The ‘Wikipedia Dispute Index’: A Collaborative Seismometer?

Exploiting online networks in order to map and predict cross-linked social phenomena such as the commonality in consumption (Amazon), electoral behavior (Google), the spread of civil unrest (Twitter) or even the outbreak of diseases (Google and EMM) continues to be both an intricate and promising field of research.

Thus, it comes as little surprise that Gordana Apic, Matthew J. Betts and Robert B. Russell from the University of Heidelberg recently suggested an indicator for measuring geopolitical instability by applying the principle of association fallacy, primarily used in life sciences, to online encyclopedia Wikipedia’s entries whose impartiality is contested. In their brief research paper titled ‘Content Disputed in Wikipedia Reflect Geopolitical Instability‘, the authors accordingly argue that “quantifying the degree to which pages linked to a country are disputed by contributors” correlates with a country’s political stability. In other words: since instability is best represented by its underlying conflicts, the multitude and diversity of user-generated associations, namely: disputes, is believed to reveal some form of qualitative pattern that can be arranged as a stability ranking.


Shape the ISN’s Future

Access to information is no longer the main problem. Today’s challenge is managing the information that’s out there. For almost two decades, the ISN has been dedicated to promote information management and knowledge sharing in the area of international relations and security. We are striving to integrate original current affairs analysis with existing background publications and policy briefs. We offer you a wealth of free, high-quality information services, but we know that we don’t always present it in the best way possible. That’s where we need your help.

We are curious to hear which services you use, which regions and topics you’re interested in, which new services you’d like us to provide and how we can make our website more user-friendly. Please take a few minutes and give us your feedback on how we can improve. We highly appreciate your opinion.


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Filtering the ISN to fit your needs – Find Information

Find information

With over thirty thousand content objects in a variety of formats, the ISN holds a vast repository of data on international security research. But how do find what you’re looking for?

To enable you to locate articles, publications or podcasts for your specific area of interest, the ISN provides a filtering tool called “Find information”. The “Find information” box is located on the top right of the ISN website. First, select the most important criterion for your research, either subject or region. After clicking on your item of choice, you are presented with the topmost level of region or subject matter. To narrow down your research area, you can choose a more focused region in the tree view in the left pane. In the example below, we first chose “Africa” as a region and then narrowed the search to “Southern Africa”.

Easily filter by regions
Define the main criteria for your search and easily enhance the filtering.

You could also narrow down the region even further. e.g. by choosing Angola or Comoros, but we will leave this for now and turn to the second filtering option, by subject. The subject tree is right above the region tree in the left pane. Clicking on a subject now will add this filter to the already selected region.

“Library Trend Watch”

Discussing the future of libraries at the 11th InetBib Conference / photo: Ralph A Stamm, ISN

If you think librarians are old-fashioned people dressed in checkered shirts, I tell you: they’re not. At least not those attending the 11th InetBib Conference.

I entered an auditorium populated by people sitting with computers on their laps, listening, thinking and twittering about the future of libraries. Encouraged by an atmosphere of open discussion and criticism, participants would, from time to time, raise their voice and challenge the presenter’s views.

For the session I attended this morning, the organizers invited five people to give five-minute presentations on technological trends that might influence the future of libraries. “Let’s look into the crystal ball,” Patrick Danowski, the moderator, said. Fittingly, his introductory talk was entitled “Library Trend Watch”.

Dr. Rudolf Mumenthaler from ETH Library, talked about the future of e-readers. He argued that only multifunctional tablets such as iPad will become popular, with classic e-book readers remaining a niche product. It is the libraries’ job to provide their users with electronic content, on which they could cooperate with publishers.

Christian Hauschke from the University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Hannover, talked about Linked Open Data. He called on libraries to open access to their bibliographical information and follow the four principles of linked data.

Andreas Kahl introduced us to Google Wave, an open-source collaboration tool currently under development. Wave would allow librarians to log themselves into the work process of students and make suggestions like: Have you considered this source? At the same time, Google Wave allows users to delegate certain processes to the machine, such as including biographical references.