Initial situation — According to Daniel Weinberger, knowledge has become less certain and more diverse in the age of networks than it used to be in the age of books: It now evolves at the pace of the changes made on Wikipedia and on search engines algorithms.
Approach — In this project, I intended to explore knowledge diversity across the different language versions of one and the same article on Wikipedia.
Result — As each Wikipedia article can't be considered as an independent information object, but rather as an entity networked to further articles, I decided to visualize and compare the geographical dimension of the network associated with the different language versions. The prototype is based on leaflet.js, data was parsed through the Wikipedia and Wikidata APIs and map tiles are originating from Stamen.
Try the prototype online (Google Chrome is recommended)
As articles are rarely able to cover a topic without referring to further articles, vast amounts of geographical networks (or maps) arise on wikipedia when articles are augmented with GPS coordinates. Following this insight, my goal has been to compare the networks that emerge from the different language versions of a single Wikipedia article.
The Wikipedia articles corresponding to Berlin in German and in English are not formed out of the same network of linked articles and accordingly offer different perspectives about the German capital.
In detail, the quantity of articles linked with the German version is higher than with the English version (the german one is longer), but it doesn’t automatically mean that the corresponding articles don’t exist. They just may be not linked. For example, the Maxim-Gorki-Theater article does exist in English, but is not linked to the Berlin article.
Inspired by the theory of interpersonal ties originating from sociology, I distinguished strong links (linked article links back to the main article) from the weak links (linked article does not link back to the main article)
In order to compare language versions, I created an interface which presents two parallel maps displaying two different topologies.
By zooming out, the user is able to switch from the local footprint to the global footprint of the article.