Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Give us your support for merging with Wikimedia

So... regarding having OmegaWiki become one of the Wikimedia projects...

The following pages have been redrafted:

Only with a sufficient number of support will the idea actually be considered by the Wikimedia Foundation.

As you might know, OmegaWiki is currently privately hosted. There are two problems with this:
- the server is slow, because faster servers cost more money which we don't have
- and without an organization supporting us, we cannot receive donations.

The WMF would be a perfect choice to host us.

However, if you know about another non-profit organization which shares the noble ideal of free-knowledge-for-all and which might be interested in supporting OmegaWiki (which means basically hosting the website and providing a structure for receiving donations), please mention it.


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Using Wikidata to display links to Wikipedia

Wikidata is a new wiki with a structured database (a bit like OmegaWiki), which is used, among other things, as a central repository for maintaining the interwiki links between the various Wikipedias.

In Wikidata, concepts are identified with a unique ID, like "Q41055". This ID gives you the links to the various Wikipedia articles (see: http://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q208440 ). In OmegaWiki, concepts are called "DefinedMeaning", and also have a unique ID, like "159079" (see: http://www.omegawiki.org/DefinedMeaning:Schachfigur_(159079) ). They can be linked one-to-one with Wikidata IDs. Using the Wikidata ID, a link to Wikipedia is automatically retrieved and displayed on the side.

As usual, the user language is used to redirect the user to the Wikipedia that is in his language. See for example how the link changes when you view the same page in English , in French , in German or in Persian .

Before that, we already had links to Wikipedia, however one link had to be added for each language. The advantage of the new system over the previous one are:

  • we don't have to add a link for each language, as we did before, but just put one Wikidata ID.
  • the links are automatically updated when they are changed on Wikidata.
  • it works even when we don't have a translation in that language. For example, if we have a species, like Spalerosophis diadema that has no translation in French ("Spalerosophis diadema" is language "international") we can still have a link to a Wikipedia article.
  • it is an annotation at the DefinedMeaning level. This is more consistent with the other annotations, because it is about a concept (DM), whereas it was previously classified with the lexical annotations (like part of speech, gender, phonetics, etc.)

With the old system, we already created more than 15.000 links to Wikipedia. They will be converted automatically to Wikidata IDs.

Note that the link can work in the other direction too. When we have one-to-one correspondances between concepts in Wikidata and OmegaWiki, it can be used in Wikidata to get for example multilingual definitions for their concepts.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

See only the languages you want to see

OmegaWiki supports more than 400 languages. While we are happy that some words, such as "head" and "apple" have more than 100 translations, we can imagine that not everybody is interested in seeing all translations. Many people only want to see the few languages that they actually speak, and do not care about the rest.

And this is now possible :-)

There is an option in the user preferences (see image below) where the user can select the languages he is interested in, so that all the other languages are hidden.

This is done by:
- selecting the languages from the list of all languages available at omegaWiki
- checking the checkbox on top, in bold "Show only the selected languages".
This second checkbox acts as a switch, allowing to quickly enable/disable language filtering without each time going through the list of languages and selecting/unselecting each language.

Also, if you restrict the number of languages, the pages will load faster (in particular when editing).

To avoid blank pages, and since many words are at least translated in English, it is best to always have English selected. You could also try with Spanish instead of English, it is the second best candidate in terms of number of translations.