My Blog: projects, sketches, works in progress, thoughts, and inspiration.

Tagged: wikipedia

Wikipedia Structural Map

The next step in my Wikipedia project is to create a static map of the entire site (more than 2.5 million pages). I’m not entirely sure how large the image will be, but judging by small scale renders the vector file should be no more than a two or three hundred megabytes. This is huge, but to be honest not as large as I expected. I’m building a new script which will not render any of the pages on the screen and will run autonomously, first getting the data, then organizing it, modifying placement to prevent overlapping text, and finally exporting a PDF file. Hopefully I can build the script to sacrifice time for a lack of power so I can use computers currently available to me.

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Wikipedia, founded in 2001, is a free, collaborative, online encyclopedia. Anyone can edit any article, or add new articles. This might not sound like a great idea, but things are monitored and uncited facts are removed and dubious articles are clearly marked for revision. The system allows for the encyclopedia to grow constantly and to reflect not just information typically included in an encyclopedia, on historical and scholarly subjects. Wikipedia offers information on the most current topics in art, science, music, geography, news, politics, and anything else I’ve ever searched for. It’s easy to attack the site for being unreliable, but it is well monitored and undeniable useful.

Wikipedia Visualization

As an artist, I find Wikipedia a fantastic subject to work with. I appreciate the site for what it is and working with it I have an excuse to peruse all sorts of information. When working with network visualization Wikipedia is very easy to glean data from. All pages are standardized and even include convenient HTML comments marking off sections of each page. Although this also makes it a very poor analog for the world wide web, which is far from standardized, it is a great starting place and simplifies a lot of tasks. In addition, since the entire site is under an open content license the data is free to use.

My most recent project WikiWeb is a live, interactive, visualization of the site. Another limb of this project will hopefully lead to a static map of the whole site. A few other small visualizations are on their way as well.

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I’ve been working for a while on a project I have named WikiWeb. Coding in Processing I built a program which generates a live, interactive visualization of Wikipedia. The applet works by downloading the source code for each page. The html is passed through a function which detects all the internal links and creates a new object for each. It also creates new link objects connecting the new pages with their parent and for any other pages which are linked. The applet also opens up pages in a new window, making it functional as well as fun.

I’ve built a site to house the project with some more information, however this post will serve as an area for comments about the project. The site employs spry JavaScript framework for some smooth effects.

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