Research/Projects/Archive 2005-2010

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These are current and proposed research projects.

Members and non-members of the Wikimedia Research Network alike can propose ideas for research projects on this page.

Please add your name to a project if you want to contribute actively. You may then be invited for instance to a IRC meeting about the subject. Of course, others can add passing comments here or on the discussion page. Finalized proposals will be moved to a separate project page.

Current Projects[edit]

General User Survey[edit]

Content moved to dedicated project page: General User Survey.

MediaWiki Development[edit]

For research on proposed changes to MediaWiki, the primary page where that work is coordinated is: development tasks.

DBpedia - Querying Wikipedia like a Database[edit]

DBpedia is a community effort to extract structured information from Wikipedia and to make this information available on the Web. DBpedia allows you to ask sophisticated queries against Wikipedia and to interlink other datasets on the Web with DBpedia data. More information about the project is found at [1]

Social Research Collaborations[edit]

For collaborations and project members, see: Social Research Collaborations.

This page includes an outline of main points based on discussions of and plans for indepedent research collaborations about various aspects of the free culture movement, especially Wikimedia projects.

Critical Point of View (CPoV)[edit]

Critical Point of View (CPoV): is a research network initiative outside the Wikimedia Foudantion organized by Centre for Internet & Society (Bangalore, India) and the Institute of Network Cultures (Amsterdam, Netherlands) with the goal to critically analyse Wikipedia.

Two conferences, one in Amsterdam and one in Bangalore, were produced in parallel. The Bangalore event happened in January 2010, the Amsterdam event will happen in 26-27 March. They focus(ed) on different aspects of the following list:

  • WikiTheory
  • Wikipedia and Critique of Western Knowledge Production
  • Encyclopedia Histories
  • Wiki Art
  • Designing Debate
  • Critique of Free and Open
  • Global Politics of Exclusion/ Global issues and outlook
  • Wikipedia and the Place of Resistance
  • Wikipedia and Education
  • Wikipedia Analytics

For a thorough description of the initiative click here.


Online Conferences[edit]

Idea raised at Wikimania 2006. To be planned.

Wikimania Panels[edit]

There was a panel during Wikimania 2006 about doing social research on Wikimedia projects - details at Wikimania 2006/Program/Research thingy. This was an open session where participants shared ideas and experiences. (Status of remote participation: comment?). (Panel(s) on technical angles - comment?) Please add your name and/or ideas to that page and the Social research page above for future collaboration.

Wikimania Poland 2010 hosted a session on State of the art of Wikimedia Scholarship

Contribution Taxonomy Project[edit]

Role-based analysis of active contributors. See Contribution Taxonomy Project.

Proposed Projects[edit]

Educational Use of Wikipedia and Wikis[edit]

Proposed by mkalz. The educational implications for Wikipedia are manifold. A growing number of teachers in different institutions integrate the work on WP in their courses. I´d like to get an overview about some of the following questions:

  • How is Wikipedia used in instructional/didactical settings?
  • How many teachers encourage their students to add or alter something in WP?
  • How are Wikis integrated in E-Learning-Programs?
  • Are wikis used as open as Wikipedia in education or is the wiki "misused" and there is not much freedom in instructional contexts?

I can think of a good few active Wikipedians who are teachers and who use Wikipedia in class (See w:Wikipedia:School_and_university_projects). Do we send around a questionnaire to collate their experiences so other teachers can get new ideas and share their own? Or do we look at some various e-learning models and see how they could relate to our context? This project could be relevant to Wikiversity. Cormaggio 08:19, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Project members

  • mkalz 18:45, Jun 12, 2005 (UTC+1)
  • Cormaggio 08:19, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  • WiseWoman 20:11, 6 August 2005 (UTC) is interested in this topic.
  • Mindrec 16:26, 12 September 2005 (UTC) (interested in how wikis learn)
  • Tintamarre 08:59, 25 June 2006 (UTC) is interested in this topic.
  • Napa 06:32, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Andicat 10:42, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Michael Reschke 20:54, 20 September 2008 (UTC)


  • (German) Wikipedia in der Schule. Debora Weber-Wulff und Henriette Fiebig. LOG IN Heft Nr. 138/139 (2006), S. 138.
  • Bruns, Axel and Sal Humphreys. (2005) "Wikis in Teaching and Assessment - The M > Cyclopedia Project." Proceedings of WikiSym 2005.


  • Craig, D. L., Haq, S., Khan, S., Zimring, C., Kehoe, C., Rick, J. and Guzdial, M. (2002). Using an unstructured collaboration tool to support peer interaction in large college classes. In Proceedings ICLS 2000, pages 178–184. [3]
  • Forte, Andrea and Amy Bruckman. (2006) From Wikipedia to the classroom: exploring online publication and learning. Proceedings of the International Conference of the Learning Sciences, Vol 1. Bloomington, IN, pp. 182-188. [4]
  • Lund, Andreas. (2006) "Is There a Space for the Teacher in a Wiki?" Proceedings of WikiSym 2006.
  • Rick, J. and Guzdial, M. (2006). Situating CoWeb: A scholarship of application. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 1(1):89-115.[5]
  • Rick, J., Guzdial, M., Carroll, K., Hollaway-Attaway, L. and Walker, B. (2002). Collaborative learning at low cost: CoWeb use in English composition. In Proceedings of CSCL 2002, pages 435-442. [6]
  • Guzdial, M., Rick, J. and Kehoe, C. (2001). Beyond adoption to invention: Teacher-created collaborative activities in higher education. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 10(3):265–279.[7]
  • Kehoe, Colleen M. 2001. "Supporting Critical Design Dialog" Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, College of Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology. (Has sections on using wiki as technology to support design dialog in architecture classes) [8]

Mind Wiki: An AI Design Experiment (comment here)[edit]

Proposed by (Mindrec). Intelligence is defined as the distribution of data within a database. Wiki is cited as a case in point intelligence. Very fringe theories which show how knowledge is imparted metaphysically. Mind Wiki is shown to be a GRUB and to exclaim DELICIOUS.

  • If we define intelligence as the distribution of data within a database: And if WIKI is a database: Then, the simplest WIKI would be a prototypical intelligence. Cunningham defines WIKI as "the simplest database which could possibly work". This suggests it is a case in point intelligence.
  • This makes Ward Cunningham (the inventor of the wiki) the inventor of the first AI. Wikipedia is such an intelligence: But this bespeaks of the dangers of "intelligence" per se ... it isn't necessarily *lucid*. Just because a group of people get together and raise "consciousness" doesn't mean that truth can be discerned (by preponderance). And I haven't gone into consciousness: Blog is a consciousness. And especially blogdex: Which does some math on blogs and reports on the top posts (what's on the world's "mind"). So: Wikipedia is an intelligence, and may be conscious, but isn't always lucid (I suppose to the degree that its writers have a conscience, it is an artificially conscious intelligence). All of this to set up the idea of "lucidity" as that which now defines a machine's "humanity" (after intelligence and consciousness have been addressed).
  • I've used the word "lucid". And lucidity applies ... after intelligence and consciousness have been addressed (as I've said). But the jump from intelligent to lucid (with regard to wikipedia, as an example) fails to explain what consciousness has to do with coming up with the correct answers (though this is also addressed a bit later on — such that its writers have a conscience, they might discern what is "right" ... both in a moralistic sense and also in the sense of arriving at correct answers). Which is to say, applying an intelligent design conscientiously might lead a wikipedia to be *right* by preponderance, as I've suggested (whereby mentioning lucidity at this point begins to make sense). This is not to say that it *makes sense* to be intelligent and conscientious and still lack lucidity ... as a matter of choice, for example / or in seeming violation of what it means to be intelligent in the first place (to the contrary). So I might have said that wikipedia isn't necessarily intelligent (even though an intelligence). Or I might have said that being intelligent doesn't necessarily mean conscientiousness will prevail (in the case that her writers don't have a conscience, for example). But I've said that both of these are "necessarily" so (if an entity is intelligent, then it is conscientious). And so there's (still) the matter of lucidity (and awareness, and agency): The mention of lucidity (regarding wikipedia) early on in this comment foreshadows the explanation of what it means to be lucid ... which is then expressed "in the negative" (whereby lucidity is not that which overcomes the intelligent design of its database but is that which overcomes the necessity that humans have a conscience).

(from Mind Wiki: An AI Design Experiment)

Intelligence is only a beginning step. Consciousness has been demonstrated in connected Blog (Mind Wiki is a wiki / blog / CMS with areas for scientific journals, articles, diagrams, and related files). The research proves the theory legitimate. The Mind Wiki stands as a working example. And two prototypes have been developed which move modern computing into the age of crystal 3d processes and bioluminescent computing.

The site is set up as a center of research and development. Everyone is encouraged to visit and comment. Those interested in promoting this research through accepted academic channels or (especially) who feel they have the technical expertise to begin developing the intelligence model, the crystal computer, or the photoelectric computer are invited to help (all three show potential for becoming living entities).

Project Members:

--Mindrec 01:25, 12 September 2005 (UTC)

Quality Assessment of Wikimedia projects by experts[edit]

Proposed by Eloquence. An in depth survey has been conducted in autumn 2004 by a German computer magazine. External experts were asked to rate Wikipedia, Brockhaus (most renowned German paper encyclopedia) and Encarta on correctness and depth of content and readability. The German Wikipedia was the overall winner in most categories.

Of course, the test was limited in scope and methodology. Could a distributed peer review process work better? How would such a process have to be designed? One possible method would be to launch a dedicated website and to invite international experts from different fields to join the project. They would have to supply their name and the field in which they are experts. The team behind the quality survey would verify the credentials and approve the experts.

After this initial sign-up phase, the selection of topic articles would begin. Perhaps one expert from each field could be chosen to select a number of topics; that expert would then not participate in the actual survey. The list of topics should be split into those where articles exist in all encyclopedias, and those where they do not. Note that the element of article selection and compilation introduces a possible bias; an independent third party may have to be introduced here.

Where articles exist in all works, these articles could be acquired, and distributed to the selected experts (arguably, this would be a clear case of fair use for scientific purposes). The experts would have to rate the articles on accuracy and completeness (perhaps an additional, non-topical expert could be consulted on matters of style and aesthetics). Of course, they would not be informed which source an article is from.

A large part of this project would be the acquisition of the experts who participate in it, so beyond organization, it requires an extraordinary communication effort. Funding may be desirable.

Is this where we should be discussing Magnus' work on the validation form as well? There are technical as well as sociological issues at play. I didn't see where the research questions on the validation form should be posed.K1v1n 16:23, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Project members: