user guide

 

Conzept is an attempt (started in 2020) to create an encyclopedia for the 21st century. A modern topic-exploration tool based on Wikipedia, Wikidata, Open Library, GBIF and other data sources.

Although Wikipedia is great and getting better all the time, I (Jama Poulsen) felt that the encyclopedic information could be presented better and have better integration with other major sources of information on the web. Each Wikipedia "article" actually relates to a multi-faceted concept, which we ideally should be able to easily explore. This is what Concept strives to be a good tool for. To help anyone to explore and learn about topics of their interest, in an effective and enjoyable way.

The two main goals of Conzept are:

  • A more holistic presentation of the encyclopedic information contained within Wikipedia and Wikidata by integrating and linking it with other information sources.

  • Significantly improving the user experience when taking in that wealth of information, by trying to reduce the cognitive-load for users and making the experience as fun and inspiring as possible.

Conzept works by using the Wikipedia and Wikidata API's to fetch the wiki-page and the metadata related to a topic. The wiki-page is then parsed, rearranged and presented in a cleaner design. Conzept detects the type of concept (person, location, event, organism, human work, etc.), to be able to display the most relevant associations for a topic. Conzept is multi-lingual (supporting almost 300 languages) and has currently support for 10 different user-interface locales.

basic functions

The layout of Conzept consists of two main areas: the sidebar and the content pane. Within both areas action buttons are used to trigger some kind of action for that topic.

From the sidebar you can:

  • Do a search using auto-complete and see the search results. More topics will be loaded in the sidebar as you scroll down to the bottom of the search results.

  • View lists related to a topic (eg. "view all dates within an article chronologically" or "view all inbound links").

  • Manage bookmarks (currently only stored in the browser, not on the server)

  • Change settings (language, locale, font, theme)

  • View the documentation

The content pane can consist of one or two sub-panes (depending on the content). The general workflow of all these panes is from left-to-right. So the sidebar directs the content pane. If the content pane has two sub-panes visible, the left sub-pane will direct the right sub-pane.

The action buttons allow for doing something with a topic, like eg. viewing videos or browsing books related to it. Each topic has a visible set of main actions buttons and a set of hidden categorized action buttons.

The main action buttons show the most common and essential buttons for a topic. Note that each topic has an "explore-this-topic" action button, which can be used to do a search for that particular topic string.

The categorized action buttons can be shown by clicking on the triangle symbol. These buttons are grouped by categories like: video, audio, art, science, biology and geography.

This concludes the introduction into the basic functions of Conzept. You should now be able to start exploring topics of your interest.

GBIF

For the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) Ebbe Nielsen 2020 challenge the integration with the GBIF API's was started, to enrich the Conzept encyclopedia with biodiversity information. Below is a tour of that integration.

Each Wikipedia article about an organism which has a GBIF-property in Wikidata will now display an embedded occurrence map, showing where all of the species within that taxon (of any level) are known to be found. This is a very useful augmentation for Wikipedia articles describing organisms, such as eg. the Trogon bird family.

When you fullscreen the map (this is not required, but useful) and open up the map layers, you can compose a map with much more information, besides the GBIF occurrences map. The user can control layer-activation and layer-opacity.

The current available layers are:

  • 30-year (1961-1990) average climate data from the IPCC for each month of the year: mean/min/max temperature, precipitation and windspeeds. [ Note: Currently missing is a way to select months of the year in the climate data. The default month is currently set to "June". ]

  • rivers, lakes and reefs

  • satellite imagery

  • urbanized areas

  • country borders

The same GBIF occurrence map widget is also used in the "compare topics" view (example). Clicking on the "+" action button on a topic adds it to the compare view. When two or more topics are added, the view is shown automatically to the user. The compare view allows for checking the differences (of the common Wikidata values) between multiple species, including their places of occurrence:

Clicking on the GBIF app link (example) will open up a content pane looking like this:

Here you can see the both a map of the occurrences of a species and the occurrences data itself. Clicking on the taxon classification links in the occurrences data loads a new GBIF app view for that taxon. Clicking on the map and GBIF links opens up the respective content in the content pane to the right.

The action buttons (at the top) can take us to:

  • Explore-this-topic (resulting in a new topic search using the taxon name)

  • The Conzept encyclopedic page (with the information coming from Wikipedia)

  • The Open Library book results for this taxon

  • The (official) GBIF species page

  • The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) search-results for this taxon

We can limit the occurrences by country, by using the "limit search by country" input field. Both the occurrence map and the occurrence list will be updated. The map will be also be zoomed in to the country automatically. The country constrant will keep active (even when clicking on other another taxon), until the country-constraint is cleared in the input field.

We can also filter the found occurrences with a fulltext-input-field or by toggling the found facets in the facets menu:

This concludes our tour of the GBIF API integration. Read on for some other bio-information functions available in Conzept.

References:

  • The 30-years IPCC climate data was created using the scripts developed by Bart Romgens for the climatemaps project.

  • The "compare view" is a customization of the wikicompare tool.

  • This project would not be possible without the work of the contributors to (and the developers of) Wikipedia and Wikidata.

TODO:

  • Add a month-selector for the climate data in the GBIF app.

  • Implement infinite-scrolling for fetching more results (and updating the facets menu) in the GBIF app.

  • Make the GBIF app elements more responsive to various screen sizes.

  • Add a search-constraint by polygon(s)-geometry for locations with OpenStreetMap borders in the GBIF app.

taxon trees

Conzept can also show interactive taxonomic graphs using the Wikidata SPARQL Query Service. What is useful here is that clicking on nodes will directly show the encyclopic entry for that taxon and from there the user can again go in all sorts of directions (explore that topic, watch videos, see images, etc.).

Taxonomic tree example: Brook trout

Taxonomic grouping (this shows all sub-species under the parent taxon) example: Brook trout

species quiz

Conzept can also create interactive quizzes (experimental feature).

Example: fruit doves

use cases

I think general education and a sort of infotainment are probably the strongest use cases for Conzept, but there are also some scientific / research use cases possible.

education

The Conzept encyclopedia can help with the education of someone interested in biodiversity subjects. Conzept makes learning about these topics easier and more fun, due to its coherent workflow and third-party information integration, when studying subjects. Self-study and digital learning are becoming ever more important.

scientific research

  • [GBIF app + map layers] What relations are there between the climate (temperature, rainfall, etc.) of regions in the world and the occurrence of species?

  • [compare tool] What are the differences and commonalities between members of a certain taxon. This can relate to: appearance, geographical occurrence, names and other shared Wikidata fields.

Below is an interesting example of the occurrences of Lepidostoma caddisflies combined with a mean-temperature layer. Note how there is a clear relation to the cooler regions in North America and their occurrence. Many more such relations can be seen for other species. This sort of information could help to better detect, monitor and protect certain species.