Things about me
Hi there! I'm Gaurav Vaidya. I potter around Wikipedia occasionally, fixing bits and pieces when it strikes my interest.
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The Day Job
I'm a Semantic Web technologist at the Renaissance Computing Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I've been since October 21, 2019 (2 years, 1 month and 11 days so far!). I figure out how best to validate, publish and reuse biomedical data using Semantic Web standards such as RDF, OWL, ShEx and SHACL.
My Wikipedia Life (or: Pages I'm Proud Of)
As somebody who doesn't edit Wikipedia as much as I'd like (or, perhaps, have the patience for), my favourite Wikipedia activity is taking an article which is coming apart at the seams and tidying it up. In particular, popular articles have a lot of people adding facts, photographs or sentences anywhere vaguely appropriate; as these changes accrue, the article can get pretty messy.
Which is where I like to come in: taking an existing article, I'll merge the accumulated cruft, reorganize the facts so they flow smoothly, pinch out coherent sections and otherwise try to polish the article off. This works great with my available time, too: apart from discussions and vandalism reverts, the only time I spend on Wikipedia is three-four hour binges where I try to get one of these articles polished off. I'm quite proud of my work on Pune, the Deccan plateau and the Battle of Pratapgad.
As I've been on Wikipedia for quite a while (since 2002!), there's articles I'm proud of just because I started them. I'm pleased that Indian independence movement still retains the name I gave it; I also created the original stub for The Catcher in the Rye and Artemis Fowl (series). One of the most exciting things about Wikipedia is starting off an article that you'd like to read yourself, waiting a few years, and voila, Wikipedians have fleshed it out to a level you couldn't imagine. I started Order of the Phoenix (organisation) and fleshed out a very early article on Lord Voldemort () with this intention, and it succeeded brilliantly. And, one lazy afternoon, while listening to a short documentary on Peter Handford on BBC Radio 7, I visited Wikipedia to find out more. Horrors! No entry! The article I wrote in a rush is still around, has been polished up by others, and is a reasonably decent introduction to the man if anybody were to look him up in this encyclopedia.
In 2012, I worked with the Biodiversity Heritage Library in developing a schema to store and retrieve information from the Wikimedia Commons, and I've been thinking about extracting metadata out of the Commons ever since.
When I was a kid, I watched The Adventures of Milo and Otis a lot.
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Wikipedia events I've helped organize
- January 15, 2018: Wikipedia's 18th Anniversary at the University of Florida Marston Science Library.
- January 17, 2016: Wikipedia's 15th Anniversary at the Boulder Public Library.
- December 14, 2013: Wikipedia at the Museum at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History.
- November 16, 2013: Wikipedia Loves Libraries at the Boulder Public Library.
- September 28, 2013: Wikipedia Takes Denver.
- December 22, 2012: Meetup at Southern Sun.
- November 1, 2012: Wikipedia Loves Libraries at Norlin.
- September 15, 2012: Wikipedia Takes America in Boulder.
- June 30, 2012: Great American Wiknic at Boulder, Scott Carpenter Park/Harpo's Sports Grill, Boulder, Colorado, USA.
- October 27, 2011: Wikipedia Loves Libraries! at Norlin, Norlin Library, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, USA.
- January 15, 2011: Wikipedia's Ten Year Birthday Celebration, Hackerspace.sg, Bugis, Singapore.
- Thomer, A.; Vaidya, G.; Guralnick, R.; Bloom, D.; Russell, L. (2012). "From documents to datasets: A MediaWiki-based method of annotating and extracting species observations in century-old field notebooks". ZooKeys. 209 (209): 235–53. doi:10.3897/zookeys.209.3247. PMC 3406479. PMID 22859891.
- Vaidya, Gaurav; Kontokostas, Dimitris; Knuth, Magnus; Lehmann, Jens; Hellmann, Sebastian (2015). "DBpedia Commons: Structured Multimedia Metadata from the Wikimedia Commons". The Semantic Web - ISWC 2015. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. 9367. p. 281. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-25010-6_17. ISBN 978-3-319-25009-0.
Things I'd like to do when I've got the time
- Polish up the biodiversity page.
- Clean up the biodiversity informatics page.
- Merge ecoinformatics into biodiversity informatics?
- Write an article about the Bulletin of the United States National Museum (these guys).
- Make Bombay Talkies a better article.
- Set up a separate article for British Gurkha Camp, maybe based on British Gurkhas Nepal.
- Create the following articles:
- Work on Draft:Dickinson Jr., Joshua Clifton
- Make sure some cool databases are properly represented in Wikipedia, including:
- Just generally improve some articles, including:
But really, I'm just the guy at http://www.ggvaidya.com/ - that'll hopefully be an easy way to find me for ages to come.
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