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News from the WMF

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By Kudpung
The Wikimedia Foundation, as reported in last month's 'Opinion' in The Signpost, no longer publishes its blog. News and information is now on its new WordPress website. This is my pick of what they have had to say recently:
Photograph of Trey Jone
Trey Jones

How the Wikipedia search engine works, and what's in a name - a rose perhaps?

The anatomy of search
by Trey Jones

A facinating series of articles entitled The anatomy of search by computational linguist Trey Jones, WMF Senior Software Engineer, Search Platform, some of which were published in the Wikimedia blog earlier this year. Easily readable even by non-language scientists. Of particular interest to editors working on redirects and disambiguation pages, but nevertheless highly entertaining for absolutely anyone. My top choice – but of course as a linguist and lexicographer, I'm biased (and envious of Jones's knowledge of the subject...) Enjoy. K

More on searching - the WMF announces a new tool

Eureka! A new visual interface for specialized searches
by Johanna Strodt, 13 December 2018

Have you tried the new search page on Wikipedia (and other Wikimedia wikis) yet? Now everyone can carry out specialized searches without specialized knowledge. With over five million articles, finding the exact Wikipedia article you want can sometimes feel like you’re searching for the proverbial needle in the haystack. That’s why if you go and search the world’s largest encyclopedia, you will see a new interface that provides several common search terms. No longer will people looking for their favorite salad be faced with the dilemma of 50,000 search results for rocket. More specifically, search pages now have an additional visual interface that provides several common search options. For instance, when you type space, Nasa, and missile into the field “Not this text” and salad into “One of these words”, you can narrow your search for rocket down to little more than 100 results. Other options are to search in page titles, for exact text, to look for pages in certain categories, with a particular template, and more...

Hershenov resigns as General Counsel

Eileen Hershenov departs from General Counsel position at the Wikimedia Foundation
by Katherine Maher, 2 December 2018

Photograph of Eileen Hershenov
Eileen Hershenov

Eileen Hershenov will be departing from her role as General Counsel of the Wikimedia Foundation in December. It is with deep regret that I share that Eileen Hershenov, General Counsel and Board Secretary, will be departing from her position at the Wikimedia Foundation. On behalf of the executive team, Foundation Board, and myself, I want to thank Eileen for her critical contributions to advance our legal, public policy, and advocacy work during her time with us at the Foundation.

Eileen will be departing from her position in early December, and Tony Sebro, current Deputy General Counsel, will act as Interim General Counsel as we look to fill the position permanently. I thank Tony for his willingness to support this transition period and know and trust the Legal Department will be under excellent leadership during this time...

Maher signs deal in Jordan

Photograph of Katherine Maher signing a memorandum of understanding with Kamal Bani-Hani
Katherine Maher, Wikimedia ED, signs deal in Jordan

Hashemite University, Wikimedia Foundation, Wikimedia volunteers partner to expand access to free knowledge resources in Jordan
by Wikimedia Foundation, 30 November 2018

Last month, the Wikimedia Foundation, Wikimedia community members in Jordan, and Hashemite University—one of the most esteemed higher education institutions in Jordan—signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to advance cultural cooperation and access to free knowledge resources in the Arabic language. It is the first MOU of its type signed with any university in the Middle East. The partnership was announced at a roundtable discussion hosted at Hashemite University by Katherine Maher, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, and Professor Kamal Bani-Hani, Hashemite University President. They were joined by Hashemite University staff, students, the Wikimedians of the Levant User Group—the local Wikimedia community of volunteer editors—and other guests...

A patchwork of copyright exceptions and limitations in European education

We’re endorsing a proposed copyright treaty that adds educational and research exceptions. Here’s why
by Hugues Plessis, 19 November 2018

The Wikimedia Foundation, and 15 other civil society and research organizations, have endorsed the Proposed Treaty On Copyright Exceptions For Educational And Research Activities that introduces exceptions and limitations to copyright, supporting open knowledge and the free culture. The proposed treaty will be presented to the World Intellectual Property Organization Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights at its 37th session from November 26th-30th.

This may come as a surprise, but copyrighted works often cannot be used in educational and research materials.

For example: students in France, Italy, Luxembourg and Romania cannot legally quote an entire artwork in a digital presentation. In Denmark, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom a teacher may not send an email to her students with excerpts of reading materials. In Denmark, Finland, Italy, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom an educator in a nonprofit cannot legally show parts of a video from a DVD they own in a free history class. (You can read more about this in a recent COMMUNIA report.) ...

Winners of the photo competition announced

Photograph of basalt at Cape Stolbchaty
Cape Stolbchaty, winning photo by Ekaterina Vasyagina

Lose yourself in our planet’s beauty with the winners of Wiki Loves Earth
by Ed Erhart, 17 December 2018

"A lonely monastery. Sunrise over the desert. A walk through a national park. These are just a few of the spectacular sights captured in the winners of the international Wiki Loves Earth photography competition, announced today. Coming in first place, seen at top, is a shot of the famed columnar basalt of Cape Stolbchaty, located in the Kuril Islands. Ekaterina Vasyagina’s photo was praised by one competition judge for its “brilliant composition and depth,” with another saying that it simply “makes you want to breathe...."

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