iNaturalist and Wikipedia

Every taxon page on iNaturalist—pages about species, genera, families, etc—has an “About” tab that automatically pulls content from Wikipedia, if there is a page for that taxon.


iNaturalist About tab for Hypericum kalmianum

Ways to help improve iNaturalist taxon pages through Wikipedia

  • Edit, expand, and improve Wikipedia pages about taxa. Anyone can edit Wikipedia! Even you. ;)
  • Add useful identification tips (citations are required)
  • Create Wikipedia pages that don’t exist yet! For example, all the red links here are flora found in the Chicago region that don’t have a Wikipedia page yet.
  • Add your or others’ photos to existing Wikipedia pages – you can search iNaturalist photos by the type of photo license. A helpful website has been created to assist in this task. Only CC BY, CC BY-SA, and public domain licenses are available for use on Wikipedia, but see example text to politely request if users are willing to change their photo license.
  • Do the same for Wikipedia in languages other than English.
  • Bring in vernacular/common names from Wikipedia (if they are sourced) and add them to iNaturalist
  • ?

Basic components of a taxon/species page on Wikipedia

See more detailed example template for a taxon article here.

  • Taxobox (Automatic taxobox, Speciesbox, Infraspeciesbox) – Wikipedia’s way of sorting species within their taxonomic hierarchy
  • Intro paragraph
  • Physical description
  • Taxonomy
  • Distribution and habitat
  • Ecology
  • Conservation
  • Human uses/Culture
  • References
  • Taxonbar (super useful, pulls information from Wikidata)
  • Categories

iNatters active on Wikipedia

Where to ask questions / learn more

(How meta, a wiki topic about Wikipedia. Feel free to edit!)

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We did a Wiki meet iNaturalist meetup earlier this month near Brussels, where we explored the interactions between iNaturalist and Wikipedia and it was really exciting that upon publishing a new (Dutch) article, it was immediately available on iNaturalist.

In this context is worth mention the query service of Wikidata. We wrote a query that lists all invasive species (in the EU) and shows missing Wikipedia articles in various languages. Small adaptations of this query can lead to other tick lists of missing Wikipedia articles. Unfortunately, I can’t share other links here, but the query is described in the blog linked above.

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Thanks for this, @bouteloua! I was just about to send a request in for just this information. I bet I’m not the only one who has been reluctant to launch that first Wiki.

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:blush: If anyone has a species in mind that’s missing from Wikipedia, I’m happy to help collaborate on getting the formatting and other nuances of Wikipedia right. Learning the code used on Wikipedia can be daunting, but they do have a Visual Editor mode too.

Here’s an example of a simple taxon page that could be used as a starting template: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triadenum_virginicum

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I am also active on Wikipedia and have a long history there. My Wikipedia screen name is Invertzoo.

Two things I did want to say are these:

  1. You can put up a simple stub which is quite useful if it contains a correctly identified image. It certainly does not have to be a full article right of the bat! Just make sure you have a couple of good references already in there.

  2. Wikipedia is not a “how-to” source, so be on your guard when listing distinguishing characteristics not to say “…this is how to tell the difference between a Bull Thistle and a Creeping Thistle”.

I would also say in general, do try to get used to editing Wikipedia for a quite a while before you try tackling a new article by yourself. Also, put the article or stub together in your sandbox, so you can see how it is doing, before you put it up.

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Thanks for starting this thread. You may want to add the following who are part of a group of people spearheading collaboration between iNat and Wikipedia/Wikidata:

Also: it would be fantastic if iNat linked not just to Wikipedia in the About page for the taxon but also to the corresponding Wikidata item (which lists all known identifier mappings and additional metadata).

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It does list the taxonbar, but it’s at the bottom of the page (like it is on WP). I think it would be better suited on the righthand side in the More Info section:

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yes, a link similar to the EOL/GBIF ones in the sidebar is what I had in mind.

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Also: the main project in Wikidata that attempts to standardize data models and properties for taxonomy is: https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Wikidata:WikiProject_Taxonomy

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It’s been so long since I’ve edited a Wiki article…

I’m happy to be added to the list of iNatters active on Wikipedia and am very willing to help others interested in editing. I’ve been doing a lot of work in English Wikipedia on New Zealand endemic moths as well as New Zealand threatened species. I enjoy it as I learn more about the species I’m researching and writing about. I’ve also had feedback that the articles, when ingested into iNaturalist, have helped other iNaturalists identify and learn more about species. So feel free to reach out if you need help or have questions.

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Another point on “ways to help improve iNaturalist taxon pages through Wikipedia”: checking Wikipedia pages, Wikimedia, and Wikidata for misidentified photos. Regrettably, many of the non-English articles for wasps included blatantly misidentified photos, which sometimes come from Wikimedia misidentifications, which sometimes come from Flickr misidentifications (when photos are imported from Flickr). A bit of a side project that I’ve developed has been going through these photos (and their use throughout Wikipedia projects). (I’ve also tried to reach out to the original authors on Flickr as time permits - many are glad their photos are generating traffic and are grateful for any points on identification.)

Speaking of… I don’t suppose we have anyone who speaks Dutch who also edits on Wikipedia? There’s a paper wasp page that desperately needs to be moved and corrected, but I don’t know enough of the language to give a good edit summary to explain that this is just a general name for various wasps in Spanish, not a species-specific common name in any language, much less Dutch.

• For reference: https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maribomba

@jonathan142 Dutch is my native language, happy to help here. How should this be corrected? I am giving a Wikidata tutorial at the Dutch Wikimedia this Saturday. Any Dutch-language related issue is more than welcome.

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@andrawaag Awesome. Luckily it’s a fairly simple fix as far as things go (little in the way of content creation), the main issue for me would be the edit summary (or summaries). I’m able to use Google translate to at least clumsily say a photo’s been misidentified, but something on the order of “this is just a generic name for a large group of wasps in Spanish, not a specific common name in Dutch” is a bit out of my league.

• Remove references of Maribomba and Maribombo and replace them with the species name (“Polistes versicolor”, subsequently “P. versicolor”). Those “common names” are just generic names for a very large group of stinging wasps in Spanish but were applied in error by early editors.

• It looks like “antilliaanse papierwesp” should also be removed as I’m literally only seeing it used on Wikipedia and clones. The species also doesn’t occur in the Antilles - I’m fairly positive that was over an error of a misidentified photo of P. myersi, which does occur on the ABC islands / Netherlands Antilles.

• So that means that everything under “Synonyms” in the Infobox that isn’t a scientific name would be removed. I don’t think there’s a legitimate common name in Dutch that could be used as a replacement.

• One citation is irrelevant to the page (Heiko Warnsinck, Peter Hofman & Peter Wit. 2002. “Healthy on Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao - about the influence of climate, flora, and fauna on your health”). It looks like the same issue of species range, and it isn’t referenced anywhere in the article.

• “Polistes fascatus” under the second paragraph of " Taxonomie en fylogenie" should be corrected as “Polistes fuscatus”.

• Move the page to Polistes versicolor (under the same rationale), probably without a redirect or with the redirect flagged for deletion.

That should take care of most factual issues on the page, at least the taxonomic ones. I think apart from the first sentence, it should mostly just consist of using a find command (ctrl-f on Windows, ⌘-f on Mac).

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I’m loving this conversation on Wikipedia/Wikidata collaboration, would anyone like to talk about how this can be coordinated with the broader Citizen Science WikiProject so we can create a critical mass across iNat and other citizen science platforms with overlapping interests in taxa, pages, etc? I’m @wolfgang8741 on Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Wolfgang8741) and WikiData (https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/User:Wolfgang8741) - if you express your interest and support for a WikiProject or working group or would like to help draft a WikiProject/Working group proposal there is a start to the proposal and outlining objectives on Wiki in userspace at the moment: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Belkinsa/sandbox/OpenCitSciPagesUpdate/Roadmap This was sent across the citizen science discuss list a few weeks ago so some of you on that may have seen this already. Feel free to include me to iNatters on Wikipedia.

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Many subjects have articles on the French, Dutch, Spanish,… wikipedia. If they do the languages are listed in the side bar. It might be nice to include these links in the about page or to have a direct link to the wikipedia article, where it’s easy to switch to the other languages.

If you are running the site in a language other than English, the Wikipedia summary that shows will be in that language, assuming of course there is an article in that language on Wikipedia.

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@jonathan142 I checked with a local contact on the Dutch Antilles, and the situation is a bit more complex. “Maribomba” seems to be a proper name in Papiamento which is a common language on the ABC islands and might have ended up being a proper Dutch name. I will try to forward this to some local contact. If it is a common Papiamentu term, I prefer to discuss this with someone who speaks this language.

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@andrawaag Those notes would only be able to apply to one of the subspecies of P. myersi, not the distinct P. versicolor (and then that’s because P. myersi curassavicus is essentially the only stinging “maribomba” to occur on the islands). Using a Papiamento-English dictionary reference, I’m still finding it to just mean wasp in the same sense as in Spanish. So I’m not sure your contact is even speaking about the same species.

(This may end up needing to move to messages so we don’t steal too much space here. It seems like both the Wikipedia article and your contact are about 4 decades behind the taxonomy, and it may require a decent amount of back-and-forth to make sure all parties are speaking about the same species.)

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Last weekend at the Wikimedia Hackathon in Prague, iNaturalist featured as topic. One of the apps that came out of this hackathon was the https://wikilovesinat.netlify.com/#57842 by Jdlrobson, to idenitify WIkimedia compatible images in iNaturalist for use on the different Wikimedia platforms

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