Citation Needed: Digital Provenance in the era of Post-Truth Politics
From Ewan McAndrew on April 20th, 2017
Authors: Ewan McAndrew, and Martin Poulter
'Post-truth’ is the international word of the year, announced by Oxford Dictionaries (Flood, 2016).
In this climate, open education has never seemed more important. Yet while “search is the way we now live.” (Darnton in Hillis, Petit & Jarrett, 2012) with Google processing 90% of searches in Europe (Fioretti, 2014), seldom does the no.1 search engine display the provenance of where the ‘suggested answers’ it provides come from, undermining “people’s ability to verify information and, ultimately, to develop well-informed opinions.”(Dewey, 2016)
This session covers why the most important frontier of Wikipedia is not its content but its 30 million plus citations (Orlowitz, 2016) and the latest developments behind the WikiCite project after its first year.
The WikiCite initiative is to build a repository of all Wikimedia citations and bibliographic metadata in Wikidata to serve all Wikimedia projects. The ultimate goal to make Wikipedia’s citations as “reliable, open, accessible, structured, linked and free as our Knowledge is.”(Orlowitz, 2016)
Why is this useful? Resolving the hitherto poor structuring of citations on Wikipedia & turning them into interlinking machine-readable structured data means we will have more reliable & verifiable data for altmetrics. This open citation data, behind every Wikipedia article, the “largest hand-curated bibliography in human history”(Orlowitz, 2016), is therefore incredibly powerful as it can be queried, analysed & visualised in any number of ways including filtering by author, co-author, publisher, sponsor etc. It also allows us to identify which references are open access & which are not so publishers can be encouraged to release the rights in order to further progress scientific discovery & open education.
Alcantara, C. (2016). Wikipedia editors are essentially writing the election guide millions of voters will read. [online] Washington Post. Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/2016-election/presidential-wikipedias/?tid=sm_fb [Accessed 19 Jan. 2017].
Caitlin, D. (2016). You probably haven’t even noticed Google’s sketchy quest to control the world’s knowledge. [online] Washington Post. Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2016/05/11/you-probably-havent-even-noticed-goo... [Accessed 19 Jan. 2017].
Fioretti, J. (2014). Wikipedia fights back against Europe’s “right to be forgotten”. [online] Reuters. Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/europe-privacy-wikipedia-idUSL6N0QC43J20140806 [Accessed 19 Jan. 2017].
Flood, A. (2016). ‘Post-truth’ named word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/nov/15/post-truth-named-word-of-the-year-by-oxford-dictionari... [Accessed 19 Jan. 2017].
Hillis, K., Petit, M. and Jarrett, K. (2012). Google and the culture of search. 1st ed. Routledge, p.5.
Orlowitz, J. (2016). DLF: WikiCite. [online] Google Docs. Available at: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1pS56qzz3Ivb4-qzn0Dzr6rRPiUa1B8WklK9904iLyyo/edit [Accessed 19 Jan. 2017].
Initiative for Open Citations - https://i4oc.org/