Wiki Techstorm 2019 (Amsterdam)
The Wiki Techstorm 2019 was organized by Wikimedia Netherdlands in Amsterdam during 22 - 23 November. I'm grateful to Wikimedia Belgium, since they supported my travel and allowed me to attend this event. With one sentence the Wiki Techstorm was great: I got to meet new people, new tools as well as a new place! The event had a good balance between learning and doing in a supportive environment. It was set up so you could choose some predefined tasks to work throughout the weekend (documented on Phabricator) though you were free to bring your own ideas or data to work with. My main focus on these two days was to learn more about Wikidata.
Personally I started out on Friday with the workshop on Open Refine, a tool which I was already a bit familiar so, and I was therefore not sure I would get much out of it. It turns out, however, I was completely mistaken. I learned how to reconcile dataset based on Wikidata objects and then make a schema to upload them to Wikidata directly. Very powerful tool, for an otherwise very tiresome process! I also learned that it can reconcile to other databases as well, which makes it even more interesting.
Throughout the weekend I applied this process to do two tasks. Firstly I added the Publon Ids to existing academic publishers as well as modeled a list of data breaches from a Wikipedia list into wiki data. Another two Wikimedians also contributed to the tasks, by uploading the IDs for the academic journals for the first task and amending extra background info on the data breaches Wikidata accordingly. Collaboration was encouraged in general, and beside the mentors walking around to support the process, we helped each other when needed. The Wikimedia Netherlands people had organised it very well overall and the friendliness really shined throughout. Besides OpenRefine, I also got acquainted with the SPARQL, and learned how to use it to make maps from Wikidata collections.
Overall, I left Amsterdam with a good feeling and positive thoughts on how to continue. Professionally, I saw that indeed there is strong potential for tools such as Freebase and Open Refine to be used for research, which I hope to discuss further with my colleagues. Personally, I got the motivation (& confidence & skills!) to start contributing to the Greek language Wikidata.
The schedule and link for recorded versions of most of the workshops can be found here: https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Wiki_Techstorm