Sunday, March 3, 2013

How to categorize people on Wikimedia Commons

Hi, I'm Vera and I've been helping Susan and the rest of the group out in getting around on Wikimedia Commons, the media database the Wikipedia projects relies upon. I've written here before about how to transfer files from Flickr, and how the OTRS system works, today I'm going to tackle categories. I thought this was a good idea since Susan requested everyone to send in portraits last week.

Just like Wikipedia, files and pages on Commons are categorized, but unlike articles where categories are often an after though, they form the back bone of this project. This because there is no text that can link to other articles, so you often have to rely on the categories to find what you are looking for.

Please note: categories aren't tags. When you've added a file to say “Atheists from the United States”, there is no need to also ad “Atheism” or “Atheist”. The trick is to add the lowest level category as possible. Categories have a structure, for example:

Like this there is a huge tree structure on Wikimedia Commons, making all people in the end categorized in a subcategory of Homo Sapiens, even Kent Hovind.

Aspects of a person that make it possible to put files about them in a category are, for example:

  • Year of birth
    •  [1989 births]
  • Alma mate
    •  For this there doesn’t seem to be a consensus for having either [Alumni of University of Florida] or [University of Florida Alumni], try either or look it up by going to the university’s category.
  • Occupation
  •  Place of birth/residence
    •  [People of Los Angeles], [People of The Hague]Not all places have such a category. Sometimes from is used instead of of.

Of course, it isn't always possible to add, say, [Atheists from Istanbul] because it doesn't exists. You can also create the category yourself:

Creating categories

Creating a new category is similar to creating a new page, just be sure to start the title with “Category:”. If a category is added to a file that doesn't exist, it will show up read, just like a page would. When you click on it, you will see the option to create it in the top right corner.
For general category, like Stroopwafels at Wikimedia meetups, are usually 2 parent categories. In this case:
[[Category:Stroopwafels|Wikimedia meetups]]
[[Category:Food at Wikimedia meetups]]
to the page and safe.

The section I colored here is a way to sort the category in its parent category, allowing for instance to have Skepticism in the United States to be sorted under U in its parent category Skepticism by country 

Optionally you can link to the Wikipedia article about the category you've just created. This is done the same way any Wikipedia page links to the same article in another language:
[[it:Independent Investigations Group]]
[[en:Independent Investigations Group]]
[[en:Independent Investigations Group]]
 On Wikipedia you can link back to the category by Commonscat template at the bottom of the page:
Will result in something like this:

If you've made a spelling error

You can always go back and edit a category in order to change its parent categories,  I added Obama to the category left-handed people only last year for instance. You can't change its name through a simple edit though. If you've made a spelling error in its name, create the correct one following the above steps and replace the content of the wrong category with:
 {{bad name|Category:New category name}}
 Don't forget to move all the files in the bad category to the new category.

Creating a category for one individual

As the list of possible categories a person can be put in can quickly grow, it is often easier to create a person-specific category.  The categories that would otherwise be added to every file would then be added to the category page. 2 thinks are specific about these categories than other: The category People by name has to be added and you have to add the defaultsort template:
{{DEFAULTSORT:Surname, Firstname}}
The category Greta Christina, for instance, looks like this:
[[Category:People by name]]
[[Category:1961 births]]
[[Category:Reed College alumni]]
[[category:Skeptics from the United States]]
[[category:Atheists from the United States]]
[[category:Bloggers from the United States]]
[[Category:People from San Francisco, California]]
[[Category:LGBT activists from the United States]]

{{DEFAULTSORT:Christina, Greta}}

[[en:Greta Christina]]

Extra tools

There are some extra tools, gadgets they're called, I like to use when categorizing files. In order to activate them, go to Preferences > Gadgets

  •    [documentation] 
And I've changed my interface slightly by checking this option: 
This way you don't have to scroll all the way down the page. I hope this was of help. If you have any question, you can contact me in our Facebook group or down in the comments. 

1 comment:

  1. I've found some interesting categories at the bottom of Kent Hovind's Wikipedia page. American People Convicted of Fraud. Not only is Jim Bakker there, but so is L. Ron Hubbard and Sylvia Browne.

    Just added Sylvia's name to this list... Members of the Clergy with criminal convictions.

    Here is another great category that is missing names... Pseudoscientists