Friday, October 19, 2007


All projects need money to operate. OmegaWiki does need money to operate. We now have made it possible for you to support what we do in a practical way; we now have a link in our sidebar so that you can use Pay Pall to donate money. You can just give us money, you can help us fund a project that we want to do.. Check out our Donations, putting your money where your mouth is ..

Stiching Open Progress is a Dutch "not for profit" organisation and we can use all the money we can get to do all the cool development work we would like to do..


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Zimbabwe was formerly known as Rhodesia

Many countries have over time changed their nature. What they typically do is stay more or less in the same shape. As a consequence of war, the shapes do change. The change is often reflected in the name. The country that is now called Zimbabwe was once called Rhodesia. It is relevant information and can be expressed using relations.

In OmegaWiki the relation type "was formerly known as" has been introduced to express this relation for countries. It demonstrates that OmegaWiki is not strictly a dictionary, it also serves the functions of a dictionary. By including different types of attributes to classes, we provide more worthwhile information.

Most concepts are related to other concepts and when these relations become visible, a net develops of related information. This does not make OmegaWiki an encyclopaedia, it is what an ontology does. An encyclopaedia we are not; we refer to Wikipedia.. :)


Friday, October 12, 2007

Linking to Wikipedia

OmegaWiki may be a lot, but it is not encyclopaedic. We do not want to be; Wikipedia does a great job at it and when it needs competition there are plenty of pretenders to its throne. So we do not compete.

When people need information, OmegaWiki will not provide all information. What it can do is link to other sources of information and Wikipedia is the obvious and the only choice for encyclopaedic information. It is the only choice because it aims to be multi-lingual and it is an obvious choice because of the shared values.

At this stage, linking to the Wikipedia articles is done by hand so initially there will be few links. We hope to harvest these links from Wikipedia and insert them with a bot. In this way we will provide an encyclopaedic service without being encyclopaedic :)


Friday, October 05, 2007


An antonym is the complete opposite of something.. black and white are probably the best known examples. The great thing is that antonym is the first global relation type and in the way it is set up, the antonym is true on a concept level. This means that it does not allow for cultural differences in the appreciation of such a relation.

I wonder how many antonyms will prove to be problematic because of cultural differences. The good news is that we are now able to have global relation types in OmegaWiki. We will have to be REALLY careful what relation types we will include. The "is a" relation is not going to be part of it because that is what makes something a class member.

With the global and the class based relation types we only need the collection based relation types to get our full functionality :)


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

More localisation

OmegaWiki had a lot of new functionality go live, today I spend time on one aspect that is really dear to me; localisation. Much of the OmegaWiki content is localised by adding translations. With the latest software release much of the more programmatic parts are in the system messages.

I started to translate the Dutch messages and, Tosca caught on and started on the German messages, Malafaya did the Portuguese. We hope that in this way our data becomes even more accessible to our users :)

One issue remains, with our messages translated in OmegaWiki, how do we get them in MediaWiki proper ...


Getting to grips with the new functionality

At OmegaWiki, a lot of new functionality has gone on line. This functionality is a mix of functionality that was needed for Wikiproteins and things we have been working towards for a long time. With the changes some functionality does not work as it used to. This is a good thing.

Our first content was the GEMET thesaurus, in this collection particular relation types were used. These relation types were available everywhere and consequently we have been reluctant to add more relation types. Now relation types are associated with "classes" and we can make a DefinedMeaning a member of a class. Nederland now has a capital, a motto, a nation anthem and entities bordering the country. For Nederlands it is now known what script it is written in, and in what countries it is spoken. And with the "incoming relations" we know where there is a reference to the DefinedMeaning.

Many of the existing relations will be changed from the GEMET relation types to the new relation types. The work that what is done in the past is a huge benefit as it helps a lot in identifying what needs doing. With the new functionality it makes sense to add the annotations straight away; we now know that they can be done properly.