do with in the Himalayahs, who has witnessed such an operation. Certainly iron does enter into the composition of the colouring matter of the feathers, (I have tested it myself) as also into the red colouring on Neophron’s and kite’s eggs, but my idea is, that in both cases the iron is derived from the blood, and not from any ferruginous streams. Many birds, notably the grey goose and the common teal, very often have the feathers of the lower parts strongly tinged with rusty, and here too an oxide of iron enters into the composition of the colouring matter. How it gets there, is a question well worthy of investigation.

Anyway, it seems that India's large iron-deposits have a habit of lying in regions rich in biodiversity and ethnic diversity often on ancient tribal lands. It is little wonder that the steel industry barons are involved in disempowering tribal peoples or paying governments to water down environmental laws. I was truly surprised by the amount of work from around the world on related topics.

Someday I ought to visit Parangipettai and Pichavaram!  

PS (June 2024): Apparently the idea of sustainable forestry is associated with a German term  Nachhaltigkeit - a concept introduced by a mine inspector named Hans Carl von Carlowitz who wrote a book called Sylvicultura oeconomica in 1713. It was based on fears that deforestation for agriculture would destroy the mining industry! And he was likely influenced by John Evelyn who wrote Sylva in 1662.

First Nations Resources

Wednesday, 12 June 2024 12:00 UTC


A collection of resources around how to most culturally appropriately write about First Nations content on our platforms.
.


Wikimedia Australia is committed to overcoming biases present on Wikimedia platforms and making it an equitable and safe place for everyone. We are prioritising deeper engagement with Australian First Nations communities to explore how the development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content can be supported. We also want to look at how First Nations contributors can be better supported to engage with Wikimedia platforms and activities in a self-determined, culturally safe and appropriate way.

For more information about this and the research that has been done, please see this discussion paper - Wikimedia Australia and First Nations metadata: ATSILIRN Protocols for description and access, 2023

In doing so we recognise that there is no singular identity among First Nations people in Australia and that there are a wide range of nations, cultures and languages across mainland Australia and throughout the Torres Strait. We recognise the self-determination of individuals, communities and nations in naming oneself and their community.

As a step towards this we have been collecting resources around how to most culturally appropriately write about First Nations content on our platforms; particularly as it relates to naming and harmful language. We understand that, given the diversity of First Nations communities, respectful language use depends on what different communities find appropriate.

We have also created the following [help for non-First Nations editors when editing and creating First Nations content] on Wikimedia platforms

We hope these resources help and please let us know if we can assist further.


Wikimedia Australia First Nations Resources[edit | edit source]

1:31:53 Representation and erasure: opportunities and risks that Wikipedia presents for First Nations knowledges - Kirsten Thorpe and Nathan “Mudyi” Sentance



First Nations Resources on Wikipedia[edit | edit source]

There are a number of pages on Wikipedia designed to give guidance in relation to adding First Nation’s content. While these are not entirely consistent they can provide you with guidance.

First Nations Australians / Guideline for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples Terminology[edit | edit source]

This template was created to provide guidance around Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples Terminology, but is mostly being developed by a non-First Nations person. The template suggests correct terminology and links to further resources. View the Template.

WikiProject Australia Indigenous Style Guide (DRAFT)[edit | edit source]

This draft is an attempt to put together a style guide on naming conventions for First Nations people in Australia.View the Style Guide (DRAFT)

First Nations Resources off Wikipedia[edit | edit source]

Australian Government Style Manual[edit | edit source]

Part of the Australian Government's Style Guide on culturally appropriate and respectful language when writing with, for, or about First Nations people. It lists several further resources in the references section. View the Style Manual

UNSW Indigenous Terminology[edit | edit source]

This guide gives clear examples over what terminology is and isn't appropriate. Please note this was last reviewed in 2019. View the UNSW Indigenous Terminology

Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS)[edit | edit source]

AIATSIS have a number of resources available through their website; these include:
  • AIATSIS Guide to Evaluating and Selecting Education Resources
AIATSIS published this guide to evaluating and selecting education resources in 2022, and is intended for educators.

View the AIATSIS Guide to Evaluating and Selecting Education Resources

  • AustLang
A dataset that provides information about First Nations languages and people from numerous referenced sources and is able to be searched by location

View AustLang

Note: Per the Jumbunna report, "some community members contest AustLang due to citations of record and research predominantly being created by non-Indigenous anthropologists and linguists, and as such, they may contain inaccurate information and misrepresentations."

  • Map of Indigenous Australia
This map attempts to represent the language, social or nation groups of Aboriginal Australia. It shows only the general locations of larger groupings of people which may include clans, dialects or individual languages in a group.

View the Map of Indigenous Australia

Indigenous Referencing Guidance for Indigenous Knowledges[edit | edit source]

This resource was created by the Indigenous Archives Collective (IAC), through funding by CAVAL and support from the CAVAL Acknowledging Cultural authority and Indigenous Knowledges (CACIK) working group, as referencing guidance for undergraduate students, and liaison librarians supporting these students, when citing Indigenous knowledges in academic writing in a Victorian context. View the referencing guide.

Protocols for using First Nations Cultural and Intellectual Property in the Arts[edit | edit source]

This guide was created by Australia Council for the Arts for creative practitioners working with First Nations artists or Indigenous cultural heritage projects. View the protocols.

ATSILIRN Protocols for Libraries, Archives and Information Services[edit | edit source]

Published in 1995 by the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA). The Protocols were endorsed by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Library, Information and Resource Network (ATSILIRN). The most recent update of the Protocols commenced at the 2010 ATSILIRN Conference. View the Protocols.

Guidelines for First Nations Collection Description[edit | edit source]

These guidelines, written by Tui Raven, were launched in October 2023. They have been developed to assist in creating a community of practice for reparative description for the Australian library sector. The guidelines have been produced as a collaboration between five organisations: the Australian Library & Information Association (ALIA), National and State Libraries Australasia (NSLA), the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS), the Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) and CAVAL. View the guidelines.

Environment Centre NT Wikipedian in Residence

Monday, 10 June 2024 12:00 UTC


Over 100 images have been added to Wikimedia Commons in the last few months as part of the Northern Territory Environment Wiki Project.
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Lee Point Binybara Community Meeting, image on Wikimedia Commons

The Environment Centre Northern Territory was successfully awarded funding through Wikimedia Australia's 2024 Partner Projects to engage local Wikipedian, Caddie Brain, to help grow Wikipedia pages related to the Northern Territory.

The Northern Territory (NT) is an area of unparalleled ecological and cultural significance, featuring unique biodiversity, largely untouched tropical savannas, and intricate, free-flowing ground and surface water systems. From December - May 2024, Wikimedian in Residence Caddie Brain has been addressing significant gaps in the NT’s Wikipedia content - plants, animals, ecosystems, major projects, and a focus on First Nations content through key collaborations with Larrakia Elder Dr Richard Fejo and First Nations historian Don Christophersen.


As of May 2024, Over 100 images have been added to Wikimedia Commons in the last few months as part of the Northern Territory Environment Wiki Project. Recently added images have included stunning photos of white naped honeyeaters and lesser sand plovers, and also documented the habits of turtles nesting in the sand at Lee Point. Images that have been added to Wikimedia Commons have then, where possible, been shared across to Wikipedia to add context to Wikipedia articles.

Events[edit | edit source]

Contacts[edit | edit source]

Project Coordinator: Anne Finch, Operations Manager, Environment Centre Northern Territory

Wikipedian in Residence: Caddie Brain

This project engaged and consulted with Richard Fejo, Michael Barritt, Jared Archibald, Nick Cuff at the Herbarium, Hannah and Alex at the Arid Lands Environment Centre, and Jimmy Cocking.

Project Dashboard[edit | edit source]

Related links[edit | edit source]

Issues with some wikis

Monday, 10 June 2024 10:29 UTC

Jun 10, 10:29 UTC
Resolved - This incident has been resolved.

Jun 10, 10:13 UTC
Monitoring - A fix has been implemented and we are monitoring the results.

Jun 10, 10:10 UTC
Identified - We are aware of issues with saving edits to some wikis, and we are working on a fix.

Tech News issue #24, 2024 (June 10, 2024)

Monday, 10 June 2024 00:00 UTC
previous 2024, week 24 (Monday 10 June 2024) next

Tech News: 2024-24

This Month in GLAM: May 2024

Sunday, 9 June 2024 14:29 UTC

This Month in GLAM: April 2024

Sunday, 9 June 2024 13:55 UTC

weeklyOSM 724

Sunday, 9 June 2024 10:22 UTC

30/05/2024-05/06/2024

lead picture

Jérôme Limozin managed to cycle through 99% of all the roads in Singapore [1] | © wandrer.earth | map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Mapping

  • [1] Jérôme Limozin, a Singapore-based OpenStreetMap mapper, has managed to cycle through 99% of all the roads in Singapore by using the Wandrer exploration game.
  • Ilya Zverev announced that as of 1 June, his Level0 editor and other services, such as the OSM Imagery Browser and the Offset Database frontend, will be temporarily non-functional. Ilya explains that, due to the development of Every Door, he was not able to migrate the services to a new server in time for the transition to OAuth 2. The disruption is expected to last for one month, barring any urgent commitments.

Mapping campaigns

  • IrdiIs has decided to push Albanian’s rural mapping forward by randomly choosing 100 villages to map in the upcoming 100 days!
  • OpenStreetMap India reported that the Sahakarnagar Mapping Party event, held on Saturday 1 June by the OpenStreetMap Bengaluru community, successfully mapped over 250 features, primarily consisting of benches, gazebos, and street lamps around Sahakarnagar Park.

OpenStreetMap Foundation

  • You can help the OSM CWG collect images for the OSM’s 20th birthday party by sending them your favourite photos or images of OpenStreetMap from the past 20 years.

Local chapter news

  • FOSSGIS eV has issued an official statement regarding the Mobility Data Act drafted by the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport. They argue that the bill could adversely affect the OpenStreetMap project within the European Union. FOSSGIS eV suggests several revisions, including exemptions for the OSM project from the immediate data update requirement and the obligation to address user-reported data errors.

Events

  • Gislars announced that the OpenStreetMap Berlin Hack Weekend will be held 2 and 3 November at Wikimedia Deutschland, Berlin.
  • The Swiss OpenStreetMap Association is holding a free webinar ‘OpenStreetMap für den Tourismus’ for tourism professionals and developers. Participants will learn how to effectively use Points of Interest to improve tourism services. The webinar will take place on 19 and 25 June via BigBlueButton, therefore there is no need to register.

Education

  • Raquel Dezidério Souto (IVIDES) has published a guide about mapping waterways in JOSM, using the FastDraw plugin. This is part of the mapping project of the Taquari-Antas River Basin, one of the main areas affected by the ongoing disaster in the state of Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil). The campaign’s wiki page includes this and other projects, which may have collaboration opportunities for the global community of OpenStreetMap mappers.

OSM research

  • Benjamin Herfort et al. have published a research paper titled ‘Data Quality of OpenStreetMap for Industrial Sites in the Arctic’.
  • HeiGIT tooted that its Openrouteservice is now being used in the EU-Project Grid Cell Database, a project aiming to create reachability analyses for healthcare, educational, and other facilities from all across Germany.

Maps

  • Candid Dauth decided to invest in a bigger server to revive the OpenPublicTransportMap and make it available as an additional map style of FacilMap. At the same time, he is looking for financial support for his service.

OSM in action

  • Rihard Olups tooted an interactive map showing the locations of EU election polling stations in Latvia.
  • User_5359 has developed an OpenStreetMap-based interactive map to show the location of historical objects managed by the Silesian Cultural Institute Foundation (Stiftung Kulturwerk Schlesien). This collection includes postcards, autographs, stamps, historical maps, historical securities, artists’ works, battle plans, vedute, and various other items.

Software

  • Michael Mann has developed OSM_LeaderBoard, a dash-based leaderboard of OpenStreetMap contributors based on the number of nodes they have contributed for a given bounding box and time period.

Programming

  • Volker Krause reported on some recent updates made to the KDE Itinerary application, a digital travel assistant.
  • Kamil Monicz has published his ninth blog about the development of OpenStreetMap NextGen, his personal alternative to the OpenStreetMap code base, reporting several updates such as support for a MacOS development environment, an update to the changeset history interface, and a new GPS trace animation feature.
  • PeachyOne shared an Overpass query for finding stress accent mistakes in Greek speaking regions that need correcting.
  • Andy Townsend explained how to set up a tile server using Shortbread, Tilemaker, and VersaTiles.

Releases

  • Tobias Zwick has released StreetComplete version 58.0, featuring various new quests and numerous enhancements.

Did you know …

  • … that bxl-forever is putting together a guidebook for newbie OpenStreetMap contributors?
  • … that you can monitor the current state of road conditions in France using the Inforoute France platform?
  • Map UI Patterns? It is a detailed overview and description of the UI elements and patterns used in programmes and websites with maps. The author of the website gives tips and shows examples of how the correct use of these elements can increase the user friendliness and user experience of digital maps and avoid common errors.
  • …that you can simulate the movement of shadows cast by buildings, mountains, and trees using the Shade Map app?

OSM in the media

  • ZDNET published a series of articles covering the topics of open data and open source. They specifically highlighted the SotM-FR, which is being held on the last three days of June in Lyon, and the growth of the Panoramax project, which is being built by a partnership between the IGN and OSM France.
  • Ouest France has analysed the road names in France that commemorate the Normandy landings by using OpenStreetMap database. They identified 90 roads directly associated with D-Day, with the majority concentrated in Normandy.
  • Sanyo News reported that Rei Frontier has analysed the travel behaviour patterns of SilentLog app users. This anonymised travel data was directly compared with POI data from OpenStreetMap to examine the types of places users visited.

Other “geo” things

  • Mierune, a Japanese GIS company, is offering regular QGIS training for beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels from June to August. Each unit of the course costs ¥27,500.
  • Freethink and the Skoll Foundation have released a documentary video explaining how OpenStreetMap and HOT, through their software and regional hubs, can support communities around the world to respond to challenges such as humanitarian disasters, climate change, and urban problems.

Upcoming Events

Where What Online When Country
København OSMmapperCPH 2024-06-09 flag
London Borough of Hackney London Ruby User Group talk on OSM 2024-06-10 flag
Grenoble Atelier du groupe local OpenStreetMap 2024-06-10 flag
Zug 164. OSM-Stammtisch ausnahmsweise in Zug 2024-06-11 flag
San Jose South Bay Map Night 2024-06-12 flag
Salt Lake City OSM Utah Monthly Map Night 2024-06-13 flag
Lorain County OpenStreetMap Midwest Meetup 2024-06-13 flag
Bruxelles – Brussel OSM Belgium meetup in Brussels 2024-06-13 flag
Bochum Bochumer OSM Treffen 2024-06-13 flag
München Münchner OSM-Treffen 2024-06-13 flag
Berlin 192. Berlin-Brandenburg OpenStreetMap Stammtisch 2024-06-14 flag
Defence Colony Tehsil 9th OSM Delhi (Indoor) Mapping Party – Session 1 2024-06-15 flag
Kalkaji Tehsil 9th OSM Delhi (Indoor) Mapping Party – Session 2 2024-06-16 flag
Hannover OSM-Stammtisch Hannover 2024-06-16 flag
England OSM UK Online Chat 2024-06-17 flag
Lyon Réunion du groupe local de Lyon 2024-06-18 flag
Bonn 176. OSM-Stammtisch Bonn (Juni 2024: 20 Jahre OSM – 15 Jahre Stammtisch Bonn) 2024-06-18 flag
City of Edinburgh OSM Edinburgh pub meetup 2024-06-18 flag
Utrecht OSGeo.nl Open Zomerpodium – OSGeo.nl Open Summer Stage 2024-06-19 flag
Karlsruhe Stammtisch Karlsruhe 2024-06-19 flag
Stainach-Pürgg 13. Österreichischer OSM-Stammtisch (online) 2024-06-19 flag
OSM-Deutschland Vernetzungstreffen 2024-06-20
OSMF Engineering Working Group meeting 2024-06-21

Note:
If you like to see your event here, please put it into the OSM calendar. Only data which is there, will appear in weeklyOSM.

This weeklyOSM was produced by MatthiasMatthias, PierZen, Raquel Dezidério Souto, SeverinGeo, Strubbl, TheSwavu, adiatmad, barefootstache, derFred, euroPathfinder, mcliquid, miurahr, rtnf.
We welcome link suggestions for the next issue via this form and look forward to your contributions.

Wikipedia and education, globally

Friday, 7 June 2024 16:00 UTC

For more than a decade, Wiki Education has bridged the realms of education and Wikipedia, supporting academics and students in U.S. and Canadian accredited institutions as they improve the world’s go-to source of information. But what does this approach to enriching Wikipedia look like worldwide?

Last month’s Speaker Series program, “Wikipedia and Education, globally”, explored this very question as our international panelists and attendees came together to examine the vast network of organizations and individual volunteers actively working at the intersection of Wikipedia and education. 

Moderated by Wiki Education’s LiAnna Davis, the discussion featured program leaders from Nigeria, Argentina, Brazil, and Serbia, who shared histories of engaging students and instructors of all education levels with Wikipedia and offered insights on initiatives within their respective countries.

Wikimedia Serbia, one of the first groups in the Wikimedia movement to officially launch a Wikipedia and education program, collaborates with primary, secondary, and tertiary institutions to integrate Wikipedia into their curricula and enhance content on Wikipedia, Wikidata, and Wikibooks.

The perception of Wikipedia among educators in Serbia has evolved over time, noted panelist Nebojša Ratković of Wikimedia Serbia.

“In earlier stages, Wikipedia was often viewed with skepticism by educators in Serbia,” said Ratković. “Over time, as Wikipedia’s quality control mechanisms improved and efforts were made to enhance the accuracy and reliability of its content, educators in Serbia began to recognize the value of Wikipedia as a learning tool.”

Speaker Series panelists Bukola James, Alexander Hilsenbeck Filho, Luisina Ferrante, and Nebojša Ratković.
Top (L-R): Bukola James, Alexander Hilsenbeck Filho. Bottom (L-R): Nebojša Ratković, Luisina Ferrante.

Recognizing the shared experiences between the panelists, EduWiki Nigeria’s Bukola James echoed Ratković’s reflection on the evolution of educator perspectives surrounding Wikipedia. 

“Once [educators] get more familiar with how Wikipedia works, they begin to really appreciate it, in fact, they preach the gospel of using Wikipedia in the classroom to their colleagues,” said James. “Introducing Wikipedia to them isn’t really about them using [the site], but also about exposing them to different kinds of open education resources that could help support their teaching and student learning in their classrooms.”

Wikimedia Argentina also has a longstanding history of supporting educators, having trained thousands of teachers and university instructors in pedagogical approaches to incorporating Wikipedia into their classrooms.

“Our turning point was during the pandemic,” explained panelist Luisina Ferrante of Wikimedia Argentina. “We were able to strengthen our networks with teachers and educational institutions, collaborate with public programs launched by the government in the context of the emergency, ally with public universities, and were more present than ever in designing open tools and resources.”

As the conversation turned to the future plans for each program, the four panelists considered the ever-changing political, educational, and technological landscapes in their respective countries.  Each speaker underscored the importance of continuing to serve as the connection between education and Wikipedia, noting the invaluable social impact of high-quality, open-access information.

“When knowledge is limited to the walls of institutions, it fails to meet its objectives of contributing towards social improvement,” said Alexander Hilsenbeck Filho of Wiki Movimento Brasil. “It is important to disseminate knowledge and make it accessible to society so that it can be put to good use.”

Interested in hearing more from our panelists and other scholars featured in previous webinars? Catch up on our Speaker Series programs on YouTube, including “Wikipedia and Education, globally.” 

Visit teach.wikiedu.org to learn more about the free resources, training, and support that Wiki Education offers to instructors in U.S. and Canadian accredited higher education institutions.

100,000 video games on Wikidata

Friday, 7 June 2024 08:00 UTC

Wikidata’s WikiProject Video games has just passed a major milestone: 100,000 video game (Q7889) items on Wikidata. Like we did for the 50K milestone exactly two years ago, let’s use that opportunity to draw a quick mid-year report (and with the very same format, for both ease of comparison and ease of writing :-þ).

Description

Let’s look at how these items are described along some basic properties − asking the Wikidata Query Service for some pretty graphs, and using my trusted inteGraality for some more advanced statistics.

Over 89% of the items have a platform (P400) statement (which does not mean that we have 89% completion on that topic, since many games are published on several platforms, and we may only have recorded one or a couple of them).

85% of the items have a publication date (P577)

37% have a genre (P136) − we have a very long tail of 730 distinct values as genres, which we still should clean-up (minus indie game (Q2762504), which we recently moved to has characteristic (P1552)).

Almost 33% have a country of origin (P495)

About 34% of the items have a developer (P178) and 37% a publisher (P123).

Links to Wikipedia

42% of the items are linked to an article in at least one language-version of Wikipedia − English comes first (27%), then French (15%), Ladin (14%) and Japanese (13%).

What I also find interesting is to look at items linked to only one Wikipedia language version: some 5K (5%) only have an article in the English-language or Japanese-language Wikipedia, then comes French-language and Ladin-language Wikipedias with 1K (1%) of items.

External identifiers

Over at Wikidata we link to hundreds of other video game databases.

On top is still Internet Game Database game ID (P5794), used on 74% of items. Lutris game ID (P7597) follows with 60% (makes sense, as the Lutris database is seeded with IGDB). Steam application ID (P1733) completes the podium with 56%. The new entrant SteamGridDB ID (P12561) snatches the fourth place in barely 3 months, with 56%. RAWG game ID (P9968) and MobyGames game ID (P11688) stand at 51%. PCGamingWiki ID (P6337) is at 38%. Both Giant Bomb ID (P5247) and HowLongToBeat ID (P2816) at 33%. OGDB game title ID (P7564) and GameFAQs game ID (P4769) at 15%, speedrun.com game ID (P6783) and Mod DB game ID (P6774) at 13%. StopGame ID (P10030) and myabandonware.com game ID (P12652) at 11%… and a very very long tail of over 360, sometimes highly specialized, databases.

(The most represented are English-language databases, but the list above includes one database in German and two in Russian).

Some caveats

1/ By the time of writing this, we already reached 102,577 items.

2/ Last time, I had cautioned that looking strictly at instance of (P31)=video game (Q7889) items does not tell the full story, as we have a long tail of subclasses also used as P31: some refer to distinct concepts (the 956 DLCs or 3242 expansion packs), while others are indeed games. I’m happy that we have successfully culled out the hundreds of instances of video game remaster and video game remake (moved to based on (P144)) ; as well as free and open-source video game (moved to has characteristic (P1552)). Still some work to do to refine our P31s, but going in the right direction.

3/ With 100,000 items, we are going somewhere (surpassing the 85,000 of GiantBomb or the 63,000 of OGDB, for example). But this is still under the 153,000 games in Metacritic, far from the 278,000 entries in Mobygames or the 281,000 entries in IGDB (and dwarfed by the 868K entries in RAWG).

4/ The astute reader may have noticed that some data points went down compared to two years ago: a developer (P178), publisher (P123) or country of origin (P495) on a third of items (down from half), and a genre (P136) from two-thirds to a mere one-third. So while we should celebrate this significant milestone in breadth of coverage, we should keep in mind the depth of coverage on the road ahead of us.

Link collection