Example OUseful mashup for Online Journalism students

I co-teach Online Journalism for level three students with Bernie Russell and this week, Tony Hirst from the OU came to Lincoln to give his, now annual, data-driven journalism class. Bernie and I prep the students a few weeks beforehand and then Tony rolls in and packs as much into the class as he can, leaving me and Bernie to pick up the pieces 😉
We’re grateful for it.

Here are Tony’s slides from this week

If you’re a student struggling with the Wikipedia/Pipes/Google Maps exercise, here’s a working example that you can clone and work backwards through to understand how it works. It’s basically slide 6 of the presentation above.

UPDATE: What follows is broken because of changes to the Wikipedia source page structure, changes to Yahoo Pipes and changes to Google Docs. Trying to keep it working is a pain, so it will have to stay broken for now.

Start by looking at this Yahoo Pipe:

http://pipes.yahoo.com/joss_winn/oj3ddjwikipediamashup

When you’re signed into Yahoo Pipes, clone the pipe and then click on view source of that example above. You’ll see this:

Source of pipe

The CSV source is https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0Arh4BnSV2XSIdG1aUmd2dlFkTjdwRjlnazdKTk5mckE&single=true&gid=0&range=A1%3AG138&output=csv

You can look at the spreadsheet that is pulling data in from Wikipedia here:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Arh4BnSV2XSIdG1aUmd2dlFkTjdwRjlnazdKTk5mckE&usp=sharing

Note how I’ve fetched the CSV into Yahoo Pipes, defined the data I’m interested in, renamed two key attributes, renamed the title attribute to be ‘population’ and then used the location builder in a loop block to determine the geo-locations. Once that’s done, it runs in the Pipe like this:

Is this displaying correctly? I’ve found that embeds directly from Yahoo Pipes can be a bit flaky.

However, if you right click on the KML link and paste the KML link into the search box of Google maps, then you should see something like this:


View Larger Map

You can see that both Yahoo Pipes and Google Maps allow you to embed the map into any web page.

Give it a try and get in touch if you’re having trouble. Of course, we can talk about it in class, too.

Commons based peer-production: One minute of Wikipedia edits

The technical conditions of communication and information processing are enabling the emergence of new social and economic practices of information and knowledge production. ((The Wealth of Networks: Direct link))

You may have read Yochai Benkler’s book, The Wealth of Networks, where he discusses Wikipedia as an example of commons-based peer-production. Did you know that you can see this relatively new model of knowledge and economic production live, in real-time? The video below is just one minute of Wikipedia edits recorded from the live changes on the irc.wikimedia.org #en.wikipedia channel. Using the IRC channel, you can watch Wikipedia being created as it happens, which means you can see the incremental production of collective knowledge as it happens. I recommend full-screen HD to see the detail as it passes up your screen. There are different channels for the different language versions. I chose the English version.

The Wikimedia site provides detailed statistics about the use of their sites, although the English Wikipedia statistics stop at October 2006 🙁 Perhaps there’s just too much activity on that site for them to collect and measure?

A lot of people still have an aversion to Wikipedia, but I don’t think they get it. Wikipedia is completely open to anyone to contribute. If you don’t think it’s good enough, ((See the famous Nature article which compared Wikipedia to Encyclopedia Britannica [PDF])) isn’t it your (moral?) responsibility to correct and improve it? Like it or not, as a single source, it has by far the widest reach of any web-based learning resource and although I don’t have the time to substantiate this, I bet that after Google, it’s the second online resource that students visit when beginning their research. ((Via Twitter, AJCann just pointed me to some research he’d done which shows that 100% of his student cohort use Wikipedia)) If you challenge what’s happening on Wikipedia, you’re fighting a losing battle. Stop complaining and start contributing!

Personally, I watch the Wikipedia edits rolling up my screen, seeing contributions as they happen from individuals I’ll never know and am filled with optimism. Each edit is underwritten by a Creative Commons license which protects and preserves this body of knowledge for perpetuity. If there were world heritage sites on the Internet, Wikipedia would surely be the first to be recognised as such.

Wikipedia : Google Docs : Yahoo Pipes Mashup

First of all, this is not my work. All credit should go to Tony Hirst from the Open University for posting an explanation of this to his blog. Brilliant stuff.

Tony is doing what we’ve been meaning to look at for some time, which is create ‘Learning Objects’ out of mashups. In Tony’s example, data is 1) taken from Wikipedia, 2) imported to a Google Spreadsheet, 3) output as a CSV file and 4) mashed up in Yahoo! Pipes.

The process of creating an object like the map below is so transparent that both teachers and students, with a specific outcome in mind, could achieve something like this and the results are very satisfying, as you can see.