Discovering the world through collective attentions: navigating Wikipedia’s archive of consultation traces


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Inproceedings: an article in a conference proceedings.
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Discovering the world through collective attentions: navigating Wikipedia’s archive of consultation traces
Title of the conference
Digital traces, navigational paths, and intellectual mobilities: How researchers navigate libraries and online platforms and how to foster such practices
Baya-Laffite Nicolas, Maître Ogier, Beaude Boris
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Over its 20 years, Wikipedia has become a core piece of our digital, everyday-life information and knowledge ecosystem. When users turn to it, the matters that drew their attention are captured in Wikipedia’s article consultation logs, which grasp like no other social media platform what arises interest at a given moment. From a scholarly perspective, Wikipedia’s pageviews data dumps offer a massive, detailed and up-to-date archive of collective attention and memory dynamics.
While open, common, and with no privacy constrains bearing upon their usage, these data remain barely exploited in the humanities and the social sciences. This is astonishing considering their impressive potential for better understanding fundamental aspects of collective life across time, space and cultures. A reason for this has to do with such archive not being directly amenable for nonaprioristic exploration – something that limits the discovery potential of navigating the archive without a specific question in mind. So, how can we make consultation logs navigable in such a
way that the scientific imagination be encouraged through serendipity?
This is the challenge that the WikiMaps interdisciplinary project has tackled by developing an innovative navigation platform of consultation logs. Repurposing a 7-terabyte database comprising one thousand billion consultation log lines for the 300 linguistic editions, the WikiMaps current approach proposes to focus on consultations of pages identified with geocodes. Through a cartographic projection, specific views of the world and the ways in which we pay attention to places become freely explorable in a multiscale perspective from the planisphere to the street. Differential geographies emerge from the unequal interest elicited by content referring to what is taking place in the world
over time. To contribute to the workshop’s theme, we will present the navigational modes of the device and reflect upon the conceptual and technical aspects of its development, its heuristic value, and its use. This last point is then the occasion for imagining a further reflexive step: namely, documenting the navigation paths within the WikiMaps’ device in order to produce a topology of mobility through such a world of collective attentions.
Wikipedia, Wikimaps FNS project
Create date
23/03/2021 17:29
Last modification date
10/07/2021 6:33
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