Sunday, November 27, 2016

Weekly Report 12: Including table facts in Wikidata

This week, the big achievement is the addition of a multi-step form to add the semantic triples from last week to Wikidata with QuickStatements, which we talked about before too. The new '+' icon in table rows now links to a page where you can curate the statement and add Wikidata IDs where necessary. At the last step, you get a table of the existing data, the added identifiers and soon their Wikidata label. There, you can open the statement in QuickStatements, where it will be added to Wikidata. This is a delicate procedure; it's important to keep an eye on the validity of the statement.

The multi-step form in action (see tweet)

Take the following table:

Fungus Insect Host
Fungus A Insect 1 Host 1
Fungus B Insect 2 Host 2

This is currently interpreted (by the program) as "Fungus A has Insect 1 as Insect and Host 1 as Host", while the actual meaning is "Fungus A is spread by Insect Insect 1, of which the Host is Host 1" (see this table). While stating Host 1 is the Host of Fungus A is arguably correct, this occurs in much worse ways as well, and it's hard to account for it.

On top of that, often table values don't have the exact data, but abbreviations. It shouldn't be too hard to annotate abbreviations with their meaning before parsing the tables, but actually linking them to Wikidata Entities is still a problem. This is, obviously, the next step, and I'll continue to work on it the next few weeks. One thing I could do is search for entities based on their label. A problem with that is that I would have to make thousands of calls to the Wikidata API in a short period of time, so I'll probably create a dictionary with one, big call, if the resulting size allows it.

There is a pull request pending that would solve the issue norma has with tables, so I'll incorporate that into the program as well, making it easier for me as some things will already be annotated.

Conclusion: the 'curating' part of adding the statements to Wikidata is currently *very* important, but I'll do as much as possible to make it easier in the next few weeks.

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