Bjelkeman's travel notes

Travels with the cloud in my pocket.

Bangalore Wikipedians

A journalist from the Bangalore Mirror was at the Wikipedia meetup and wrote a story about the meeting. A picture of the page can be seen above. With a bit of fantasy you can actually see my face in there (and I didn’t Photoshop it in there, promise). Funnily enough, in the article above it, which is about techies who use their bicycle to get to work in Bangalore (not for the faint of heart) is Sharada Prasad, who works at Arghyam. The same day, the same paper, the same page. Pure coincidence…

On Sunday afternoon there was a Wikipedia meetup in Bangalore. Every month a bunch of people who contribute to Wikipedia meet up and discuss different issues related to Wikipedia. I had a really interesting time, met great people and learned a bunch of useful things.

The Auto Wiki Browser is Windows software, but you can supposedly run it under WINE on a Mac or a Linux system.

Bulk edits in a Mediawiki system

First presentation was about the Auto Wiki Browser, a tool to make bulk edits to any Mediawiki installation. This would be useful for example if you wanted to insert the same information in a number of articles at the same time, say a new set of category entries at the bottom of an wiki article. The tool allows powerful search and replace features and many more things. The tool can also be run automatically, in so called bot mode, to make changes without a person overseeing it.

THe Auto Wiki Browser is a very powerful tool and one can do good work with it, but one could also wreck havoc with it. This means that to be allowed to use this tool on the Wikipedia you have to have permission from the administrators of Wikipedia. Only about 2500 people have this permission and less than 200 accounts are allowed to run this tool automatically and perform batch edits (bot mode).


I also learned about Python tools for MediaWiki batch edits, called PyWikipedia, which I had hoped was something we could use to extract article information from the Akvopedia and insert into Akvopedia Widgets, but I am not so sure now when looking at it in more detail.

Google translation tools

The next thing which I learned about was the new Google Translator Toolkit Data API from two Google employees who were there. This allows you to programatically post and retrieve information to translated to and from different languages which Google’s system supports. This could, for example, be integrated with the Akvo RSR system in such a way that Akvo RSR could present a (machine) translated version of a project and its updates in the language of the users choice. Not perfect but better than nothing if the information is in a language which you don’t understand. The Google employees verified that we could use their tools this way.


Filed under: India, ITC technology

About Bjelkeman

Co-director: Akvo Foundation

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