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Time-focused analysis of connectivity and popularity of historical persons in Wikipedia


Wikipedia contains large amounts of content related to history. It is being used extensively for many knowledge intensive tasks within computer science, digital humanities and related fields. In this paper, we look into Wikipedia articles on historical people for studying link-related temporal features of articles on past people. Our study sheds new light on the characteristics of information about historical people recorded in the English Wikipedia and quantifies user interest in such data. We propose a novel style of analysis in which we use signals derived from the hyperlink structure of Wikipedia as well as from article view logs, and we overlay them over temporal dimension to understand relations between time periods, link structure and article popularity. In the latter part of the paper, we also demonstrate several ways for estimating person importance based on the temporal aspects of the link structure as well as a method for ranking cities using the computed importance scores of their related persons.

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  4. Note that, naturally, the amount of possible links from the articles on “future people” decreases the closer to the latest decade due to the decreasing numbers of articles of people from the recent times from which such links could originate. Similar case applies to the links from the articles on “past people” when “moving away” from the present toward the distant past.

  5. Due to their large size we do not show networks for the most recent centuries.




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This research was supported in part by MEXT Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (#17H01828, #15K12158) and by MIC/SCOPE (#171507010).

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Correspondence to Adam Jatowt.

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Jatowt, A., Kawai, D. & Tanaka, K. Time-focused analysis of connectivity and popularity of historical persons in Wikipedia. Int J Digit Libr 20, 287–305 (2019).

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  • Wikipedia
  • Historical persons
  • Temporal analysis
  • Link analysis
  • Collective memory