Fellow-Programm Freies Wissen - Zwischenbericht[Bearbeiten]
I. Infos zum eigenen Forschungsvorhaben (max. 3000 Zeichen)[Bearbeiten]
This project originally intended to explore the ways in which Wikidata can be used to produce a comprehensive gazetteer of world-historical places for a specific period by linking place names from Wikidata (and potentially other sources) in order to produce an open resource for Humanities scholars, GLAM data managers and any other users of digital historical sources.
At the kick-off event in Berlin, the project took on a more light-hearted tone, when several of the mentors and fellows reacted well to my use of an Asterix comic as an example of what a source for historically-accurate places, people and events might look like. There is, in fact, a growing recognition of Asterix comics as a valuable supplement to works of classical literature . Therefore, I decided to use the corpus of the first 20 Asterix comics as a source for people, places and events. This would then allow me to add them into Wikidata, create links to other sources in Wikidata, and then extract the full set, and add geolocations where appropriate.
I also discovered that Wikidata uses Pleiades identifiers as authority controls for ancient places. Pleiades is a widely used, community built gazetteer and graph for ancient places. It publishes authoritative information about ancient places and spaces, providing unique services for finding, displaying, and reusing that information, using an open license. This link between Wikidata and Pleiades will make connecting the datasets into the Linked Open Data ecosystem much simpler.
According to my roadmap, I would have identified and extracted my dataset by this point in the project. However, with the new sources I decided to use, I had to adjust the planning. Rather than identifying and extracting a dataset already existing in Wikidata, I decided to contribute my own dataset. However, I soon discovered that there are great variations of the data to be found within Wikidata, and realised that I will need to spend some time improving the data that is there, as well as adding my own. For example, many of the historical places in Wikidata do not have links to their contemporary instances. Or they may be missing a link to Pleiades. I decided that it would be valuable to spend some time improving the data in Wikidata, in order to increase the relevance of the project to the community in general.
Despite the change in approach, I still think that the project can be finished in the timeframe available. Now that I have a comprehensive list of place annotations which I have taken form the sources, I am able to see which of them need extra information added, and what links need to be made. Learning how to work in Wikidata was a slow process in the beginning, but I am feeling more confident using it now, and adding information. I also intend to make more use of the discussion groups within Wikidata to ask questions and get advice. My mentor was extremely helpful in showing how to adjust my plans, and reminding me that even being able to highlight where information in Wikidata is missing can be a valuable contribution to the Wikidata project.
II. Zusammenarbeit mit Fellows sowie Mentorinnen und Mentoren (max. 3000 Zeichen)[Bearbeiten]
A. Zusammenarbeit mit deiner Mentorin/deinem Mentor[Bearbeiten]
Since the launch of the project, I have met regularly with my mentor, Dr Ina Blümel. We have used Skype and email, as well as face-to-face meetings. The discussions have been extremely helpful, as there are several areas in which the work we do overlaps. Her expertise with regards to data management, and understanding linked data architecture has helped me enormously. I hope that we will be able to continue the collaboration after the project is completed.
B. Austausch mit anderen Fellows[Bearbeiten]
I have met regularly with Kerstin Schoch - the fellow I share a mentor with. We've met face-to-face several times. The peer review group has also been extremely helpful to me, since the scholars I have been paired with - Martina Trognitz and Henrike Rudolph are dealing with several of the same issues I am. We have used Jitsi and the mailing list as discussion spaces. Questions of uncertainty in historical data, and managing historical data are relevant to all three of us, and I also hope to be able to continue collaboration with both of them after the end of the programme as well.
III. Kommunikation und Vernetzung (max. 3000 Zeichen)[Bearbeiten]
A. Kommunikationsaktivitäten mit Bezug zum Fellow-Programm[Bearbeiten]
In October 2018 I participated in a workshop at the Freie Universität, which was part of the Open Access Week activities. It was hosted by the FU and Wikimedia Deutschland, and provided a one-day overview of working with Wikidata. I blogged about the even on the Wikimedia Deutschland blog. In the coming months, I plan to write more blog posts about the progress of my project.
B. Weitergabe von Wissen[Bearbeiten]
I work with Linked Open Data every day, which is an open format by default. However, I have been discussing the Freies Wissen programme, and my project with several of my colleagues at the Pelagios Project, and in other linked data projects that deal with the ancient world. The biggest difficulty to overcome in the discussions are the misunderstandings of what Wikidata's model is, and how granular the data in Wikidata is. For many of these projects, the current situation with Wikidata is that it is either too detailed, or too general. This is why my project is testing the usefulness of Wikidata for this type of ancient world research.
IV. Förderung von Offener Wissenschaft (max. 4000 Zeichen)[Bearbeiten]
A. Neue Initiativen zur Förderung Offener Wissenschaft[Bearbeiten]
At the HIIG, where I work as part of the research team, there are several Open Science initiatives. I work most closely with Elephant in the Lab, a peer reviewed blog series which focuses on open science themes.
B. Initiativen zur Förderung Offener Wissenschaften[Bearbeiten]
I think my institution is very well-versed in the concepts and implementation of Open Science, in general. What I would like to do, however, is do more to make the use of open science principles in the Humanities visible. One way I plan to do this is to make all the resources created during the Fellowship openly available for use, reuse and modification, as well as being added to the global linked open data cloud. Likewise, the how-to cookbook which I plan to produce will be make freely available, on both the Pelagios and Wikiversity platforms (and any other appropriate spaces) in order to maximise the number of people who will be able to use it to create their own Wikidata-based gazetteers.