Author: Ewan McAndrew

Wikimedian in Residence at the University of Edinburgh. English & Media Teacher. Film, Travel & Open Knowledge enthusiast.

You can’t be what you can’t see.

Creating new role models on Wikipedia to encourage the next generation of #ImmodestWomen

By Siobhan O’Connor, Alice White, Sara Thomas and Ewan McAndrew.

Wikipedia, the free, online, multilingual encyclopaedia is building the largest open knowledge resource in human history. Now aged eighteen years old, its English language version receives over 500 million views per month, from 1.4 billion unique devices, and has over 130,000 active users collaboratively writing and editing millions of articles online. As topics on Wikipedia become more visible on Google, they receive more press coverage and become better known amongst the public.

Yet while English Wikipedia has significant reach and influence as the go-to source of information around the world, it also has significant gaps in its coverage of topics, articles in other languages and the diversity of its editors. Less than 18 per cent of biographies on English Wikipedia are about women, while most editors on the platform are white men.

This disproportionate gap on Wikipedia silences women’s contribution to science which continues their marginalisation in public life, a vicious circle that leads to more women being lost to careers in STEM. This gender imbalance mirrors the 2017 findings of the WISE campaign with women making up just 23% of those in core STEM occupations (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) in the UK and 24% of those working in core STEM industries. Only 17% of physicists worldwide are women and studies have shown that it will take approximately 258 years for equality in physics. The rate of progress is even starker for the fields of computer science (280 years) .

Recent research published earlier this year by Asst. Professor Neil C. Thompson at MIT and Asst. Professor Doug Hanley at the University of Pittsburgh has also evidenced that scientific research is actually shaped by Wikipedia; demonstrating the influence of the free encyclopedia.

“Our research shows that scientists are using Wikipedia and that it is influencing how they write about the science that they are doing… Wikipedia isn’t just a record of what’s going on in science, it’s actually helping to shape science.” – Professor Neil C. Thompson

The randomised controlled trial the researchers undertook evidenced a profound causal impact that, as one of the most accessed websites in the world, incorporating ideas into Wikipedia leads to those ideas being used more in the scientific literature.

Chemistry graduates were asked to create forty-three new Wikipedia entries about topics in chemistry, with half being posted on Wikipedia while the rest were held back. Two years later, the chemistry entries created on Wikipedia had collectively over 2 million views. Analysing the text of publications from fifty high-impact chemistry journals during this period, showed words in the publications were influenced by content from the new Wikipedia entries.

For example, the ‘History of Chemistry’ entry on Wikipedia features over 200 men but only mentions 4 women and is missing notable female chemists such as Nobel Prize winning biochemist Gerty Cori and Professor Jennifer Doudna, a biochemist and one of the pioneers of a new breakthrough genetic engineering technology called CRISPR.

Another example of the gender imbalance can be seen in the entry for ‘Benzene’ on Wikipedia. There are several paragraphs describing many male scientists who tried to discover the structure of this chemical compound in the 1800’s. However, only one single sentence in the same Wikipedia article acknowledges the female scientist, Kathleen Lonsdale, who finally confirmed the structure of benzene in 1929.

Consequently, the Wikipedia community has established numerous initiatives to address this acknowledged systemic gender bias as they are committed to diversity and inclusivity to ensure knowledge equity. One such initiative, “WikiProject Women in Red (WiR)”, aims to crowdsource turning dormant red links for biography articles that do not yet exist into clickable blue ones which do, directing readers to female biographies and works by women on the platform.

New articles recently created by Women in Red volunteer editors from around the world include: Zheng Pingru, a spy whose life inspired a film; Bridget Jones (academic), a pioneer in the field of Caribbean literature studies; and Paquita Sauquillo, a campaigner in defence of democratic freedom. Entries recently improved by Women in Red editors include: Ruth Schmidt, an award winning American geologist; and Wilma Mankiller, an activist and social worker who was the first woman elected as Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation.

As a result of targeted Wikipedia editing events, or ‘edit-a-thons’, there are also now entire series of articles for the Edinburgh Seven, the first female students to matriculate at a British university, and the nineteen pioneering women chemists who, in 1904, petitioned the Chemistry Society (later to become the Royal Society of Chemistry) for the admission of women as Fellows of the Society.

Chemistry staff and students c.1899 at the Royal Holloway College, University of London. CC-BY-SA via Wikimedia Commons from Royal Holloway, University of London – RHC PH 201/11 Archives, Royal Holloway, University of London

“These were a group of extraordinary women who had done chemistry to degree and postgraduate level at a time when you couldn’t do that… and they had extraordinary stories and they did extraordinary chemistry.” – Dr. Michael Seery, Director of Teaching at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Chemistry.

Often if articles are not missing entirely, the contributions of women in science are reduced to bit part status as an addendum on the Wikipedia articles of their husbands or male contemporaries. Marie Curie’s Wikipedia article reportedly started out shared with her husband. That was, until someone pointed out that her scientific contributions might just warrant an article of her own. There is also a new article for Scottish physical scientist, Katherine Clerk Maxwell, whose contribution to measurements of gaseous viscosity was recorded by her husband, James, and is associated with his paper “On the Dynamical Theory of Gases”, where he states that Katherine “did all the real work of the kinetic theory” and that she was now “…engaged in other researches. When she is done I will let you know her answer to your inquiry.”

Katherine Clerk Maxwell, 1869. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

The achievements of extraordinary pioneering women are recorded in various sources, however no one has chosen to write their stories on Wikipedia. Focused attention in themed editing events means more articles are being created all the time.

Surveys have indicated that only 8.5–16% of Wikipedia editors are female. One particular 2011 survey suggested that on English Wikipedia around 91% of editors were male, and typically formally educated, in white-collar jobs (or students) and living in the Global North.  The same survey found that fewer than 1% of editors self-identified as transsexual or transgender.

“if there is a typical Wikipedia editor, he has a college degree, is 30- years-old, is computer savvy but not necessarily a programmer, doesn’t actually spend much time playing games, and lives in US or Europe.”

This means that articles within Wikipedia typically reflect these gender, socioeconomic and cultural biases. Among the findings of the 2016 research article, Women through the glass ceiling: gender asymmetries in Wikipedia, were that women in Wikipedia were more notable than men; that there was linguistic gender bias manifest in family-, gender-, and relationship-related topics being more present in biographies about women; and there was also linguistic gender bias in positive terms being used more frequently in the biographies of men while negative terms appeared more frequently in the biographies of women. The authors also found structural differences in terms of the metadata and hyperlinks, which had consequences for information-seeking activities. Wikipedia is only ever as good as the diversity of editors who engage with it, with many articles reflecting the perspective of white male English speakers in the northern hemisphere, and many of the topics covered reflect the interests of this relatively small group of editors. Wikipedia therefore needs a diverse community of editors to bring a range of perspectives and interests that truly represent human knowledge.

Awareness of this systemic gender bias has prompted the development of a tool called the Concept Replacer which simply highlights the gendered nouns and pronouns in the text of an article and temporarily shows you how a biography article of a notable woman would read if it was written instead as a biography for a man (and vice versa). This easy to use tool is useful for editors and article readers alike in order to help identify instances of unconscious bias at a glance. For instance, exposing why the marital status is included in the first lines about some biographies, and not others.

 

Wikipedia is also a community that operates with certain expectations and social norms in mind. Sometimes new editors can have a less than positive experience when they are not fully aware of this. As mentioned previously, there are over 130,000 regular contributors to Wikipedia. Of these, only 3,541 are considered ‘very active. That’s the population of a small village like Pitlochry in Scotland trying to curate the world’s knowledge.

There is a need to increase both the diversity and number of Wikipedia editors. One way to do that is to run ‘edit-a-thons’ and other facilitated activities that introduces some of the norms and expectations of the online platform while at the same time learning how to technically edit Wikipedia pages and create high quality content.

Edit-a-thons have been running globally for a number of years to facilitate the creation of new profiles of women on Wikipedia. For example, the University of Edinburgh has been hosting Women in STEM Wikipedia editathons on the second Tuesday of October for the last four years to mark Ada Lovelace Day,  an international celebration of the achievements of Women in STEM. The Wellcome Library in London has also run women in science edit-a-thons to build new biographies of prominent female chemists, engineers and nurses on Wikipedia. These events have surfaced the achievements a number of notable women online including: Hilda Lyon, who invented the “Lyon Shape”, a streamlined design used for airships and submarines; structural engineer, Faith Wainwright, director of the Arup Group, who led in the structural design of multiple landmark buildings including the American Air Museum and the Tate Modern; Annie Warren Gill, a British nurse who was awarded the Royal Red Cross in recognition of her service during World War I and served as president of the Royal College of Nursing in 1927; Frances Micklethwait MBE, an English research chemist, among the first to study and seek an antidote to mustard gas during the First World War.

Despite this global campaign and investment to encourage more female editors and the creation of content related specifically to women, progress is slow. Since 2014, WikiProject Women in Red’s volunteer editors regularly help create in the region of 1000-2000 new articles every month. As a result, this has increased the proportion of biographies on women from 15% to 17.83% of the total. It has been estimated that it will take until 2050 or later until gender parity is achieved on Wikipedia.

Tackling this bias online requires collective responsibility. A number of actions at an individual, organisational and national level can be taken to bring about positive change.

“Women in STEM are under-represented and maybe the lack of role models is one reason why. Also biographies of women in STEM on Wikipedia are much fewer than they should be and maybe if we can change that, we can change the way future generations look at science and technology as a career path”

Athina Frantzana, PhD candidate at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Physics & Astronomy.

Firstly, those of all genders everywhere could commit time and energy to becoming dedicated Wikipedians, who regularly create female scientific biographies and other content related to women in science. Those who do so tend to benefit from a sense of reciprocity and altruism which results from the direct impact that Wikipedia has worldwide.

For instance, Dr. Jess Wade, a physicist and postdoctoral researcher in electronics at Imperial College London, attended a Wellcome Library editathon and was horrified to learn about the gender gap on Wikipedia.

Dr Jess Wade, physicist and diversity champion at Imperial College, London.

“The majority of editors are men. The majority of editors are white men. So representation of people of colour, of LGBTQ+ people is really, really bad. So many young people use [Wikipedia] as the sole source of their information. They don’t use textbooks anymore. They go to Wikipedia first when they’re looking something up. And I don’t want that to be an incredibly biased view of the world… you could be looking up some kind of new solar material, you could be looking up a cathedral in Florence [but] the people that you read about will be men. And that really frightened me… So I just thought I’d start off by doing one a day. And yeah it’s really fun.”

This experience motivated her to start creating Wikipedia entries about contemporary female scientists, with over 450 new articles published in the last twelve months. These include Isabel Ellie Knaggs, a crystallographer who worked with Kathleen Lonsdale on the crystal structure of benzil; Noël Bakhtian, director of the Center for Advanced Energy Studies at Idaho National Laboratory and described as one of the most powerful female engineers in the world by Business Insider in 2018; Katherine Mathieson, the Chief Executive of the British Science Association; Ronke Mojoyinola Olabisi, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Rutgers University working with Mae Jemison on 100 Year Starship, an interdisciplinary initiative that is exploring the possibility of human interstellar travel; and Powtawche Valerino, the first Native American woman to receive a PhD in mechanical engineering from Rice University. Valerino is a mechanical engineer at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory who worked as a navigation engineer for the Cassini mission.   Wade says the response to her work surfacing the achievements of these inspiring women on Wikipedia has been incredibly positive.

Secondly, organisations in these fields could provide training for staff at all levels via edit-a-thons to build capacity for an inclusive, global, online community. Investing in a Wikimedian, an in-house expert that is dedicated to educating and supporting an organisation to contribute to Wikipedia, would enable larger institutions to permanently embed gender equality within their organisational culture.

Institutions that currently host, or have hosted, a Wikipedian in Residence include libraries (e.g. the National Library of Scotland, the National Library of Wales, the Wellcome Library), charities, museums, archives, the Royal Society of Chemistry, heritage organisations (eg. Museums Galleries Scotland), UNESCO and universities (University of Edinburgh, University of Oxford).

At the University of Edinburgh, discussion around meeting the information literacy and digital skills needs of staff and students, and how to better meet the university’s commitment to Athena SWAN led to working with Wikimedia UK. Research by Professor Allison Littlejohn at the Open University validated that running editathons at the University contributed to the formation of networks of practice and development of social capital.

“Editathons, if run well, can develop not just technical knowledge but also workplace cultural capital and networks. These are the things women need in STEM (science, technology, mathematics and engineering) workplaces. ” – Melissa Highton, Assistant Principal at the University of Edinburgh.

Participants also saw it as an important part of their professional development and felt that editing was a form of knowledge activism which  helped generate important discussions about how knowledge is created, curated and contested online and how Wikipedia editors can positively impact on the knowledge available to people all around the world and addressing those knowledge gaps.

“It’s an emotional connection… Within, I’d say, less than 2 hours of me putting her page in place it was the top hit that came back in Google when I Googled it and I just thought that’s it, that’s impact right there!” Anita – editathon participant.

Reproductive Medicine undergraduates (CC-BY-SA)

Thirdly, national policies across education, research and workforce development could put the spotlight on the powerful impact online platforms like Wikipedia have on women in science and recommend strategies to capitalise on them. For its part the University of Edinburgh has recommended that Wikipedia Women in Red editing forms part of its new four year action plan for meeting its commitment to the Athena SWAN charter by surfacing role models in ten academic disciplines; to encourage and inspire the next generation of immodest women.

Search is the way we live now

According to 2011 figures in the book “Google and the Culture of Search”, Google processed over 91% of searches internationally. Google’s ranking algorithm also narrows the sources clicked upon 90% of the time to just the first page of results.

American feminist scholar of 18th-century British literature, and a noted Wikipedian, Adrienne Wadewitz noted the important role in addressing knowledge gaps on Wikipedia and Google could have:

“Google takes information from Wikipedia, as do many other sites, because it is licensed through a Creative Commons Share-Alike license. Those little boxes on the left-hand side of your screen when you do a Google search? From Wikipedia. The information that is on Wikipedia spreads across the internet. What is right or wrong or missing on Wikipedia affects the entire internet.”

More recently, researchers at the University of Minnesota and Northwestern University have underlined the substantial interdependence of Wikipedia and Google. The results of two deception studies, whose goal was to better demonstrate the relationship between Wikipedia and Google, demonstrated Google depends on Wikipedia and vice versa. Click through rate decreased by 80% if Wikipedia links were removed. Wikipedia was shown to depend on Google. 84.5% of visits to Wikipedia were noted to being attributable to Google.

This means that addressing knowledge gaps on Wikipedia will surface the knowledge to Google’s top results, help populate and power Google’s ‘Knowledge graph’ (presented as a box to the right of search results) and increase visibility, click through and knowledge-sharing. Wikipedia editing can be seen as a form of activism in the democratisation of access to information.

A powerful reminder of the impact Wikipedia can have can be seen among young women and girls, who often lack easily identifiable female role models to follow. Bringing female role models to the fore  beyond the world of celebrity and reality television is something that both Girlguiding UK and psychologist Penelope Lockwood noted was necessary for female students to feel that success is possible in order to broaden their future career aspirations.

Last Summer, schoolgirls from across London were invited by the Mayor of London’s office to take part in a editathon at Bloomberg for London Tech Week to redress the gender balance on Wikipedia through adding new entries on women CEOs, editors, entrepreneurs, lawyers and artists. The hope is this will kickstart further editathons across London and the UK; to further empower students up and down the country that their contributions are valued and that there are inspirational people out there achieving success in fields they just might aspire to join.

A new Open Access book on Gender Equality in higher education, EqualBite, asserts that the problem is persuading girls to consider and apply for STEM courses in the first place when they could apply for any number of courses, given that girls outperform boys at school including in STEM subjects. Recognising women’s achievements and contributions through creating and editing Wikipedia articles can encourage the next generation to take up careers in science. This could help address workforce shortages across many STEM fields and generate significant amounts of economic growth through diversifying innovation and entrepreneurship. Beyond this, we need to look at how improving the visibility of women role models in the online world can better shape our physical environments. The University of Edinburgh Student Association has recently worked on a project to improve diversity in student spaces through replacing the all-male portraits on the walls with more diverse group of portraits to encourage a greater sense of belonging. Similarly, a project in Hertford College, Oxford to mark 40 years of women at the college specially commissioned photograph portraits of women graduates, staff and students to replace the all-male portraits on the walls. By increasing awareness of female achievements online, we can create more inclusive, more diverse, more representative, more empowering physical environments to help breed confidence and undo the negative impact this lack of representation engenders.

Portraits hanging outside the Playfair Library, Old College. CC-BY_SA, Mihaela Bodlovic, http://www.aliceboreasphotography.com/

“Meanings are projected not just by the buildings themselves, but by how they are furnished and decorated. And where almost every image –portrait, photograph, statue – of academic achievement and leadership is masculine (and nearly always white middle-aged), the meaning is clear: to be a successful leader, gender and ethnicity matter.”

The benefits are clear but the scale of the challenge is massive. It has taken Women in Red editors two years to move the percentage of biographies of women on Wikipedia up by 2%. Looking to the future, Artificial Intelligence may prove one method to help address the gender gap. The software tool, Quicksilver, developed by San Francisco startup Primer has been created to help address the blind-spots on Wikipedia, with women in science a particular focus. Using machine-learning algorithms, Quicksilver searches the internet for news entries, links to sources, scientific citations and helps pull all this information together to auto-generate fully-sourced draft Wikipedia entries. This has since been tested at an editathon in New York City at the American Museum of Natural History.

“Maria Strangas, the museum researcher who organized the event, says it helped the 25 first-time editors update the pages for roughly 70 women scientists in just two hours. “It magnified the effect that event had on Wikipedia,” Strangas says.”

So far, over 40,000 summaries have been generated by the Quicksilver method. These entries then need proofread by Wikipedia editors before they can be added to Wikipedia’s livespace. Given that the number of ‘very active’ Wikipedia editors on English Wikipedia remains low at around 3,541 (the population of a small village) the importance of encouraging and empowering a diversity of editors to engage with Wikipedia editing is crucial in terms of increasing the visibility of inspirational female role models online to, in turn, encourage and empower the next generation of women in STEM whose scientific breakthroughs can continue to shape our world for the better.

If you’re feeling motivated to contribute, create a Wikipedia account today and join WikiProject Women in Red.

Witchy Wikidata – a 6th birthday celebration event for Halloween

Wikidata is turning 6 years old at the end of October 2018“the source for open structured data on the web and for facts within Wikipedia.” so we are hosting a birthday celebration on Wednesday 31st October 2018 in time for Halloween in Teaching Studio LG.07, David Hume Tower, University of Edinburgh.

Wikidata is a free and open data repository of the world’s knowledge that anyone can read & edit. Wikidata’s linked database acts as central storage for the structured data of its Wikimedia sister projects.

Using Wikidata, information on Wikipedia can be queried & visualised as never before. The sheer versatility of how this data can be used is only just beginning to be understood & explored.

In this session we will explain why Wikidata is so special, why its users are so excited by the possibilities it offers, why it may overtake Wikipedia in years to come as the project to watch and how it is quietly on course to change the world.

Pumpkinpedia

What will the session include?

  • An introduction to Wikidata: what it is, why it is useful and all the amazing things that can be done with structured, linked, machine-readable open data.
  • A practical activity using the Survey of Scottish Witchcraft database where you will learn the ‘nuts & bolts’ of how to use and edit Wikidata (manually and in bulk) and help shape the future of open knowledge!
  • A practical guide to querying Wikidata using the SPARQL Query Service.
  • Cake and Wikidata swag to take home.

Who should attend?

Absolutely anyone can use Wikidata for something, so people of all disciplines and walks of life are encouraged to attend this session. Basic knowledge of using the internet will be needed for the practical activity, but there are no other pre-requisites.

Anyone interested in open knowledge, academic research, application development or data visualisation should come away buzzing with exciting new ideas!

NB: Please bring a laptop with you OR email ewan.mcandrew@ed.ac.uk at least 24 hours ahead of the event if you need to borrow one.

Please also create a Wikidata account ahead of the event.

Programme

  • 10:45 – 11:00: Welcome, Tea/Coffee, Registration
  • 11:00 – 11:30: Introduction to Wikidata – what is it, and why is it useful? – Dr. Sara Thomas, Scotland Programme Co-ordinator for Wikimedia UK.
  • 11:30 – 12:30: Introduction to SPARQL queries – Delphine Dallison (Wikimedian at the Scottish Library and Information Council).
  • 12:30 – 13:00: Break for lunch
  • 13:00 – 14:30: Witchy data session – Ewan McAndrew (Wikimedian in Residence at the University of Edinburgh).
    • Manual edits practical – adding data from the Survey of Scottish Witchcraft database to Wikidata.
    • Mass edits practical – adding data in bulk from the Survey of Scottish Witchcraft database to Wikidata.
    • Visualising the results
  • 14:30 – 14:45:– Close and thanks.

Book here to attend.

If coming from outside the University of Edinburgh then book your place via Eventbrite here.

North Berwick witches – the logo for the Survey of Scottish Witchcraft database (Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Edinburgh Gothic for Robert Louis Stevenson Day 2018

Calling all you horror fans out there! On Robert Louis Stevenson Day, Tuesday 13 November, join us in David Hume Tower for a series of scintillating talks on the Gothic, brought to you by two of Edinburgh’s own Gothicists and special guests from the University of Sheffield’s Centre for the History of the Gothic. This session comprises three talks aimed at reconceptualising current understandings of Gothic fiction.

Come join us to take a walk on the macabre side of Edinburgh this Autumn!

 

 

Morning – Wikipedia Training and Talks (11:15am-1:30pm)

Book here for session one: 11:15am to 1.30pm

If coming from outside the University of Edinburgh then book through Eventbrite here.

  • 11:15 am – 11:30 am:Housekeeping, Tea & Coffee.
  • 11:30 am – 12:30 pm:Gothic Talks
    • Lauren Nixon and Mary Going – the History of doubling in the Gothic. Mary and Lauren will be joining us from the University of Sheffield’s Centre for the History of the Gothic to discuss the history of doubling in the Gothic and it’s uses as trope/convention over the decades, including Hogg’s Confessions of a Justified Sinner and Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde.
    • Robyn Pritzker – The wild gothic tales of Fanny Stevenson – This talk looks at the New Woman Gothic of Fanny Stevenson through some of her critically neglected short stories, exploring the ways in which the sense of political liminality felt by women in the nineteenth century often manifested as ghostly phenomena in fiction.
    • Vicki MaddenShirley Jackson and American Gothic fiction. This talk delves deeper into the medical humanities by examining Shirley Jackson’s critically understudied novel The Bird’s Nest and explores the ways in which dissociative personality disorder has been problematically conceptualised in Gothic terms, also with reference to Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde.
  • 12:30 pm – 1.30 pm: Wikipedia editing training and selecting an article.
  • 1.30pm-2pm: Break for lunch in David Hume Tower cafe.

 

Wikipedia edit-a-thon in the afternoon (2pm-5.30pm)

Book here for session two (2pm-5.30pm)

If coming from outside the University of Edinburgh then book through Eventbrite here.

On the afternoon of Tuesday 13th November 2018, the University’s Information Services team are running a Wikipedia editing event to celebrate Robert Louis Stevenson Day 2018. The focus will be on improving the quality of articles about all things Gothic; be it improving the page on Fanny Stevenson; be it improving content on Angela Carter, Alasdair Gray, Louise Welsh or Ali Smith; or even improving the Wiki page on Ken Russell’s movie,’Gothic’.

Programme for session two

  • 2pm-5pm – EDIT.
  • 5pm-5.30pm – Publish.

Working together with liaison librarians, archivists & academic colleagues we will provide full training on how to edit and participate in an open knowledge community. Participants will be supported to develop articles covering areas which could stand to be improved.

New editors very welcome. Desktop computers are available to use in this lab but you can use your own laptop if you prefer.

Come along to learn about how Wikipedia works and contribute a greater understanding & appreciation of Gothic!

Full training for Wikipedia editing is provided in session 1 (11am to 1.30pm) but a crash course can be provided at the beginning of this session for those editing for the first time.

More details are available on the Wikipedia event page.

Facts and Fallacies: Cultural Representations of Mental Health

On Wednesday, 14 November, join us in the Project Room, 50 George Square, for a series of short talks centring on cultural representations of mental health as part of Student Wellbeing Week.

Session 1 – Talks (11am to 1pm)

Marking a joint effort between several Schools and Support Services across the University, Facts and Fallacies aims to open up an honest discussion on mental health in a safe environment through six wide-ranging talks comprising neuroscience perspectives on mental wellbeing, complex mental illness in the media, BAME mental health in the UK, mental health representations in the Lothian Health Services Archive, and gendered aspects of mental health.

Staff and students from the Chaplaincy and Wellcomm Kings will be on hand throughout this event to support attendees and offer additional information regarding University of Edinburgh resources for mental wellbeing.

Tea and coffee will be shared on arrival from 11am to 11:10am.

Short talks chaired by Professor Jolyon Mitchell

  1. Professor Stephen LawrieNine Myths about Depression and its treatment.
  2. Dr. Alice White – Mental Health, History, Gender and Wikipedia. This talk will discuss how the histories of mental health are told online, from particular moments in history to narratives of psychological conditions. It will touch upon how gender bias shapes editing.
  3. Dr. Laura A. CariolaPresentations of Complex Mental Illness in the Media: A discursive focus on Borderline Personality DisorderThis presentation reports on an in-depth corpus-assisted discourse analysis which explores how borderline personality disorder is presented in UK newspaper articles and medical case studies. Special attention is given to identifying how discourse types compare in their communication of stereotypes and prejudices that create and reinforce existing social stigma against individuals affected by mental illness.
  4. Louise Neilson – Inside the Asylum: Archival records of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital. Looking at the surviving records of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital this talk will focus on the asylum buildings and the conditions for the patients housed within them.
  5. Rianna Walcott – The Colour of Madness – BAME mental health and scholarship. This talk will explore issues of poor mental health amongst BAME students, and in the wider UK. With reference to Rianna’s own experience as a black student at the University of Edinburgh and in collating BAME experiences for the anthology The Colour of Madness, the talk will address current failings in mental health services as well as contemporary activist efforts for improvement of UK healthcare.
  6. Angela McLaughlinProject Soothe. A unique ‘Citizen Science’ project combining research and public engagement with the goal of developing a bank of soothing images to improve mental health and wellbeing. Since its launch in 2015, Project Soothe has collected over 700 images from members of the public in 29 countries. Its multi-cultural global research has already established that viewing 25 of these images significantly improves people’s mood even if depressive symptoms are present. Find out more and get involved at www.ProjectSoothe.com 

This session will also conclude with an open discussion on the topics presented facilitated by two co-chairs offering both staff and student perspectives. We hope you’ll join us for what promises to be an insightful morning. Together, we hope to build deeper understandings of mental health in order to strengthen our community as a whole.

Book here for session 1 in the Project Room (11am-1pm).

Session 2 – Wikipedia editing event (1.30pm-5.30pm)

Join us in Computing Lab 1.02 on the first floor of 50 George Square, for a Wikipedia editathon focused on improving the coverage of mental health online.

Have you ever wondered why the information in Wikipedia is extensive for some topics and scarce for others? On Wednesday, 14 November, the University’s Information Services team are hosting an edit-a-thon as part of Wellbeing Week. Full Wikipedia editing training will be given at the beginning of the workshop. Thereafter the afternoon’s editathon will focus on improving the quality of articles about all things related to mental health.

Working together with liaison librarians, archivists & academic colleagues we will provide training on how to edit and participate in an open knowledge community. Participants will be supported to develop articles covering areas which could stand to be improved.

Come along to learn about how Wikipedia works and contribute a greater understanding of mental health!

Book here to join the Wikipedia editing event from 1.30pm-5.30pm

View the Wikipedia event page for suggested topics to work on but do also feel free to make further suggestions of pages to create/improve.

Session 3 – Screening the Inner World: Mental Health and Emotion in Film and Television (6pm-7.30pm)

Cinema and television have contributed greatly to public understanding and misunderstanding of mental health, emotion and psychological and psychiatric practices. In this panel discussion we will screen a number of clips from a range of films and programmes and invite panellists and the audience to reflect on the representations of mental health and illness. We will discuss the practical effect that such representations may have on the public perception of mental health and also explore the specific ways in which the moving image tries to show our apparently invisible inner worlds and emotional lives.

This event will be chaired by Dr. David Sorfa, Programme Director MSc Film Studies at the University of Edinburgh.

Invited panellists include:

  • Dr. Calum Neil – Associate Professor of Psychoanalysis & Cultural Theory at Edinburgh Napier University.
  • Dr. Laura Cariola – Laura is an applied linguist and psychologist. Her research focuses on the intersection of language, discourse and mental health. She explores the language of individuals affected by mental health problems and healthcare professionals, as well as the presentation and phenomenology of mental health in the media and literature.
  • Dr. Rosie Stenhouse – With a background in Social Science and mental health nursing, Rosie joined Nursing Studies at the University of Edinburgh as a full time lecturer in 2013. Her teaching focuses on research methods in mental health including a course she developed on Contemporary issues in mental health: engagement through the arts, humanities and social science, and critical engagement with professional issues relating to working in healthcare organisations.
  • Professor Stephen Lawrie – Chair of Psychiatry and Neuro-Imaging & Head of the Division of Psychiatry at the University of Edinburgh. Professor Lawrie graduated in Medicine from Aberdeen University and completed basic Psychiatry training at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital. Following six months as a Wellcome Research Fellow, he was Lecturer and then Sackler Clinical Research Fellow/Reader in the Department of Psychiatry in Edinburgh.  As an Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist with NHS Lothian, he works as a general psychiatrist in Edinburgh and in the South-East Scotland regional adult ASD clinical service.

While we will steer away from the more lurid and gruesome representations of mental distress, some may find the topics raised or scenes depicted upsetting. Please do check the BBFC descriptions of the material to be screened here: http://www.bbfc.co.uk

Short clips from the following films may be shown:

  • Cabinet of Dr Caligari (Robert Wiene, 1920)
  • A Page of Madness (Teinosuke Kinugasa, 1926)
  • Gaslight (George Cukor, 1944)
  • Spellbound (Alfred Hitchcock, 1945)
  • Whirlpool (Otto Preminger, 1950)
  • The Three Faces of Eve (Nunnally Johnson, 1957)
  • Asylum (Peter Robinson, 1972)
  • Demons of the Mind (Peter Sykes, 1972)
  • The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)
  • Frances (Graeme Clifford, 1982)
  • An Angel at My Table (Jane Campion, 1990)
  • Girl, Interrupted (James Mangold, 1999)
  • In Absentia (Stephen and Timothy Quay, 2000)
  • Prozac Nation (Erik Skjoldbjærg, 2001)
  • Lunacy (Jan Švankmajer, 2005)
  • Mad Detective (Johnnie To, 2007)
  • A Dangerous Method (David Cronenberg, 2011)
  • Silver Linings Playbook (David O. Russell, 2012)
  • Inside Out (Pete Docter and Ronnie Del Carmen, 2015)
  • Mad to Be Normal (Robert Mullan, 2017)
  • Killing Eve (BBC1, 2018)
  • Maniac (Netflix, 2018)
  • Eat Pray Love (Ryan Murphy, 2010)
  • We Need To Talk About Kevin (Lynne Ramsay, 2011)
  • The Orphan (Jaume Collet-Serra, 2009)
  • The Omen (Richard Donner, 1976)

Book here to join session three in the Screening Room at 50 George Square from 6pm-7.30pm.

Ada Lovelace Day – 1 month to go!

On Tuesday 9th October 2018, the University’s Information Services team are running an edit-a-thon to celebrate Ada Lovelace Day 2018 which is an international celebration day of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

It’s a little over a month until Ada Lovelace Day 2018 so do pop it in your calendar now and we’ll announce further details about the University’s plans on our Ada Lovelace Day website shortly.

This year the event will have a particular focus on Contemporary Women in STEM and #ALD2018 is to be hosted at the JCMB building (subject to room confirmation) with a evening networking event in the social space at the Joseph Black building (wine and nibbles supplied by the Royal Society of Chemistry).

There will be a range of guest speakers in the morning followed by fun STEM activities in the afternoon (see below for details). Full Wikipedia editing training will be given at 2-3pm. Thereafter the afternoon’s edit-a-thon will focus on improving the quality of Wikipedia articles related to Contemporary Women in STEM! This year we will also be hosting a Women in STEM data hackathon.

Following on from last year’s panel discussion, to close the day there will be a more informal discussion and networking event. Five guest speakers from a variety of career stages have been invited to say a few words to promote discussion inc. Dr. Jenni Garden, Christina Miller Research Fellow at the School of Chemistry and Professor Lesley Yellowlees.

All three events (morning, afternoon and evening) will be free and open to all so taking part in Ada Lovelace Day is as as easy as 1,2,3.

You can book to attend one session, two sessions or all three and booking will open very soon. Watch this space.

Who is your STEM heroine?

A regular activity for Ada Lovelace Day (ALD) at the University of Edinburgh is the Wikipedia editing event or editathon. This year the focus is contemporary women in STEM who do not currently have Wikipedia pages.

Nominate your contemporary STEM heroine for consideration at the Wikipedia editathon Tuesday 9th October. This should only take 5-10 minutes and it will really help us to create new role models for young and old alike on the world’s go-to source for information, Wikipedia.

Submit your STEM heroine nomination (Google Form)

Please note the deadline for submissions is now Monday 8th October.

Assistant Principal Melissa Highton welcoming attendees to Ada Lovelace Day 2017
Assistant Principal Melissa Highton welcoming attendees to Ada Lovelace Day 2017

Draft Programme

Morning session 11am-12:30pm: Talks

Morning of short talks chaired by Anne-Marie Scott.

Confirmed room: Teaching Studio G.07 at Murchison House.

Tea and coffee will be served at 11am.

Talks will commence at 11.15am.

    • Housekeeping and welcome from Anne-Marie Scott, Deputy Director or Learning, Teaching & Web Services.
    • Women in High Performance Computing (HPC) – Athina Frantzana
    • Introduction to the Gender and Equality Images Internship – Francesca Vavotici. This 10-minute talk will explore the role of the Gender and Equality Images Intern and will offer an overview of the Library and University collections. With such wealth of fascinating materials available, the talk will provide insight into the research process and share some of the highlights so far.
    • Women in STEM Society – Charlie and Yvonne.
    • Wellcomm Kings – Rosie and Izzy
    • Knitting Ada – Find out about how Madeleine Shepherd hacked her knitting machine to create a portrait of Ada Lovelace in yarn.
    • University of Edinburgh Physics Society – Olivia Jackson.

The morning session will close with elevator pitches for the drop-in activities in the afternoon.

(Pic from Ada Lovelace Day 2016 at the University of Edinburgh – own work CC-BY-SA).

Activities 12:30pm-5:30pm: Activities

Chaired by Stewart Cromar and James Slack (Information Services)

Confirmed rooms: 

12:30pm-5:30pm: HPC Carpentry: a hands-on introduction to Supercomputing (3211 – JCMB Building)

  • David Henty, Weronika Filinger, Clair Barrass
  • Needs to be pre-registered
  • Edinburgh University hosts the UK national supercomputer, ARCHER, and many other machines available to Edinburgh researchers. This hands-on session will explain what High Performance Computing (HPC )is, what a supercomputer is, how to use it and what you can get out of it. We have run similar workshops previously under the “Women in HPC” initiative in UK and abroad and are keen to repeat the workshop for a local audience.

12:30pm-1:30pm: DIY Film School (Teaching Studio G.07 at Murchison House).

  • Liam Duffy and Stephen Donnelly (Information Services)
  • Introductory talk on DIY Film School and then practising & recording of the below activities

12:30pm-2:30pm: STEM stories (Teaching Studio G.07 at Murchison House).

  • Edinburgh University Women in STEM Society Committee members: Yvonne Anderson, Charlie Simms, Sarah Aitkin, Lyndsey Scott, Serene Messai
  • Aim: To allow students to share and discuss their experiences at university, particularly women in STEM.
  • All participants are given postcards on which they can write a good or bad experience they have had during university to do with equality and diversity.We will have a whiteboard split into good and bad and will get people to put their postcard on the side that applies to them.
  • Outcome: Bringing up subjects such as unconscious bias and making people aware that sexism is a current problem within stem subjects. Focusing on positive stories but also ways of addressing the negative ones.

12:30pm-2:30pm: Cake decorating (Teaching Studio G.07 at Murchison House).

  • Edinburgh University Women in STEM Society Committee: Yvonne Anderson, Charlie Simms, Sarah Aitkin, Lyndsey Scott, Serene Messai
  • Audience given cupcake and bio about a famous women in STEM and decorate their cake to represent her. The aim is simply to educate people on the important female figures within STEM.
Women in Red Wikipedia editing.  Photo by Dr Alexander Chow. CC-BY-SA

Contemporary Women in STEM editathon 2:30pm-5:30pm

Chaired by Ewan McAndrew and Stephanie ‘Charlie’ Farley.

Confirmed room: Teaching Studio G.07 at Murchison House.

    • Create pages on contemporary Women in STEM figures crowdsourced from suggestions from circulating this Googleform.
      • Wikipedia training from 2:30pm-3.30pm
      • Creating new pages from 3.30pm-5pm.
      • Publishing new pages 5pm-5.30pm.
      • Potentially personal/research websites as sources of information
      • Sources for open-access images? Approach repositories
      • Identify if there are books we need to buy into library ahead of time. e.g. Last year Chemistry was their lives proved very helpful
      • Use review articles for sources of bio information.
      • Short activities  can have big results e.g. training to add an image, an info box (5-10 mins), citation (5-10) or data (5-10 mins)

Women in STEM data hackathon 3:30pm-5:30pm

Teaching Studio G.07 at Murchison House.

  • Data on Women in STEM can be provided in an editable table – participants fill in blank columns with missing verifiable information.
    • E.g. Place of study, field of work, notable achievements…

At the end of the Wikipedia and Wikidata workshops we will tweet out the newly created pages and new data visualisations (maps, timelines etc.)

Ada Lovelace
Alfred Edward Chalon [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Evening discussion & networking event 5.45pm-7.30pm

Chaired by Dr. Michael Seery, Director of Teaching at the School of Chemistry.

Venue: Social area at the School of Chemistry in Joseph Black building.

Following on from last year’s panel discussion, this will be a more informal discussion and networking event. Five guest speakers from a variety of career stages have been invited to say a few words  to promote discussion inc. Dr. Jenni Garden, Christina Miller Research Fellow at the School of Chemistry and Professor Lesley Yellowlees.

Wine and nibbles provided by the Royal Society of Chemistry,

Previous Women in STEM editathons

Review the Wikipedia articles improved and created at previous ALD editathons:

  1. ALD Wikipedia editathon 2017
  2. ALD Wikipedia editathon 2016
  3. ALD Wikipedia editathon 2015

Ada Lovelace Day 2017 short film

In celebration of International Women’s Day (#IWD2018) watch footage from Ada Lovelace Day 2017 at the University of Edinburgh. Via Media Hopper Create you can watch and download a Creative Commons licenced (CC BY-SA) full HD version for sharing/repurposing/remixing!

How to run a Wikipedia editathon – a workshop for health information professionals at the EAHIL conference

This post was authored by Ruth Jenkins, Academic Support Librarian at the University of Edinburgh.

For some time, Wikipedia has been shown to be a resource to engage with, rather than avoid. Wikipedia is heavily used for medical information by students and health professionals – and the fact that it is openly available is crucial for people finding health information, particularly in developing countries or in health crises. Good quality Wikipedia articles are an important contribution to the body of openly available information – particularly relevant for improving health information literacy. In fact, some argue that updating Wikipedia should be part of every doctor’s work, contributing to the dissemination of scientific knowledge.

Participants editing Wikipedia

With that in mind, Academic Support Librarians for Medicine Marshall Dozier, Ruth Jenkins and Donna Watson recently co-presented a workshop on How to run a Wikipedia editathon, at the European Association for Health Information and Libraries (EAHIL) Conference in Cardiff in July. Ewan McAndrew, our Wikimedian in Residence here at the University of Edinburgh, was instrumental in the planning and structuring of the workshop, giving us lots of advice and help. On the day, we were joined by Jason Evans, Wikimedian in Residence at the National Library of Wales, who spoke about his role at NLW and the Wikimedia community and helped support participants during editing.

We wanted our workshop to give participants experience of editing Wikipedia and build their confidence using Wikipedia as part of the learning experience for students and others. Our workshop was a kind of train-the-trainer editathon. An editathon is an event to bring people together at a scheduled time to create entries or edit Wikipedia on a specific topic, and they are valuable opportunities for collaborating with subject experts, and to involve students and the public.

Where a typical editathon would be a half-day event, we only had 90 minutes. As such, our workshop was themed around a “micro-editathon” – micro in scale, timing and tasks. We focused on giving participants insights into running an editathon, offered hands-on experience, and small-scale edits such as adding images and missing citations to articles.

Systematic review edit
Key stats from the EAHIl Wikipedia editathon

We also presented on the Wikipedia assignment in the Reproductive Biology Honours programme here at Edinburgh, including a clip from this video of a student’s reflections on the assignment, which sparked discussion from the attendees. Jason Evans’ talk about Wikimedia UK and Wikiproject Medicine, contextualised the participants’ edits within the wider Wikimedia community.

We are waiting on feedback from the event, but anecdotally, the main response was a wish for a longer workshop, with more time to get to know Wikipedia better! There was lots of discussion about take-home ideas, and we hope they are inspired to deliver editathon events in their own organisations and countries. We also spotted that some of our participants continued to make edits on Wikipedia in the following weeks, which is a great sign.

If you want to know more, you can visit the event website which roughly follows the structure of our workshop and includes plenty of further resources: https://thinking.is.ed.ac.uk/eahil-editathon/

Further information.

Pic of Ruth Jenkins at the Reproductive Biology Hons. Wikipedia workshop.
By Stinglehammer [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

The internet’s favourite website for information

Wikipedia at 17.

  • The world’s biggest encyclopedia will turn eighteen in January 2019.
  • English Wikipedia has 5.7m articles (full list of all 302 language Wikipedias)
  • 500 million visitors per month
  • 1.5 billion monthly unique devices per month.
  • 17 billion pageviews per month.
  • Completely open process and more reliable than you think
  • All edits are recorded in the View History of a page in permanent links so pages can be rolled back to their last good state if need be. e.g. View History page for Jeremy Hunt.
  • Vandalism removed more quickly than you think (only 7% of edits are considered vandalism)
  • Used in schools & universities to teach information literacy & help combat fake news.
  • Guidelines around use of reliable sources, conflict of interest, verifiability, and neutral point of view.
  • Articles ‘looked after’ (monitored and maintained) by editors from 2000+ WikiProjects.
  • Includes a quality and ratings scale – the two highest quality levels of articles are community reviewed.
  • Information organised in categories using a category tree. These categories can help create dynamic timelines.
  • Knowledge discussed on Talk pages  and at the Wikipedia Tea House where you can ask questions.
  •  87.5% of students report using Wikipedia for their academic work (Selwyn and Gorard, 2016) in “an introductory and/or clarificatory role” as part of their information gathering and research and finding it ‘academically useful’ in this context.
  • Used by 90% of medical students and 50-75% of physicians. (Masukume, Kipersztok, Shafee, Das, and Heilmam, 2017)
  • Research from the Harvard Business School has also discovered that, unlike other more partisan areas of the internet, Wikipedia’s focus on NPOV (neutral point of view) means editors actually become more moderate over time; the researchers seeing this as evidence that editing “Wikipedia helps break people out of their ideological echo chambers
  • It is the place people turn to orientate themselves on a topic.

 

More reading

Did Media Literacy backfire?

“Too many students I met were being told that Wikipedia was untrustworthy and were, instead, being encouraged to do research. As a result, the message that many had taken home was to turn to Google and use whatever came up first. They heard that Google was trustworthy and Wikipedia was not.” (Boyd, 2017)

Don’t cite Wikipedia, write Wikipedia.

  • Wikipedia does not want you to cite it. It considers itself a tertiary resource; an online encyclopedia built from articles which in turn are based on reliable, published, secondary sources.
  • Wikipedia is relentlessly transparent. Everything on Wikipedia can be checked, challenged and corrected. Cite the sources Wikipedia uses, not Wikipedia itself.
Own work by Stinglehammer, CC-BY-SA

Wikipedia does need more subject specialists to engage with it to improve its coverage, however. More eyes on a page helps address omissions and improves the content.

Six in six minutes – 3 students and 3 staff discuss Wikipedia in the Classroom

  1. Karoline Nanfeldt – 4th year Psychology undergraduate student.
  2. Tomas Sanders – 4th year History undergraduate student.
  3. Aine Kavanagh – Senior Hons. Reproductive Biology student.
  4. Ruth Jenkins – Academic Support Librarian at the University of Edinburgh Medical School.
  5. Dr. Jenni Garden – Christina Miller Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Chemistry.
  6. Dr. Michael Seery – Reader in Education at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Chemistry.

Wikipedia has a problem with systemic bias.

A 2011 survey suggests that on English Wikipedia around 90% of editors are male, and are typically formally educated, in white-collar jobs (or students) and living in the Global North.

“if there is a typical Wikipedia editor, he has a college degree, is 30- years-old, is computer savvy but not necessarily a programmer, doesn’t actually spend much time playing games, and lives in US or Europe.”

This means that the articles within Wikipedia typically reflect this bias. For example only 17% of biographies in English Wikipedia are of women. Many articles reflect the perspective of English speakers in the northern hemisphere, and many of the topics covered reflect the interests of this relatively small group of editors. Wikipedia needs a diverse community of editors to bring diverse perspectives and interests.

Wikipedia is also a community that operates with certain expectations and social norms in mind. Sometimes new editors can have a less than positive experience when they aren’t fully aware of this.

“5 Pillars of Wikipedia” flickr photo by giulia.forsythe https://flickr.com/photos/gforsythe/21684596874 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

There are only 80,000 regular contributors to Wikipedia. Of these, only 3,000 are considered ‘very active. That’s the population of a small village like Pitlochry trying to curate the world’s knowledge.

We need to increase the diversity and number of Wikipedia editors.  One way to do that is to run edit-a-thons and other facilitated activities that introduce some of these norms and expectations at the same time learning how to technically edit Wikipedia.

Isn’t editing Wikipedia hard?

Maybe it was a little hard once but not now. It’s all dropdown menus now with the Visual Editor interface. So super easy, intuitive and “addictive as hell“!

Do you need a quick overview of what all the buttons and menu options on Wikimedia do? Luckily we have just the very thing for you.

By Zeromonk (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Search is the way we live now” – Google and Wikipedia

  • Google depends on Wikipedia. Click through rate decreases by 80% if Wikipedia links are removed. (McMahon, Johnson and Hecht, 2017)
  • Wikipedia depends on Google. 84.5% of visits to Wikipedia attributable to Google. (McMahon, Johnson and Hecht, 2017)
  • Google processed 91% of searches internationally and 97.4% of the searches made using mobile devices according to 2011 figures in Hillis, Petit & Jarrett (2013).
  • Google’s ranking algorithm also has a ‘funnelling effect’ according to Beel & Gipp (2009); narrowing the sources clicked upon 90% of the time to just the first page of results with a 42% clickthrough on first choice alone.
  • This means that addressing knowledge gaps on Wikipedia will surface the knowledge to Google’s top ten results and increase clickthrough and knowledge-sharing. Wikipedia editing can therefore be seen as a form of activism in the democratisation of access to information.

 

The Symbiotic Relationship between Wikipedia and Google.

Learn how to edit Wikipedia in 30 mins

More Reading

Scotland loves Monuments 2018

Glenfinnan Viaduct at Loch Shiel won 2nd place in the 2017 UK prizes, let’s see if we can win first place this year!
Pic by Paul Stümke [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Get involved in Wiki Loves Monuments!

This post was written by Delphine Dallison, Wikimedian in Residence at the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) and Scotland Programme Co-ordinator for Wikimedia UK, Sara Thomas.
Wiki Loves Monuments is an international photo competition which takes part throughout the month of September, and is supported by the Wikimedia Foundation. The aim is to crowdsource as many high quality, openly licensed photos as possible of scheduled monuments and listed buildings throughout the world.In the UK, there will be prizes for the best photos of a site in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales as well as prizes for the best UK photos overall. The latter will then be put forward for international prizes. (A picture of Glenfinnan Viaduct at Loch Shiel won 2nd place in the 2017 UK prizes, let’s see if we can win first place this year!)

Why take part?

Portobello and Wikipedia – Great 8 min podcast featuring University of Edinburgh Digital Curator Gavin Willshaw and Dr Margaret Munro of the Portobello Heritage Society discussing the importance of surfacing local heritage online.
Portobello beach by Photochrom Print Collection [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons is a free repository of photographs, audio and video content that anyone can use, re-use or distribute. Images on Commons can also be used to illustrate Wikipedia articles – which can then be seen by a global audience.  But not all of our rich heritage is represented – there are a number of gaps when it comes to the coverage of Scotland – and this year, we’d like to do what we can to change that.Is your organisation or group looking for activities for September?  Wiki Loves Monuments can be a great activity for local social or volunteer groups, not just those those concerned with photography or history.  Why not organise a heritage walk to take pictures of listed buildings in the local area, and visit the local museum or library at the same time?

How do you take part?

Register for an account on Wikimedia Commons. (Individuals only, no organisational accounts.)If you already have a Wikipedia account, no need to register for a new account on Wikimedia Commons, you can use the same account for Wikimedia Commons. To enter the competition you must make sure that your account has a valid email address and that your email is activated. To check that, once you have logged in, look for “My preferences” tab at the top right of the page. Click on it, and then select “enable email from other users.”  This will allow the competition organisers and other registered users on Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons to contact you but will not make your email address publicly available.
Wiki Loves Monuments – dynamic map of Edinburgh showing listed buildings requiring an image (in red).

What should you photograph? How do you upload it?

In Scotland, the subjects eligible to be entered in Wiki Loves Monuments are those designated by Historic Environment Scotland references for Listed Buildings and Scheduled Monuments. If you’re not sure what buildings or monuments are classed as listed, don’t worry! We’ve got a great tool for you to use to upload your photos which includes an interactive map.

Blue pins on the map indicate monuments which already have a photo on Wikimedia Commons, whereas red pins indicate where they are missing. Select your town or city then wander around your local area and look for buildings or monuments with red pins. You can take photos on smartphones, tablets or cameras and then upload them by selecting the appropriate pin on the map and clicking upload. Make sure that you are logged into your Wikimedia Commons account and follow the basic instructions. Every photo uploaded via the interactive map will be entered into the Wiki Loves Monuments.

You can take more than one photo of a building or monument. Preferably one should be a photo of the building or monument as a whole, but also use your photographic flair to add photos of key features, inside views or behind the scenes features that the public doesn’t normally get to see. Doors Open Day runs throughout September and is a great opportunity to organise a photography tour of a building or a tour of the local listed monuments in your town.

Other tips:

  • Not sure that your photo skills are up to the competition? Don’t worry about it, the important thing is to take part. The more photos we can crowdsource, the more we can improve the coverage of listed buildings and monuments in Scotland, which is our ultimate goal. You can also check the Wiki Loves Monuments blog for tips on how to best take architectural photos.
  • Wiki Loves Monuments is aimed at everyone! You don’t have to be an expert photographer, or have prior experience with any of the Wikimedia projects.
  • The competition runs through the whole of September from the 1st till the 30th and any entries uploaded during that time will be part of the competition. Photos don’t have to have been taken during September though, so you can add old photos, as long as they’ve not been previously uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. Doors Open Day is a great opportunity to tie in with Wiki Loves Monuments, so if you know local DOD venues or if you work with a local heritage officer, please advertise it with them too.

How can you take part?

In 2017, Scotland was voted the most beautiful country in the world in a Rough Guide readers’ poll.

Perhaps I’m a tad biased but I’d tend to agree. There’s nowhere quite like it.

Yet, we who live and work here can take it for granted that our beautiful locations, listed buildings and monuments will always be there… something that can never be fully guaranteed. Political and economic tides change  and forces of nature can have devastating effects as we have seen with the Mackintosh building fire at the Glasgow School of Art, Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s masterwork.

The Mackintosh Building in 2012 (CC-BY, via Flickr)

That’s why it’s so important that we take the opportunity to document our cultural heritage now for future generations before it is too late. Share your high quality pics of listed buildings and monuments to Wikimedia Commons and help preserve our cultural heritage online. After days out, weekend breaks and holidays at home & abroad, there will be gigabytes of pics taken in recent months and years. These could remain on your memory card or be shared to Commons and help illustrate Wikipedia for the benefit of all.

Aside from being great fun, Wiki Loves Monuments is a way of capturing a snapshot of our nation’s cultural heritage for future generations and documenting our country’s most important historic sites. Don’t wait till it’s too late, do your bit today! Click here to view a map of your local area to get started.

You just take a quick look at the map, take a pic and upload. It takes seconds and is the easiest way to take part in this year’s competition.

I was surprised to see Ryries, a public house near Haymarket Station was a listed building on the Wiki Loves Monuments map; a building I pass every day so it was an easy one to snap and upload.

If each one of us took just 1 pic, we’d have this sewn up in a couple of weeks. Which is when Wiki Loves Monuments closes – end of 30 September 2018. But if you can do more then great.

#ScotWiki #WikiLovesMonuments

ps. If nothing else, let’s give our counterparts in Ireland, England and Wales a run for their money in terms of how many images we can upload. A little friendly rivalry never hurts, right?

Scotland uploaded 300+ images in 2016. That rose to 2,100 in 2017 with 1,351 of those uploaded by staff at the University of Edinburgh.

This year we’re inviting Scotland’s public libraries to take part through Delphine Dallison, Wikimedian in Residence at the Scottish Library and Information Council.

Let’s see if we can get pics from ALL over Scotland this year. Everyone is welcome to take part and every picture helps.

You can check out the images uploaded so far for Wiki Loves Monuments in Scotland here.

University wins Wikimedia UK’s Partnership of the Year award

The University of Edinburgh has won Partnership of the Year at Wikimedia UK’s AGM.

On Saturday 14 July 2018, Wikimedia UK, the national chapter for the global Wikimedia movement, held its Annual General Meeting at the Natural History Museum in London.

Left to right: Stephanie (Charlie) Farley, Open Education Resources; Lorna Campbell, OER Service; Ewan McAndrew, Wikimedian in Residence; Anne-Marie Scott, Deputy Director of Learnng, Teaching & Web Services.

Each year the AGM recognises individuals of the Wikimedia UK community who have made a recognisable impact and this year there were 4 categories open to nomination:

  • UK Wikimedian of the Year 2018
  • UK Partnership of the Year
  • Positive Wikimedian of the Year
  • Up and Coming: Wikimedian to Watch 2018

It was announced at this year’s event that the University of Edinburgh had been nominated and won for UK Partnership of the Year, as the institution which had stood out in the past year as ‘the most effective Wikimedia and Open Knowledge Advocate’.

This is the second time the university has won this accolade following its win in 2016 for hosting the Open Educational Resources conference (OER16) and follows Wikimedian in Residence, Ewan McAndrew, being named UK Wikimedian of the Year in 2017.

The UK Partnership of the Year award recognises the leadership of Melissa Highton and Anne-Marie Scott in supporting the Wikimedia residency and fostering an Open Knowledge community within the university and beyond. It also recognises the fantastic work of our Open Education team; Wikipedia in the Classroom course leaders; our student interns; colleagues in Digital Skills; in Library & University Collections, in Digital Learning Applications and Media (DLAM); and colleagues all across Information Services and the university’s three teaching Colleges in furthering the sharing of open knowledge through the Wikimedia projects.

“The work done by the University of Edinburgh continues to lead the way in Scotland in terms of Higher Education engagement with Wikimedia, and has prompted enquiries from a number of other universities and organisations… showing impact within and outwith Scotland.”

“Their success is absolutely key to the development of the Wikimedia community and its work in Scotland – and I feel it’s right and proper that they be recognised for that.” – Wikimedia UK

Fittingly, the award was collected by Lorna Campbell, who works for the University’s OER Service, and is also a Wikimedia UK Board Member.

Overall, it was a good day for the growing ScotWiki community with other award winners including Delphine Dallison, Wikimedian in Residence at the Scottish Library & Information Council, who won Up and Coming Wikimedian of the Year and Sara Thomas, Scotland Programme Co-ordinator for Wikimedia UK, who received an honourable mention for UK Wikimedian of the Year 2018.

Read more about the nominations on Wikimedia UK’s website.

Wikidata in the Classroom and the WikiCite project

The following post was presented by Wikimedian in Residence, Ewan McAndrew, at the Repository Fringe Conference 2018 held on 2nd & 3rd July 2018 at the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

 

Hi, my name’s Ewan McAndrew and I work at the University of Edinburgh as the Wikimedian in Residence.

My talk’s in two parts;

The first is part is on teaching data literacy with the Survey of Scottish Witchcraft database and Wikidata.

Contention #1:  since the City Region deal is there is a pressing need for implementing data literacy in the curriculum to produce a workforce equipped with the data skills necessary to meet the needs of Scotland’s growing digital economy and that this therefore presents a massive opportunity for educators, researchers, data scientists and repository managers alike.

Wikidata is the sister project of Wikipedia and it the backbone to all the Wikimedia projects, a centralised hub of structured, machine-readable, multilingual linked open data. An introduction to Wikidata can be found here.

I was invited along with 13 other ‘problem holders’ to a ‘Data Fair’ on 26 October 2017 hosted by course leaders on the Data Science for Design MSc. We were each afforded just five minutes to pitch a dataset for the 45 students on the course to work on in groups as a five week long project.

The ‘Data Fair’ held on 26 October 2017 for Data Science for Design MSc students. CC-BY-SA, own work.

Two groups of students were enthused to volunteer to help surface the data from the Survey of Scottish Witchcraft database, a fabulous piece of work at the University of Edinburgh from 2001-2003 chronicling information about accused witches in Scotland from the period 1563-1736, their trials and the individuals involved in those trials (lairds, sheriffs, prosecutors etc.) which remained somewhat static and unloved in an Microsoft Access database since the project concluded in 2003. So students at the 2017 Data Fair were invited to consider what could be done if the data was exported into Wikidata with attribution, linking back to the source database to provide verifiable provenance, given multilingual labels and linked to other complementary datasets? Beyond this, what new insights & visualisations of the data could be achieved?

There were several areas of interest: course leaders on the Data Science for Design MSc were keen for the students to work with ‘real world’ datasets in order to give them practical experience ahead of their dissertation projects.

 “A common critique of data science classes is that examples are static and student group work is embedded in an ‘artificial’ and ‘academic’ context. We look at how we can make teaching data science classes more relevant to real-world problems. Student engagement with real problems—and not just ‘real-world data sets’—has the potential to stimulate learning, exchange, and serendipity on all sides, and on different levels: noticing unexpected things in the data, developing surprising skills, finding new ways to communicate, and, lastly, in the development of new strategies for teaching, learning and practice.”

Towards Open-World Scenarios: Teaching the Social Side of Data Science by Dave Murray Rust, Joe Corneli and Benjamin Bach.

Beyond this, there were other benefits to the exercise. Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the Web, has suggested a 5-star deployment scheme for Open Data (illustrated in the picture and table below). Importing data into Wikidata makes it 5 star data!

By Michael Hausenblas, James G. Kim, five-star Linked Open Data rating system developed by Tim Berners-Lee. (http://5stardata.info/en/) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
Number of stars Description Properties Example format
make your data available on the Web (whatever format) under an open license
  • Open license
PDF
★★ make it available as structured data (e.g., Excel instead of image scan of a table)
  • Open license
  • Machine readable
XLS
★★★ make it available in a non-proprietary open format (e.g., CSV instead of Excel)
  • Open license
  • Machine readable
  • Open format
CSV
★★★★ use URIs to denote things, so that people can point at your stuff
  • Open license
  • Machine readable
  • Open format
  • Data has URIs
RDF
★★★★★ link your data to other data to provide context
  • Open license
  • Machine readable
  • Open format
  • Data has URIs
  • Linked data
LOD

Importing data into Wikidata makes it 5 star data!

Open data producers can use Wikidata IDs as identifiers in datasets to make their data 5 star linked open data. As of June 2018, Wikidata featured in the latest Linked Open Data cloud diagram on lod-cloud.net as a dataset published in the linked data format containing over 5,100,000,000 triples.

Over a series of workshops, the Wikidata assignment also afforded the students the opportunity to develop their understanding of, and engagement with, issues such as: data completeness; data ethics; digital provenance; data analysis; data processing; as well as making practical use of a raft of tools and data visualisations. It also motivated student volunteers to surface a much-loved repository of information as linked open data to enable further insights and research. A project that the students felt proud to take part in and found “very meaningful”. (The students even took the opportunity to consult with professors of History at the university in order to gain even more of an understanding of the period in which these witch trials took place, such was their interest in the subject).

Feedback from students at the conclusion of the project included:

  • “After we analysed the data, we found we learned the stories of the witches and we learned about European culture especially in the witchhunts.”
  • “We had wanted to do a happy project but finally we learned much more about these cultures so it was very meaningful for us.”
  • “In my opinion, it’s quite useful to put learning practice into the real world so that we can see the outcome and feel proud of ourselves… we learned a lot.”
  • “Thank you for inviting us and appreciating our video. It’s an unforgettable experience in my life. Thank you so much.”

As a  result of the students’ efforts, we now have 3219 items of data on the accused witches in Wikidata (spanning 1563 to 1736). We also now have data on 2356 individuals involved in trying these accused witches. Finally we have 3210 witch trials themselves. This means we can link and enrich the data further by adding location data, dates, occupations, places of residence, social class, marriages, and penalties arising from the trial.

The fact that Wikidata is also linked open data means that students can help connect to and leverage from a variety of other datasets in multiple languages; helping to fuel discovery through exploring the direct and indirect relationships at play in this semantic web of knowledge.

 

Descendents of King James VI and I, king during union of English and Scottish crowns

And we can see an example of this semantic web of related entities, or historical individuals in this case, here in this visualisation of the descendants of King James I of England and James VI of Scotland (as shown in the pic above but do click on the link for a live rendering).

We can also see the semantic web at play in the below class level overview of gene ontologies (505,000 objects) loaded into Wikidata, and linking these genes to items of data on related proteins and items of data on related diseases, which, in turn, have related chemical compounds and pharmaceutical products used to treat these diseases. Many of these datasets have been loaded into Wikidata, or are maintained by, the GeneWiki initiative – around a million Wikidata items of biomedical data – but, importantly, they are also leveraging from other datasets imported from the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) among other sources. This allows researchers to add to and explore the direct and, perhaps more importantly, the indirect relationships at play in this semantic web of knowledge to help identify areas for future research.

 

Using Wikidata as an open, community-maintained database of biomedical knowledge – CC-BY: Andrew Su, Professor at The Scripps Research Institute.

Which brings me onto…

Contention #2 – Building a bibliographical repository: the sum of all citations

Sharing your data to Wikidata, as a linking hub for the internet, is also the most cost-effective way to surface your repository’s data and make it 5 star linked open data. As a centralised hub for linked open data on the internet, it enables you to leverage from many other datasets while you can still have  your own read/write applications on top of Wikidata. (Which is exactly what the GeneWiki project did to encourage domain experts to contribute to knowledge gaps on Wikidata through providing a user-friendly read/write interface to enable the “consumption and curation” of gene annotation data using the Wiki Genome web application).

Within Wikidata, we have biographical data, geographical data, biomedical data, taxomic data and importantly, bibliographic data.

The WikiCite project are building a bibliographic repository of sources within Wikidata.

“How does the Wikimedia movement empower individuals to assess reliable sources and arm them with quality information so they can make decisions based in facts? This question is relevant not only to Wikipedia users​ but to consumers of media around the globe. Over the past decade, the Wikimedia movement has come together to answer that question. Efforts to design better ways to support sourcing have begun to coalesce around Wikidata – the free knowledgebase that anyone can edit. With the creation of a rich, human-curated, and machine-readable knowledgebase of sources, the WikiCite initiative is crowdsourcing the process of vetting information​ and its provenance.” – WikiCite Report 2017

Wikidata tools can be used to create Wikidata items on scholarly papers automatically from scraping source metadata from:

  • DOIs,
  • PMIDs,
  • PMCIDs
  • ORCIDs (NB: Multiple items of data can be created simultaneously to represent multiple scholarly papers using one ORCID identifier input in the Orcidator tool).

Indeed, 1 out of 4 items of data in Wikidata represents a creative work. Wikidata currently includes 10 million entries about citable sources, such as books, scholarly papers, news articles and over 75 million author string statements and 84 million citation links in Wikidatas between these authors and sources. 17 million items with a Pubmed ID and 12.4 million items with a DOI.

Mike Bennett, our Digital Scholarship Developer at the University of Edinburgh, is working to develop a tool to translate the Edinburgh Research Archives’ thesis collection data from ALMA into a format that Wikidata can accept but there are ready-made tools that Wikidatans have developed that will automatically create a Wikidata item of data for scholarly papers scraping the source metadata from DOIs, Pubmed IDs and ORCID identifiers, allowing for a bibliographic record of scholarly papers and their authors to be generated as structured, machine-readable, multilingual linked open data.

Why does this matter?

Well…​the Initiative for Open Citations (I4OC) is a new collaboration between scholarly publishers, researchers, and other interested parties to promote the unrestricted availability of scholarly citation data. Over 150 publishers have now chosen to deposit and open up citation data. As a result, the fraction of publications with open references has grown from 1% to more than 50% out of 38 million articles with references deposited with Crossref.

Citations are the links that knit together our scientific and cultural knowledge. They are primary data that provide both provenance and an explanation for how we know facts. They allow us to attribute and credit scientific contributions, and they enable the evaluation of research and its impacts. In sum, citations are the most important vehicle for the discovery, dissemination, and evaluation of all scholarly knowledge.”

Once made open, the references for individual scholarly publications may be accessed within a few days through the Crossref REST API.  Open citations are also available from the OpenCitations Corpus that is progressively and systematically harvesting citation data from Crossref and other sources. An advantage of accessing citation data from the OpenCitations Corpus is that they are available i n machine-readable RDF format which is systematically being added to Wikidata.

Because this is data on scholars, scholarly papers and citations is stored as linked data on Wikidata, the citation data can be linked to, and leverage from, other complementary datasets enabling the direct and indirect relationships to be explored in this semantic web of knowledge.

This means we can parse the data to answer a range of queries such as:

  • Show me all works which cite a New York Times article/Washington Post article/Daily Telegraph article etc. (delete as appropriate).
  • Show me the most popular journals cited by statements of any item that is a subclass of economics/archaeology/mathematics etc. (delete as appropriate).
  • Show me all statements citing the works of Joseph Stiglitz/Melissa Terras/James Loxley/Karen Gregory etc. (delete as appropriate).
  • Show me all statements citing journal articles by physicists at Oxford University in 1960s/1970s/1980s etc. (delete as appropriate).
  • Show me all statements citing a journal article that was retracted.

And much more besides.

Screengrab of the Scholia profile for the developmental psychologist, Uta Frith, generated from the structured linked data in Wikidata.

 

Like the WikiGenome web application already mentioned, other third party applications can be built with user-friendly UIs to read/write from Wikidata. For instance, the Scholia Web service creates on-the-fly scholarly profiles for researchers, organizations, journals, publishers, individual scholarly works, and research topics. Leveraging from information in Wikidata, Scholia displays information on total number of publications, co-authors, citation statistics in a variety of visualisations. Another way of helping to demonstrate the impact and reach of your research.

Citation statistics for developmental psychologist Uta Frith, visualised on the Scholia web service and generated from the citation data in Wikidata.
Co-author graph for Polly Arnold, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh in the School of Chemistry visualised in the Scholia Web Service and generated from bibliographic data in Wikidata. Professor Arnold is the Crum Brown Chair of Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh.

To  conclude, the many benefits and power of linked open data to aid the teaching of data literacy and to help share knowledge between different institutions and different repositories, between geographically and culturally separated societies, and between languages is a beautiful empowering thing. Here’s to more of it and entering a brave new world of linked open data. Thank you.

By way of closing I’d like to show you the video presentations the students on the Data Science for Design MSc students came up with as the final outcome of their project to import the Survey of Scottish Witchcraft database into Wikidata.

Here are two data visualisation videos they produced:

Further reading

 3 steps to better demonstrate your institution’s commitment to Open Knowledge and Open Science.

  1. Allocate time/buy out time for academics & postdoctoral researchers to add university research (backed up with citations) to Wikipedia in existing/new pages. Establishing relevance is the most important aspect of adding university research so an understanding of the subject matter is important along with ensuring the balance of edits meets the ethos of Wikipedia so that any possible suggestion of promotion/academic boosterism is outweighed by the benefit of subject experts paying knowledge forward for the common good. At least three references are required for a new article on Wikipedia so citing the work of fellow professionals goes some way to ensuring the article has a wider notability and helps pay it forward. Train contributors prior to editing to ensure they are aware of Wikipedia’s policies & guidelines and monitor their contributions to ensure edits are not reverted.
  2. Identify the most cited works by your university’s researchers which are already on Wikipedia using Altmetric software. Once identified, systematically add in the Open Access links to any existing (paywalled) citations on Wikipedia and complete the edit by adding in the OA symbol (the orange padlock) using the {{open access}} template. Also join WikiProject Open Access.
  3. Help build up a bibliographic repository of structured machine-readable (and multilingual) linked open data on both university researchers AND research papers in Wikidata using the easy-to-use suite of tools available.