Analysing Timelines of National Histories Across Wikipedia Editions: A Comparative Computational Approach

Authors

  • Anna Samoilenko GESIS – Leibniz‐Institute for the Social Sciences
  • Florian Lemmerich GESIS – Leibniz‐Institute for the Social Sciences
  • Katrin Weller GESIS – Leibniz‐Institute for the Social Sciences
  • Maria Zens GESIS – Leibniz‐Institute for the Social Sciences
  • Markus Strohmaier GESIS – Leibniz‐Institute for the Social Sciences

Abstract

Portrayals of history are never complete, and each description inherently exhibits a specific viewpoint and emphasis. In this paper, we aim to automatically identify such differences by computing timelines and detecting temporal focal points of written history across languages on Wikipedia. In particular, we study articles related to the history of all UN member states and compare them in 30 language editions. We develop a computational approach that allows to identify focal points quantitatively, and find that Wikipedia narratives about national histories (i) are skewed towards more recent events (recency bias) and (ii) are distributed unevenly across the continents with significant focus on the history of European countries (Eurocentric bias). We also establish that national historical timelines vary across language editions, although average interlingual consensus is rather high. We hope that this paper provides a starting point for a broader computational analysis of written history on Wikipedia and elsewhere.

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Published

2017-05-03

How to Cite

Samoilenko, A., Lemmerich, F., Weller, K., Zens, M., & Strohmaier, M. (2017). Analysing Timelines of National Histories Across Wikipedia Editions: A Comparative Computational Approach. Proceedings of the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media, 11(1), 210-219. Retrieved from https://ojs.aaai.org/index.php/ICWSM/article/view/14881