Posts tagged wikipedia

Harvard’s Looking for a Wikipedian
Via The Atlantic:

The Houghton Library on the Harvard campus holds the university’s collection of rare books. Inside its walls—in addition to objects culled from the old “Treasure Room” of Widener, the school’s principal library—you’ll find Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts; information about the creation of books; and collections of papers from, among many others, Louisa May Alcott, e.e. cummings, Emily Dickinson, T.S. Eliot, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Henry James, William James, Samuel Johnson, James Joyce, John Keats, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Theodore Roosevelt, John Updike, and Gore Vidal.
The Houghton Library on the Harvard campus is awesome, is what I’m saying. And now it’s looking for a little love. From, and for … Wikipedia.
Yesterday, John Overholt, Houghton’s Curator of Early Modern Books & Manuscripts, posted a job listing. He’s hiring a Wikipedian in Residence—someone who can serve as a kind of liaison between Wikipedia and the academic, cultural, and intellectual institutions whose source material its entries rely on. In this case, Harvard.

The job’s only three months, pays $16/hour, but still: Wikipedia, rare books, internets. Tingling. Further details here.
Image: Via Cyanide and Happiness.

Harvard’s Looking for a Wikipedian

Via The Atlantic:

The Houghton Library on the Harvard campus holds the university’s collection of rare books. Inside its walls—in addition to objects culled from the old “Treasure Room” of Widener, the school’s principal library—you’ll find Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts; information about the creation of books; and collections of papers from, among many others, Louisa May Alcott, e.e. cummings, Emily Dickinson, T.S. Eliot, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Henry James, William James, Samuel Johnson, James Joyce, John Keats, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Theodore Roosevelt, John Updike, and Gore Vidal.

The Houghton Library on the Harvard campus is awesome, is what I’m saying. And now it’s looking for a little love. From, and for … Wikipedia.

Yesterday, John Overholt, Houghton’s Curator of Early Modern Books & Manuscripts, posted a job listing. He’s hiring a Wikipedian in Residence—someone who can serve as a kind of liaison between Wikipedia and the academic, cultural, and intellectual institutions whose source material its entries rely on. In this case, Harvard.

The job’s only three months, pays $16/hour, but still: Wikipedia, rare books, internets. Tingling. Further details here.

Image: Via Cyanide and Happiness.

"Listen to Wikipedia" Offers Visualization and Sonification of Wikipedia Edits
Listen to Wikipedia (L2W) uses a real-time stream of edits made on Wikipedia to produce both a visual representation and a sonification of the data. L2W is the newest open-source project from Hatnote, a self-described “collection of perspectives on wiki life,” whose previous project was rcmap. 
From Hatnote’s blog post about L2W:

Bells are additions, strings are subtractions. There’s something reassuring about knowing that every user makes a noise, every edit has a voice in the roar. (Green circles are anonymous edits and purple circles are bots. White circles are brought to you by Registered Users Like You.) …
Listen to Wikipedia was written by Stephen LaPorte and Mahmoud Hashemi, and is open-source. Like RCMap, L2W gets its real-time Wikipedia data as broadcast by Wikimon. L2W was inspired by and partially based on Listen to Bitcoin, but was mostly rebuilt to use D3.js (also like RCMap). We also use howler.js for cross-browser audio support, and additional sound processing was facilitated by SoX.

You can fiddle around with the controls to follow edits for just English Wikipedia or any combination of up to 23 languages.
FJP: I just cooked dinner to English, Farsi, and Russian Wikipedia. Open it in a tab and let it lull you with its algorithmic lullaby. O brave new world that has such harmonies in it! — Shining
H/T: Motherboard for the find.
Image: Screenshot of L2W at 8:02 p.m. EDT on August 6, 2013, with a momentary 72 edits per minute

"Listen to Wikipedia" Offers Visualization and Sonification of Wikipedia Edits

Listen to Wikipedia (L2W) uses a real-time stream of edits made on Wikipedia to produce both a visual representation and a sonification of the data. L2W is the newest open-source project from Hatnote, a self-described “collection of perspectives on wiki life,” whose previous project was rcmap. 

From Hatnote’s blog post about L2W:

Bells are additions, strings are subtractions. There’s something reassuring about knowing that every user makes a noise, every edit has a voice in the roar. (Green circles are anonymous edits and purple circles are bots. White circles are brought to you by Registered Users Like You.) …

Listen to Wikipedia was written by Stephen LaPorte and Mahmoud Hashemi, and is open-source. Like RCMap, L2W gets its real-time Wikipedia data as broadcast by Wikimon. L2W was inspired by and partially based on Listen to Bitcoin, but was mostly rebuilt to use D3.js (also like RCMap). We also use howler.js for cross-browser audio support, and additional sound processing was facilitated by SoX.

You can fiddle around with the controls to follow edits for just English Wikipedia or any combination of up to 23 languages.

FJP: I just cooked dinner to English, Farsi, and Russian Wikipedia. Open it in a tab and let it lull you with its algorithmic lullaby. O brave new world that has such harmonies in it! — Shining

H/T: Motherboard for the find.

Image: Screenshot of L2W at 8:02 p.m. EDT on August 6, 2013, with a momentary 72 edits per minute

Gender Balance in News
Open Gender Tracking Project is a software program that collects digital content from news sources and analyzes gender balance within news organizations. The project was created by Irene Ros and Adam Hyland of Bocoup and Nathan Matias of the MIT Center for Civic Media. 
The program collects data on who is writing the articles and who the articles are written about. It also measures audience response data directly associated with specific articles (like how many times a post is shared in social media). The goal of the program is to make news sources aware of content diversity (or lack thereof) so organizations can work toward maintaining a balanced set of voices. 
For the most part, women are currently being underrepresented in digital media. 
Via Guardian:

In the UK, newspaper front pages rarely include women, and women write a minority of articles. Women are prominent at the Daily Mail, where they write most of the celebrity news, fewer news articles, and almost no sport. Even when publications do include women, they’re often at the mercy of their audiences. 20% of Telegraph opinion articles are written by women, but women’s opinion articles attract only 14% of the Telegraph’s shares and likes on social media.

And according to studies done by the Women’s Media Center, in both legacy and newer news sites, women are too often relegated to writing about “pink topics” like fashion, relationships, and food, rather than urgent and/or international issues.
On a positive note, Global Voices, an international citizen media news site, is one of the only news organizations currently known to have equal gender participation. According to The Guardian, 764 women wrote 51% of all articles from 2005-2012. 
Related: Gender balance is the new rage. I just wish somebody had spread the word to the Wikiverse: Wikipedia Bumps Women From ‘American Novelists’ Category. - Krissy
Image: Screenshot of graph from Open Gender Tracker

Gender Balance in News

Open Gender Tracking Project is a software program that collects digital content from news sources and analyzes gender balance within news organizations. The project was created by Irene Ros and Adam Hyland of Bocoup and Nathan Matias of the MIT Center for Civic Media

The program collects data on who is writing the articles and who the articles are written about. It also measures audience response data directly associated with specific articles (like how many times a post is shared in social media). The goal of the program is to make news sources aware of content diversity (or lack thereof) so organizations can work toward maintaining a balanced set of voices.

For the most part, women are currently being underrepresented in digital media. 

Via Guardian:

In the UK, newspaper front pages rarely include women, and women write a minority of articles. Women are prominent at the Daily Mail, where they write most of the celebrity news, fewer news articles, and almost no sport. Even when publications do include women, they’re often at the mercy of their audiences. 20% of Telegraph opinion articles are written by women, but women’s opinion articles attract only 14% of the Telegraph’s shares and likes on social media.

And according to studies done by the Women’s Media Center, in both legacy and newer news sites, women are too often relegated to writing about “pink topics” like fashion, relationships, and food, rather than urgent and/or international issues.

On a positive note, Global Voices, an international citizen media news site, is one of the only news organizations currently known to have equal gender participation. According to The Guardian, 764 women wrote 51% of all articles from 2005-2012. 

Related: Gender balance is the new rage. I just wish somebody had spread the word to the Wikiverse: Wikipedia Bumps Women From ‘American Novelists’ Category. - Krissy

Image: Screenshot of graph from Open Gender Tracker

In less than a decade, Wikipedia has grown from a frequently ridiculed experiment to one of the world’s most popular websites. The online encyclopedia has reached near-ubiquity among Internet users and is often invoked as a synecdoche for user-generated content communities, crowdsourcing, peer production, and Web 2.0. As such, it is hardly surprising that a number of high-impact statistics demonstrating the project’s unexpected success are frequently mentioned in the public sphere. As of April 2012, there have been 528 million edits made to the English-language version and a total of 1.29 billion edits across all language versions. Other commentators describe the project in terms of its article content, not the amount of work put into those articles, and such figures are equally daunting: 19 million encyclopedia articles contain 8 billion words in 270 languages, and the English-language Wikipedia alone has 3.9 million articles containing 2.5 billion words.

While most of these and other statistics are backed up by a substantial amount of empirical research, estimations of the total number of labor-hours contributed to Wikipedia are one notable exception. However, this has not stopped champions of the project from stating with more and less certainty that Wikipedia is one of the largest projects in human history…

…[A] well-documented and often-repeated labor hour estimation is that of the Empire State Building, which took 3,000 laborers a total of 7 million labor-hours to construct. Figures for the construction of the Channel Tunnel report a total 170 million labor-hours, while estimations of the Great Pyramid at Giza range from 880 million to 3.5 billion labor-hours. The first edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica was written and published by 3 employees authoring 24 pages a week for 100 weeks, which is around 12,000 labor-hours assuming 40 hour work week…

…Summing the duration of all continuous editing sessions and single edit sessions, we identified 41,018,804 total labor-hours expended in the English-language version of Wikipedia… Extrapolating to all language version of Wikipedia based on the total number of edits made to each project, we estimate that 61,706,883 total labor-hours have been contributed in edit sessions for non-English language Wikipedias, for a total of 102,673,683 total labor-hours to all Wikipedia versions.

R. Stuart Geiger and Aaron Halfaker, Using Edit Sessions to Measure Participation in Wikipedia (PDF).

FJP: That’s approximately 11,720 years of peer production. 

Editing Wikipedia: Gender Disparity Edition
via The Atlantic Wire:

It’s long been known that the ranks of Wikipedia editors are mainly male. But now illustrator Santiago Ortiz has created an interactive looking at the proportion of edits on individual Wikipedia articles made by men vs. women, and it turns out that the gender divide on “the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit” is even starker than we thought.

Read About It.
Image: Screenshot of the most edited articles (green) and most visited articles (blue) by gender on Wikipedia.

Editing Wikipedia: Gender Disparity Edition

via The Atlantic Wire:

It’s long been known that the ranks of Wikipedia editors are mainly male. But now illustrator Santiago Ortiz has created an interactive looking at the proportion of edits on individual Wikipedia articles made by men vs. women, and it turns out that the gender divide on “the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit” is even starker than we thought.

Read About It.

Image: Screenshot of the most edited articles (green) and most visited articles (blue) by gender on Wikipedia.

Graphing the Influence of Thinkers and Ideas Throughout History

Brendan Griffen has graphed a network of all people on Wikipedia with who they’ve influenced and who they’re influenced by.

Via Griff’s Graphs:

For those new to this type of thing: the node size represents the number of connections. In short, I used a database version of Wikipedia to extract all people with known influences and made this map. The bigger the node, the bigger influence that person had on the rest of the network. Nietzsche, Kant, Hegel, Hemingway, Shakespeare, Plato, Aristotle, Kafka, and Lovecraft all, as one would expect, appear as the largest nodes. Around these nodes, cluster other personalities who are affiliated (depends on distance). Highlighting communities by colour reveals sub-networks within the total structure. You’ll notice common themes amongst similarly coloured authors.

Griffen’s influence is Simon Raper who recently graphed the history of philosophy.

The tools used are similar too:

First I queried Snorql and retrieved every person who had a registered ‘influence’ or registered ‘influenced by’ value (restricted to people only so if they were influenced by ‘anime’, they were excluded).

I then decoded these using a neat little URL decoder and imported them into Microsoft Excel for further processing (removing things like ‘(Musician)’ and other annoying syntax).

I then exported these as a csv and imported into Gephi and proceeded as usual. Fruchterman-Reingold algorithm followed by Force Atlas 2. I then identified communities using ‘Modularity’ and edited the rest in Preview. Due to the size, I’ve had to zoom up and take snapshots on regions of interest.

The csv file containing all of the data can be obtained here so you can make your own maps.

And yes, as Griffen notes, the information and visualization is biased towards Western ideas and cultures since Wikipedia skews heavily toward English speakers.

Meantime, we’re absolutely gobsmacked.

Read Griffen’s post on the project. Check out zoomable version. Get yourself a pretty print.

Images: Partial screenshots of Graphing Every* Idea in History, by Brendan Griffen. Select to embiggen.

H/T: Flowing Data.

Taking Wikipedia’s Pulse, Musically

What do changes to Wikipedia sound like? Well, if you track all edits — which are currently pushing about 400 per minute — and mapped them to Open Sound Control, Pure Data and wikibeat, you come out with some modernist beats.

Watch the above screencast by wikibeat creator Dan Chudnov as he does just this. The audio kicks in about a minute into the video.

As Chudnov describes it, “wikibeat sonifies changes to wikipedia as they happen. it uses Ed Summers’ wikipulse, which monitors changes to each language-specific wikipedia and displays their rates of change as gauges, and creates a series of audible beats based on these change rates. it does this by sending the change rate information to a Pure Data application over OSC.”

Read through for links to source code to try it on your own.

H/T: Dario Taraborelli, Senior Research Analyst at the Wikimedia Foundation who we interviewed in January (podcast).

Wikipedia: Goodbye Google Maps, Hello Open Street Maps

Wikipedia joins a growing list of high profile organizations leaving Google Maps and moving to the open source Open Street Maps. The move comes after Google announced in March that they would begin charging Web sites that receive more than 25,000 requests per month for use of their maps.

Via Wikipedia:

Previous versions of our application used Google Maps for the nearby view. This has now been replaced with OpenStreetMap - an open and free source of Map Data that has been referred to as ‘Wikipedia for Maps.’ This closely aligns with our goal of making knowledge available in a free and open manner to everyone. This also means we no longer have to use proprietary Google APIs in our code, which helps it run on the millions of cheap Android handsets that are purely open source and do not have the proprietary Google applications.

OpenStreetMap is used in both iOS and Android, thanks to the amazing Leaflet.js library. We are currently using Mapquest’s map tiles for our application, but plan on switching to our own tile servers in the near future.

Also, via Techspot, a look at mapping economics:

In March, Google announced it would be charging high-volume users for its once gratis Google Maps service. Developer accounts which pull in fewer than 25,000 requests per month are not considered high-volume and thus have remained free. However, for accounts that exceed 25,000 views, developers must pay between $4 to $10 for every additional 1,000 views generated. For popular websites and apps that rely on Google Maps APIs, this can add up pretty quickly…

…Although some may be quick to call out Google for its decision to charge a premium, Google Maps has really been the only mapping service to offer its product to everyone without cost. Traditionally, companies like NavTeq and TeleNav have always licensed their map data to third parties. It costs a lot of money to put together accurate maps and Google took some risk offering theirs free of charge. As a result, Google Maps has become the go-to place for many companies and users alike. In fact, comScore found that over 71% of Americans had used Google Maps in February.

Mapping Wikipedia
Via Tracemedia:

Mapping Wikipedia is a groundbreaking visualisation of the world mapped according to articles in 7 different languages. The map displays both the global patterns and the vast number of geo-located items. The dataset was produced by the Oxford Internet Institute as part of a project that examines Wikipedia in the Middle East and North Africa…
…The project was developed using the excellent Open Layers. To display the large number of articles we wrote a subclass of the Open Layers Canvas renderer, and optimised for point plotting. As a fallback for browsers that don’t support canvas we included the FlashCanvas shim. 
The Google basemap was produced using the Styled Map Wizard
To glue everything together we used jQuery.

Image: English, by Wordcount in Europe. Via Tracemedia.
H/T: Flowing Data

Mapping Wikipedia

Via Tracemedia:

Mapping Wikipedia is a groundbreaking visualisation of the world mapped according to articles in 7 different languages. The map displays both the global patterns and the vast number of geo-located items. The dataset was produced by the Oxford Internet Institute as part of a project that examines Wikipedia in the Middle East and North Africa…

…The project was developed using the excellent Open Layers. To display the large number of articles we wrote a subclass of the Open Layers Canvas renderer, and optimised for point plotting. As a fallback for browsers that don’t support canvas we included the FlashCanvas shim. 

The Google basemap was produced using the Styled Map Wizard

To glue everything together we used jQuery.

Image: English, by Wordcount in Europe. Via Tracemedia.

H/T: Flowing Data

Print will survive. Books will survive even longer. It’s print as a marker of prestige that’s dying.

Tim Carmody, in his piece, Wikipedia Didn’t Kill Britannica. Windows Did.

Carmody argues that Britannica began to die long before Wikipedia was around, likely around the time of the advent of Microsoft and Encarta CD-Roms. He’s not too sad about it though, because he likens Britannica to a marker of prestige more than an actually valuable, usable information source.

In short, Britannica was the 18th/19th equivalent of a shelf full of SAT prep guides. Or later, a family computer.

“I suspect almost no one ever opened their Britannicas,” says Appelbaum. “Britannica’s own market research showed that the typical encyclopedia owner opened his or her volumes less than once a year,” say Greenstein and Devereux.

“It’s not that Encarta made knowledge cheaper,” adds Appelbaum, “it’s that technology supplanted its role as a purchasable ‘edge’ for over-anxious parents. They bought junior a new PC instead of a Britannica.”

In another piece on the subject (this one in Slate) Farhad Manjoo also believes Britannica is fairly useless as an information source and rather, Wikipedia is sort of our savior.

My advice is to make the wiser, cheaper choice, one that will prove more helpful to your kids in the long run: Pay nothing to Britannica and teach your young ones to use Google and Wikipedia. While there are many legitimate complaints to be leveled at Wikipedia (rarely, it gets things wrong; sometimes, its entries are vandalized), the free, crowdsourced encyclopedia is better than Britannica in every way. It’s cheaper, it’s bigger, it’s more accessible, it’s more inclusive of differing viewpoints and subjects beyond traditional academic scholarship, its entries tend to include more references, and it is more up to date.

Most importantly, learning to navigate Google and Wikipedia prepares you for the real world, while learning to use Britannica teaches you nothing beyond whatever subject you’re investigating at the moment.

In that regard, Manjoo seems to have a point. Learning to fact-check is a key media literacy skill useful not only of journalists and writers but news consumers as well.

Don’t buy what Britannica’s selling. Its reliance on expert authority may yield mostly accurate information, but it teaches kids to believe everything they read. If you pay for this service, you’re building a cocoon of truth around students who’ll one day enter a world where everyone claims to be an expert—and where a lot of those people are lying. If you want to learn to suss out the liars, there’s no better training than Wikipedia.

Thoughts?

After 244 Years, Encyclopaedia Britannica Stops the Presses
From the NY Times:

After 244 years, the Encyclopaedia Britannica is going out of print.
Those coolly authoritative, gold-lettered sets of reference books that were once sold door to door by a fleet of traveling salesmen and displayed as proud fixtures in American homes will be discontinued, the company is expected to announce on Wednesday.
In a nod to the realities of the digital age — and, in particular, the competition from the hugely popular Wikipedia — Encyclopaedia Britannica will focus primarily on its online encyclopedias and educational curriculum for schools, company executives said.
The last edition of the encyclopedia will be the 2010 edition, a 32-volume set that weighs in at 129 pounds and includes new entries on global warming and the Human Genome Project.
“It’s a rite of passage in this new era,” Jorge Cauz, the president of Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc., a Chicago-based company, said in an interview. “Some people will feel sad about it and nostalgic about it. But we have a better tool now. The Web site is continuously updated, it’s much more expansive and it has multimedia.”

After 244 Years, Encyclopaedia Britannica Stops the Presses

From the NY Times:

After 244 years, the Encyclopaedia Britannica is going out of print.

Those coolly authoritative, gold-lettered sets of reference books that were once sold door to door by a fleet of traveling salesmen and displayed as proud fixtures in American homes will be discontinued, the company is expected to announce on Wednesday.

In a nod to the realities of the digital age — and, in particular, the competition from the hugely popular Wikipedia — Encyclopaedia Britannica will focus primarily on its online encyclopedias and educational curriculum for schools, company executives said.

The last edition of the encyclopedia will be the 2010 edition, a 32-volume set that weighs in at 129 pounds and includes new entries on global warming and the Human Genome Project.

“It’s a rite of passage in this new era,” Jorge Cauz, the president of Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc., a Chicago-based company, said in an interview. “Some people will feel sad about it and nostalgic about it. But we have a better tool now. The Web site is continuously updated, it’s much more expansive and it has multimedia.”

What Does Wikipedia Have Against Soap?
Image: Screenshot of Twitter reactions to Wikipedia blackout, via @herpderpedia

What Does Wikipedia Have Against Soap?

Image: Screenshot of Twitter reactions to Wikipedia blackout, via @herpderpedia

Data and Peer Production with Wikimedia’s Dario Taraborelli

I spoke with Dario Taraborelli, Senior Research Analyst at the Wikimedia Foundation, a few days ago. What interested me is a new open data and research infrastructure initiative Wikimedia is pursuing in order to put data in the hands of a wider audience.

What also interests me is how Wikimedia is implementing it: namely, by creating an online space for data consultations in order to really hear from data wranglers and journalists about what they’re looking for in an open data platform.

Dario talks about a number of initiatives Wikimedia is pursuing and resources it’s providing to do so. Here’s a hit list of sites he mentions if you’d like to explore:

Semantic Metadata

Geolocation Data

Pageview Data, Trending Topics, Real-time Edit Data

Wikimedia Research Hub

And, most importantly: the Wikimedia Foundation’s open data consultation.

Run Time: ~25:00

5 Ways to Get Your Own Copy of Wikipedia

thenextweb:

The apps don’t require you to be online to view the pages, and you’ll be able to reference Wikipedia no matter where you are, even when it goes dark on Wednesday.

FJP: The English language version of Wikipedia will be offline this Wednesday in protest of the SOPA/PIPA bills currently in the US Congress. So, if you can’t do without, check out these apps.