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

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  • 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)?

The following video shows a presentation that James Heilman recently gave at a Wikipedia conference in Italy. In the presentation he gave an update on progress with the WikiProject Medicine which he leads. You might have noticed yourself that the health related content on Wikipedia is getting better and better. It is due to people like James that this is the case! Watch his presentation here:



The slides that he used are here (the slides are with licence CC-BY SA so you can reuse them):

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And here is another presentation he gave recently in Sweden:

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The two presentations are also available in Google docs here:
docs.google.com/presentation/d/171R_wrO2...DjwD-ULwGrDz3lM/edit
docs.google.com/presentation/d/10WVNmC7r...txz_SLpD9gMTueA/edit

He talks in the presentation about the popular new App which contains Wikipedia's health content (including sanitation content!) as an offline version of 1 GB size - for people without internet (see also here on the Forum: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/198-wi...s-where-they-overlap). The app (available from Google Play) now exists not only in English but also in Arabic, Farsi and Chinese:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Medicine/App

He also talks about their Medical Translation Project together with Translators without Borders who are translating content into local languages (for example Oriya in India (33 million native speakers))

Feedback from a medical student who worked on Wikipedia pages:

“Participating in this project changed my perspective on knowledge. In finding a balance between using precise professional terms and common words to explain a medical condition, I learned a lot. It has helped me to have better communication with my patients”


I reckon some of this would equally apply to sanitation articles. The equivalent of "patients" for us could be stakeholders, clients, politicians or the general public.

Regards,
Elisabeth
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Freelance consultant on environmental and climate projects
Located in Ulm, Germany
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My Wikipedia user profile: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:EMsmile
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  • 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)?

Two more interesting articles related to this topic:

10 Wikipedians partnering with medical organizations to improve online health information

medium.com/@DorothyR_Howard/10-wikipedia...rmation-a7707a72b7d3

The first two paragraphs of this article:

Wikipedia is the world’s most consulted source of health information, so it only makes sense that some of the leading health and medicine organizations share their information and expertise in Wikipedia. From the National Institutes of Health, the Cochrane Collaboration, and to major public universities worldwide, Wikipedia is becoming more popular as a communication partner for people doing public health education outreach and medical research dissemination.

When an organization wishes to share information on Wikipedia, the first challenge to address is compliance with Wikipedia’s community rules. Whereas many people imagine Wikipedia to be a volunteer project to which anyone may contribute, the practical precedent has been that Wikipedia partnerships are managed by designated Wikipedian staff at the organization.


--> I see such a strong link between public health and sanitation that I'd really like to jump on the band waggon here and improve sanitation content on Wikipedia at the same time as public health content!

Second article:

Elsevier access donations help Wikipedia editors improve science articles

www.elsevier.com/connect/elsevier-access...e+Comms&sf12986659=1

The article starts with this:

A recent article in MIT Technology Review speaks of a “quiet revolution occurring in the way science diffuses into the public consciousness.” According to the authors, increasingly the public is reading about science on Wikipedia, the crowd-sourced online encyclopedia.

Since its launch in 2001, Wikipedia has grown to become the sixth most trafficked website in the world, with 8,000 views per second and 500 million unique visitors each month. For many, it is the first stop in almost any information quest.


I would probably qualify for getting one of those free accounts for Science Direct from Elsevier:

Main requirements:
  • Editors have a Wikipedia account that is a minimum of 1 year old - on 10 October, my Wikipedia account will be more than one year old
  • Editors have made a minimum of 500 edits to Wikipedia - I have made over 6,000 edits (see tools.wmflabs.org/xtools-ec/?user=EvM-Su...ect=en.wikipedia.org)
  • Editors are active in content generation, research, and/or verification work
However, even more useful it would be if all authors of papers would consider making those papers that are particularly important into open access papers (which means paying a fee to the journal). That means that any Wikipedian could more easily utilise its content for updating Wikipedia articles.

Regards,
Elisabeth
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Freelance consultant on environmental and climate projects
Located in Ulm, Germany
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  • 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)?

Interesting article in New York Times about:
Wikipedia Emerges as Trusted Internet Source for Ebola Information

www.nytimes.com/2014/10/27/business/medi...-on-ebola-.html?_r=1

Three sections that I found particularly important:

The initial skepticism about Wikipedia was mainly structural: how could you trust an article in an “encyclopedia that anyone can edit?” The growing confidence in the site — certainly when it comes to public health articles — in part reflects the fact that much of Wikipedia is not edited by just “anyone.”

“Wikipedia is a do-ocracy,” said Dr. James Heilman, an emergency room doctor from British Columbia, Canada, who leads the Wikiproject Medicine that keeps close watch on the most important public health articles, like Ebola Virus Disease. “Those who do the most, do have a greater influence.”

Many impediments exist to someone casually editing the Ebola article. Only registered Wikipedia editors with at least some experience are permitted to edit the page, and the requirement for sourcing is much more rigorous than for other Wikipedia entries. Newspaper articles, for example, do not cut it.

“A key group of us keep an eye on articles that have become more popular to make sure that Wikipedia’s most-read content is of a reasonably high standard,” Dr. Heilman said.


and

That well-schooled contributor pool is only going to get bigger starting on Monday, when the University of California, San Francisco, begins an elective class for fourth-year medical students that focuses on Wikipedia editing.


and

“I now believe it should be our professional duty to contribute to Wikipedia — one of the fastest ways we can improve the health of our entire planet!” he wrote by email.


Are we just witnessing quite a revolution in the way public health information is spread? And is sanitation (with all its facets) not an integral part of public health?

Regards
Elisabeth
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Freelance consultant on environmental and climate projects
Located in Ulm, Germany
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  • 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)?

Dear all,

Thanks for your notes, Chris and Pete. I agree totally with you both about getting students involved with assignments to work on Wikipedia articles, the different target group we could reach with Wikipedia articles on sanitation and also the idea of using the SuSanA working group members ro rally behind improving certain Wikipedia pages.

About the editor, please don't scare people off, Pete, because the new editor in Wikipedia (called Edit beta) is so easy, it is just like writing in Word! It is easier than this forum's editor. :-)

Here are some Youtube videos that show James Heilman in action, speaking about Wikipedia in higher education (at University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada):

Playlist: www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL07E69A3311AB345A

I particularly like this video where he explains how he got started on Wikipedia (during a slow nightshift in the emergency ward somewhere in rural Canada) and that "we from Wikipedia would not cite ourselves in Wikipedia articles!" (rather cite quality documents when writing a Wikipedia article)



I copy from the Youtube description for this video:

Dr James Heilman, UBC Faculty of Medicine, Wikimedia Canada Board of Directors. He is an active editor and administrator on the English Wikipedia involved primarily with Wikiproject Medicine. He is one of the top 1000th most prolific editors of the English site by edit count and has contributed hundreds of medical images over the previous 4 years. In 2009 he was involved with promoting and protecting Wikipedia's right to contain images in the public domain. In 2011 in collaboration with 18 other medical editors he published a peer reviewed article in the Journal of medical Internet research calling upon his peers to join in as editors.


I don't know about you but I am very impressed by this and very happy that someone like James has taken it upon him to also improve sanitation-related articles on Wikipedia! He is helping me a lot with the modest contributions I have made on Wikipedia so far.

I have mentioned in this post which Wikipedia articles I have already worked on in the last week or so: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/39-any...d-pit-latrines#10582
(should you have any content feedback, please put it in that thread or write it directly in the talk page of the Wikipedia article)

Let me just repeat them here in case any of these topics are important in your opinion:
SuSanA: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainable_Sanitation_Alliance
Dry toilets: www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dry_toilet
Pit latrines: www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pit_latrine
open defecation: www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_defecation
sanitation: www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/sanitation
sustainable sanitation: www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainable_sanitation
urine diversion: www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urine_diversion
helminths (just a little bit): www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helminths
helminthiasis (just a little bit): www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helminthiasis
reuse (a little bit): www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reuse
urinals (a little bit): www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urinal
Stockholm Water Prize (added information about Peter Morgan to it): www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockholm_Water_Prize

I could of course just soldier on with this on my own (together with James) but it's so much nicer to be doing it as a team effort!

So next time when any of you look up something on Wikipedia - on any topic - please think of me and my lonely quest to improve the sanitation related Wikipedia pages and ask yourself if you could not donate a little bit of your time? :unsure:

Regards,
Elisabeth

P.S. James, a Wiki Project for Sanitation sounds really interesting, or maybe it is wiser to keep is as part of the existing (and succesful) Wiki Project for Medicine for now?
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Freelance consultant on environmental and climate projects
Located in Ulm, Germany
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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  • petecranston
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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

Interesting thread: two comments
  1. (Early note: complaining about wikipedia editor software from the Susana forum editor strikes me as deeply ironic!
  2. Coming at the question of wikipedia or akvopedia etc from the perspective of audience perhaps helps, since it seems to me that a lot of the conversation is about the function and use of those platforms as communication and knowledge sharing channels. People who really know a subject are unlikely to use wikipedia, or indeed any other open platform. Don't most investigations into people's information seeking and knowledge sharing habits show that people start with friends and colleagues - by voice, mail, SMS or, sometimes, social media - and, then go to specialist forums and only then go to online generalist sites. The audiences that will learn from well written, authoritative and well-referenced wikipedia pages is a non-specialist one, almost by definition. But that includes many, many people important to the wider aims of Susana, including policy actors, journalists, students, civil servants.... and so on. And unless they are specialists they won't know of Akvopedia et all. So I applaud Elisabeth and the group working with her in their determination to get the most-accessed online reference site source more up-to-date and informative
  3. Susana already has a structure that could help that process, based around the working groups. What about each working group taking on the task of bringing up-to-date those wikipedia pages that relate to their specialist areas, and where they don't exist, creating them, and making sure they in turn reference more specialist sites with in-depth information?

Cheers

Pete
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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)?

Adding links to library items is good. Adding links to "forum threads" is against the external links policy and may get people into trouble. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:External...rmally_to_be_avoided

Wikipedia is very careful about external links. We struggle with people trying to promote themselves via Wikipedia when we want people to write encyclopedic content on Wikipedia.

Best
James
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The Wikipedia Open Textbook of Medicine
www.opentextbookofmedicine.com

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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 Elisabeth,

This is great and I hope to find time to join in.

I would like to promote the idea that any college professors on the Forum could assign writing Wikipedia pages to their students, as an academic exercise that will do some public good.

Let's remember to add lots of external links to Forum threads, SuSanA library items and our various webpages.

Best wishes,
Chris Canaday
Conservation Biologist and EcoSan Promoter
Omaere Ethnobotanical Park
Puyo, Pastaza, Ecuador, South America
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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)?

Elisabeth wonderful having you join us at Wikipedia. If this effort takes off one could even create a WikiProject pertaining to Sanitation.

Here is the WikiProject for medicine en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Medicine

It allows one to "collect" articles associated with the subject area. And allowed automated creation of pages such as this that list articles within that subject area by pageviews en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProj...dicine/Popular_pages

All this of course takes a fair bit of work to set up. More important to concentrate on improving articles right now IMO :-)

James
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www.opentextbookofmedicine.com

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  • 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)?

Dear all,

To practice what I preach, and to try things out, I have taken the plunge and become a writer on Wikipedia!

I have so far worked on three pages: I invite you all to check out my work and to edit it, improve it, change it and to get involved! If you don't like anything: no problem! Just change it or when it's a more significant change, then use the "talk" page that is available with each Wikipedia page to discuss things before changing it. Note that any change that is made can easily be reverted if necessary (this is important especially in the case of vandalism).

Christoph: you mentioned the old editor tool. I agree with you, that one must have been very difficult to use! All the articles I have worked on so far have the "Edit beta" visual editor (see tab at the top of the Wikipedia page) and it's just like writing in Word.

You will see that the pit latrine page now has the schematic from the second version of the Compendium. I was able to take it straight from the eCompendium that Dorothee had mentioned here (after clarifying with her about the licence issue): forum.susana.org/forum/categories/89-new...mit=12&start=12#9948

All pages that I work on will cite documents that I think are important, e.g. of course the compendium, also the GIZ technology reviews, and in selected places I have also cited a forum discussion (the latter is not preferred by Wikipedia but in the absence of another document to cite I think it is better than nothing).

What I have learnt so far:
  • It is fun and might also be addictive, I have to admit.
  • It does take up time, even though the individual edits are fast but one gets more and more ideas on how to improve the pages...
  • The visual editor tool is very easy to use.
  • It is tremendously helpful to have a mentor at hand (James Heilmann) who can quickly help me with little things and answer all my questions (of course there are also lots of question-answer pages available on Wikipedia itself but you know what it's like: asking a real person is so much easier). James is very, very knowledgeable on Wikipedia.
  • For Wikipedia citing good, reliable references is very important.
  • I find I can write articles quite fast because I can draw on other publications which I have written in the past, previous posts I wrote on the forum, other publications that I know are good (e.g. Compendium) and so forth.
  • I also find I can draw on other good work we have done in the past, e.g. the bibliographical information from the SuSanA library is excellent when I want to cite something.
  • In terms of photos, I can quickly pick out photos from our enormous photo collection on Flickr (photos have already been transferred to the Wikimedia Commons area in the past: commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:File...on_Alliance_(SuSanA))
James is by the way working on an open textbook of medicine, see project description here:
The Wikipedia Open Textbook of Medicine
www.opentextbookofmedicine.com

and e.g. the page on pit latrines would be included there because it is a page that people with a medical background will refer to.

Do I sound overly excited? Perhaps I am. ;-)

But I think having the "right" information on some of the key sanitation pages on Wikipedia will help us (= sustainable sanitation people) further to become more "mainstream" in the WASH sector and in general.

And as I said: anyone who uses Wikipedia to get other information has a bit of a moral duty to also give back about topics that one knows a bit about, don't we? Out of 4000 SuSanA members, there's got to be a dozen who will join me by also spending an hour to improve Wikipedia pages on sanitation here or there?

I will also start a separate thread about those Wikipedia pages that I have worked on so far (in case there is specific feedback), as this thread here is getting a bit long and should remain to focus on the more general and strategic issues on how Wikipedia could be used.

Regards,
Elisabeth
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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Located in Ulm, Germany
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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)?

This translation project is one that I started in collaboration with the NGO Translators Without Borders a couple of years ago. I am leading the Wikipedia side of things. Translators Without Borders has a few thousand translators. Project is described here en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProj...anslation_Task_Force

People of course are free to translate content independent of this effort.

James
James Heilman
MD, CCFP-EM, Wikipedian

The Wikipedia Open Textbook of Medicine
www.opentextbookofmedicine.com
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  • 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)?

I still don't understand this translation queue: In which capacity can you in particular put that into such a queue? Do you have some additional authority compared to normal people because you have reached a certain Wikipedian status from your previous work? Or could anyone put it in the translation queue?

And then how are the people doing the translation work (apart from being volunteers of course) and which languages are they translating it into?

Sorry for my basic questions, but it's all new to me, and I really appreciate being able to ask someone who is an expert on Wikipedia.
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Freelance consultant on environmental and climate projects
Located in Ulm, Germany
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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 one can get notifications of changes when they have an account. It also keeps your edits associated with you. The "thank you note" was; however, manually sent.

To put an article in the translation queue you need to 1) improve the lead of the article (at most three or four paragraphs) 2) it must be well referenced 3) it must be in simple English 4) you convince me that it is an important topic, that the above three have occurred and I put it in the queue...

With respect to pit latrine, only the first 4 paragraphs are being translated. I am happy enough with it. The article could be better though and am happy to have others edit it.

Other good topics could be waste disposal, open defecation and garbage dump.
James Heilman
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www.opentextbookofmedicine.com

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