Building a Govdirectory

Which Swedish municipalities have YouTube accounts?

Sometime in 2016 I got the idea of building a website that would display all the social media channels for all Swedish public agencies. The idea popped in my mind as I was learning the flexibility and power of Wikidata. But my confidence in the more advanced tooling to edit it was low, so I put this in the backlog to revisit later since it felt like a huge task.

Unlocking the idea

Five years, almost 50 live streams of editing Wikidata, a won contest, and about 70 Wikidata meetups later, when the announcement of the Unlock accelerator by Wikimedia Deutschland flew into my Twitter feed, not only did I feel more confident, I also had a potential collaborator. So I pitched the idea to Albin Larsson, my co-host of the live streams, but this time on a global scale, not only for Sweden. The idea at this stage was bold and simple:

a global directory of all government agencies and their online presences

We now also knew that by using Wikidata, we could show even more information than only social media. The accelerator program is unusual in that it doesn’t aim to create a startup and make a profit, instead it aims to enable a social impact on the world. The theme this year, (Re)building trust in the digital age, felt really fitting. We worked on an application and short thereafter we were accepted and in a sprint. The first sprint was really great, with the help of our coach Fabian Gampp we took our somewhat technical idea into a purpose driven project by forming a vision and a mission that extended way beyond the technology. Even though we had some ideas of what this could be used for when writing the application, it was still somewhat fleeting in our minds. Our ambitions became these:


Our vision is a world where people are empowered to engage with their government to ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels.


We will enable a community powered directory where the online presence of every public organization is easily findable, queryable and trustworthy.

Early days

We are still in the midst of the accelerator program, and just published the midterm report. If you want to give us feedback on our early version at it would be valuable to us. If you would like to help us even further, check our contributing file on GitHub for improvements on the website and our project page on Wikidata for improving the data displayed in it.

My Wikimania 2021 contributions

Last Friday to Tuesday Wikimania 2021 took place and after being totally cancelled last year it was now virtual. I was a bit worried that the experience would not be anything that a real one, but I was positively surprised. Sure, it’s not the same feeling that got me to return to every one since I first tried it, but among virtual four day conferences, it was pretty good.

Despite the heavily critiqued use of proprietary software, where Linux users got a big red warning that their system was unsupported when they joined the conference or “changed buildings” in it, the platforms still provided a surprisingly nice user experience. It would be great if the Wikimedia Foundation would invest in putting the available open source solutions together to mimic that. The pieces exist, Wikimedia Foundation presumably have the resources to do it, but is there a will?

Unlike the last Wikimania in Stockholm, I had no official role in the organization of the conference in general, but instead helped provide some content, which I’ll list below in chronological order.

Getting started on Govdirectory

In the Hackathon, Albin Larsson and I presented our Govdirectory project. There were more people attending than expected and many good questions, although most of them with a viewpoint of the data rather than the tool.

Govdirectory user research

We also did some user research, where we tried to find out how we best can support the Wikidata community who are interested in curating data in our topic. It was enlightening to get the views from more power users of Wikidata.

Community Village – Wikimedians for Sustainable Development

The user group Wikimedians for Sustainable Development had a table in the community village. There we showed some basic information about us and listed related sessions. In the platform it was also a point where we in the group regularly connected, and we also got a few curious visitors to chat with.

Wikimedians for Sustainable Development social meetup

For the first time, we in the user group came together in a pure social meeting. In all our previous meetings since we formed, we have had an agenda. It was nice to just have a chat.

Wikimedians for Sustainable Development User Group: Looking at Sustainability Through Wikimedia Lenses

This was a session with short glimpses of what the people in the user group do on the wikis. I presented the Climate Lexeme Week I organized in the spring.

Video of Wikimedians for Sustainable Development User Group: Looking at Sustainability Through Wikimedia Lenses

Shortcutting the Identify topics for impact recommendation by reusing free content

This was a lightning talk by me where I argue that we should use the Sustainable Development Goals as the marker for what topics have impact on the world instead of trying to come up with our own idea of it.

The talk on Wikimedia Commons has subtitles in English in Swedish.

Wikimedia and Sustainability – Selecting topics for impact

This was a workshop organized by Daniel Mietchen and me. Despite the platform making it hard to communicate with the audience, we managed to get quite good engagement and many good ideas. You may need to skip a lot in the video since we’re working in silence in some parts.

Video of Wikimedia and Sustainability – Selecting topics for impact


I also continuously planned and documented my attendance in detail on my user page, and I encourage anyone to do the same for all their Wikimedia conferences.

My talk at Open Source Summit India 2021

A couple of weeks ago I had the honor to give at talk at Open Source Summit India 2021. I titled it Real world collaboration through the Standard for Public Code and it was a lightning talk about just that.

My talk, starting 3:58:58.

Here are the slides I used.

Logotyp för Wikimedia Accessibility

För några veckor sedan kom någon med en idé för en logotyp för de som håller på med tillgänglighet på Wikimedia. Idén byggde på FN:s tillgänglighetssymbol och jag tyckte att idén var bra och var värd mer kärlek. Så jag ritade om själva symbolen och färglade med officiella färgerna och använde rätt typsnitt. Och vips så var en ny logotyp född. Och den verkar gillas och användas även om det inte finns en officiell användargrupp än. Måhända får texten sättas om när/om det blir en användargrupp.

My talk at FOSS-north

This Tuesday I had the honor to be a speaker at the FOSS-north conference. My talk was titled Helping public organizations collectively develop and maintain public code and was of course referring to our work at the Foundation for Public Code. You can watch my talk below.

The slides I used is available here.

Intervjuad av Trevlig mjukvara

Inför konferensen FOSS North där jag ska tala intervjuade podcasten Trevlig mjukvara mig. Det var ett trevligt samtal om potentialen som finns om organisationer i offentlig sektor samarbetar med varandra och använder öppen källkod.

Avsnittet blev S07E04 Trevlig Intervju – Jan Ainali.

Det är för övrigt en väldigt trevlig podd och den enda jag känner till som pratar om öppen källkod på svenska. Om det är i ditt intresse kan du prenumerera på en gång. (Och har du andra liknande tips får du gärna tipsa mig.)

Vinner Wikidata sprint

För en månad sedan var jag tillsammans med Albin Larsson, Andrew Lih och Nicolas Vigneron med i University of New Brunswicks Data Sprint, som var en “gren” i deras Data Challenge. Vi kallade laget Qutedata, en hommage till Q-numren på Wikidata och Wikimedia Cuteness Association.

Datasprintet bestod av två delar, en frågedel och en berättardel. I frågedelen ställdes 21 frågor som skulle besvaras med en Wikidata query. Själva svaret var egentligen ointressant, det intressanta var hur frågan var skriven och det som lämnades in var en länk till frågan. Berättardelen skulle ha en serie sammahängande frågor, där vi fokuserade på folk i New Brunswick (presentation). Vardera del stod för 50% av resultatet.

Det hela gick tydligen bra för vårt lag vann!

Igår kom äntligen pressreleasen som meddelade vinnarna. Priset som kallades NBIF Innovative Data Award bestod av 1 250 kanadensiska dollar som vi skänker direkt till Wikimedia Canada. Förhoppningsvis kan detta leda till fler bra samarbeten för dem, kanske med universitetet till och med.

Climate lexeme week

As part of the 30 lexic-o-days 2021, April 5-11 I am hosting a Climate lexeme week. During this thematic week the focus is to improve the lexemes derived from the Glossary of climate change. This is not a competition where points are given, instead this is a collaborative week when we help each other to improve these lexemes as much as we can.

In this 17-minute video, I explain the idea and what it is all about.

Launch of the Climate lexeme week.

Join in and learn about lexemes!

Logo based on File:Translation – A till Å-colours.svg by André Costa (WMSE)File:Global Warming icon – Noun Project 4963.svg by Luis Prado and File:Simpleicons Business calendar-weekly.svg by SimpleIcon (all modified), CC BY 4.0.

Wikifunctions logo contest

Some time back I had some inspiration for the Wikifunctions logo contest.

I was (and am) quite happy with the design itself. But a logo is much more than just something that looks good. It also needs to be unique.

And thanks to many people looking at this submission, some similar logos that I was unaware of were found. This is normal in the process of designing logos, the difference here is that they are reviewed in the open instead of before being published the first time. I am also already happy with the positive feedback that I have got. So while I still like the idea I got in my sudden nightly inspiration, I realize that there is some uphill momentum now.

Sidenote: I trust that the legal team of the Wikimedia Foundation will do a proper legal review of my proposal if it were to win the votes so that no further legal issues are raised later. If the community like the basic idea, it should be possible to make a few adjustments to clear any such issues.

Besides my proposal, there are many more nice candidates. Please go vote!

Poddar i Digitalsamtal

Förra veckan blev jag intervjuad i podden Digitalsamtal om vad vi gör på jobbet. Det var ett trevligt samtal som berörde många av tankarna som ligger bakom hela vår verksamhet. På bara en halvtimme hann vi avverka både filosofi och praktik. Så är du nyfiken på vad jag och mina kollegor sysslar med så är detta en bra ingång. Det enda jag grämer mig lite för är att jag glömde att nämna vår fina Standard for Public Code.