Winners of Wiki Loves Monuments 2019 in Iran

14:30, Saturday, 16 2019 November UTC

Between September 5 (۱۵ شهریور)  and October 7 (۱۵ مهر) of 2019,  close to  203 people participated in Wiki Loves Monuments in Iran. The local contest, now in its fifth year, has been a force to help enrich Wikipedia with photos of more than 26,000 nationally registered monuments of Iran. Today we share with you the top 10 nominations of Iran to compete at the international level as well as some statistics about the contest.


The top 10 winners of Iran are announced thanks to Iran’s jury ( Diego Delso, Sam Javanrouh, Mohammad Majidi, Ali Parsa, Kimia Rahgozar) and volunteers who reviewed more than 2400 photos submitted to the national contest. These photos are now nominated to compete with nominations from up to 48 other campaigns at the Wiki Loves Monuments international level.

As always and before going to the winners: Although Wiki Loves Monuments is a photo competition, the story of the people behind the photos is as beautiful and important as the photos themselves. These are the people who have decided to share their knowledge and documentation of the world’s built cultural heritage with the rest of the world through Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects. As a result, when we knew more about the photographer and the moment they captured the photo in, or if the jury had shared their comments about the photo, we have share more information with you.

First place. Ali Qapu Palace. A Safavid-era building in Naqsh-e Jahan Square, a UNESCO world heritage site, in Isfahan. (Amirpashaei, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Amir Pashaei, 35 year old, has been an amateur photographer for 15 years and a professional one for 3. For this year’s Wiki Loves Monuments he embarks on a 3-day trip to Isfahan to take more photos to participate in Wiki Loves Monuments after one of his earlier photos becomes a featured photo of Wikimedia Commons very quickly after upload. For this panoramic HDR, Amir takes 25 photos and combine to recreate the majesty and beauty of Ali Qapu in the the final minutes of the day. The jury describes the photo as one “with perfect framing and colours, mixed with long exposure to recreate mirror like reflection”, and “a pleasant and accurate depiction of the palace”.

Second place. The interior of Ali Qapu Palace; the staircases that take you to the second floor of the palace. (Alexander Popokov, CC BY-SA 4.0)

The jury describes the photo as one with a “unique angle and beautiful light” which “make for an invitation to venture down the spiral stairs”.

Third place. A lookout of Ayyoub Cave located at the elevation of more than 2,800 meters in Ayyoub Mountain in Kerman Province. The jury particularly appreciated the “great use of natural framing to demonstrate location”. (Morteza salehi70, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Fourth place. One of the prominent bridges of Isfahan, Khaju Bridge, viewed from top on a cold. A Safavid era monument that according to Pedram Forouzanfar, the professional photographer of this photo, is known by locals to have a flying eagle shape when viewed from the top. Pedram spent many hours and days to find the perfect lighting for this photo and captured the bridge at dawn on a cold fall day. What makes the photo particularly special is that it is taken at a rare occasion that after many years Zayanderud, the river that the bridge is on, had water again. (Pedram forouzanfar, CC BY-SA 4.0)

The jury appreciates the photo as a novel look at the bridge in Isfahan, thanks to the drone photography which gives the photographers a new tool.”

Fifth place. A frame in frame photo of Vakil Mosque in Shiraz by Ali Khavanin, a 29 year old amateur photographer, who lives in Shiraz and is deeply familiar with the monument. (Yare zaman2000, CC BY-SA 4.0)

The jury describes the photo as one with “Unique framing and beautiful layered lights” that create “depth and intrigue”.

Sixth place. The ceiling of Qom Bazaar’s courtyard (timche), a Qajar era building in Qom captured 45 minutes before sunset, when the light outside of the building is gentler and the combination of inside and outside light allows for picturing the beauty of the ceiling. (Amirpashaei, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Amir further describes himself as one who likes to go on photography walks alone, to be able to focus and ideate to capture the beauty of what surrounds him. This photo is the first photo Amir uploads as part of this year’s contest and the fact that the photo becomes a featured photo very quickly encourages him to take more photos.

Sixth place. The second sixth place photo goes to the ceilings inside of Sheikh Lotfollah mosque in Isfahan that are detailed and colorful. (Amirpashaei, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Sixth place. The vault of Shah Mosque in Isfahan The vibrant interior of Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque in Isfahan. (Amirpashaei, CC BY-SA 4.0)

The jury finds the framing of the photo “pleasing” and calls out the ” good mix of organic clouds textures with the geometric patterns” which together make a beautiful photograph.

Ninth place. ‌ An aerial view of Ganjali Khan Complex, a Safavid era complex located in the old part of the city of Kerman. The complex includes a school, a mosque, a bazaar, a bathhouse and more. (Morteza salehi70, CC BY-SA 4.0)

The jury appreciates the “good composition” and “colors” of the photo calling it “almost like an abstract painting”. The “novel look” at the monument is called out.

Tenth place. A view of the tomb of Hafez, the celebrated Persian poet, in Shiraz. (Mshayati, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Mohammad Sadegh Hayati, a 31 year old amateur photographer describes the night when he took this photo as a night that he and Hafez spent the time to ponder on the beauties surrounding them. Mohammad’s attention was on the turquoise colors of the monuments and the stars and their movements and how they can capture the passage of time.

The jury describes the photo as one with “Long exposure and careful framing” in a way that has helped the photographer “create a new view for this often photographed monument”.

Interested to see nominations by other Wiki Loves Monuments 2019 campaigns? Check them out!


203 participants joined this year’s contest by uploading at least one photo of one of the 26000 nationally registered monuments in Iran. From this number, 73% of the participants are newcomers to Wikimedia projects. These participants uploaded 2,488 (and counting) photos to Wikimedia Commons, the media repository for Wikipedia. 10% of these photos are currently being used in one or more of the Wikimedia projects.

In terms of the number of participants and uploads, Iran’s campaign did not do as well as last year where we had more than 1200 participants uploading more than 13,600 photos. We will be looking into the reasons behind this significant change though we speculate the change being due to the fact that the contest was not advertised through Sitenotice on Persian Wikipedia (Learn more)

The number of uploads by the 2019 participants puts Iran in rank 19 at the international level. (Learn more about detailed statistics by country.)

@wikidata - I don't scale, help me scale

11:14, Thursday, 14 2019 November UTC
At Wikidata there is always more to do and as a volunteer you make the biggest impact when you concentrate on specific subjects. I do not scale enough to do everything I would like to do.

There are a few area's where I aim to make a difference; of particular concern is where we do not represent a body of knowledge/information in Wikidata. At this time the favour scientists particularly women, young scientists and scientists from Africa.

To make my work scale, I twitter and blog. I latch on to the great work done by Dr Jess Wade. She writes articles on well deserving scientists and I aim to add value for those scientists on Wikidata. Typically I add professions, alma maters, employers and awards. In addition I add "authorities" like ORCiD, Google Scholar and VIAF. This is important because it enables the linking of scholarly papers already in Wikidata or known at ORCiD. I can more or less keep up with Jess and, I happily add information for any and all scientists I come across on Twitter.

While doing this I learned of the Global Young Academy and as a side project started adding scientists who are member of the GYA or one of affiliated organisations to Wikidata. I am so pleased  I got into contact with Robert Lepenies. Robert is happy with the opportunity that a Scholia provides for an organisation like the GYA, for him and for all the young scientists involved. We collaborated on completing the lists on many wikipedias, Robert added many scientists to Wikidata and is now battling to keep the pictures of these young scientists on Commons...

What is crucially important for me is that Robert advocates an open ORCiD profile to scientists worldwide so that they may have their Scholia. Both Robert and I do not scale and what would help us most is an easy and obvious way that enables any scientists to start a process that will include all his papers from ORCiD, will update the known co-authors and instruct in what they can do to enrich their Wikidata / ORCiD / Scholia profile even more.

I am now working on African scientists and yes, I would appreciate some help.

PS my wife would like this scale to be enough for me

As the protesters in Hong Kong continue to make their voices heard, society becomes increasingly aware of how important it is to educate ourselves on the changes and developments outside of our own countries. A protest in a country such as China or unincorporated territories such as Puerto Rico have a ripple effect that can impact countries on the other side of the world – or ones close by. This past spring students in Dr. Jennifer Chun’s class at UCLA chose to edit articles on the history of protest in Korea and how this has led to social changes – or raised awareness that change needs to occur.

On the first day of 1995 people began to gather at the Myeong-dong Cathedral. They came with the knowledge that they would be there for many days, as many as it would take to reach their goals. So began the 1995 Myeong-Dong migrant labor protest, which lasted a total of nine days and opposed the Industrial Trainee System (ITS), which they stated systematically produced a population of vulnerable, bottom-tier migrant workers in the labor market. Thirteen Nepalese migrant workers, who were previously contracted under the ITS, arrived in South Korea in hopes of escaping the poverty in their own country. However their hopes were dashed when employers withheld wages for over six months and then beat and abused them when the workers demanded to receive their wages directly. During the protest the demonstrators shackled their necks with iron chains, exposing their struggles as migrant laborers and drawing a parallel to slavery. They were soon joined by others, especially grassroots religious organizations, who protested in solidarity. In response to the protest the state acknowledged the systematic issues from the ITS and changed the Labor Standards Law to include migrant workers and industrial trainees contracted by the ITS in legislation regarding industrial accidents, medical insurances, and minimum wage arrangements. However it should be noted that this still did not address the issues of toxic and inhumane working conditions and the production cycle of unauthorized workers. This realization eventually led to the creation of the Migrant Workers’ Support Movement (MWSM) and Joint Committee for Migrant Workers in Korea (JCMK).

Along with migrant workers, women are also at risk of being exploited for labor – something not limited to any one particular country. Women have been organizing to address workplace issues such as unequal pay and workplace violence as early as the 1880s. In 2006, several women gathered together to join their male coworkers in the South Korean KTX Train Attendant Union Strike, which protested the hiring practices of irregular workers. The women also protested against sexual harassment they had experienced in their workplace. The majority of the men from the KRWU (the union for the KTX workers) stopped protesting after 4 days; however, the women continued their strike. Over the course of 12 years, many workers dropped out of the strike; however, 180 continued until 2018 when the Railway Workers’ Union and Korea Railroad Corporation came to an agreement in which these 180 of the crew members were reinstated.

The following years also included protests, as demonstrators gathered for both the Hyehwa Station Protest in 2016 as well as the Yellow Ribbon Campaign and Sewol Ferry Protest Movement in 2014. The Hyehwa Station Protest was formed to protest against the discrimination of women and crimes involving spy cameras, also known as molka. Many of these spy camera cases go unreported or undetected, and those that are reported typically do not lead to prison sentences. The Yellow Ribbon Campaign and Sewol Ferry Protest Movement occurred after the Sewol Ferry sinking, where about 63% of the people on board the ferry died after the ship capsized and several crew members abandoned it and its passengers. Many of these deaths occurred as a result of the crew ordering passengers to remain in their cabins and not alerting them to the evacuation of the ship. In the days following the sinking it was also discovered that the ship was in poor shape and was carrying over twice its maximum limit of cargo, which was also not secured properly. The regular ferry captain had warned the ship’s owners, Chonghaejin Marine, of this but was met with hostility and threats of losing his job. The yellow ribbon became a prevalent symbol in South Korea. Its significance evolved during the course of the protest, as people began to realize that many did not survive and the gathering focus turned from mourning and hopes of return to activism and democratization. In 2017, three years after the Sewol Ferry Sinking, the former president of South Korea, Park Geun-hye, was removed from office. During the months leading up to this event, the yellow symbols of Sewol commemoration were always present on political slogans and impeachment demonstrations.

Wikipedia has a wealth of knowledge, however the site cannot grow without users contributing and correcting information to the site. A Wikipedia writing assignment is a wonderful way to teach your students about technical writing, collaboration, and sourcing in a unique learning environment. If you are interested in using Wikipedia with your next class, visit to find out how you can gain access to tools, online trainings, and printed materials.

Header/thumbnail image by Republic of Korea Government, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Who’s interested in learning to use Wikidata?

19:30, Tuesday, 12 2019 November UTC

We’re excited to announce the start of two new Wikidata courses, currently in progress. There is one intermediate course and one beginner course. We couldn’t be more pleased with the course participants. They have ambition, passion, and plenty of curiosity that will make for some exciting conversations. Learn more about them and their hopes for incorporating Wikidata into their professional work.

Our intermediate Wikidata course, Elevate Your Collections

  • Kelli Babcock is the Digital Initiatives Librarian at the University of Toronto. She is interested in creating a data model for digital objects. Her current project involves the illustrations of Canadian artist, Thoreau MacDonald.
  • David Heilbrun is a Metadata Librarian at George Mason University. He is taking this course to better understand how to contribute to Wikidata and use it as a linked data source to enhance bibliographic metadata.
  • Jake Kubrin is a Metadata Librarian at the Stanford Law Library. He is interested in learning about bulk updates to Wikidata records, visualizations, schema creation, and pushing Wikidata entries to multiple Wikipedia pages.
  • Miranda Marraccini is the Digital Pedagogy Librarian at the University of Michigan. In taking this course she wants to gain more experience with Wikidata as a resource to teach people how to edit and make use of the data.
  • Illya Moskvin is a Web Developer at the Art institute of Chicago. He is interested in learning to enhance that the Art Institute’s collection data with Wikidata. He’s also looking to explore the possibility of building channels to push the Art Institute’s data to Wikidata.
  • Caitlin Pollock is the Digital Scholarships Specialists at the University of Michigan. She is eager to increase Wikidata engagement and programming opportunities.
  • Kristen Reid is the Collections Management and Information Specialist at the Barack Obama Foundation. She is looking forward to getting more familiar with Wikidata in order to better understand additional tools for sharing collections data.
  • Elizabeth Roke is the Digital Archivist and Metadata Specialist at Emory University. She is interested in learning all about Wikidata items related to Emory’s collections. Specifically, she wants to better understand how to model people and archival collections.
  • Seth Schimmel is the Research and Data Support Specialist at the CUNY Graduate Center. He works with the Open Society Foundation as a data specialist and is interested in learning about the Wikidata frameworks for public policy issues, (inter)government(al) organizations, or possibly also for different fields of research science.
  • Jennifer Sutcliffe is an Educational Analyst at Emory University. She has experience with Wikipedia and is eager to learn how her institution can get more involved with Wikidata.

Beginner Course, Join the Open Data Movement

  • Lisa Barrier is a Digital Collections Associate at Carnegie Hall. She is interested in learning Wikidata’s query system to build SPARQL queries with Wikidata sources.
  • Megan Forbes is the Program Manager at LYRASIS. Coming from a program with a strong sharing ethos, she wants to make sure that she understands Wikidata/linked data well enough to support her projects and members.
  • Caroline Frick is the Director at the Texas Archive of the Moving Image. She is looking forward to learning more about linking Wikidata information to online streaming content.
  • Christina Gibbs manages the art database at the Detroit Institute of Art, specializing in systems integration, data integrations, data publishing and open content. She is looking forward to gaining practical knowledge of how Wikidata works and associated tools in preparation for the museum to publish collections to Wikidata under a grant funded project.
  • Kathryn Gronsbell is a Digital Collections Manager Archives at Carnegie Hall. She is excited for the opportunity to learn more about Wikidata structure and community practices and apply that knowledge to help expand/improve Carnegie Hall performance history data.
  • James Hanks is an archivist at the Detroit Institute of Art who is interested in using linked data for archival primary source materials.
  • Carolyn Jackson is the Agriculture & Life Sciences Librarian at Texas A&M University. She is eager to learn about the development of data within and linked to Agricultural Sciences.
  • Clara de Pablo is an American Women’s History Initiative Fellow at the National Museum of American History. She is interested in learning how to use Wikidata to process and use data that she collects.
  • Sarah Potvin is the Digital Scholarship Librarian at Texas A&M University. She is seeking to build an understanding of linked data and explore the potential for Wikipedia and Wikidata to extend libraries’ authority work and public data.
  • Thomas Raich is the Director of Technology at the Yale University Art Gallery. He is interested in working with museum collection data, contributing to Wikidata and extracting Wikidata authority IDs to feed them back to Yale’s Content Management System.
  • Jackie Sheih works on Descriptive Data Management at the Smithsonian Libraries. She is looking forward to learning about entities that are unique from the Smithsonian and the relationship these entities may have with other sources.
  • Shenee Simon is an independent researcher who works with the S.H.E. Collective. She is interested in data collection, data synthesis, and data collection with technology.
  • Peter Sleeth is a lecturer at Victoria University. He is interested in learning how Wikidata engages with Military History late 19th century to present, and the History of military medicine.
  • Juniper Starr is a Cataloging Specialist at the Johnson City Public Library. She views linked data as central to cataloging and is looking forward to applying this to her work.
  • Emma Thompson is Project Coordinator at Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts at UPenn. She is interested in learning more about using linked data for authority file management to better support the Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts project.
  • Yer Vang-Cohen is the Data and Database Administrator at the Yale University Art Gallery. She is looking forward to learning how to contribute their art collection to Wikidata items and also learn about ways to connect their entities to authority entities on Wikidata such as artist/makers/publisher authority IDs.
  • Thomas Whittaker is the Head of Media Cataloging at IU-Bloomington. He is eager to learn more about authority control on Wikidata and has participated in meetings with the LD4 initiative.
  • Jing Zhang is a Web Developer at the Center for Research Libraries. He is interested in learning how to pull data from Wikidata for archiving materials and workflows around those.

Interested in taking a virtual course about Wikidata? Visit our beginner or intermediate course pages to sign up to receive updates and course announcements. Or contact with questions.

Instant gratification at @Wikidata

11:48, Tuesday, 12 2019 November UTC
As I write this, it is 11:46am at 09:26am I added papers to prof Hafida Merzouk. The edits are picked up by Reasonator but not by Scholia. In a similar way, edits done are not picked up by Listeria.

Instant gratification is now a thing of the past, the work done at Wikidata may eventually be picked up in a Scholia or Listeria but it is not funny. Can I tweet about the things I find or have done when Wikidata no longer reflects the relevant changes?

This may sound like trivial but it does mean that when I look back at my work that  there is no longer a timely way to do so.

Instant gratification motivates and it is a factor in maintaining quality. We are losing it.

This Month in GLAM: October 2019

09:05, Tuesday, 12 2019 November UTC

Tech News issue #46, 2019 (November 11, 2019)

00:00, Monday, 11 2019 November UTC
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weeklyOSM 485

14:43, Sunday, 10 2019 November UTC


lead picture

Tesla’s navigation system and OSM 😉
1 | © Teslamotorsclub – Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors 🙂


  • SelfishSeahorse proposes the tagging of lanes on roads which are explicitly marked for pedestrians.
  • StreetCred is a company founded by Randy Meech after MapZen folded. They now provide their POI data with an MVT-Tileserver, which can be used in iD as an extra custom layer.
  • Hanikatu asked (de) (automatic translation) how to tag objects that have more than one property. An example provided was multiple items attached to a single street light. Suggestions ranged from using multiple nodes through to using a type=node relation.
  • Amazon Logistics traces unearthed a short way, part of a major inner-city one-way system, which has had incorrect access tagging for nearly 11 years.
  • now provides a more complete view of daily and weekly changes to ski pistes and winter sports-related elements in OpenStreetMap.
  • Voting concluded for the new feature proposal leisure=sunbathing_area. There were 18 votes in total and 2 non-voting comments. “Yes” got 13 votes or 72% which is just short of the 75% required for approval.
  • The tagging proposal contact:phone or phone missed the required three-quarters majority with 46 “yes” and 60 “no” votes. The proposal wanted to declare contact:phone=* obsolete in favour of the older and much more common phone=*. The topic has been controversial for a decade.
  • OpenStreetMap India pointed, on Twitter, to the success of OSM Kerala (India) in convincing the local government to support crowdsourced mapping by launching the Mapathon Keralam. The Hindu, India’s third-largest English newspaper, carries the story on their website.
  • Luzandro has created (automatic translation) a map of possible new or missing roads in Austria based on BEV’s register of addresses.
  • On Ilya Zverev’s suggestion (automatic translation) Russian border crossings are now being mapped. The mapping is being carried out with the help of a MapRoulette challenge.


  • Tahira reported that Heidelberg’s first climathon event took place at EMBL with a 24 hour hackathon from 26 to 27 October as part of the “global Climathon”. Participants worked in teams on five challenges, all with an aspect of addressing climate change. First place was awarded to the BikeBuddy and Spring Up teams. Both winning teams comprised members from the GIScience research group Heidelberg University. The BikeBuddy team worked on a challenge, presented by, to identify attractive cycling routes so as to encourage people to travel by bike rather than car. This challenge was inspired by the research on pleasant routing at GIScience/HeiGIT. The main factor that the team focused on was the safety of cycling routes (street lights, etc.). The data was extracted from OpenStreetMap and integrated into a prototype using
  • Branko Kokanović published a blog post(sr)(automatic translation) about his progress using open data about apartments in Serbia.
  • OpenStreetMap US published Issue #1 of a brand new newsletter to share OpenStreetMap US activities and news from around the US and the world.

OpenStreetMap Foundation

  • Dorothea Kazazi informed the community about the procedure and the details of the upcoming OpenStreetMap Foundation board elections during the 13th Annual General Meeting. The deadline for putting yourself forward for election was 10 November 2019. If you want to vote, you have to become a member of the OSMF by 14 November 2019. At the time of writing, eight candidates have been nominated. The seats of Kate Chapman, Heather Leson, Mikel Maron and Frederik Ramm are available in this election with only Mikel Maron running for re-election. We encourage everyone to become member of the OSMF and participate. If you can’t afford the membership fee or you cannot transfer funds abroad, we’d like to point you to the OSMF Fee Waiver Program.
  • Frederik Ramm informed the members of the OpenStreetMap Foundation that the board suggests a couple of changes to the Articles of Association, mainly related to the mass signup of employees of one company ahead of last year’s board election. Besides the AoA changes, which are required to pass a quorum of 75 percent of OSMF’s Normal Members during the upcoming Annual General Meeting, it is also suggested that the current “financial hardship” fee waiver for OSMF membership be replaced by a general fee waiver for community members with a “sizeable contribution”. The OSMF Board provided a pdf-file with details of the changes.
  • Christoph Hormann (imagico) provides some advice for candidates for the upcoming OSMF board elections. The advice is particularly directed at the formulation of position statements and answering the general slate of questions posed to candidates.
  • Joost Schouppe wrote about his first year as an OSMF board member. Topics covered include: what worries him about OSM in general, how heavy the burden weighs on just seven volunteers, and missing procedures. An interesting read and an interesting discussion as a follow-up.

Humanitarian OSM


  • The IDEAL-VGI project aims to focus on the challenges of volunteered geographic information for land use classification and big earth observation data. The project is a collaboration between Heidelberg University’s GIScience Research Group and the Technical University of Berlin.


  • Infos-Ré tweeted (fr) (automatic translation) that the milestone of 1000 circuits of the French electrical network mapped, was reached.
  • The 30 day Map Challenge, hashtag #30daymapchallenge, is running throughout November. Many participants are using OpenStreetMap data. Spanholz has linked to an imgur album of selected images. The initiator of the challenge is Topi Tjukanov.


  • The Strava app, which was specially developed for runners and cyclists, uses OSM as map material. Strava has recently introduced a new map rendering that emphasises the details that runners and cyclists most want to see.
  • [1] The Tesla driver Army_1 noticed that the route guidance of his car’s Smart Summon application, which allows the Tesla to drive autonomously to the owner’s location in parking lots, changes when he edits parking lanes on OSM.

Open Data

  • Théophile Merlière, of the Etalab team, reports (fr) on the improvement and correction of errors in an official geolocated address database based on three walks of a few hours each and its publication on the BAN (Base Adresse Nationale) of France.
  • Dr Adrian Mallory has written an opinion piece calling for collective action to make big data a force for wider social good, not as fuel for the hyper-wealthy, secretive forms of manipulation and further social inequality.


  • JOSM 19.10 has been released. Major enhancements in this version are allowing zoom levels up to 24 in TMS layers, dropping support for https remote control, and adding GeoJSON importing.
  • Please watch the thread “Update der OSM Software List“, in the German Forum, to stay informed about release changes of all OSM Software. Wambacher tries to update this excerpt from the OSM Software Watchlist every weekend. For example the Rel. 2.0 of the App Windy Maps is listed, where OSM-based online and offline maps with many POI, hiking and cycling paths are displayed. Wiki, photo and excursion tips included. Now with improved routing with voice control and tracking.

OSM in the media

  • TV5Monde reports about the public transport mapping project in Bamako, Mali. Read more about the project on the wiki page (fr) (automatic translation).

Other “geo” things

  • Archie Archambault is a craft mapper who believes that maps should be made by surveying and “being within the parameters of the space”. Archie is working on a project to create artistic maps that give you the “gist” of cities around the world.
  • Victor shows (es) (automatic translation) how to load free maps onto your Garmin Fenix or EDGE.
  • Interested in attending a Wizards Unite event? Well, you’re too late for this one, but of interest to mappers is that the locations used were based on libraries mapped in OSM.
  • In response to the third “Tokyo Public Transportation Open Data Challenge” Akihiko Kusanagi has built a real-time 3D digital map of Tokyo’s public transport system.

Upcoming Events

Where What When Country
Kameoka 京都!街歩き!マッピングパーティ:第14回 鍬山神社 2019-11-10 japan
Budapest OSM Hungary Meetup reboot 2019-11-11 hungary
Taipei OSM x Wikidata #10 2019-11-11 taiwan
Zurich Stammtisch Zürich 2019-11-11 switzerland
Lyon Rencontre mensuelle pour tous 2019-11-12 france
Salt Lake City SLC Mappy Hour 2019-11-12 united states
Nitra Missing Maps Mapathon Nitra #4 2019-11-12 slovakia
Hamburg Hamburger Mappertreffen 2019-11-12 germany
Wellington FOSS4G SotM Oceania 2019 2019-11-12-2019-11-15 new zealand
Digne-les-Bains HÉRuDi : l’Histoire Étonnante des Rues de Digne 2019-11-12 france
Munich Münchner Stammtisch 2019-11-13 germany
Wuppertal OSM-Treffen Wuppertaler Stammtisch im Hutmacher 18 Uhr 2019-11-13 germany
Berlin 137. Berlin-Brandenburg Stammtisch 2019-11-14 germany
Nantes Réunion mensuelle 2019-11-14 france
Encarnación State of the Map Latam 2019 2019-11-14 paraguay
Niš Missing Maps Mapathon Niš #1 2019-11-16 serbia
Istanbul Yer Çizenler 2019-11-16 turkey
Cologne Bonn Airport Bonner Stammtisch 2019-11-19 germany
Reading Reading Missing Maps Mapathon 2019-11-19 united kingdom
Lüneburg Lüneburger Mappertreffen 2019-11-19 germany
Prešov Missing Maps Mapathon Prešov #4 2019-11-21 slovakia
Grand-Bassam State of the Map Africa 2019 2019-11-22-2019-11-24 ivory coast
Izmir Yer Çizenler Mapathon with HKMO-Izmir 2019-11-23 turkey
Bremen Bremer Mappertreffen 2019-11-25 germany
Salt Lake City OSM Utah Mapping Night 2019-11-26 united states
Düsseldorf Stammtisch 2019-11-27 germany
Singen Stammtisch Bodensee 2019-11-27 germany
Kilkenny Kilkenny Mapping Event 2019-11-30 ireland
Nantes Participation à « Nantes en sciences » 2019-11-30 france
Cape Town State of the Map 2020 2020-07-03-2020-07-05 south africa

Note: If you like to see your event here, please put it into the calendar. Only data which is there, will appear in weeklyOSM. Please check your event in our public calendar preview and correct it, where appropriate.

This weeklyOSM was produced by NunoMASAzevedo, Polyglot, Rogehm, SK53, SunCobalt, TheSwavu, YoViajo, derFred, doktorpixel14, jinalfoflia, anonymus.

Put (modern) #science of #Africa on the map

09:39, Saturday, 09 2019 November UTC
A young African scholar commented that the info on websites of African scholarly organisations was all about its past. There is a point to recognizing those who did good and consequently making obvious that the science of today is rooted in the past.

African scientists as well as any other scientist have a place in Wikidata with their affiliations, papers, co-authors and also with their scholarly advisors. My proposal is for all scholars to check if they are on Wikidata, check if their doctoral thesis is on Wikidata. Then add their doctoral advisor to their item and reciprocate themselves as a doctoral student.

Do not forget to include where you studied and for what university you work(ed). Check if your ORCiD profile includes trusted organisations like CrossRef that will update your profile when appropriate. When many of you do this at Wikidata you will be surprised what the impact will be.

From the very beginning, we’ve had our champions — students, faculty, and institutions alike — who have recognized what a Wikipedia writing assignment can achieve for student learning and for the world. Thanks to word-of-mouth, as well as the great work these individuals have accomplished using our resources (work that speaks for itself), more and more faculty are getting involved in this open educational practice. Not only that, but institutions are now awarding their faculty for incorporating Wikipedia into their pedagogy.

It’s been a busy year for Wikipedia in pedagogy. And we couldn’t be more thrilled to hear about your successes. If you’ve been recognized for incorporating Wikipedia into your undergraduate or graduate curriculum, please let us know by mailing Wikipedia Student Program Manager Helaine Blumenthal at

If you want to incorporate a Wikipedia writing assignment into an upcoming course, visit for information about our free resources and systems of support.

Thumbnail image sources: MIT Open Learning; Mshemberger, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Bias in @Wikidata and a SMART approach

11:50, Friday, 08 2019 November UTC
When at the WikidataCon quality was presented, it was rated from 1 to 5. This approach has its own bias because it does not consider what may not be there. What is not there can be made visible using assumptions like: "a university has more than one employee" (employee includes professors) and, every country has at least one university..

The bias in Wikidata starts with the way it is mostly used and consequently how it is taught. People are shown what Wikidata looks like, immediately followed up with training in the use of query and the use of tools. At every level it takes considerable skills to make a use of Wikidata. The first hurdle to overcome is to understand the data in a single item. When your language is not English you are toast. This is Cape Town in Newari and this is a useful presentation using Reasonator. With Reasonator the information is easy to digest and adding missing labels is just one click away.

The second hurdle is knowing what bias it is you want to remedy. For a known bias like the gender gap, the Women in Red have lists of missing Wikipedia articles. A Wikidata gap is expressed by the absense of data. Listeria lists are great at that.. These are all the universities of Africa.. If you do not get the extend of what we miss, you have some thinking to do. When you apply this principle to the science of Africa, you find a lot of lists and the biggest issue remains; missing lists.

When you tackle a missing subject like I did for the "Affiliates of the African Academy of Sciences", you will find a source as a reference for the group and a reference on every affiliate. To ensure that the data is relevant and actionable, I added all of them, linked them to ORCiD and/or Google Scholar enabling SourceMD to link them to their papers. I added nationality because this may trigger inclusion on the Women in Red lists and when it was obvious, I added employers so that they may be included as a scholar on African University lists..

When we as a movement want to fight bias, we have to consider the use of lists and particularly Listeria list to show the developments of a subject. With lists available on many Wikipedias, it becomes possible to gain traction on what we miss. This approach is distinctly different as it acknowledges the need for more support for item based editing and it makes the point that missing data is a quality issue that needs to be addressed as a fundamental issue.

Production Excellence: October 2019

09:04, Friday, 08 2019 November UTC

How’d we do in our strive for operational excellence last month? Read on to find out!

📊 Month in numbers
  • 3 documented incidents. [1]
  • 33 new Wikimedia-prod-error reports. [2]
  • 30 Wikimedia-prod-error reports closed. [3]
  • 207 currently open Wikimedia-prod-error reports in total. [4]

There were three recorded incidents last month, which is slightly below our median of the past two years (Explore this data). To read more about these incidents, their investigations, and pending actionables; check Incident documentation § 2019.

*️⃣ To Log or not To Log

MediaWiki uses the PSR-3 compliant Monolog library to send messages to Logstash (via rsyslog and Kafka). These messages are used to automatically detect (by quantity) when the production cluster is in an unstable state. For example, due to an increase in application errors when deploying code, or if a backend system is failing. Two distinct issues hampered the storing of these messages this month, and both affected us simultaneously.

Elasticsearch mapping limit

The Elasticsearch storage behind Logstash optimises responses to Logstash queries with an index. This index has an upper limit to how many distinct fields (or columns) it can have. When reached, messages with fields not yet in the index are discarded. Our Logstash indexes are sharded by date and source (one for “mediawiki”, one for “syslog”, and one for everthing else).

This meant that error messages were only stored if they only contained fields used before, by other errors stored that day. Which in turn would only succeed if that day’s columns weren’t already fully taken. A seemingly random subset of error messages was then rejected for a full day. Each day it got a new chance at reserving its columns, so long as the specific kind of error is triggered early enough.

To unblock deployment automation and monitoring of MediaWiki, an interim solution was devised. The subset of messages from “mediawiki” that deal with application errors now have their own index shard. These error reports follow a consistent structure, and contain no free-form context fields. As such, this index (hopefully) can’t reach its mapping limit or suffer message loss.

The general index mapping limit was also raised from 1000 to 2000. For now that means we’re not dropping any non-critical/debug messages. More information about the incident at T234564. The general issue with accommodating debug messages in Logstash long-term, is tracked at T180051. Thanks @matmarex, @hashar, and @herron.

Crash handling

Wikimedia’s PHP configuration has a “crash handler” that kicks in if everything else fails. For example, when the memory limit or execution timeout is reached, or if some crucial part of MediaWiki fails very early on. In that case our crash handler renders a Wikimedia-branded system error page (separate from MediaWiki and its skins). It also increments a counter metric for monitoring purposes, and sends a detailed report to Logstash. In migrating the crash handler from HHVM to PHP7, one part of the puzzle was forgotten. Namely the Logstash configuration that forwards these reports from php-fpm’s syslog channel to the one for mediawiki.

As such, our deployment automation and several Logstash dashboards were blind to a subset of potential fatal errors for a few days. Regressions during that week were instead found by manually digging through the raw feed of the php-fpm channel instead. As a temporary measure, Scap was updated to consider the php-fpm’s channel as well in its automation that decides whether a deployment is “green”.

We’ve created new Logstash configurations that forward PHP7 crashes in a similar way as we did for HHVM in the past. Bookmarked MW dashboards/queries you have for Logstash now provide a complete picture once again. Thanks @jijiki and @colewhite! – T234283

📉 Outstanding reports

Take a look at the workboard and look for tasks that might need your help. The workboard lists error reports, grouped by the month in which they were first observed.

Or help someone that’s already started with their patch:
Open prod-error tasks with a Patch-For-Review

Breakdown of recent months (past two weeks not included):

  • March: 1 report fixed. (3 of 10 reports left).
  • April: 8 of 14 reports left (unchanged). ⚠️
  • May: (All clear!)
  • June: 9 of 11 reports left (unchanged). ⚠️
  • July: 13 of 18 reports left (unchanged).
  • August: 2 reports were fixed! (6 of 14 reports left).
  • September: 2 reports were fixed! (10 of 12 new reports left).
  • October: 12 new reports survived the month of October.

🎉 Thanks!

Thank you, to everyone else who helped by reporting, investigating, or resolving problems in Wikimedia production. Thanks!

Until next time,

– Timo Tijhof

🌴“Gotta love crab. In time, too. I couldn't take much more of those coconuts. Coconut milk is a natural laxative. That's something Gilligan never told us.


[1] Incidents. –…

[2] Tasks created. –…

[3] Tasks closed. –…

[4] Open tasks. –…

Copyright for Wikimedia photographers in the UK

17:07, Thursday, 07 2019 November UTC
A functional item: a 1971 Smalley 5 Mk II mini digger in waterway recovery group markings – image by Geni CC BY-SA 4.0

By UK Wikimedian and copyright enthusiast Geni

Spoiler:Its a terrible broken system which is part of the reason Wikipedia went copyleft in the first place. Please note that this is not legal advice. If you want that, ask a lawyer or, given the mess some bits of the law are in, 5 supreme court judges.

To be honest, this would be better titled “what you can upload photographs of without Commons rightfully complaining”.

The first thing you have to consider is: is the subject of the photo 3D or 2D? 2D and 3D subjects are dealt with very differently so see the relevant section for the subject you are interested in (objects with more than 3 dimensions are probably the same as 3D objects but there is no caselaw).

3D subjects

The good news is that the UK is one of the most liberal countries when it comes to photographing 3D objects (formal term freedom of panorama). If its on 3D and on permanent display in a public place then you are free to photograph it. This covers buildings, statues, dolls and basically anything else that’s 3D (although the exact reasons why may vary).

On permanent display: the Three rings sculpture by Jane Ackroyd in ocean village – image by Geni CC BY-SA 4.0

To break it down a bit, permanent display means no specific plans to remove the subject at some point. Public place means places the general public regularly has access to. So things like market squares, museums and the more open type of church would be fine but a private house or factory would not be (and yes this can result in the weird situation where you can’t upload a photo of a figurine taken in your home but could upload a picture of an identical one on display a museum).

One exception to all of this is that it assumes the item is under copyright in the first place. If the author has been dead for 70 years or the subject is in the public domain for some other reason then the location of the object and its permeance doesn’t matter. A second exception is that it only applies to items that qualify for copyright at all. Under UK law functional items (tools machinery, clothing etc) that don’t rise to the level of artistic craftsmanship don’t qualify for copyright. Unfortunately the term “artistic craftsmanship” is only defined through caselaw and even then pretty poorly. Of the nominal standards, the easiest to work to involves judging author intent. If it appears that the author was trying to create an artwork then the subject is more likely to qualify for copyright than if it did not. For example a highly decorative lampshade might well qualify for copyright but a standard fluorescent strip light mounting would not.

2D subjects

While the UK may be liberal with 3D objects its very much the reverse with 2D. Photos of paintings, murals and graffiti (and any other 2D work) are copyright infringements if the original work is under copyright (which unless the author has been dead for 70 years it usually would be).

Incidental inclusion – Vault in High Street in Bristol – image by Geni CC BY-SA 4.0

Incidental inclusion

The UK has an explicit allowance for incidental inclusion. Wikimedia Commons users tend to interpret this as meaning

that if something is not the subject of the photo you don’t need to worry about it. Graffiti on a building (where the photo is of the building) or a temporary sculpture in the corner of a village square are not an issue. Photos where those were the focus of the image would be a problem. Full details can be found at Commons:De minimis (the rough US equivalent).

The unreasonably difficult photo contest

If all this copyright stuff is boring or depressing then I can offer you the unreasonably difficult photo contest where none of the subjects present a copyright issue.

A buggy history

10:14, Thursday, 07 2019 November UTC
—I suppose you are an entomologist?—I said with a note of interrogation.
—Not quite so ambitious as that, sir. I should like to put my eyes on the individual entitled to that name! A society may call itself an Entomological Society, but the man who arrogates such a broad title as that to himself, in the present state of science, is a pretender, sir, a dilettante, an impostor! No man can be truly called an entomologist, sir; the subject is too vast for any single human intelligence to grasp.
The Poet at the Breakfast Table (1872) by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. 
A collection of biographies
with surprising gaps (ex. A.D. Imms)
The history of interest in Indian insects has been approached by many writers and there are several bits and pieces available in journals and there are various insights distributed across books. There are numerous ways of looking at how people historically viewed insects. One attempt is a collection of biographies, some of which are uncited verbatim (and not even within quotation marks) accounts  from obituaries, by B.R. Subba Rao who also provides something of a historical thread connecting the biographies. Keeping Indian expectations in view, Subba Rao and M.A. Husain play to the crowd. Husain was writing in pre-Independence times where there was a genuine conflict between Indian intellectuals and their colonial masters. They begin with interpretations of mentions of insects in old Indian writings. As can be expected there are mentions of honey, shellac, bees, ants, and a few nuisance insects in old texts. Husain takes the fact that the term Satpada षट्पद or six-legs existed in the 1st century Amarakosa to suggest that Indians were far ahead of time because Latreille's Hexapoda, the supposed analogy, was proposed only in 1825. Such histories gloss over the structures on which science and one can only assume that they failed to find the development of such structures in the ancient texts that they examined. The identification of species mentioned in old texts are often based on ambiguous translations should leave one wondering what the value of claiming Indian priority in identifying a few insects is. For instance K.N. Dave translates a verse from the Atharva-veda and suggests an early date for knowledge of shellac. This interpretation looks dubious and sure enough, Dave has been critiqued by Mahdihassan.  The indragopa (Indra's cowherd) is supposedly something that appears after the rains. Sanskrit scholars have identified it variously as the cochineal insect (the species Dactylopius coccus is South American!), the lac insect, a firefly(!) and as Trombidium (red velvet mite) - the last matches the blood red colour mentioned in a text attributed to Susrutha. To be fair, ambiguities resulting from translation are not limited to those that deal with Indian writing. Dikairon (Δικαιρον), supposedly a highly-valued and potent poison from India was mentioned in the work Indika by Ctesias 398 - 397 BC. One writer said it was the droppings of a bird. Valentine Ball thought it was derived from a scarab beetle. Jeffrey Lockwood claimed that it came from the rove beetles Paederus sp. And finally a Spanish scholar states that all this was a misunderstanding and that Dikairon was not a poison, and believe it or not, was a masticated mix of betel leaves, arecanut, and lime! One gets a far more reliable idea of ancient knowledge and traditions from practitioners, forest dwellers, the traditional honey harvesting tribes, and similar people that have been gathering materials such as shellac and beeswax. Unfortunately, many of these traditions and their practitioners are threatened by modern laws, economics, and culture. These practitioners are being driven out of the forests where they live, and their knowledge was hardly ever captured in writing. The writers of the ancient Sanskrit texts were probably associated with temple-towns and other semi-urban clusters and it seems like the knowledge of forest dwellers was not considered merit-worthy.

A more meaningful overview of entomology may be gained by reading and synthesizing a large number of historical bits, of which there are a growing number. The 1973 book published by the Annual Reviews Inc. should be of some interest. I have appended a selection of sources that I have found useful in adding bits and pieces to form a historic view of entomology in India. It helps however to have a broader skeleton on which to attach these bits and minutiae. Here, there area also truly verbose and terminology-filled systems developed by historians of science (for example, see ANT). I prefer an approach that is free of a jargon overload and like to look at entomology and its growth along three lines of action - cataloguing with the main product being collection of artefacts and the assignment of names, communication and vocabulary-building are social actions involving groups of interested people who work together with the products being scholarly societies and journals, and pattern-finding where hypotheses are made, and predictions tested. I like to think that anyone learning entomology also goes through these activities, often in this sequence. With professionalization there appears to be a need for people to step faster and faster into the pattern-finding way which also means that less time is spent on the other two streams of activity. The fast stepping often is achieved by having comprehensive texts, keys, identification guides and manuals. The skills involved in the production of those works - ways to prepare specimens, observe, illustrate, or describe are often not captured by the books themselves.


The cataloguing phase of knowledge gathering, especially of the (larger and more conspicuous) insect species of India grew rapidly thanks to the craze for natural history cabinets of the wealthy (made socially meritorious by the idea that appreciating the works of the Creator was as good as attending church)  in Britain and Europe and their ability to tap into networks of collectors working within the colonial enterprise. The cataloguing phase can be divided into the non-scientific cabinet-of-curiosity style especially followed before Darwin and the more scientific forms. The idea that insects could be preserved by drying and kept for reference by pinning, [See Barnard 2018] the system of binomial names, the idea of designating type specimens that could be inspected by anyone describing new species, the system of priority in assigning names were some of the innovations and cultural rules created to aid cataloguing. These rules were enforced by scholarly societies, their members (which would later lead to such things as codes of nomenclature suggested by rule makers like Strickland, now dealt with by committees that oversee the  ICZN Code) and their journals. It would be wrong to assume that the cataloguing phase is purely historic and no longer needed. It is a phase that is constantly involved in the creation of new knowledge. Labels, catalogues, and referencing whether in science or librarianship are essential for all subsequent work to be discovered and are essential to science based on building on the work of others, climbing the shoulders of giants to see further. Cataloguing was probably what the physicists derided as "stamp-collecting".

Communication and vocabulary building

The other phase involves social activities, the creation of specialist language, groups, and "culture". The methods and tools adopted by specialists also helps in producing associations and the identification of boundaries that could spawn new associations. The formation of groups of people based on interests is something that ethnographers and sociologists have examined in the context of science. Textbooks, taxonomic monographs, and major syntheses also help in building community - they make it possible for new entrants to rapidly move on to joining the earlier formed groups of experts. Whereas some of the early learned societies were spawned by people with wealth and leisure, some of the later societies have had other economic forces in their support.

Like species, interest groups too specialize and split to cover more specific niches, such as those that deal with applied areas such as agriculture, medicine, veterinary science and forensics. There can also be interest in behaviour, and evolution which, though having applications, are often do not find economic support.

Pattern finding
Eleanor Ormerod, an unexpected influence
in the rise of economic entomology in India

The pattern finding phase when reached allows a field to become professional - with paid services offered by practitioners. It is the phase in which science flexes its muscle, specialists gain social status, and are able to make livelihoods out of their interest. Lefroy (1904) cites economic entomology as starting with E.C. Cotes [Cotes' career in entomology was short, after marrying the famous Canadian journalist Sara Duncan in 1889 he too moved to writing] in the Indian Museum in 1888. But he surprisingly does not mention any earlier attempts, and one finds that Edward Balfour, that encyclopaedic-surgeon of Madras collated a list of insect pests in 1887 and drew inspiration from Eleanor Ormerod who hints at the idea of getting government support, noting that it would cost very little given that she herself worked with no remuneration to provide a service for agriculture in England. Her letters were also forwarded to the Secretary of State for India and it is quite possible that Cotes' appointment was a result.

As can be imagined, economics, society, and the way science is supported - royal patronage, family, state, "free markets", crowd-sourcing, or mixes of these - impact the way an individual or a field progresses. Entomology was among the first fields of zoology that managed to gain economic value with the possibility of paid employment. David Lack, who later became an influential ornithologist, was wisely guided by his father to pursue entomology as it was the only field of zoology where jobs existed. Lack however found his apprenticeship (in Germany, 1929!) involving pinning specimens "extremely boring".

Indian reflections on the history of entomology

Kunhikannan died at the rather young age of 47
A rather interesting analysis of Indian science is made by the first native Indian entomologist to work with the official title of "entomologist" in the state of Mysore - K. Kunhikannan. Kunhikannan was deputed to pursue a Ph.D. at Stanford (for some unknown reason many of the pre-Independence Indian entomologists trained in Stanford rather than England - see postscript) through his superior Leslie Coleman. At Stanford, Kunhikannan gave a talk on Science in India. He noted in his 1923 talk :

In the field of natural sciences the Hindus did not make any progress. The classifications of animals and plants are very crude. It seems to me possible that this singular lack of interest in this branch of knowledge was due to the love of animal life. It is difficult for Westerners to realise how deep it is among Indians. The observant traveller will come across people trailing sugar as they walk along streets so that ants may have a supply, and there are priests in certain sects who veil that face while reading sacred books that they may avoid drawing in with their breath and killing any small unwary insects. [Note: Salim Ali expressed a similar view ]
He then examines science sponsored by state institutions, by universities and then by individuals. About the last he writes:
Though I deal with it last it is the first in importance. Under it has to be included all the work done by individuals who are not in Government employment or who being government servants devote their leisure hours to science. A number of missionaries come under this category. They have done considerable work mainly in the natural sciences. There are also medical men who devote their leisure hours to science. The discovery of the transmission of malaria was made not during the course of Government work. These men have not received much encouragement for research or reward for research, but they deserve the highest praise., European officials in other walks of life have made signal contributions to science. The fascinating volumes of E. H. Aitken and Douglas Dewar are the result of observations made in the field of natural history in the course of official duties. Men like these have formed themselves into an association, and a journal is published by the Bombay Natural History Association[sic], in which valuable observations are recorded from time to time. That publication has been running for over a quarter of a century, and its volumes are a mine of interesting information with regard to the natural history of India.
This then is a brief survey of the work done in India. As you will see it is very little, regard being had to the extent of the country and the size of her population. I have tried to explain why Indians' contribution is as yet so little, how education has been defective and how opportunities have been few. Men do not go after scientific research when reward is so little and facilities so few. But there are those who will say that science must be pursued for its own sake. That view is narrow and does not take into account the origin and course of scientific research. Men began to pursue science for the sake of material progress. The Arab alchemists started chemistry in the hope of discovering a method of making gold. So it has been all along and even now in the 20th century the cry is often heard that scientific research is pursued with too little regard for its immediate usefulness to man. The passion for science for its own sake has developed largely as a result of the enormous growth of each of the sciences beyond the grasp of individual minds so that a division between pure and applied science has become necessary. The charge therefore that Indians have failed to pursue science for its own sake is not justified. Science flourishes where the application of its results makes possible the advancement of the individual and the community as a whole. It requires a leisured class free from anxieties of obtaining livelihood or capable of appreciating the value of scientific work. Such a class does not exist in India. The leisured classes in India are not yet educated sufficiently to honour scientific men.
It is interesting that leisure is noted as important for scientific advance. Edward Balfour, mentioned earlier, also made a similar comment that Indians were too close to subsistence to reflect accurately on their environment!  (apparently in The Vydian and the Hakim, what do they know of medicine? (1875) which unfortunately is not available online)

Kunhikannan may be among the few Indian scientists who dabbled in cultural history, and political theorizing. He wrote two rather interesting books The West (1927) and A Civilization at Bay (1931, posthumously published) which defended Indian cultural norms while also suggesting areas for reform. While reading these works one has to remind oneself that he was working under and with Europeans and would not have been able to have many conversations on these topics with Indians. An anonymous writer who penned the memoir of his life in his posthumous work notes that he was reserved and had only a small number of people to talk to outside of his professional work.
Entomologists meeting at Pusa in 1919
Third row: C.C. Ghosh (assistant entomologist), Ram Saran ("field man"), Gupta, P.V. Isaac, Y. Ramachandra Rao, Afzal Husain, Ojha, A. Haq
Second row: M. Zaharuddin, C.S. Misra, D. Naoroji, Harchand Singh, G.R. Dutt (Personal Assistant to the Imperial Entomologist), E.S. David (Entomological Assistant, United Provinces), K. Kunhi Kannan, Ramrao S. Kasergode (Assistant Professor of Entomology, Poona), J.L.Khare (lecturer in entomology, Nagpur), T.N. Jhaveri (assistant entomologist, Bombay), V.G.Deshpande, R. Madhavan Pillai (Entomological Assistant, Travancore), Patel, Ahmad Mujtaba (head fieldman), P.C. Sen
First row: Capt. Froilano de Mello, W Robertson-Brown (agricultural officer, NWFP), S. Higginbotham, C.M. Inglis, C.F.C. Beeson, Dr Lewis Henry Gough (entomologist in Egypt), Bainbrigge Fletcher, Bentley, Senior-White, T.V. Rama Krishna Ayyar, C.M. Hutchinson, Andrews, H.L.Dutt

Entmologists meeting at Pusa in 1923
Fifth row (standing) Mukerjee, G.D.Ojha, Bashir, Torabaz Khan, D.P. Singh
Fourth row (standing) M.O.T. Iyengar, R.N. Singh, S. Sultan Ahmad, G.D. Misra, Sharma,Ahmad Mujtaba, Mohammad Shaffi
Third row (standing) Rao Sahib Y Rama Chandra Rao, D Naoroji, G.R.Dutt, Rai Bahadur C.S. Misra, SCJ Bennett (bacteriologist, Muktesar), P.V. Isaac, T.M. Timoney, Harchand Singh, S.K.Sen
Second row (seated) Mr M. Afzal Husain, Major RWG Hingston, Dr C F C Beeson, T. Bainbrigge Fletcher, P.B. Richards, J.T. Edwards, Major J.A. Sinton
First row (seated) Rai Sahib PN Das, B B Bose, Ram Saran, R.V. Pillai, M.B. Menon, V.R. Phadke (veterinary college, Bombay)

Note: As usual, these notes are spin-offs from researching and writing Wikipedia entries, in this case on several pioneering Indian entomologists. It is remarkable that even some people in high offices, such as P.V. Isaac, the last Imperial Entomologist, and grandfather of noted writer Arundhati Roy, is largely unknown (except as the near-fictional Pappachi in Roy's God of Small Things)

An index to entomologists who worked in India or described a significant number of species from India - with links to Wikipedia (where possible - the gaps in coverage of entomologists in general are too many)
(woefully incomplete - feel free to let me know of additional candidates)

Carl Linnaeus - Johan Christian Fabricius - Edward Donovan - John Gerard Koenig - John Obadiah Westwood - Frederick William Hope - George Alexander James Rothney - Thomas de Grey Walsingham - Henry John Elwes - Victor Motschulsky - Charles Swinhoe - John William Yerbury - Edward Yerbury Watson - Peter Cameron - Charles George Nurse - H.C. Tytler - Arthur Henry Eyre Mosse - W.H. Evans - Frederic Moore - John Henry Leech - Charles Augustus de Niceville - Thomas Nelson Annandale - R.C. WroughtonT.R.D. Bell - Francis Buchanan-Hamilton - James Wood-Mason - Frederic Charles Fraser  - R.W. Hingston - Auguste Forel - James Davidson - E.H. Aitken -  O.C. Ollenbach - Frank Hannyngton - Martin Ephraim Mosley - Hamilton J. Druce  - Thomas Vincent Campbell - Gilbert Edward James Nixon - Malcolm Cameron - G.F. Hampson - Martin Jacoby - W.F. Kirby - W.L. DistantC.T. Bingham - G.J. Arrow - Claude Morley - Malcolm Burr - Samarendra Maulik - Guy Marshall
Edward Percy Stebbing - T.B. Fletcher - Edward Ernest Green - E.C. Cotes - Harold Maxwell Lefroy - Frank Milburn Howlett - S.R. Christophers - Leslie C. Coleman - T.V. Ramakrishna Ayyar - Yelsetti Ramachandra Rao - Magadi Puttarudriah - Hem Singh Pruthi - Shyam Sunder Lal Pradhan - James Molesworth Gardner - Vakittur Prabhakar Rao - D.N. Raychoudhary - C.F.W. Muesebeck  - Mithan Lal Roonwal - Ennapada S. Narayanan - M.S. Mani - T.N. Ananthakrishnan - K. Kunhikannan - Muhammad Afzal Husain

Not included by Rao -   F.H. Gravely - P.V. Isaac - M. Afzal Husain - A.D. Imms - C.F.C. Beeson
 - C. Brooke Worth - Kumar Krishna -

PS: Thanks to Prof C.A. Viraktamath, I became aware of a new book-  Gunathilagaraj, K.; Chitra, N.; Kuttalam, S.; Ramaraju, K. (2018). Dr. T.V. Ramakrishna Ayyar: The Entomologist. Coimbatore: Tamil Nadu Agricultural University. - this suggests that TVRA went to Stanford on the suggestion of Kunhikannan.

    @Wikipedia talks about @Wikidata

    08:05, Thursday, 07 2019 November UTC
    "WD is unreliable. WP:V and WP:RS are completely ignored (from any editors). International NPOV is a problem too." It is so SMART, that the best I can do is ignore it. Then again it is an open invitation to talk about Wikipedia..  There is no Wikipedia there are over 300 Wikipedia language editions.. so even the acronyms are lost on me as there is no one Wikipedia to rule them all.. 

    So forget about acronyms and lets talk Wikidata and by inference raise issues particularly for the English Wikipedia where appropriate. First, Wikidata includes more items than there are subjects raised in any and all Wikipedias. Its quality can be considered in many ways and verifiability is largely ensured because of the association with other "authorities" about a subject. Thanks to the increased use of open data, it is possible to verify that specific statements are shared, increasing the likelihood that they are correct. For some information like for scientists who are a member of the AAS Affiliates Programme, we have/may have references to the authoritative source. Such references may be on a project or on an item level, it makes verifiability easy and obvious. 

    Wikidata has an issue with all kinds of gaps in its coverage. For many African countries no universities are known, there are hardly any scholars associated with them. Thanks to Listeria functionality we can monitor if and when data is added. Many a Wikipedia do not have such tools because of the aversion of Wikidata by some. At the same time projects like Women in Red rely on Listeria lists and by inference Wikidata to know what to work on.

    In tools like Reasonator and Listeria lists are generated and, when you compare them with Wikipedia lists, the quality is measurably better. I published frequently in the past about the Polk award.. In its lists Wikipedia has a likely error rate of six percent. When they fudge the record by not linking at all, the quality of a Wikidata lists is even better because it is much better at linking items than Wikipedia is at linking red links.  There is a solution, it just requires a willingness by Wikipedians to cooperate. 

    I understand what is meant by "international NPOV" and it is where Wikidata is by definition better than an individual Wikipedia. By definition because Wikidata represents data from ALL Wikipedias. Thanks to the people of DBpedia, there is a potential to highlight where Wikipedias differ and it is more likely that the fruit of their labour will enrich Wikidata than Wikipedias.

    So a Wikidatan walks into a bar..

    An introduction to WBStack

    21:15, Wednesday, 06 2019 November UTC

    WBStack is a project that I have been working on for a couple of years that finally saw the light of day at Wikidatacon 2019. It has gone through a couple of different names along the way, MWaas, WBaas, WikWiki, OpenCura and finally WBStack.

    The idea behind the project is to provide Wikibase and surrounding services, such as a blazegraph query service, query service ui, quick statements, and others on a shared platform where installs, upgrades and maintenance are handeled centrally.

    The initial release is very much an MVP (minimum viable product) aimed to get people talking about about the idea and to have a few keen users trying out the project. The registration is hidden behind an invite code system (if you want one then get in touch). Currently there are roughly 20 users on the project with 30 Wikibase installs, and some early bugs are being ironed out.

    You can watch the demo of WBStack in its initial version in the video below at roughly 19:07. The video is also availbile here.

    I’d like to thank Rhizome for supporting the project starting from this month by covering the initial infrastructure / hosting costs. You can read more about them on Wikipedia or by visiting their website. There is also a great blog post on the Wikimedia Foundation blog talking about their use of Wikibase.

    I’m going to continue working on this project in my spare time, hopfully working on the features that matter most to the people that are already using it first, alongside any needed technical stuff.

    Keep an eye out for more blog posts relating to WBStack. I’ll try to keep this blog updated.

    The post An introduction to WBStack appeared first on Addshore.

    Changing the concept URI of an existing Wikibase with data

    19:03, Wednesday, 06 2019 November UTC

    Many users of Wikibase find themselves in a position where they need to change the concept URI of an existing Wikibase for one or more reasons, such as a domain name update or desire to have https concept URIs instead of HTTP.

    Below I walk through a minimal example of how this can be done using a small amount of data and the Wikibase Docker images. If you are not using the Docker images the steps should still work, but you do not need to worry about copying files into and out of containers or running commands inside containers.

    Creating some test data

    Firstly I need some test data, and for that data to exist in Wikibase and the Query service. I’ll go ahead with 1 property and 1 item, with some labels, descriptions and a statement.

    # Create a string property with english label
    curl -i -X POST \
       -H "Content-Type:application/x-www-form-urlencoded" \
       -d "data={\"type\":\"property\",\"datatype\":\"string\",\"labels\":{\"en\":{\"language\":\"en\",\"value\":\"String, property label EN\"}},\"descriptions\":{},\"aliases\":{},\"claims\":{}}" \
       -d "token=+\" \
    # Create an item with label, description and statement using above property
    curl -i -X POST \
       -H "Content-Type:application/x-www-form-urlencoded" \
       -d "data={\"type\":\"item\",\"labels\":{\"en\":{\"language\":\"en\",\"value\":\"Some item\"}},\"descriptions\":{\"en\":{\"language\":\"en\",\"value\":\"Some item description\"}},\"aliases\":{},\"claims\":{\"P1\":[{\"mainsnak\":{\"snaktype\":\"value\",\"property\":\"P1\",\"datavalue\":{\"value\":\"Statement string value\",\"type\":\"string\"},\"datatype\":\"string\"},\"type\":\"statement\",\"references\":[]}]},\"sitelinks\":{}}" \
       -d "token=+\" \

    Once the updater has run (by default it sleeps for 10 seconds before checking for changes) the triples can be seen in blazegraph using the following SPARQL query.

    SELECT * WHERE {?a ?b ?c}
    Query results showing the concept URI as http://wikibase.svc/entity

    The concept URI is clearly visible in the triples as the default ‘wikibase.svc’ provided by the docker-compose example for wikibase.

    Running a new query service

    You could choose to load the triples with a new concept URI into the same queryservice and namespace. However to simplify things, specifically, the cleanup of old triples, a clean and empty query service is also a good choice.

    In my docker-compose file, I will specify a new wdqs service with a new name and altered set of environment variables, with the WIKIBASE_HOST environment variable changed to the new URI.

        image: wikibase/wdqs:0.3.2
          - query-service-data-new:/wdqs/data
        command: /
             - wdqs-new.svc
          - WDQS_HOST=wdqs-new.svc
          - WDQS_PORT=9999
          - 9999

    This query service makes use of a new docker volume that I also need to define in my docker-compose.

      < ....... <other volumes here> ....... >

    As this URI is actually fake, and also in order to keep my updater requests within the local network I also need to add a new network alias to the existing wikibase service. After doing so my wikibase network section will look like this.

             - wikibase.svc

    To apply the changes I’ll restart the wikibase service and start the new updater service using the following commands.

    $ docker-compose up -d --force-recreate --no-deps wikibase
    Recreating wdqsconceptblog2019_wikibase_1      ... done
    $ docker-compose up -d --force-recreate --no-deps wdqs-new
    Creating wdqsconceptblog2019_wdqs-new_1 ... done

    Now 2 blazegraph query services will be running, both controlled by docker-compose.

    The published endpoint, via the wdqs-proxy, is still pointing at the old wdqs service, as is the updater that is currently running.

    Dumping RDF from Wikibase

    The dumpRdf.php maintenance script in Wikibase repo allows the dumping of all Items and properties as RDF for use in external services, such as the query service.

    The default concept URI for Wikibase is determined from the wgServer MediaWiki global setting [code]. Before MediaWiki 1.34 wgServer was auto-detected [docs] in PHP.

    Thus when running a maintenance script, wgServer is unknown, and will default to the hostname the wikibase container can see, for example, “b3a2e9156cc1”.

    In order to avoid dumping data with this garbage concept URI one of the following must be done:

    • Wikibase repo conceptBaseUri setting must be set (to the new concept URI)
    • MediaWiki wgServer setting must be set (to the new concept URI)
    • –server <newConceptUriServerBase> must be provided to the dumpRdf.php script

    So in order to generate a new RDF dump with the new concept URI, and store the RDF in a file run the following command.

    $ docker-compose exec wikibase php ./extensions/Wikibase/repo/maintenance/dumpRdf.php --server --output /tmp/rdfOutput
    Dumping entities of type item, property
    Dumping shard 0/1
    Processed 2 entities.

    The generated file can then be copied from the wikibase container to the local filesystem using the docker cp command and the name of the wikibase container for your setup, which you can find using docker ps.

    docker cp wdqsconceptblog2019_wikibase_1:/tmp/rdfOutput ./rdfOutput

    Munging the dump

    In order to munge the dump, first I’ll copy it into the new wdqs service with the following command.

    docker cp ./rdfOutput wdqsconceptblog2019_wdqs-new_1:/tmp/rdfOutput

    And then run the munge script over the dump, specifying the concept URI.

    $ docker-compose exec wdqs-new ./ -f /tmp/rdfOutput -d /tmp/mungeOut -- --conceptUri
    #logback.classic pattern: %d{HH:mm:ss.SSS} [%thread] %-5level %logger{36} - %msg%n
    16:21:31.082 [main] INFO  org.wikidata.query.rdf.tool.Munge - Switching to /tmp/mungeOut/wikidump-000000001.ttl.gz

    The munge step will batch the data into a set of chunks based on a configured size. It also alters some of the triples along the way. The changes are documented here. If you have more data you may end up with more chunks.

    Loading the new query service

    Using the munged data and the script, the data can now be loaded directly into the query service.

    $ docker-compose exec wdqs-new ./ -n wdq -d /tmp/mungeOut
    Processing wikidump-000000001.ttl.gz
    <!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN" ""><html><head><meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html;charset=UTF-8"><title>blazegraph™ by SYSTAP</title
    ><body<p>totalElapsed=193ms, elapsed=75ms, connFlush=0ms, batchResolve=0, whereClause=0ms, deleteClause=0ms, insertClause=0ms</p
    ><hr><p>COMMIT: totalElapsed=323ms, commitTime=1572971213838, mutationCount=43</p
    >File wikidump-000000002.ttl.gz not found, terminating

    A second updater

    Currently, I have 2 query services running. The old one, which is public and still being updated by an updater, and the new one which is freshly loaded and slowly becoming out of date.

    To create a second updater that will run alongside the old updater I define the following new service in my docker-compose file, which points to the new wikibase hostname and query service backend.

        image: wikibase/wdqs:0.3.2
        command: /
        - wdqs-new
        - wikibase
             - wdqs-updater-new.svc
          - WDQS_HOST=wdqs-new.svc
          - WDQS_PORT=9999

    Starting it with a command I have used a few times in this blog post.

    $ docker-compose up -d --force-recreate --no-deps wdqs-updater-new
    Creating wdqsconceptblog2019_wdqs-updater-new_1 ... done

    I can confirm using ‘docker ps’ and also by looking at the container logs that the new updater is running.

    docker-compose ps | grep wdqs-new
    wdqsconceptblog2019_wdqs-new_1           / /runBlazegr ...   Up      9999/tcp

    Using the new query service

    You might want to check your query service before switching live traffic to it to make sure everything is OK, but I will skip that step.

    In order to direct traffic to the newly loaded and now updating query service all that is needed is to reload the wdqs proxy with the new backend host using the wdqs-proxy docker image, this can be done with PROXY_PASS_HOST.

        image: wikibase/wdqs-proxy
          - PROXY_PASS_HOST=wdqs-new.svc:9999
         - "8989:80"
        - wdqs-new
             - wdqs-proxy.svc

    And the service can be restarted with that same old command.

    $ docker-compose up -d --force-recreate --no-deps wdqs-proxy
    Recreating wdqsconceptblog2019_wdqs-proxy_1 ... done

    Running the same query in the UI will now return results with the new concept URIs.

    And if I make a new item (Q2) I can also see this appear in the new query service with the correct concept URI.

    curl -i -X POST \
       -H "Content-Type:application/x-www-form-urlencoded" \
       -d "data={\"type\":\"item\",\"labels\":{\"en\":{\"language\":\"en\",\"value\":\"Some item created after migration\"}},\"descriptions\":{\"en\":{\"language\":\"en\",\"value\":\"Some item description\"}},\"aliases\":{},\"claims\":{\"P1\":[{\"mainsnak\":{\"snaktype\":\"value\",\"property\":\"P1\",\"datavalue\":{\"value\":\"Statement string value\",\"type\":\"string\"},\"datatype\":\"string\"},\"type\":\"statement\",\"references\":[]}]},\"sitelinks\":{}}" \
       -d "token=+\" \
    Result of: SELECT * WHERE { <> ?b ?c. }


    I left some things lying around that are no longer needed that I should cleanup. These include docker containers, docker volumes and files.

    First the containers.

    $ docker-compose stop wdqs-updater wdqs
    Stopping wdqsconceptblog2019_wdqs-updater_1 ... done
    Stopping wdqsconceptblog2019_wdqs_1         ... done
    $ docker-compose rm wdqs-updater wdqs
    Going to remove wdqsconceptblog2019_wdqs-updater_1, wdqsconceptblog2019_wdqs_1
    Are you sure? [yN] y
    Removing wdqsconceptblog2019_wdqs-updater_1 ... done
    Removing wdqsconceptblog2019_wdqs_1         ... done

    Then the volume. Note, this is a permanent removal of any data stored in the volume.

    $ docker volume ls | grep query-service-data
    local               wdqsconceptblog2019_query-service-data
    local               wdqsconceptblog2019_query-service-data-new
    $ docker volume rm wdqsconceptblog2019_query-service-data

    And other files, also being permanently removed.

    $ rm rdfOutput
    $ docker-compose exec wikibase rm /tmp/rdfOutput
    $ docker-compose exec wdqs-new rm /tmp/rdfOutput
    $ docker-compose exec wdqs-new rm -rf /tmp/mungeOut

    I then also removed these services and volumes from the docker-compose yml file.

    Things to consider

    • This process will take longer on larger wikibases.
    • If not using docker, you will have to run each query service on a different port.
    • This post was using wdqs 0.3.2. Future versions will likely work in the same way, but past versions may not.


    The post Changing the concept URI of an existing Wikibase with data appeared first on Addshore.

    Channeling passion into action: NSPN Wiki Scientists

    00:44, Wednesday, 06 2019 November UTC

    “The public looks to Wikipedia to make informed political decisions. If I can make that information more accurate and complete, that’s a good use of my time.”


    When the National Science Policy Network (NSPN) announced that they would be sponsoring a course with us for early career scientists to add science policy information to Wikipedia (in alignment with their NSPN 2020 Election Initiative), the reaction online was excitement. The enthusiasm from early career scientists to take action was contagious and soon we had a robust pool of impressive applicants for the seats sponsored by NSPN. These scientists have been meeting virtually, once a week since September to deliver well-sourced, crucial science policy information to Wikipedia readers everywhere.

    Professionals are drawn to take (and organizations are drawn to sponsor) our Wikipedia training courses for a variety of reasons, but almost always those reasons are driven by a passion for freeing up academic knowledge for people to use in their everyday lives. As a Wiki Scientist in a past course put it,


    “As an academic, my goal is to produce high-quality data and analyses that can be used to inform policy processes; as an activist, my goal is to ensure that the information generated by those in the academy finds it way into the hands of the people who need to use it. Being a Wiki Scientist provided me a tremendous opportunity to finally fulfill the latter goal.”


    We’re thrilled to help channel scientists’ passion to inform the public into concrete action. By collaborating with other early career professionals to drive forward a shared vision, they’re putting their knowledge to great use.

    Meet the NSPN Wiki Scientists!

    Kate Bredbenner is a graduate student at Rockefeller University in New York City. By day, Kate studies HIV using one-of-a-kind microscopes to learn more about how new HIV viruses are formed. By night, Kate runs a YouTube channel called SimpleBiologist that translates new scientific publications into 5 minute animated videos for adults without science careers. She also works with other science outreach organizations like the BioBus, KnowScience, and the Science Outreach Lab at Rockefeller to connect different communities with science. Kate hopes to edit Wikipedia articles surrounding molecular biology since she frequently and quickly becomes an expert on many topics for her YouTube videos.

    Gwendolyn Gallagher is a PhD graduate student at the University of Chicago studying the effects of marine microbes on the global carbon cycle. In her work, she is interested in how microbes survive using phototrophy and the resulting global impacts of these metabolisms. The topic areas she would like to improve on Wikipedia are articles that focus on the intersection of aquatic systems, environmental science, and policy.

    Christina Hansen is a developmental biologist and Genetics PhD student at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She uses zebrafish and closely related fish species to study maternally-inherited factors responsible for key events, such as germ cell specification, during early embryonic development. Since her work incorporates aspects of molecular biology, genetics/genome editing, and reproductive/developmental biology, she plans to contribute her expertise in these areas to improve related Wikipedia content.

    Dilara Kiran is a combined degree DVM/PhD candidate at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO. Her thesis research seeks to understand how infection with the bacteria that causes tuberculosis alters our immune cells. She is extremely passionate about using science to impact society through both evidence-based policy-making and effective science communication. During this course, Dilara aims to contribute to Wikipedia pages pertaining to global public health, veterinary medicine, zoonotic disease, and One Health.

    Jake Krauss is a biologist and science communicator currently working on a PhD in reintroduction biology, or the study of bringing back endangered species from the brink of extinction. He has spent the last five years working in tropical biology and worked in science writing in marine science issues for the National Environmental Education Foundation. He has documented his experiences on his personal blog ( and presented on various environmental science topics on Boiling Point, a science-themed podcast. He looks forward to contributing to articles related to wildlife conservation and the tropics as a Wikipedian citizen-scientist!

    Lydia Le Page is a postdoc at the University of California, San Francisco, where she images brain metabolism with MRI to understand neurodegenerative diseases. She is keen to contribute to Wikipedia as it is a fantastic resource for knowledge. She is most excited by democratizing evidence based policy – empowering voters to check politicians’ claims – and helping policy-makers make the best use of research when developing policies.

    Katherine Lopez was born and raised in Queens, NY. She graduated from Hunter College with an honors degree in Psychology. She is currently pursuing a PhD in neuroscience at Weill Cornell Medicine where she aims to decipher how phenotypic adaption to environmental challenges is mediated through epigenetics. One of the topic areas she plans to improve on is the ecology/animal section in Wikipedia where much of the neuroscience research is omitted or outdated. Additionally, she is also interested in expanding sections of the epigenetic page, particularly the psychiatry portion, where new research isn’t described.

    Holly Mayton is a co-founder and director of the National Science Policy Network, and holds a PhD in Chemical and Environmental Engineering with a Designated Emphasis in Public Policy from the University of California, Riverside. In addition to her dissertation work on the fate and transport of colloids in aquatic environments, she has served as a University of California Global Food Initiative Fellow, represented students on the board of the California Agriculture and Food Enterprise (CAFE) at UCR, contributed to several California state advisory committees on environmental science and public outreach, and worked part-time for the California Council on Science and Technology. Holly is passionate about connecting food and water science to policy and advocacy outcomes, from the local to the international level, and aims to improve Wikipedia pages related to food and water security in the U.S. and abroad.

    Christopher Miller is currently an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research, where he is involved in program management of several inter-agency and public-private collaborations bringing to bear the High Performance Computing capabilities of the D.O.E. to solve Big Data problems in the cancer drug development and Veterans healthcare space. He received his Sc.B. in Cell and Molecular Biology from Brown University and the M.D. degree from the Carver College of Medicine at the University of Iowa. He completed a postdoctoral research fellowship in Sleep Medicine, Neurobiology and Epidemiology at Case Western Reserve University, where he investigated the application of entropy analysis algorithms to physiological time-series data to inform predictive modeling of clinical outcomes in patients with respiratory disorders and sleep disordered breathing. He also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Clinical Medical Informatics at the N.I.H. Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communication at the National Library of Medicine where he used natural language processing and semantic predication extraction to visualize and analyze conceptual relationships in Medline text to facilitate literature-based discovery and hypothesis generation. Dr. Miller has biomedical research experience in Immunology and Molecular Virology.

    Amy Nippert, graduate student in Neuroscience at the University of Minnesota.

    Daniel Puentes, graduate student in Physics at Michigan State University.

    Brian Redder, graduate student in Soil Science and biogeochemistry at Penn State University.

    Jess Rudnick is a fifth year PhD Candidate in the Center for Environmental Policy and Behavior at UC Davis. Her research interests focus around the human dimension of agricultural-environmental issues, motivated by her desire to contribute to building a more equitable and sustainable food system. For her graduate research, she studied California’s policy approaches to climate-smart agriculture and California farmer decision-making on nitrogen management, for water quality implications. She is excited to join Wiki Scientists to add to the amazing amount of accurate, detailed and free (!) science information available to all online through Wikipedia, and she is especially looking forward to contributing to pages on agriculture, food production and food justice.

    Alicia Takaoka, graduate student studying human computer interaction and social informatics at the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

    Maryam Zaringhalam is a molecular biologist by training who now works in science policy, communication, and advocacy, with the goal of increasing access to the products and practice of science. She is a leadership team member of 500 Women Scientists and enrolled in the course to learn how to more effectively improve and create biographies for women and underrepresented minorities in STEM and science policy.

    If you’re interested in buying out a customized professional development course for your members or for faculty at your institution, contact Director of Partnerships Jami Mathewson at

    In Changes and improvements to PHPUnit testing in MediaWiki, I wrote about efforts to help speed up PHPUnit code coverage generation for local development.[0] While this improves code coverage generation time for local development, it could be better.

    As the Manual:PHP unit testing/Code coverage page advises, adjusting the whitelist in the PHPUnit XML configuration can speed things up dramatically. The problem is, adjusting that file is a manual process and a little cumbersome, so I usually didn't do it. And then because code coverage generation reports were slow locally[1], I ended up not running them while working on a patch. True, you will get feedback on code coverage metrics from CI, but it would be nicer if you could quickly get this information in your local environment first.

    This was the motivation to add a Composer script in MediaWiki core that will help you adjust the PHPUnit coverage whitelist quickly while you're working on a patch for an extension or skin.

    You can run it with composer phpunit:coverage-edit -- extensions/$EXT_NAME, e.g. composer phpunit:coverage-edit -- extensions/GrowthExperiments.

    The ComposerPhpunitXmlCoverageEdit.php script copies the phpunit.xml.dist file to phpunit.xml (not version controlled), and modifies the whitelist to add directories for that extension/skin. vendor/bin/phpunit then reads phpunit.xml instead of the phpunit.xml.dist file. Tip: Make sure "Edit configurations" in your IDE (PhpStorm in my case) is using vendor/bin/phpunit and phpunit.xml, not phpunit.xml.dist, when executing the tests.

    generating phpunit.xml and running code coverage in phpstorm

    When you want to reset your configuration, you can rm phpunit.xml and vendor/bin/phpunit will read from phpunit.xml.dist again.

    Further improvements to the script could include:

    • Reading the extension.json file to determine which directories to add to the whitelist, rather than using a hardcoded list (T235029)
    • Allow passing arbitrary directories/filenames, e.g. for working with subsections of core or of a larger extension (T235030)
    • Adding a flag for flipping the addUncoveredFilesFromWhitelist property, so that in the integration/config repo could be removed in favor of the Composer script (T235031)

    Thanks to @Mainframe98 and @Krinkle for review of the patch and to @AnneT for reviewing this post. Happy hacking!

    [0] One patch changed <whitelist addUncoveredFilesFromWhitelist="true"> to false to help speed up PHPUnit code coverage generation, the second patch flipped the flag back to true in CI for generating complete coverage reports.
    [1] For GrowthExperiments, generating coverage reports without a customized whitelist takes ~17 seconds. With a custom whitelist, it takes ~1 second. While 17 seconds is arguably not a lot of time, the near-instant feedback with a customized whitelist means one is less likely to face interruptions to their flow or concentration while working on a patch.

    Melony Shemberger, Ed.D. is Associate Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication at Murray State University. Here she provides a framework for teaching Wikipedia writing assignments in the journalism classroom.

    Melony Shemberger, Ed.D.
    Image by Mshemberger, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

    When I agreed to teach News Editing for the Spring 2019 semester, I went into full throttle to plan for a course that I had not taught in three years. What bothered me more was that the course content, although necessary and relevant, is dry and bland. Sprucing up the class lectures and assessments was my top goal, but I did not know what that would look like.

    My answer came in November 2018 when I attended a faculty development workshop on my campus presented by instructional librarian Amy Dye Reeves, who completed a Wikipedia editing course for professionals, taught by Wiki Education, earlier in the year. As she was speaking, the idea to integrate Wikipedia into my News Editing course started taking shape in my head. I decided on the spot to involve Wikipedia as an experiential learning activity for my students. Minutes after the session ended, I returned to my office and signed up for a Wiki Education course page.  

    When the spring semester began in mid-January, I devoted the first week to building support among my students for Wikipedia. We explored how Wikipedia could build their editing skills through a series of themes. First, we discussed the importance of their editing contributions to enhance the accuracy of Wikipedia content. Second, we discussed ways in which Wikipedia is used in academic and nonacademic environments. Third, instruction centered on how Wikipedia content is based on established sources, that it’s not original research, and how the writing must be neutral and free of bias. 

    Aligning course content to Wikipedia

    For successful integration of Wikipedia into the News Editing course, these learning objectives served as the foundation: 

    1. Demonstrate mastery of grammar, punctuation, spelling and sentence syntax.

    2. Verify sources of information.

    3. Edit for accuracy. 

    4. Edit copy for the online platform.

    5. Edit copy according to legal and ethical issues.

    6. Demonstrate proficient application of rules in The Associated Press Stylebook.

    The class met for 75 minutes on Mondays and Wednesdays. On Mondays, lectures and formative assessment applications were conducted on a particular content area. These areas included grammar, punctuation, precision, accuracy, language and style, and legal and ethical concepts. For 14 weeks, each Wednesday was designated Wikipedia Wednesday, when students applied what they learned on Monday by editing a prescribed number of articles on Wednesday. In addition to editing, the students spent a portion of Wednesday’s class researching and writing their own Wikipedia articles. Students also conducted peer reviews of the Wikipedia articles they wrote. Students reflected on their experiences in weekly discussion board prompts in Canvas, the university’s learning management system.


    Wikipedia assignments were worth 40 percent of a student’s final grade and based on four components: 1. class participation during Wikipedia Wednesdays, 2. discussion board assignments, 3. article development, and 4. presentation of their experience at the university’s Scholars Week celebration in April. Rubrics were used to assess the editing, writing, and discussion assignments. A student’s grade was not based on whether his or her article was published. Several drafts were submitted before the final one, with instructor feedback provided each time.

    I designed discussion board assignments in Canvas for students to reflect on their editing and writing experiences that day and comment on the course material applied. Here is an example:

    Editing language was discussed in class on Monday. This means we as editors strive to eliminate wordiness. Proper grammar, precision and accuracy also are important. Reflect on these concepts. Describe your editing process today. 

    Provide the title of the Wikipedia articles you edited and links to the articles. Strive to edit three articles today.

    In addition, here are tasks for writing your article:

    1. Develop your outline.

    2. Find at least two sources for now to help you begin your research. Document those in your discussion post.

    3. To begin writing your article in the sandbox, access the Wiki Education training module introducing the concept.

    In your post, discuss your progress on your article, as well as any other insights that you wish to provide. 

    Your response should be approximately 150-200 words and must be posted before the end of class. Respond to at least one other post before the deadline. Points will be deducted if no peer response is recorded.

    In their posts, students had to provide links to the articles they edited and comment on peers’ posts. The number of articles the students edited varied. For example, students might be tasked to edit three articles one week. The next week, the number could be higher or lower, depending on the content area discussed on the previous Monday. 

    Results/Student Feedback

    In Spring 2019, 12 students edited 116 articles, making 321 total edits and adding 9,500 words. Five students had articles published on Wikipedia, plus seven Commons uploads such as photos. Students were able to include their Wikipedia editing history as part of their portfolio, qualifying this activity as an experiential learning artifact.

    In addition, I have shared my Wikipedia work at conferences. My instructional design of Wikipedia in the journalism classroom was selected as a winning entry in a teaching contest at the Association for the Education of Journalism and Mass Communication annual conference held in early August. For the Fall 2019 semester, Wikipedia again is a major learning activity for another course that I teach — in-depth reporting. We are in a new kind of information age that demands the need for greater accuracy, and I am eager to guide students on this journey as we work to shape Wikipedia into a source for everyone to use.

    To incorporate a Wikipedia writing assignment into a future course, visit to access our free assignment templates, student trainings, and tools.

    Header image by Murray State, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

    Now that we know all about what MediaInfo content looks like and how to request it from the api, let’s see how to add MediaInfo content to an image. If you don’t remember all that, have a look at the previous blog post for a refresher.

    Adding captions

    Captions are called ‘labels’ in Wikibase lingo, and so we’ll want to put together a string that represents the json text defining one or more labels. Each label can have a string defined for one or more languages. This then gets passed to the MediaWiki api to do the heavy lifting.

    Here’s an example of the ‘data’ parameter to the api before url encoding:

    data={"labels":{"en":{"language":"en","value":"Category:Mak Grgić"},
    "sl":{"language":"sl","value":"Mak Grgic"}}}

    You’ll need to pass a csrf token which you can get after logging in to MediaWiki, and the standard parameters to wbeditentity, namely:

    id=<Mxxx, the MediaInfo id associated with your image>
    summary=<comment summarizing the edit>
    token=<csrf token you got from logging in>

    Since I spend most of my coding life in Python land, we love the requests module. Here’s the relevant code for that:

            params = {'action': 'wbeditentity',
                      'format': 'json',
                      'id': minfo_id,
                      'data': '{"labels":{"en":{"language":"en","value":"' + caption + '"}}}',
                      'summary': comment,
                      'token': self.args['creds']['commons']['token']}
            response =['wiki_api_url'], data=params,
                                     headers={'User-Agent': self.args['agent']})

    where variables like minfo_id, comment and so on should be self-explanatory.

    You’ll get json back and if the request fails within MediaWiki, there will be an entry named ‘error’ in the response with some string describing the error.

    You can have a look at the add_captions() method in for any missing details.

    Since that’s all pretty straightfoward, let’s move on to…

    Adding Depicts Statements

    A ‘depicts’ statement is a Wikibase statement (or ‘claim’) that the image associated with the specified MediaInfo id depicts a certain subject. We specify this by using the Wikidata property id associated with ‘depicts’. For that is and for the test version of Wikidata I work with at it is so you’ll need to tailor your script to the Wikibase source you’re using.

    When we set a depicts statement via the api, existing statements are not touched, so it’s good to check that we don’t already have a depicts statement that refers to our subject. We can retrieve the existing MediaInfo content (see the previous blog post for instructions) and check that there is no such depicts statement in the content before continuing.

    When we add a depicts or other statement, existing labels aren’t disturbed, so you can batch caption some images and then go on to batch add depicts statements without any worries.

    The MediaInfo depicts statement, like any other Wikibase claim, has a ‘mainsnak‘, and a ‘snaktype‘ (see previous blog post for more info). Crucially, the value for the depicts property must be an existing item in the Wikidata repository used by your image repo; it cannot be a text string but must be an item id (Qnnn).

    Here is an example of the ‘data’ parameter to the api before url encoding:


    For the requests module, you’ll have something like this:

            depicts = ('{"claims":[{"mainsnak":{"snaktype":"value","property":"' +
                       self.args['depicts'] +
                       '","datavalue":{"value":{"entity-type":"item","id":"' +
                       depicts_id + '"},' +
            comment = 'add depicts statement'
            params = {'action': 'wbeditentity',
                      'format': 'json',
                      'id': minfo_id,
                      'data': depicts,
                      'summary': comment,
                      'token': self.args['creds']['commons']['token']}
            response =['wiki_api_url'], data=params,
                                     headers={'User-Agent': self.args['agent']})

    Note here that while we retrieve MediaInfo content from the api and these entries are called ‘statements’ in the output, when we submit them, they are called ‘claims’. Other than that, make sure that you have the right property id for ‘depicts’ and you should be good to go.

    There are some details like the ‘<code>rank:normal</code>’ bit that you can learn about here  (TL;DR: if you use ‘rank:normal’ for now you won’t hurt anything.)

    Again, the variables ought to be pretty self-explanatory. For more details you can look at the add_depicts method in the script.

    You’ll get an ‘error’ item in the json response, if there’s a problem.

    More about the sample script

    The script is a quick tool I used to populate our testbed with a bunch of structured data; it’s not meant for production use! It doesn’t check for nor respect maxlag (the databases replication lag status), it doesn’t handle dropped connections, it does no retries, it doesn’t use clientlogin for non-bot scripts, etc. But it does illustrate how to add retrieve MediaInfo content, add captions, add items to Wikidata, and set depicts statements.

    Much more is possible; this is just the beginning. Join the #wikimedia-commons-sd IRC channel on for more!

    Wiki Loves Monuments UK 2019 winners announced

    12:06, Monday, 04 2019 November UTC
    Perch Rock Lighthouse continues its run of winning entries in WLM UK competitions with this commended image by Mark Warren

    Wiki Loves Monuments UK, part of the world’s biggest photographic contest, has announced the winners of this year’s competition. The UK competition is organised and voted on by members of the Wikimedia community in the UK, and seeks to encourage photographers to upload their images to Wikimedia Commons, the media-sharing sister site of Wikipedia, where content is shared on Creative Commons Open Licenses and is freely available to use by anybody.

    Competition organiser Michael Maggs announced the winners on the Wiki Loves Monuments UK site over the weekend and explained the judges decisions to award the main prizes.

    First prize

    Kilchurn Castle at sunrise by MHoser – image CC BY-SA 4.0

    Michael Maggs: “The judges appreciated the wonderful colour-palette that the photographer has captured with the early-morning light, and the real skill and care that is evident in the composition.”

    Second prize

    File:Bass Rock with lighthouse and gannets.jpg

    Bass Rock with Lighthouse by Ellievking – image CC BY-SA 4.0

    Michael Maggs: “Although Bass Rock is a well-photographed subject, the judges picked this image out for its unusual and varied lighting which brings out the details of the upper rock surface, the clouds of birds in flight, and the photographic angle which allows the lighthouse to stand out clearly.

    Third prize

    Sun Setting on Commando Memorial by Jock in Northumberland – image CC BY-SA 4.0

    Michael Maggs: “The judges liked the use of a low camera angle and late afternoon sunshine to enhance the presence of this powerful monument. They also appreciated the photographer choosing a lesser-known site.”


    Arnol Blackhouse

    Arnol Blackhouse by Castlehunter (David C. Weinczok) – image CC BY-SA 4.0

    Clifton Suspension Bridge and the Observatory in Bristol, England

    Clifton Suspension Bridge and the Observatory in Bristol England by Chris Lathom-Sharpimage CC BY-SA 4.0

    High tide at Newport transporter Bridge

    High tide at Newport Transporter Bridge by Andy Perkinsimage CC BY-SA 4.0

    Leasowe Lighthouse Frozen Fields

    Leasowe Lighthouse with Frozen Fields by Mark Warren 1973image CC BY-SA 4.0

    Perch Rock Lighthouse Gold

    Perch Rock Lighthouse by Mark Warren 1973  – image CC BY-SA 4.0

    This year the judges have awarded only five commendations, as they did not feel there were sufficient images of prize-winning quality to award the usual seven. We are accordingly submitting a total of eight images this time.

    If you want to see all 10,438 images submitted to Wiki Loves Monuments this year, you can find them in this category on Wikimedia Commons.

    Congratulations to the winners of the top prizes, and especially to MHoser, whose winning entry receives a prize of £250. Wiki Loves Monuments will return in September 2020, and we strongly encourage photographers to consider taking photos of monuments throughout the year which they can submit next September.


    Tech News issue #45, 2019 (November 4, 2019)

    00:00, Monday, 04 2019 November UTC
    TriangleArrow-Left.svgprevious 2019, week 45 (Monday 04 November 2019) nextTriangleArrow-Right.svg
    Other languages:
    Bahasa Indonesia • ‎Deutsch • ‎English • ‎español • ‎français • ‎lietuvių • ‎polski • ‎português do Brasil • ‎suomi • ‎svenska • ‎čeština • ‎Ελληνικά • ‎русский • ‎српски / srpski • ‎українська • ‎עברית • ‎العربية • ‎ไทย • ‎中文 • ‎日本語

    weeklyOSM 484

    12:24, Sunday, 03 2019 November UTC


    lead picture

    OSM-data + Blender + QGIS + … + creativity by Dolly Andriatsiferana
    1 | © Dolly Andriatsiferana(@privatemajory) – Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors


    • Jean-Louis Zimmerman poses an ontological challenge for OSM tagging. How do you describe a tourism direction sign (fingerpost) with dynamic digital panels which rotate?
    • The tag highway=mini_roundabout has been used nearly 52,000 times and was documented 11 years ago. Florian Lohoff came across a mini_roundabaout in OSM and suggests deprecating the tag, one which he hadn’t used before. This started a lengthy discussion thread on the tagging mailing list where you can learn the background and a lot of country-specific regulations.
    • The tagging of markers for utility services, such as gas and water pipes, service valves, power lines, hydrants and many more, has been approved. As usual the documentation moved from the proposal site to Key:marker in the OSM wiki.
    • Mateusz Konieczny filed an issue on GitHub for the iD editor to reverse the disputed decision of the iD maintainers to let the iD validator recommend replacing crossing=zebra with crossing=marked. This is a particular issue in the UK, where the tag originated, and where it has a precise legal meaning. The GitHub issue was closed and further comments were ignored.
    • Andrew Wiseman of Apple announces on several mailing lists that they had refreshed MapRoulette challenges with new data, and added more countries.
    • Nuno Caldeira writes about how Portugal is validating parks with a MapRoulette mission to check for fake parks added by Pokémon GO players. It turns out that mis-translation and differences between Portuguese spoken in Brazil and Portugal have also contributed to mistagging of parks.
    • Fanfouer’s “Line management” proposal aims to add information on how lines such as power lines are arranged on a support, such as a pole.
    • Blog.dedj has given a visual explanation of how to use the Tasking Manager (fr) (automatic translation) to manage a project and break down group work.
    • Access tags, the use of the value “yes” vs “designated” and the “last mile” mapping of several logistic companies are causing discussions around the world. SomeoneElse explains his personal view on these topics in his user diary, which is — as he points out — very “England and Wales” centric.


    • Kathmandu Living Labs reported the findings of their Digital Internship and Leadership (DIAL) program in an article in the Journal of Open Geospatial Data, Software and Standards. The program engaged undergraduate students and recent graduates from Nepal in a remote internship program to map rural Nepal.
    • The responsive style “Air3” created by user Negreheb has been set as the default style by the administrator of the OSM forum, so visitors can also view the forum on their smartphones. Feedback is highly appreciated. Registered users can select the Air3-style at Profile->Display->Styles.
    • The Malian website WoManager interviewed (fr) (automatic translation) Nathalie Sidibé from OpenStreetMap Mali. In the interview Nathalie shares challenges she came across in her young life as a Malian woman, and her future ambitions.
    • Youthmappers have published their third quarterly newsletter of 2019. They welcome nine new chapters from universities in Bangladesh, Tanzania, Ethiopia, USA and Uganda, and share news of several mapping projects done by Youthmappers chapters all over the world.

    OpenStreetMap Foundation

    • A draft working document on the OSMF Microgrant scheme has been made available. Michael Reichert has already made some detailed comments on this draft.
    • OSMF’s Membership Working Group explains the possibilities for those who can not afford the OSMF membership fee or alternatively have no way to send the OSMF membership fee. The post points to available information on the Fee Waiver Program and also to ways you can help people from your community become members of the Foundation.


    • If you have not yet attended a State of the Map this year, you still have the chance to catch up with a trip to New Zealand. The FOSS4G SotM Oceania will take place on 12 to 15 November 2019 in Wellington.
    • On his WhatOSM blog, Ilya Zveryev reflects (automatic translation) on aspects of his talk at State of the Map Southeast Europe, “OpenStreetMapS”, on the consequences of regional variability in tagging approaches.
    • OpenStreetMap DRC and MapBox held training (fr) (automatic translation) about MAPBOX ATLAS on 17 and 18 October. MAPBOX ATLAS is an offline mapping system for certain MapBox mapping tools. Local OpenStreetMap members Claire Halleux and David Kapay participated, as did two employees of the Ministry of Health who will use the tools in the fight against epidemics.
    • The State of the Map Africa organising committee shares details about the conference in their blog. State of the Map Africa 2019 will take place in Abidjan and Grand-Bassam, Ivory Coast from the 22 to 24 November.
    • Also State of the Map LatAm 2019 is looming. Latin Amercia’s main OSM event will take place from 14 to 16 November 2019 in Encarnación, Paraguay. Further details can be found in the OSM wiki (es) (automatic translation).

    Humanitarian OSM

    • Russell Deffner announced this year’s GeoWeek during the week of 11 to 16 November 2019. With partners such as the Climate Center, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) reference center, the events will be about completing tasks for mappers and validators related to climate change and extreme weather events.
    • Ramani Huria, a community-based mapping project in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania that creates highly accurate maps of the most flood-prone areas of the city, features in the Collective Intelligence Design Playbook written by Nesta as an example of taking action to combat climate change and impact through collective intelligence.
    • Nicholas Marchio highlights in an article in that the creation of the millionneighborhoods map “is a significant step toward locating where critical urban services are needed most”.


    • At DINAcon, the conference for digital sustainability, the Dinacon Awards presented five outstanding projects on Friday, 18 October in Berne. OpenSchoolMaps won in the category “Best Education Project”. A decisive point for the jury was obviously the possibility of feedback. OpenSchoolMaps is a small project to promote open maps and map data, including OpenStreetMap. It was founded by Prof. Stefan Keller. Also, computer science students of the university for technology Rapperswil helped.


    • [1] Dolly Andriatsiferana presented a self-made map of their hometown, Fianarantsoa, on Twitter.
    • The Transport & Development Policy Institute (ITDP) and the Brazilian Cyclists Union (UCB), two civil society organisations, have jointly created the CicloMapa platform to view cycling maps of Brazilian cities, with data mapped in OSM.

    Open Data


    • Élisée Reclus tweets: “The @DeutschePostDHL uses #OpenStreetMap uniquely in its location search, but attributes #HERE”. (de) He can recognise it because of a trap street accidentally created by himself. OSMF and FOSSGIS are now required to refer to our licence conditions.


    • Tomas Kasparek wants to create a map for the Czech Republic with old OSM data. While he has no issues with data back to October 2007, he has problems dealing with data before and asks for help.


    • The iD editor has been updated to v2.16.0. The release notes highlight support for objects which were detected in Mapillary images and you can track changes while editing. You can now use this version on the main map.
    • Joseph Eisenberg announced the release of v4.24.0 of the OpenStreetMap Carto stylesheet. Waterways as well as river and canal areas are now a bit darker. The new version also fixes the rendering of water body labels on nodes and deprecate the rendering of waterway=wadi. There are more changes which he mentioned in his blog post or can be found in GitHub.
    • Version 3.10 of QGIS is now available for download. This version shows the 3D length for an identified 3D linestring, brings several labelling, symbology and rendering improvements and adds new 3D features, including a 3D On-Screen Navigation. The full list of improvements can be found in the changelog below the list of sponsors.

    Did you know …

    • Datawrapper offers an Enriched Map service using OSM in the background. This map inserted in a news item by Radio-Canada shows OSM attribution. We also reported about the Datawrapper Map Locator service in weeklyOSM 430.
    • … the project which harnesses the richness of OpenStreetMap for earthquake risk modelling.
    • Taginfo, the site which allows exploration of which keys and tags are in use on OSM. A number of local versions exist too.

    Other “geo” things

    • The 118-year-old listed Danish lighthouse Rubjerg Knude Fyr threatened to slide into the sea. The lighthouse was moved on rails and brought to safety by an elaborate procedure. The public interest was great. The move was, of course, recorded on OSM.
    • No translation
    • OpenStreetMap Cameroun calls on twitter for applications for the GeOsm project. The selected applicants will lead the deployment of national spatial data infrastructure based on OpenStreetMap, like Geocameroun does in Cameroon. The project is searching for representatives from all five subregions of the continent of Africa.
    • Unexpected mobile roaming charges hit Russian scientists studying bird movements. SMS messages from a tracking device attached to an eagle were queued and dispatched en mass when the bird crossed borders into Iran and Khazakstan.
    • It’s not just OSMers who nit-pick about the difference between bars and pubs. El País English edition carries an interview with Amadeo Lázaro owner of the Casa Amadeo “Los Caracoles” pub in Madrid. In his view, what separates a bar from a pub in Spain is that bars have chairs, pubs only stools.
    • Climbing Uluru, a monolith in the desert south of Alice Springs, Australia, is no longer allowed. Violating both the sacred place of indigenous people and the consequent ban is now illegal.

    Upcoming Events

    Where What When Country
    Dhaka State of the Map Asia 2019 2019-11-01-2019-11-02 bangladesh
    Brno State of the Map CZ+SK 2019 2019-11-02-2019-11-03 czech republic
    Brno Brněnský listopadový Missing maps mapathon na konferenci OpenAlt 2019-11-02 czech republic
    Toronto Toronto Mappy Hour 2019-11-04 canada
    Grenoble Atelier Contribuer avec Mapillary 2019-11-04 france
    London London Missing Maps Mapathon 2019-11-05 united kingdom
    Stuttgart Stuttgarter Stammtisch 2019-11-06 germany
    Helsinki Missing Maps Mapathon at Finnish Red Cross – Nov 2019 2019-11-07 finland
    Bochum Mappertreffen 2019-11-07 germany
    San José Civic Hack & Map Night 2019-11-07 united states
    Montrouge Rencontre mensuelle des contributeurs de Montrouge et alentours 2019-11-07 france
    Ulmer Alb Stammtisch Ulmer Alb 2019-11-07 germany
    Dortmund Mappertreffen 2019-11-08 germany
    Kameoka 京都!街歩き!マッピングパーティ:第14回 鍬山神社 2019-11-10 japan
    Budapest OSM Hungary Meetup reboot 2019-11-11 hungary
    Taipei OSM x Wikidata #10 2019-11-11 taiwan
    Lyon Rencontre mensuelle pour tous 2019-11-12 france
    Salt Lake City SLC Mappy Hour 2019-11-12 united states
    Nitra Missing Maps Mapathon Nitra #4 2019-11-12 slovakia
    Wellington FOSS4G SotM Oceania 2019 2019-11-12-2019-11-15 new zealand
    Hamburg Hamburger Mappertreffen 2019-11-12 germany
    Munich Münchner Stammtisch 2019-11-13 germany
    Berlin 137. Berlin-Brandenburg Stammtisch 2019-11-14 germany
    Nantes Réunion mensuelle 2019-11-14 france
    Encarnación State of the Map Latam 2019 2019-11-14 paraguay
    Niš Missing Maps Mapathon Niš #1 2019-11-16 serbia
    Hanover Stammtisch 2019-11-16 germany
    Cologne Bonn Airport Bonner Stammtisch 2019-11-19 germany
    Reading Reading Missing Maps Mapathon 2019-11-19 united kingdom
    Lüneburg Lüneburger Mappertreffen 2019-11-19 germany
    Prešov Missing Maps Mapathon Prešov #4 2019-11-21 slovakia
    Grand-Bassam State of the Map Africa 2019 2019-11-22-2019-11-24 ivory coast
    Cape Town State of the Map 2020 2020-07-03-2020-07-05 south africa

    Note: If you like to see your event here, please put it into the calendar. Only data which is there, will appear in weeklyOSM. Please check your event in our public calendar preview and correct it, where appropriate.

    This weeklyOSM was produced by Elizabete, Jorieke V, Nakaner, NunoMASAzevedo, PierZen, Polyglot, Rogehm, SK53, Softgrow, SunCobalt, TheSwavu, YoViajo, derFred.

    Monthly​ ​Report,​ September 2019

    22:49, Friday, 01 2019 November UTC


    • This month we launched two new courses with two new partners! First, a 12-week course with the National Science Policy Network as part of its 2020 Election Initiative. Wiki Scientists are learning to contribute to Wikipedia in order to improve articles on scientific subjects relevant to the 2020 election. The neutral, well-sourced, fact-based material participants add will contribute to the body of knowledge voters check when making decisions at the ballot next year. We also started an 8-week course in connection with the New York Academy of Sciences. Like the NSPN course, participants are still in the early stages of the course, making minor edits and selecting their main project articles. We are thrilled with the range of scientific expertise these Wiki Scientists bring with them, selecting the kinds of articles that are difficult to edit for people without subject-matter training like sense strand, nigrostriatal pathway, graph C*-algebra, and anterior cranial fossa.
    • We made a number of improvements around how the Dashboard handles private information  including better documentation of exactly what private information the Dashboard stores and why, steps for removing private information, and a way to download the private information stored about users.


    Wikipedia Student Program

    Status of the Wikipedia Student Program for Fall 2019 in numbers, as of September 30:

    • 369 Wiki Education-supported courses were in progress (210, or 57%, were led by returning instructors).
    • 5,469 student editors were enrolled.
    • 62% of students were up-to-date with their assigned training modules.
    • Students added 431,000 words, edited 1,450 articles, created 47 new entries, and added 4,550 references.

    The Fall 2019 term is in full swing. Students are enrolling on the Dashboard, beginning to take the introductory training modules, and learning how to critically evaluate Wikipedia. The process of learning how to contribute to Wikipedia is as important as the contributions our students will ultimately make which is why these beginning weeks are indispensable.

    Wikipedia Student Program Manager Helaine Blumenthal spent most of September ensuring that all of our courses are getting off to a good start. Running a Wikipedia assignment, especially for the first time, can be a complex project with a lot of moving parts. As part of our efforts to provide robust support, Helaine launched a Slack channel for our Fall 2019 instructors. We’re hoping that the channel will be a space where our instructors can collaborate, exchange ideas, and share tips and solutions.

    We’re looking forward to the next few months when our students will begin to choose their topics and make their initial contributions.

    Student work highlights:

    A student in Ximena Gallardo’s English Composition class uploaded this photo of a St. Pats for All Parade, 
    which has been added to the article for Woodside, Queens.
    Image by La Guardia and Wagner Archives, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

    Activism and activists are an important part of the global community, as they can help bring our attention to worthy causes and peoples. This is most likely why some of the students in Kristy Roschke’s Digital Media Literacy class at Arizona State University chose to edit on this topic. One of the articles was the one on Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, an indigenous environmental activist, hip hop artist, and youth director of Earth Guardians, a worldwide conservation organization. Active since a young age, Martinez has spoken publicly about the effects of fossil fuels on indigenous and other marginalized communities. He is also one of the plaintiffs involved with the cases Juliana v. United States, where they are suing the federal government for failing to act on climate change, as well as the Martinez v. Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission lawsuit, which has the same aim but focuses on a state level. The other article is on Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, a poet and climate change activist from the Marshall Islands. She is a co-founder of the environmental nonprofit organization Jo-Jikum and in 2014, was chosen to address the United Nations Climate Summit and in the following year, at COP21 in Paris. Jetnil-Kijiner has also been recognized by Vogue magazine, who heralded her as one of the 13 Climate Warriors, and by the Earth Company, who named her Impact Hero of the Year.

    Many of the edits we highlight via this monthly report are sizable edits, however it’s important to recognize good smaller edits as well. One of the students in Jennie Burnet’s Culture and Change in Africa class at Georgia State University chose to update the article on slavery in contemporary Africa with some updated figures on slavery and vulnerability to slavery. The introductory paragraph to the article gives a great overview of this topic area: The continent of Africa is one of the regions most rife with contemporary slavery. Slavery in Africa has a long history, within Africa since before historical records, but intensifying with the Arab slave trade and again with the trans-Atlantic slave trade; the demand for slaves created an entire series of kingdoms (such as the Ashanti Empire) which existed in a state of perpetual warfare in order to generate the prisoners of war necessary for the lucrative export of slaves. These patterns have persisted into the colonial period during the late 19th and early 20th century. Although the colonial authorities attempted to suppress slavery from about 1900, this had very limited success, and after decolonization, slavery continues in many parts of Africa even though being technically illegal.

    This is a landscape featuring Perseus and Andromeda, located in the “Mythological Room” of the Imperial Villa at Boscotrecase and was uploaded by a Fordham University student in Richard Teverson’s Roman Art class.
    Image by Maulleigh, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

    Suicide is one of the top ten leading causes of death worldwide. Its impact can be felt long after a successful attempt and has the potential to rip asunder lives. One of the students in Janni Aragon’s Gender and International Relations class at the University of Victoria chose to edit on this somber topic, focusing specially on suicide among Indigenous peoples, who still too often marginalized and overlooked. Suicide rates across First Nations, Inuit, and Metis communities continue to be considerably higher than that of non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. A Statistics Canada survey from 2011 to 2016 found that, when comparing suicide rates of Indigenous peoples to the rest of the Canadian population, First Nations people had a suicide rate three times higher, Metis had an estimated rate two times higher, and Inuit communities were found to face a suicide rate as much as 9 times higher than the national average. A 2017 study in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry found intergenerational trauma due to the Canadian Indian residential school system to be linked to mental health issues and suicidal thoughts and actions. Much like the Indian schools in the United States, these residential schools were created to assimilate Indigenous children into the dominant culture (in this case Canadian) and to remove them from their homes and culture – even going as far as to deny and discourage family visits. Many of the students were exposed to physical and sexual abuse. All of this served to disconnect these children from their families and culture, leaving them unable to fit into either community even as they were still exposed to racism from mainstream Canadian society. All of this led to an increased risk of suicidal ideations and attempts that could in turn impact future generations.

    Scientist Audrey H. Sawyer now has a Wikipedia article thanks to our students
    Image by Waterbarnes, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

    In September, Wikipedia finally cracked 18% for proportion of women’s biographies. Increasing this number from 15.5% in 2014 has been a tremendous effort, and we’re proud to support instructors who write women into Wikipedia. One such instructor is Dr. Rebecca Barnes, whose most recent course Introduction to Global Climate Change just wrapped up. In a short 3.5 weeks, Dr. Barnes used our modules to teach students how to edit Wikipedia, resulting in an impressive 23 new biographies of women scientists! We now have articles for oceanographer Caroline C. Ummenhofer, marine biologist Anne E. Giblin, as well as earth scientist Katherine Calvin, among many others!

    Students in Joan Strassmann’s Behavioral Ecology class have been off to a great start, working on articles about Diptera, the insect order that includes flies, fruit flies, and mosquitoes. The Hawaiian Islands are home to about 1,000 fruit fly species; many of these species evolved there and are found nowhere else in the world. A student in the class created an article about Drosophila silvestris, one of these unique fruit fly species. Other students in the class have created new articles about Drosophila mettleri, the Sonoran Desert fly, and Aedes taeniorhynchus, the black salt marsh mosquito, which is a vector of a range of mosquito-borne diseases including West Nile virus, eastern and western equine encephalomyelitis, and yellow fever.

    Scholars & Scientists Program


    We have some exciting updates from the Wikidata program this past month. We have another beginner’s Wikidata course running currently. This course differs from our first round of Wikidata courses in that we have strong representation from art museum staff. We are eager to see how our curriculum and training are able to support the linked data needs of these institutions. There are eight participants currently enrolled and we are looking forward to all of the edits they will make to Wikidata. You can follow their progress here.

    We have also had some time to analyze the results of our first round of Wikidata courses from this summer. We have summarized some of the results of those first two courses in a blog post. We are proud of all of the edits these participants made on Wikidata. These two courses created more than 200 new items, made more than 3,000 edits, and added more than 300 descriptions to items. Lastly we had one participant merge more than 400 items. This is an achievement we are extremely proud of.

    On a qualitative level, we had a participant created a new property: Archives Directory for the History of Collecting in America ID, which is now in use with almost 100 items. We had another start an engaging discussion about how to express the concept of “exoneration” on Wikidata. These kinds of conversations could have a lasting impact on their respective disciplines on Wikidata. This level of engagement on Wikidata is something we hope future courses can build off of and that the Wikidata community can benefit from.


    This month we launched two new courses with two new partners! First, a 12-week course with the National Science Policy Network (NSPN) as part of its 2020 Election Initiative. Wiki Scientists are learning to contribute to Wikipedia in order to improve articles on scientific subjects relevant to the 2020 election. The neutral, well-sourced, fact-based material participants add will contribute to the body of knowledge voters check when making decisions at the ballot next year. You can read more about our partnership in this blog post from last month. The scientists taking the course are just starting to make some edits and select articles to work on in the coming weeks. A few examples of the topics they plan to improve at pathogen, algal bloom, user research, and science policy of the United States, among many others. We are excited by the cause and passion of the course and looking forward to helping these subject-matter experts have an impact on public knowledge.

    We also started an 8-week course in connection with the New York Academy of Sciences. Like the NSPN course, participants are still in the early stages of the course, making minor edits and selecting their main project articles. We are thrilled with the range of scientific expertise these Wiki Scientists bring with them, selecting the kinds of articles that are difficult to edit for people without subject-matter training like sense strand, nigrostriatal pathway, graph C*-algebra, and anterior cranial fossa. Stay tuned next month, when participants will be busy making substantial improvements.

    The doula article was significantly improved by a Society of Family Planning Wiki Scientist.
    Image by Senada Federal, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

    Also this month we wrapped up our second course in partnership with the Society of Family Planning. Like the first course, which finished last month, participants brought with them a wealth of expertise and experience on the subjects of abortion and contraception. In total, they added more than 23,000 words to 33 articles. Here are some stand-out examples

    • Doulas play an important support role in many people’s health-related experiences, and the Wikipedia article about them receives more than 1,000 views every day. It was substantially expanded and improved by a Wiki Scientist, who rewrote the article’s lead and added multiple sections, such as on training and certification.
    • Menstrual suppression is the use of hormonal management to stop or reduce menstrual bleeding. Surprisingly, Wikipedia did not even have an article about this topic before a Wiki Scientist created it.
    • A Wiki Scientist doubled the size of the article on vaginal bleeding, expanding the lead as well as several sections, especially the sections about children and premenopausal women. 200 people consult this article every day.
    • The article about medical abortion (or medication abortion) regards the use of pills to bring about an abortion. It is another high-impact article, with 450 people checking it each day. A Wiki Scientist made a wide range of improvements, for example reworking the lead, expanding content, adding references, and replacing references.
    • Another Wiki Scientist improved the article on reproductive rights, with a focus on expanding the human rights section.

    We had another article appear on Wikipedia’s main page through Did You Know (DYK) on behalf of a summer NARA participant: Maud E. Craig Sampson Williams with the following hook: Did you know that African-American suffragist Maud E. Craig Sampson Williams was denied membership in the National American Woman Suffrage Association?” It received more than 1,000 page views while on the main page!

    Visiting Scholars Program

    This month Northeastern University Visiting Scholar Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight created an incredible seven new biographies of women and improved one that already existed:

    • Elizabeth Bowen Thompson (1812 or 1813–1869), British educator and missionary who founded the British Syrian Schools.
    • Lydia Mary Fay (1804–1878), American missionary, educator, writer, and translator who was among the early missionaries in China.
    • Melinda Rankin (1811–1888), missionary, teacher, and writer from New England who worked primarily in Mexico, opening the first Protestant mission there in 1866.
    • Beulah Woolston (1828–1886), an early American missionary in China who founded schools, translated textbooks, and edited a Chinese-language newspaper.
    • Harriet Merrick Warren (1843–1893), an American editor who was president of the New England brand of the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society.
    • E. Florence Barker (1840–1897), leader and activist in the American women’s club movement.
    • Amanda L. Aikens (1833–1892), American editor and philanthropist who was instrumental in founding the Wisconsin Industrial School for Girls.
    • Mary Jane Aldrich (1833–1909), temperance reformer, lecturer, and essayist who was vice-president of the National Woman’s Christian Temperance Union.
    Elizabeth Bowen Thompson
    Image by Annie Ryder Gracey, public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

    Meanwhile, George Mason University Visiting Scholar Gary Greenbaum has been working hard with several other editors to improve the lengthy article on the Apollo 13 space mission. To date, he has made more than 500 edits to the page. Most Wikipedians don’t make 500 edits to any single page, but this is not terribly unusual for Gary. He also set to work on the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge half dollar. If history is any precedent, it will not be long before we report its promotion to one of the higher levels of quality on Wikipedia, joining his collection of other excellent numismatics entries.



    This month, we started our Wiki Scientists courses with the New York Academy of Sciences and the National Science Policy Network.

    One of our partners, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), officially launched a collective campaign (#DigCitCommit) to raise awareness of digital citizenship projects and the importance of engaging students to improve their digital literacy. Wiki Education is a part of the coalition aiming to reach 1 million students with new digital citizenship competencies, teaching students to be inclusive, informed, engaged, balanced, and alert. Wiki Education looks forward to working with new instructors who join the Student Program through this initiative, assigning students to write Wikipedia—a classroom project proven to achieve digital literacy skills.


    September was a productive month on the fundraising front. We received our first grant payment of $550K for our current general operating support grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and our second grant payment of $167K for our current grant from the Stanton Foundation. We also received the exciting news that the WITH Foundation will be awarding Wiki Education a $40K grant to improve information on Wikipedia related to healthcare and disability issues. This great news was followed by the announcement that the Michelson 20MM Foundation will be awarding us $25K Spark grant to support improvements to our Dashboard. Finally, we received a grant of $1000 from the Leighty Foundation to support our Wiki Scholars and Scientists courses. All of this support from our wonderful foundation partners is helping us accomplish our goals of improving the quality, representativeness, and accuracy of Wikipedia.

    In addition to receiving these new grants, we continued our efforts to acquire new grants, as well as renewal support from our existing funders. We submitted a letter of intent to the Park Foundation as well as a pre-proposal to the Institute of Museum and Library Services, in partnership with Wayne State University. We also had positive check-in conversations with our program officer at the Moore Foundation and with our program officer at the Wikimedia Foundation. As we cultivated and strengthened relationships with our funder partners, we also conducted a lot of desk research to identify potential new funders that we can reach out to and establish meaningful reciprocal relationships.


    Academia is changing its mind about the place Wikipedia has in the classroom. This month, we featured new research published by Dr. Kate Grillo about the value of a Wikipedia assignment in archaeology courses. The paper, which she published along with Daniel Contreras in Cambridge University Press earlier this year, ultimately concludes that “Wikipedia’s popularity and reach mean that archaeologists should actively engage with the website by adding and improving archaeological content.”

    So many women in STEM don’t have a Wikipedia biography until they’ve been recognized in a huge way. But thanks to Dr. Rebecca Barnes’ student at Colorado College, paleoclimatologist Dr. Andrea Dutton already had one even before she was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow this month. Read our story here.

    Our Dashboard software won the “Coolest Tool” award at Wikimania this year. Read why our Chief Technology Officer Sage Ross was so touched by the recognition. Or read about our positive experience at Wikimania more generally.

    If you asked people to name an American suffragist, you might hear a few names of famous white women repeated. Our National Archives Wiki Scholars are making sure Wikipedia gives equal weight to suffragists of color, too. Read more about their progress here.

    Blog posts:

    External media:


    In September, Software Developer Wes Reid focused on implementing a new user experience for the core ‘create/improve an article’ workflow for students. This new interface, which we plan to deploy between terms before the Spring 2020 classes start, provides relevant information for each distinct stage of the assignment lifecycle.

    Along with the usual set of library upgrades, we significantly updated the Dashboard’s background job system, which is responsible for calculating course statistics and making automated Wikipedia edits to reflect course actions. With this update, the background jobs are now part of the server’s “system” services, which means they automatically get restarted when a server is rebooted. We also moved more of date importation into the core background job that handles data on a course-by-course basis, removing inconsistencies between different stats that were previously updated independently of each other.

    We also made a number of improvements around how the Dashboard handles private information including better documentation of exactly what private information the Dashboard stores and why, steps for removing private information, and a way to download the private information stored about users.

    Finance & Administration

    Overall expenses in September were $171K, ($10K) less than the budgeted plan of $181K. Programs were under by ($12K) due to a combination of benefits ($1K), Indirect Expense allocation ($5K), Communication ($2K), and Travel ($7K) while incurring an overage in Professional Fees +$3K. General and Administration was over by +$2K due to a combination of items including an increase in travel +$1K, benefits accrual +$1K, and Promotional expense +$1, while under in Meetings ($6K), along with an uptick in Shared expenses +$5K. Fundraising and Governance were right on budget for the month.

    Wiki Education expenses for the month of September 2019

    The Year-to-date expenses are $513K ($43K) under budget of $556K. Fundraising and Board are right on target. General and Administration is under by ($2K) due to Operational Expenses ($14K), Payroll ($6K) and Occupancy ($1K) with an uptick in shared expenses +$19K. Programs are under by ($41K) due to Travel ($16K), Communications ($6K) and Indirect Cost allocations ($19K).

    Wiki Education expenses year-to-date as of September 2019

    Office of the ED

    Current priorities:

      • Establishing tracking mechanisms for earned income-generating programs
      • Preparing for the upcoming audit

    In September, Frank provided the board with his reflections on the organization’s performance during the past fiscal year. 2018–19 has been a year that brought many changes to Wiki Education: most notable, and as a result of an effort to increase our organization’s financial sustainability, Wiki Education embarked on offering a new line of paid services. This step required an internal restructuring and the establishment of new processes which we’re still fine-tuning in order to improve the smooth cooperation across different departments. First results of our “Selling Services” project are very positive: the interest in our Scholars & Scientists Wikipedia and Wikidata courses has continuously increased and feedback from course participants has been overwhelmingly great. As a result, our earned revenue last fiscal year has by far exceeded our expectations and put us on a course toward creating a meaningful second source of revenue for Wiki Education.

    As part of our effort to streamline and improve processes, Frank created the first draft of a new contract signing policy. Given that we started working with a fast growing number of external partners who pay for our services, this new policy will provide more clarity for those among staff who have the authority to sign contracts. In order to gather feedback, Frank has shared the draft with members of the senior leadership team and is planning on enacting the policy in October.

    Also in September, Frank participated in the board’s development committee call, alongside TJ Bliss in his role as Chief Advancement Officer, updating the committee members about the current state of our fundraising efforts and the path forward.




    Header image by La Guardia and Wagner Archives, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

    Ugandans writing their own story of family planning

    18:26, Friday, 01 2019 November UTC

    Wikipedia aspires to collect and distribute the sum of human knowledge, but systemic barriers prevent the realization of this goal. Barriers to editing Wikipedia are highest in the Global South, where internet access can be sporadic or nonexistent, and people have less leisure time to contribute as unpaid labor. The entire continent of Africa (1.2 billion people) has fewer editors than the Netherlands (7 million people), meaning that content about Africa’s cultures, places, and people are predominantly written by outsiders.

    With our partnership with the Society of Family Planning (SFP), we taught around two dozen public and women’s health experts how to edit Wikipedia, empowering them to apply their expertise towards improving Wikipedia’s coverage of family planning and maternal health. With our training and resources, one such health expert, a PhD candidate, chose to devote their time to improving articles related to Uganda, where they are from.

    Our Dashboard’s Authorship Highlighting tool shows new additions to the Abortion in Uganda article.

    Over the 12-week course, they improved two articles related to family planning and maternal health in Uganda: Abortion in Uganda and Maternal health in Uganda. Their editing overlapped significantly with their scholarly research interests, which are maternal and child health. While they were pleased that articles specific to Uganda existed, they were disappointed in the low quality of those articles, expressing a belief that “not many contributions to the articles [they] edited seemed to be made by Ugandans”.

    “I think specialist content on topics like family planning in Uganda is limited,” this health professional shared in an interview with Wiki Education, “yet it is common from my experience that people usually rely on Wikipedia information for initial Google searches for any topic.”

    The PhD candidate’s role as a public health expert from Uganda meant they were uniquely positioned to improve this content. The article for Abortion in Uganda saw the addition of a new section about the health and economic consequences of unsafe abortions. Additionally, ten-year-old statistics about maternal deaths from unsafe abortions were updated to more recent figures. Maternal health in Uganda was improved by the addition of six references, enhancing the verifiability of the content. The statistics for maternal mortality ratio were also updated.

    “The Wikipedia writing and editing process was completely new to me. Even with prior edits that I attempted to make before the SFP course, I learned that it is more complex that I initially thought.”

    Although learning how to add to Wikipedia was an unfamiliar experience, it was one that this health professional found enlightening. “Prior to this training I was not so ‘open minded’ toward Wikipedia especially because being a physician, we rarely refer to Wikipedia for any reference.” Ultimately, though, they now believe that public health specialists should engage with Wikipedia because people rely on it for their initial information needs.

    By contributing their voice and expertise, this scholar helped Wikipedia become more accurate and representative. Ugandans now have the opportunity to access information on English Wikipedia about their country by a fellow citizen, and we are honored to facilitate that connection!

    Thumbnail image in the public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

    The Islamic world has created many of the knowledge and inventions we see nowadays, such as coffee, algebra, and possibly the paper mill. Islamic art and architecture has also been highly influential throughout the world. The students of Boston University instructor Dr. Emine Fetvaci’s Islamic Art and Architecture class reviewed content in this topic area, paying attention to particular artworks, as well as trying to understand the patrons, artists, architects, and audiences of the works. Below are some of the articles they created and expanded.

    Entrance portal of the tomb of Abdullah Ansari.
    Image by Sven Dirks, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

    The Shrine of Khwaja Abd Allah, commonly called the Shrine at Gazur Gah and the Abdullah Ansari Shrine Complex, is the funerary compound of the Sufi saint Khwaja Abdullah Ansari. It was built by architect Qavam al-Din of Shiraz in 1425, in Herat, Afghanistan and the patron of this monument is Shah Rukh, ruler of the Timurid dynasty. He commissioned the site as a memorial mausoleum for patron-saint Khwaja Abdullah Ansari, a Sufi mystic. Much of the focus of the complex is given to the east iwan, a rectangular interior space with one un-walled side. The facade consists of three entrances from the large polygonal bay, covered in intricate mosaics. Despite the grandeur of the ornamentation, the iwan walls are rough. This is likely due to the rushed nature of construction, which only took around three years despite the fact that decoration itself is usually completed in the same length of time. Historians believe this suggests that Qavam al-Din designed the ornamentation himself, which was then executed by a team of mosaicists.

    Another example of Islamic architecture is the Al-Firdaws Madrasa, a 13th-century complex located southwest of Bab al-Maqam in Aleppo, Syria. It was established in 1235/36 by Dayfa Khatun, who would later serve as the Ayyubid regent of Aleppo, and consists of a madrasa, mausoleum, and other functional spaces. The complex is the largest and best known of the Ayyubid madrasas in Aleppo and due to its location outside the city walls, the madrasa was developed as a freestanding structure. This central location is believed by historians to have been chosen in order to demonstrate the power and wealth of the ruler of Aleppo to any passerby and because the site’s strong religious ties would have earned continuous words of prayer from passersby.

    The 7th Maqāma of Al-Hariri, illustration by Yahya ibn Mahmud al-Wasiti from the 1237 manuscript.
    Image by al-Wâsitî, Yahyâ ibn Mahmûd, public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

    Other articles created and expanded by these students includes the one on Maqama, a literary genre which alternates the Arabic rhymed prose known as Saj‘ with intervals of poetry in which rhetorical extravagance is conspicuous. Originally in Arabic prosimetric, there are only eleven illustrated versions of the Maqāmāt from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries that survive to this day. These Maqāmāt manuscripts were likely created and illustrated for the specialized book markets in cities such as Baghdad, Cairo, and Damascus, rather than for any particular patron. Elite and educated classes were the audience for these manuscripts, as the Maqāmāt was largely appreciated and valued for its nuanced poetry and language choice, rather than its manuscript illustrations.

    Are you interested in incorporating a Wikipedia writing assignment into a future course? Visit to find out how you can gain access to our free tools, online trainings, and printed materials.

    Header image by K.A.C Creswell, public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

    Production Excellence: September 2019

    14:04, Tuesday, 29 2019 October UTC

    How’d we do in our strive for operational excellence last month? Read on to find out!

    📊 Month in numbers
    • 5 documented incidents. [1]
    • 22 new errors reported. [2]
    • 31 error reports closed. [3]
    • 213 currently open Wikimedia-prod-error reports in total. [4]

    There were five recorded incidents last month, equal to the median for this and last year. – Explore this data.

    To read more about these incidents, their investigations, and pending actionables; check Incident documentation § 2019.

    *️⃣ A Tale of Three Great Upgrades

    This month saw three major upgrades across the MediaWiki stack.

    Migrate from HHVM to PHP 7.2

    The client-side switch to toggle between HHVM and PHP 7.2 saw its final push — from the 50% it was at previously, to 100% of page view sessions on 17 September. The switch further solidified on 24 September when static MediaWiki traffic followed suit (e.g. API and ResourceLoader). Thanks @jijiki and @Joe for the final push. – More details at T219150 and T176370.

    Drop support for IE6 and IE7

    The RFC to discontinue basic compatibility for the IE6 and IE7 browsers entered Last Call on 18 September. It was approved on 2 Oct (T232563). Thanks to @Volker_E for leading the sprint to optimise our CSS payloads by removing now-redundant style rules for IE6-7 compat. – More at T234582.

    Transition from PHPUnit 4/6 to PHPUnit 8

    With HHVM behind us, our Composer configuration no longer needs to be compatible with a “PHP 5.6 like” run-time. Support for the real PHP 5.6 was dropped over 2 years ago, and the HHVM engine supports PHP 7 features. But, the HHVM engine identifies as “PHP 5.6.999-hhvm”. As such, Composer refused to install PHPUnit 6 (which requires PHP 7.0+). Instead, Composer could only install PHPUnit 4 under HHVM (as for PHP 5.6). Our unit tests have had to remain compatible with both PHPUnit 4 and PHPUnit 6 simultaneously.

    Now that we’re fully on PHP 7.2+, our Composer configuration effectively drops PHP 5.6, 7.0 and 7.1 all at once. This means that we no longer run PHPUnit tests on multiple PHPUnit versions (PHPUnit 6 only). The upgrade to PHPUnit 8 (PHP 7.2+) is also unlocked! Thanks @MaxSem, @Jdforrester-WMF and @Daimona for leading this transition. – T192167

    📉 Outstanding reports

    Take a look at the workboard and look for tasks that might need your help. The workboard lists error reports, grouped by the month in which they were first observed.

    Or help someone that’s already started with their patch:
    Open prod-error tasks with a Patch-For-Review

    Breakdown of recent months (past two weeks not included):

    • February: 1 report was closed. (1 / 5 reports left).
    • March: 4 / 10 reports left (unchanged).
    • April: 8 / 14 reports left (unchanged). ⚠️
    • May: The last 4 reports were resolved. Done! ❇️
    • June: 9 of 11 reports left (unchanged). ⚠️
    • July: 4 reports were fixed! (13 / 18 reports left).
    • August: 6 reports were fixed! (8 / 14 reports left).
    • September: 12 new reports survived the month of September.

    🎉 Thanks!

    Thank you, to everyone else who helped by reporting, investigating, or resolving problems in Wikimedia production. Thanks!

    Until next time,

    – Timo Tijhof

    📖“I'm not crazy about reality, but it's still the only place to get a decent meal.


    [1] Incidents. –…

    [2] Tasks created. –…

    [3] Tasks closed. –…

    [4] Open tasks. –…

    New MediaWiki blog

    05:22, Tuesday, 29 2019 October UTC

    I’m happy to announce a brand new blog dedicated to MediaWiki and all things enterprise wiki related.

    Half a year ago I launched Professional Wiki together with Karsten Hoffmeyer. Professional Wiki is, as the name suggests, a company providing professional wiki services. We help companies create and manage wikis, we provide training and support and we offer fully managed wiki hosting.

    Today we published our new blog featuring a first post on installing MediaWiki extensions with Composer. This blog will contain both wiki news and longer lived articles, such as the one about Composer.

    In recent years I was hesitant to post MediaWiki specific content on this blog (EntropyWins) because it had evolved a focus on software design. The new Professional Wiki blog solves this problem, so you can expect more MediaWiki related posts from me again.

    The post New MediaWiki blog appeared first on Entropy Wins.

    Tech News issue #44, 2019 (October 28, 2019)

    00:00, Monday, 28 2019 October UTC
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