It’s hard to believe we’re just weeks away from Wikisym 2012. In the next few days, I wanted to highlight some content at the conference we’re very excited about. Today, I’m highlighting our closing keynote speaker, Brent Hecht.
Brent is a PhD candidate at Northwestern, and will be starting at the University of Minnesota this coming year. He’s giving a very thoughtful talk on the ways to mine and encourage diversity in user generated content communities. From his abstract:
“It is well known – especially to WikiSym attendees – that Wikipedia articles and other forms of user-generated content (UGC) play a significant role in the everyday lives of average Web users. Outside the public eye, however, UGC has become equally indispensable as a source of world knowledge for vital systems and algorithms in numerous areas of computer science. In this talk, I will demonstrate that UGC reflects the cultural diversity of its contributors to a previously unidentified extent and that this diversity has important implications for millions of Web users and many existing UGC-based technologies. Focusing on Wikipedia, I will show how UGC diversity can be extracted and measured using diversity mining algorithms and techniques from geographic information science. Finally, through two novel applications – Omnipedia and Atlasify – I will highlight the exciting potential for a new class of technologies enabled by the ability to harvest diverse perspectives from UGC.”
Brent’s an engaging speaker, who has wowed crowds at CHI. We’re looking forward to his participation in the coming conference.
Hello. This is a formal version of the first call for contributions to WikiSym 2012. It will be also available on the 2012 website, as soon as our new wiki is ready (in short time).
WikiSym 2012 Call for Participation
8th International Symposium on Wikis and Open Collaboration
August 27-29, 2012 | Linz, Austria
The International Symposium on Wikis and Open Collaboration (WikiSym) is the premier conference on open collaboration and related technologies. In 2012, WikiSym celebrates its 8th year of scholarly, technical and community innovation in Linz, Austria. We are excited this year to be collocated with Ars Electronica, the premier digital art and science meeting that attracts over 35,000 attendees per year.
Submissions are invited for the following categories:
April 13, 2012 
Research Papers, Panels, Workshops and Experience Reports
April 27, 2012 
May 30, 2012
Notification of Acceptance for Research Papers, Panels, Workshops and Experience reports
June 13, 2012
Posters and Demos due
June 25, 2012
Posters and Demos announced
 As determined at the International Date Line. In other words, as long as it’s still April 13th or April 27 somewhere on Earth, the system will accept your submissions.
Data visualization is an emerging field of interest in many areas such as journalism, consulting or research. The abundance of digital information, and specially open and publicly available datasets, is boosting inspiration of InfoViz practitioners and enthusiast to surprise us with creative and beautiful visualizations.
In WikiSym, we have been planning the best way to promote and disseminate interest in this area, considering the advantages of open content, open datasets and open web technologies. Therefore, together with Wikimedia Foundation we decided to co-organized a challenge to ask data/information visualization experts, computational journalists, data artists and data scientists to create the most insightful visualization of open collaboration data. We will also have several partners from design, innovation, and media collaborating with us in this contest.
The rules, schedule and topic of this year’s challenge will be published very soon. A committee of recognized InfoViz experts will review all submissions to select a winner and 2 finalists, who will be able to attend WikiSym 2011 next October at Microsoft Research Silicon Valley to present their creations and receive their awards.
Again, we have received many requests for extra time to complete submissions. Thus, please note that the deadline for posters and demos has been extended to Friday, May 20. As usual, this deadline is considered as Apia time (that is, as long as it is May 20 somewhere on Earth, you will be able to submit your work).
The conference committee has had several requests for a bit of extra time – so please note that the deadline for research papers, experience reports, workshops and panels has been moved back to Monday April 4th. As long as it’s Monday , April 4 somewhere on Earth, the system will accept your submissions. See the WikiSym 2011 site for submission instructions.
Christmas is ahead of us and we just received a wonderful gift. A few hours ago, we have just launched our brand new WikiSym 2011 website. You may have also noticed our new banner on top of this parent site and… the awesome logo for next year!. We will provide some promotional artwork (short and long banners) very soon, so that you can help us spread the word.
We also started the main campaign to find out sponsors. If you want to consider becoming a WikiSym 2011 sponsor, you should visit the sponsors page and also read our invitation to sponsors.
Coming up with good presents for keynote speakers is always a challenge for conference organizers. But last year, the WikiSym steering committee came up with the idea of commissioning an original artwork which would be inspired by the theme of collaboration. The result was this artistically rendered word cloud, which was printed on high quality canvas for keynote speakers and on free t-shirts for all conference attendees. This artistically rendered visualization captures the diverse nature of our community, by showing data from all papers and presentations ever made at WikiSym, using the colors and round shape of the conference logo.
The piece is the result of a collaboration between Alain Désilets and Robert Biddle (of the steering committee), as well as Nazim Ahmed and Melissa Edwards of DNA11/Canvas Pop. DNA11 is a company that specializes in the creation of high end custom artwork , made with samples of their clients’ DNA, fingerprints or lips. Canvas Pop is a sister company which caters to a more mainstream market, and turns any digital photo into canvas art, regardless of size or resolution. After some very interesting interdisciplinary brainstorming, the concept of a word cloud was chosen. Alain and Robert gathered the raw data from the WikiSym publications archive, which the DNA11 folks rendered using their artistic flair, and then printed on canvas. The result turned out to be quite stunning, and much more visually appealing than an average laminated picture (note: canvas copies of the cloud can be purchased through Nazim Ahmed at: email@example.com).
Following this first experiment, the WikiSym committee decided to commission a unique collaborative art piece for each new edition of the conference. This year’s work will be a photomosaic of the conference logo, generated from a large pool of thumbnail pictures about WikiSym. You can participate in the creation of this work, by uploading relevant pictures to Flickr, and tagging them with keyword wikisym-photomosaic (please make sure to upload them under Creative Commons terms). They can be photos taken at the conference (ex: a photo of the Open Space circle), iconic photos from the cities where it was held (ex: the Porto waterfront), photos of things that make you think of WikiSym or wikis (ex: a beehive), or any photo that you feel is in some way related to WikiSym. Thank you for helping us make this a truly collaborative work of art. If you have any question or creative ideas about this endeavour, please don’t hesitate to contact Alain Désilets (firstname.lastname@example.org).