Health information on Wikipedia is going from strength to strength - can we do the same for sanitation (together with others)?

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Health information on Wikipedia is going from strength to strength - can we do the same for sanitation (together with others)?

Note: a related discussion thread on Wikipedia is here:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/54-wg-...-doubling-of-efforts

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Based on the definition of "septage" (see: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/53-fae...it=12&start=12#10172 ) I want to ask the question can we use Wikipedia better to spread reliable information about sanitation?

I recently saw this on the HIFA2015 Dgroups and am wondering: can we do something similar for sanitation? How can we access those kinds of funds or volunteers to make a concentrated effort to improve the sanitation information that is on Wikipedia? If we linked ourselves more to the health professionals, can we perhaps jump onto their bandwaggon? I think I want to become a Wikipedian now (new term for me). ;)

Here is the post (emphasis in bold added by me)

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From: Neil Pakenham-Walsh, UK <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 2014-08-31 10:41 GMT+02:00
Subject: [hifa2015] Health information on Wikipedia is going from strength to strength
To: HIFA2015 - Healthcare Information For All by 2015 <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>


Dear HIFA colleagues,

Below are extracts of a blog by HIFA member and wikipedian James Heilman (with thanks to Partnerships in Health Information). For those with immediate web access, the blog is freely available here: www.cilip.org.uk/cilip/blog/5-ways-wikip...nformation-improving

Health information on Wikipedia is going from strength to strength as a result of several collaborations described below. Wikipedia continues to innovate and includes initiatives such as Wikipedia Zero that aim to facilitate access to content for users in low and middle income countries. Congratulations to James and his colleagues at Wikipedia.



Best wishes,

Neil

--

5 ways Wikipedia's health information is improving


With Wikipedia's health care pages receiving nearly 5 billion views in 2013 it is one of the most used global sources of health care information. However its content is not always consistently high quality. Why is this and how can it be improved?...


Another benefit of the Wikipedia model is an effort known as Wikipedia Zero. This is a collaboration with mobile phone companies where customers in the developing world have access to Wikipedia free of data charges...


1. The Cochrane collaboration and Wikipedia began officially working together in 2013. This has involved the hiring of a Wikipedian in Residence by the Collaboration and the making available of 100 free accounts to Wikipedians...


2. While Wikipedia is in 286 languages the amount of medical content available in languages other than English and a few major European languages is limited. To address this we have been working with Translators Without Borders since 2011...


3. We know that one of the major groups of individuals that use Wikipedia's medical content are medical students. Surveys have found that Wikipedia is their single most used medical resource... we have partnered with the University of California San Francisco College of Medicine in the offering of a 4 week elective to 4th year medical students that involves improving Wikipedia...


4. One concern often raised is that editing Wikipedia does not give academics credit to those involved. To address this we have begun working with the journals Open Medicine and Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) to have Wikipedia articles formally peer reviewed and published under the authors real names...


5. ... Wikipedia and the NIH [National Institutes of Health] ... have been working together on creating simple definitions for disease.

--

++++++++++++

And a related post on the same Dgroup:

From: James Heilman, USA
Date: 2014-09-01 15:07 GMT+02:00
Subject: [hifa2015] Wikipedia Working to get Ebola Content into as Many Languages as Possible
To: HIFA2015 - Healthcare Information For All by 2015 <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>


We at Wikipedia are busy translating content on Ebola as well as many other key diseases into as many languages as we can find volunteers per here en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProj...anslation_Task_Force


A list of articles we have already translated are here

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProj...orce/RTT(Simplified)

and here

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProj...ation_task_force/RTT


We have recently added a new collaborator to our efforts, Rubric who have volunteered their expertise and helped us get content into an additional dozen or so African languages.


We are hoping that this is just a start. These languages of Wikipedia do not belong to us from the English speaking world, they belong to the people who speak them. They belong to the people that join and become the communities that run them. We hope that if you know one of these languages that you will join those already involved or help develop a community if one does not already exist. Grassroots efforts to develop healthcare content, through models such as Wikipedia, IMO is the only way we will achieve health care information for all in the language of one's choosing.



--

James Heilman

MD, CCFP-EM, Wikipedian

The Wikipedia Open Textbook of Medicine

www.opentextbookofmedicine.com




HIFA profile: James Heilman is a Wikipedian and works with Wiki Project Med Foundation, a charity whose mission is to make clear, reliable, comprehensive, up-to-date educational resources and information in the biomedical and related social sciences freely available to all people in the language of their choice. He is an Emergency Room Physician in Cranbrook, British Columbia, and a Clinical Instructor at the University of British Columbia.

__________

To send a message to the HIFA forum, simply send an email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We are grateful to The Lancet, Elsevier, mPowering Frontline Health Workers and Intel Corporation for their generous support for the development of the new HIFA Voices database, to be launched in July 2014: www.hifa2015.org/knowledge-base/

HIFA2015: Healthcare Information For All by 2015: www.hifa2015.org


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  • JKMakowka
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Re: Health information on Wikipedia is going from strength to strength - can we do the same for sanitation (together with others)?

Hmm, maybe sanitation is less of a topic one would look for on Wikipedia? It surely doesn't hurt to have some high-quality general information on it (which isn't too bad already), but I doubt that it would have quite the same impact than health information... or to put it differently: in what kind of scenario would having sanitation in great detail on the Wikipedia really make a difference and what problem would that solve, that isn't already sufficiently covered by the AKVOpedia or the Sanitation E-Compendium?

Krischan Makowka
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Re: Health information on Wikipedia is going from strength to strength - can we do the same for sanitation (together with others)?

Dear Kris,

I don't see why people would use Wikipedia only for health-related information but not for sanitation-related information? In any case, sanitation should be part of public health information, shouldn't it (most obvious with respect to hand-washing and behavioral aspects).

The main advantages I see for Wikipedia compared to Akvopedia/eCompendium (same thing; Akvopedia was just a 1:1 copy of the compendium), or compared to IWA's Water Wiki pages:
  • Novices, students and the general public are more likely to look on Wikipedia because they don't even know about Akvopedia or eCompendium or SSWM or Water Wiki... The Wikipedia pages could then link them to the other pages, including this forum!
  • There is a potential for many more authors who might edit the Wikipedia pages compared to editing IWA Water Wiki pages or Akvopedia pages (and eCompendium pages are not meant to be edited by "the crowd" if I understand correctly).
I see Wikipedia as THE resource for all knowledge that people are looking for in any field. I can see it from my own behaviour that I always turn to Wikipedia first when I want to know something in a field that I am not familiar with.

That's why I find it so interesting that our health colleagues are finding innovative ways of getting the health related Wikipedia pages better, for example by including the editing of Wikipedia pages in the university courses of medical students (quotes taken from my post above):

we have partnered with the University of California San Francisco College of Medicine in the offering of a 4 week elective to 4th year medical students that involves improving Wikipedia...


and by incentivising academics to write on Wikipedia:

we have begun working with the journals Open Medicine and Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) to have Wikipedia articles formally peer reviewed and published under the authors real names...


To me, this is awesome stuff.

Regards,
Elisabeth

Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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Re: Health information on Wikipedia is going from strength to strength - can we do the same for sanitation (together with others)?

Don't get me wrong, I am a big fan of Wikipedia and I think it one of the great projects of this generation (maybe it should be called one of the world-wonders of the digital age?).
But it is more about information that is useful to the general public and as an entry point for more in-depth studies. It should definitely link to places like the e-compendium, SuSanA and AKVOpedia (to name a few), but more or less duplicating that content on the Wikipedia just adds one more place for "data maintenance".

Individual health information (as opposed to public health or sanitation information) is of much more use to the general public, and having a relatively neutral and crowd-reviewed place for it like the Wikipedia should ensure that less advertisements for specific drugs or non-scientific "cures" are included in what you find.

Krischan Makowka
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Re: Health information on Wikipedia is going from strength to strength - can we do the same for sanitation (together with others)?

So why write on Wikipedia? I have one answer, because it is what the world is reading. I had never heard of Akvopedia, Ecompendium or IWA Water Wiki before reading this discussion.

If we look at Akvopedia we see that its article on the dry toilet has received 10,474 views in English since Mar 2009 www.akvopedia.org/s_wiki/index.php?title=Dry_Toilet&action=info The Wikipedia article on the same topic Pit toilet has receive 13,143 views in the last 3 months (the numbers for Wikipedia do not contain mobile views, not sure about Akvopedia)

Akvopedia has content in 3 languages. Wikipedia has content in 6 languages and soon to be 100 languages as this is one of the articles we plan to translate. Wikipedia exists in 278 languages. If we look at ecompendium we notice it is copyrighted thus not compatible with the other two which are under open licenses. This means that it is much harder to translate into other languages.

With respect to who Wikipedia's audience is, it is the general population. This means that it is for both members of the lay public and professionals. We know for example that Wikipedia is the single most used information source for medical students and is used by 50-70% of practicing physicians. The way we structure our content is we try to have the lead as a simple overview. The body of the article for a well educated person. And sub articles for those who wish professional level detail. Our article on schizophrenia is a good example of this en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schizophrenia

So I am going to be a little controversial and argue that e-compendium and AKVOpedia are the duplication of effort. Writing something only matters if those who need the information can and do read it. I would love to see Wikipedia's sanitation content improved. And welcome those from here to join us. An additional benefit of contributing to Wikipedia is that a number of mobile companies have agreed to provide free access for 350 million people in the developing world via cellphones. This means that they can access the information without data charges.

If a gentleman from Kenya can build an airplane based on material from Wikipedia image.guardian.co.uk/sys-files/Guardian/...2/03/declowerint.pdf I am sure others can build windmills, toilets and irrigation systems. We just need the information to be available for when they are looking for it in a language that they understand.

James Heilman

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Re: Health information on Wikipedia is going from strength to strength - can we do the same for sanitation (together with others)?

With respect to simply linking to other sites, Wikipedia is not a web directly but an encyclopedia in and of itself. Adding a lot of external links will land one in trouble fairly quickly :-)

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Re: Health information on Wikipedia is going from strength to strength - can we do the same for sanitation (together with others)?

Dear James,

I thought your posting above was excellent. I liked in particular this part:

So I am going to be a little controversial and argue that e-compendium and AKVOpedia are the duplication of effort. Writing something only matters if those who need the information can and do read it. I would love to see Wikipedia's sanitation content improved. And welcome those from here to join us.

An additional benefit of contributing to Wikipedia is that a number of mobile companies have agreed to provide free access for 350 million people in the developing world via cellphones. This means that they can access the information without data charges.


It is so good to finally meet a Wikipedian in "flesh and blood", and one that is interesting in sanitation is even better!

I am wondering if my fellow sanitation people have ever asked their bosses in their own organisations if they could spend a small amount of their work time on editing certain Wikipedia pages (like 1 hour per week, or even only 1 hour per month). Would this not be of relevance especially to organisations who work on WASH advocacy stuff? Or should Wikipedians never be paid and always work on such things in their own spare time as a volunteer contribution? (also an option)

As I mentioned above, when I worked at GIZ (2008-2012) we were not allowed to edit Wikipedia articles - but is this the same for all the other organisations, too? What about WASH United for example or other medium sizes NGOs?

Actually now I remember a project by WSP (Worldbank) where one of their staff members was setting up Wikipedia pages on water supply and sanitation in several countries, e.g.:
For Ethiopia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_supply_and_sanitation_in_Ethiopia
For Peru: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_supply_and_sanitation_in_Peru
For the whole of Latin America: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_supply_and_s...ion_in_Latin_America

They did a whole range of countries and now I remember the name of the person behind this as well: it was Manuel Schiffler (he later moved to KfW). Mental note to myself: dig up his contact details and ask him what his experiences with this was, and what we could learn from this exercise.

I would like to start small by suggesting, how about a few of us get together (taskforce? New possible delivery for SuSanA working groups?) and:
  1. improve the current Wikipedia page for pit latrines (pointing out when they are not appropriate).
  2. improve the current page for ecological sanitation ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecological_sanitation ). Could we have avoided the lengthy discussion we had about the definition of ecosan here ? Probably not, but it would still be reassuring to know that the Wikipedia entry on ecosan would be well written.
  3. update the page about "sustainable sanitation": en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainable_sanitation
  4. update the page about SuSanA: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainable_Sanitation_Alliance_(SuSanA) - note because of the brackets in the link the hyperlink doesn't work properly; you will need to copy the URL into your browser or search directly in Wikipedia.
Does anyone have an interest in doing this as a team effort? Ideally by being allowed by your employer to spend a little bit of time on it during the work day. If not, then as a voluntary contribution? Anyone willing to join me?

James said the new, easier editor of Wikipedia is already available now (see here: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/54-wg-...it=12&start=12#10270 )

One thing I didn't know but I found out recently is that one can look up the previous authors of any page on the View History tab (although many authors don't reveal more than their login name).

Anyone else apart from me and James interested in this?

As Kris said (I fully agree):

[...] I am a big fan of Wikipedia and I think it one of the great projects of this generation (maybe it should be called one of the world-wonders of the digital age?).


Regards,
Elisabeth

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Re: Health information on Wikipedia is going from strength to strength - can we do the same for sanitation (together with others)?

Wikipedia will not pay people to edit Wikipedia but other organizations are allowed to pay people to edit Wikipedia as long as that editing is not in conflict of interest.

So for example the NIH* is allowing a few staff to edit Wikipedia's articles on women's health on paid time. They are not for obvious reasons editing the articles on the NIH as that would be a conflict of interest.

People here should edit Wikipedia's content on sanitation and water. They need to be careful about editing the article on SuSanA itself.

Best
James

* National Institute of Public Health

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Re: Health information on Wikipedia is going from strength to strength - can we do the same for sanitation (together with others)?

Interesting and encouraging to hear of this example.
What is NIH exactly? I googled it and found this one: National Institutes of Health in the USA, is that the one you mean? www.nih.gov/

Secondly, what does this mean in practice:

People here [...] need to be careful about editing the article on SuSanA itself.

?

It is obvious that one would try to write in a totally objective, non-biased view. As SuSanA is a lose network (no income, no formal structure etc.), I can't imagine much of a conflict of interest here if one or several of the 4000 members wrote about SuSanA on Wikipedia?

By the way the current entry on SuSanA has not been edited since 2007 ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainable_Sanitation_Alliance_(SuSanA) ) and has a note which says:

This article appears to be written like an advertisement. Please help improve it by rewriting promotional content from a neutral point of view and removing any inappropriate external links. (March 2008)


Oh and the first thing I would do (if I knew how) is to connect the two pages, as this page says there is no entry for SuSanA:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainable_Sanitation_Alliance

Regards,
Elisabeth

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Re: Health information on Wikipedia is going from strength to strength - can we do the same for sanitation (together with others)?

Yes NIH stands for National Institute of Public Health

With respect to editing about SuSanA, yes if the content added is supported by references and if their is no financial issues it is not an issue.

Have fixed the naming issue

J

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Re: Health information on Wikipedia is going from strength to strength - can we do the same for sanitation (together with others)?

Hi, I had a small email-exchange with Elisabeth on the topic, and Elisabeth suggested that I post it here, so I do that...

Elisabeth:
Did you see the 2 threads that I have going on that? See:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/54-wg-1-cap-development

Would you like to add your opinion to that on the forum?


Florian:
I thought about posting, but it would have been a little unenthusiastic, so I didn’t. I just don’t share so much the enthusiasm or feel the need to invest much in these Wikipedia articles. I also I don’t agree to the statement of Wiki-James that e-compendium and akvopedia are the duplication and all should be on Wikipedia first. I find there is already quite a bit of info available on sanitation Wikipedia, probably more than enough for the general interest, and those with real interest, will have no trouble to find the specialist websites like Susana or e-compendium. For in-depth information, I personally still prefer very much such specialist sites or publications, where I know who is the author.

But then, I know Wikipedia just as a normal user, I’ve never edited anything on there.

Elisabeth:
I see.
But then you look at the discussion on “septage” and the first thing that Kris quotes is the Wikipedia page on septage! That, for me is proof (again) how much Wikipedia is used. I think you really need to put yourself in the shoes of the general uninformed public, not in the shoes of sanitation experts. You and I don’t need that information on Wikipedia, but others do. I am thinking of students, journalists, housewives, people running small charities and so on.
And does it not bother you that the entry on ecosan on Wikipedia is quite out of date? And that there is no entry on UDDTs? It does bother me...


Florian:
The septage definition is a good example. Kris mentioned it probably because he found it when googling “definition, septage”. That’s what I do when I look for information, and surely, often enough Wikipedia is the first answer. But if we dig deeper in the topic, e.g. discuss which definition of septage is the best one, we won’t be satisfied with Wikipedia, but rather take Sandec or EPA documents as reference.

So if you or anyone in Susana is to invest into Wikipedia, I would see it most useful and efficient to focus on short summaries, with links to the relevant specialist information. Just as Kris suggested. For example, to me the ecosan article is totally fine. It tells the “uniformed public” in a few clear sentences enough to understand the term and gives a few links to the most relevant specialist sites. Perhaps the definition does not correspond to the latest wording we prefer. But does it harm? I don’t think so. If you think so, it would probably take no more than 10 min to update the definition…

And for UDDT, if I google it, the first hits are: 1. Akvopedia 2. Wikipedia (urine diversion), 3. SSWM. 4. Phlush, 5. Susana. Do you really see a problem here for the general public to get proper information?

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Re: Health information on Wikipedia is going from strength to strength - can we do the same for sanitation (together with others)?

Maybe to put my points a bit in perspective, I'd like to add that for sure I don't want to dimish the value of wikipedia or so. If anyone wants to put detailed arcticles on UDDTs or other sanitation topics on wikipedia, fine, that's great.

But I don't think that wikipedia should be the main priority for Susana members to disseminate detailed specialist information on sanitation. The Susana website, akvopedia, e-compendium etc. etc. are the more appropriate platforms for this, in my opinion.

That said, I still see the point of the Susana community taking interest and initiative in ensuring that on wikipedia, sanitation topics are adequately covered and that information is correct and up to date. With "adequately covered", I understand short encylcopedia style articles explaining the term and directing to relevant specialist information. I don't see the need of the Susana community to invest resources in more than that. (still, if anyone does more than that, great!)


[End of Page 1 of the discussion]

Florian Klingel
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