Submissions:2018/Working Towards an Elegant Visual WikiDatabase; Contextualized Connections via Wikipedia's Category Hierarchy

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This submission is waitlisted for WikiConference North America 2018. It was not scheduled in the first round of scheduling, but may still be scheduled after further review, as slots open up, or as a pre-conference session.

Working Towards an Elegant Visual WikiDatabase; Contextualized Page-Connections via Wikipedia's Category Hierarchy
Theme (optional)
Tech & Tools
Academic Peer Review option
Type of submission
Elijah Rachlin
E-mail address
Wikimedia username
Affiliation(s) (optional)
University of Michigan, Weinberg Institute of Cognitive Science

It is my opinion that Wikipedia’s hierarchical category system has remarkable potential for giving the Wikipedia platform a much more elegant, intuitive and appealing design. I have created a program that classifies pages by the main topic classification (the Wikipedia category at the root of the category tree) it is closest to, and also contextually relates pages by finding the category that is the closest to two pages. Once all pages and categories have a main topic classification they are most closely related to, and once they can be connected by a “parent category”, there is a template set up for Wikipedia contributors to provide information about the significance of the contextual connection between those two pages, given the closest Wikipedia category that connects them and the main topic classification that the parent category falls under.

Applying category-based information opens up many possibilities for the future of visualizing information from Wikipedia-based sites. For example, utilizing geography-based categories (e.g. Literature by country) could enable us to place pages on a map to convey geographical context, or temporal-based categories (e.g. philosophers by century) could allow for dynamic timelines of specific fields and historically contextualized information about past events. The category system could also be used to display topic-specific information to users, such as showing the page for New York City with all linked pages related to culture emphasized or shown while hiding other information. The vast number of categories allows for extensive segmentation of information that could potentially even eventually be used for more intelligent searching on Wikipedia.

My presentation will show the programs I’ve put together to acquire and traverse Wikipedia’s category structure for information, various methods of visualizing Wikipedia using the category tree, and the possibility of an entirely new way to visualize all of the information on Wikipedia with these ideas at the core.

Length of presentation
15-30 minutes
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Have you presented on this topic previously? If yes, where/when?
A similar version of this presentation is set to take place at University of Michigan LS&A Student Government General Assembly and Michigan Art, LS&A Advancement
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  1. Bawolff (talk) 17:18, 1 September 2018 (UTC)
  2. Dcheney (talk) 08:35, 7 September 2018 (UTC)
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