The Tom Longboat Awards as Wikidata

This year I helped out and participated in two Wikipedia ‘editathons.’ In March I assisted in the Art + Feminism Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon hosted at Hackforge and in November I was at the Editathon on Elite Aboriginal Athletes in Canada held on the University of Windsor campus in conjunction with the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport Conference.

It’s only now that I am following up with an exploration of the potential of linked data through Wikidata that was first planted in my head by the incomparable Dan Scott from his presentation Wicked data with Wikidata from waaaay back in February of this year. Dan Scott did not steer me wrong. The potential power of Wikidata is very impressive.

The timeline above is a live query to Wikidata using this code. I could have added other search parameters, such as who are the wrestlers who have won the Tom Longboat Award or which women but that really doesn’t express the power of searching Wikidata. Wikidata – if the data is available – allows you to find painters who were the sons of painters and who are current women mayors of cities over a million residents and which authors wrote their first published work after the age of 45. It’s a fundamentally different type of searching that allows for language normalization and data reuse at scale.

Necessary care must be given when working with indigenous people and subject matter and I hope that my contributions to the Tom Longboat Award on Wikipedia and Wikidata pass muster. Stacy Allison Cassin, current W.P. Scott Chair in E-Librarianship at York University, is working on a project entitled Advancing Reconciliation and Social Justice in Libraries through Research Library and Community Collaboration in Wikimedia Projects that I’m following with interest.

It’s not often that I recommend watching a three hour video, but I am going to recommend watching this three hour video: A Gentle Introduction to Wikidata for Absolute Beginners [including non-techies!]. Presenter Asaf Bartov does an exceptional job of slowly building understanding and bringing the viewer with him at a pace that doesn’t feel rushed but, like a good three hour walk, leaves you amazed at what ground you have managed to cover when you are finished.

For those of you who are reluctant to watch a three hour video before you know that you can apply it to your library work, please consider getting to the 2018 OLA Superconference to see Dan Scott, Stacy Allison-Cassin, Monica Fazekas, and Carolyn Doi present on Wikimedia Edit-A-Thon: Get Your Library on Wikidata, Wikipedia, and Wikimedia Commons. Like me, you might not see the immediate reason to incorporate Wikidata into your work. But give it time.

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