An Observatory for Wiki Loves Monuments Italy by Daniele Ciminieri, Simone Pirini, Mariasilvia Poltronieri, Alessio Sciascia, Giorgio Uboldi

Italy is considered to be one of the countries with the highest number of cultural properties but it is very difficult to estimate their amount, know their location and maintenance status. The Italian version of the Wiki Loves Monuments Contest invites the Wikimedia community to go and document with photographs the Italian cultural properties, starting from a curated list that is created using WIkiData. Photographs are made available on Wikimedia Commons under an open license and partecipate to a national contests.

In comparison to other EU countries, Italy has significant restrictions in relation to the "freedom of panorama", allowing to photograph with no restrictions only a subset of monuments that have been authorised by owners or administrators.

The presented interactive data visualisation is designed to aid the organisers in monitoring the evolution of the contest, especially in terms of items that are missing picture and/or authorisation. Thanks to an interactive map it is possible to explore data from a geographical and temporal point of view, allowing to filter monuments against different parameters, including their typology and documentation status. The map makes use of a custom visual model (inspired to the work of Florence Nightingale) that resembles a fan ("ventaglio") that, while displaying the temporal growth of documentation of the available monuments, it points to a specific geographical area (a region, province, or municipality). Beyond the map, the project features a list view where to access further information for every monument, with links to open data repositories (OSM and WikiData).

During the project we created one of the largest available databases about Italian cultural properties, that is also made available for download and API interrogation under an open license (CC-BY). The data is harvested from WikiData and Wikimedia Commons, and updated on a regular basis (monthly, weekly, or daily) according to organisers requirements. The information available on WikiData is Linked Open Data uploaded by individual contributors (crowdsourcing), by researchers running specific projects, or by importing third-party databases that present a compatible license. A major effort was the identification of parameters to query Wikidata against specific instances that allow the identification of cultural properties. An valuable contribution came from previously run studies on Italian monuments conducted on the same database (e.g., the work conducted by Ferdi2005 or Synapta).

The database has recently become the base for the creation of the Italian Wiki Loves Monuments mobile app, born to simplify the task of discovering new monuments to depict.

  • Credits
    Tommaso Elli, lead designer, researcher, developer Andrea Benedetti, information designer and researcher Ángeles Briones, information designer and researcher Francesca Gheli, information designer Alessandro Quets, information designer Michele Mauri, scientific director and information designer Mauro Bianchi, full stack developer Dario Crespi, client and participant Marta Arosio, client and participant Catrin Vimercati, client and participant Iolanda Pensa, client and participant
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