Is there anybody on the planet who has ever been online that hasn’t used Wikipedia? It’s an amazing free knowledge resource. But it relies on you, and millions like you, to contribute new articles and to continuously update and improve existing ones. Indeed that is one of the hopes we have for the many maps that we have made that link through to Wikipedia (see below). If you see something that’s “wrong”, or you think “why haven’t they mentioned that, you can’t talk about this without including that?”, then rather than just tutting and clicking the back button, why not add add your tu’pence worth to the global knowledge bank and edit the article?
It Ain’t Just Wikipedia You Know!
The same is true of the many sister projects run by the WikiMedia Foundation, the non-profit charitable organization, which is headquartered in California but also has a global network of affiliated “local chapters“. Wiktionary, Wikibooks, Wikisource, Wikidata, Wikiversity, Wikiquote, Wikispecies, Wikinews, Wikivoyage….. the list goes on and on. What do you mean you haven’t heard of all of these? You are in for a surprise then my friend when you realise that, as well as all these major “content projects”, there are many others that haven’t quite grown up enough to get a domain of their own yet (WikiJunior anyone?).
Then there are the projects for “outreach and administration” like Wikimedia Outreach, and “technical development” like WikiTech & Wikimedia Labs. And of course there’s MetaWiki, the central hub for the wiki community, where much of the effort is coordinated. These are all crucial components that support the whole people, organisation and technical infrastructure that keeps the content sites growing and improving for the future (see a full list of wikimedia projects here).
Doing Our Bit
Well as our “starter for 10” to help make contributing and editing to any of these Wiki projects easier, Knowledge Mappers has produced a FREE WikiMedia Projects Basic Webmap. This maps the main navigation of the Wikimedia Foundation website and all of the major web projects operating under the Wikimedia banner, all in one handy map. With over 900 branches hyperlinked to the project web pages, this map will help users make their contribution to the detailed knowledge sharing effort whilst not losing sight of the “big picture”.
More power to you Wikimedians!
PS: Examples Of Our Wikipedia Maps
Many of our maps link through to at least Wikipedia, if not addional Wikimedia sites:-
- Periodic Table of Elements
- Solar System Research Atlas
- Research Chronicles
- Standard Calendars
- UK Parliament 2015 General Election Atlas
- Countries of the World Atlases
For example our Countries of the World Research Atlas (Geographic Layout) map shows all the countries in a pseudo-geographic layout according to UN defined Macro Geographical Regions And Sub-Regions. There are >5500 hyperlinks through to webpages about the countries including the Country Page, Portal & Index of country-related articles on Wikipedia; the Index of country-related images & atlases on Wikimedia Commons and the Country page on Wikivoyage. In turn these pages have 1000s more links, all from one document! That’s the power of digital mindmaps.
At Knowledge Mappers we believe this visual approach is a great “way in” to Wikipedia and related projects for both consumers of the information, and potential contributors / editors. We think this holds true whether they are laymen or “professional” researchers.
In the adademic world the “mindmapping effect” is well known. But it should be emphasised that the scope and functionality of mindmapping software goes way beyond what is possible with traditional, paper-based mindmapping. For us it is a general information mapping and visualisation tool, it’s not just for “brainstorming”. However the “mindmapping effect” still applies – by seeing the information in front of you, further thoughts and mental connections are sparked.
Our “information cartography” work with mindmapping software and Wikipedia was a logical extension of working with geographic information for many years. If you can use GIS software to map “real world” space, why not mindmapping software to map “information space”? And if you are going to map information space, why not digital information space so that you can take advantage of the softwares hyperlinking ability?
In traditional geographic mapping one of the maxims is that the “map is not the territory”. We believe this is no longer strictly true in digital information mapping!