I’ve caught wind of some growing confusion in the world of “Chemical ‘Pedias” relative to Chemistry on Wikipedia. I think we might have added to the confusion so I want to clear it up here.

We originally released WiChempedia in April of this year as announced here. What is it? It is a subset of the ChemSpider database made up of structure-based records on Wikipedia. So, when you visit www.wichempedia.org what you will see is a redirect to wikipedia.chemspider.com, the wikipedia subset.  Any of the records under this subset are linked to Wikipedia Articles. For example, for this record you will see:

Wikipedia Article(s)

Quinacrine (trade name: Atabrine) is a drug with a number of different medical applications being initially used in the 1930s as an antimalarial drug. It has also been used as an antibiotic in the treatment of Giardiasis (an intestinal parasite), and in research as an inhibitor of phospholipase A2. It has also been proposed for use in systemic lupus erythematosus. Read more… or Edit at Wikipedia…
Notice that this is linked out to Wikipedia for you to read the entire article and that it is even possible to edit the article at Wikipedia. We do not grab the entire article for a compound. We grab only the beginning of the article and display this with a link to the original article. This dramatically reduces the work we would have to do if we hosted all of the Wikipedia Chemistry articles since we would need to stay updated with changes to all of the articles. Too much work. What does Wichempedia offer to chemists and to wikipedians interested in Chemistry? It offers structure and substructure searching of Wikipedia and access to a LOT more supporting information. For example, for this record you can see publications, spectra, safety/tox information etc. We are expanding on information for Wikipedians not just showing Wikipedia records again.
Another online resource tapping into Wikipedia Chemistry is Chempedia from Rich Apodaca. This is not to be confused by the OTHER ChemPedia. (People ask why we use weird names like ChemSPider and ChemMantis – try finding something NOT claimed on the web already!) Rich has taken a similar approach to accessing the Wikipedia monographs for display as detailed here. To use Chempedia is simple…a google like entry page where you enter a name. Entering Quinacrine provides the same Wikipedia text as on ChemSpider (it’s a short article), an image of the structure and InChI, and Mw. A comparison between the ChemBox on WIkipedia and Chempedia is shown below.
Rich_has_done_a lot more work on Chempedia to integrate into information on Wikipedia than we have done with ChemSpider. For Quinacrine for example Rich includes this information about latest edits and who edited.
7 edits since May 19, 2008. Last edited Jul 10, 2008 by Lightbot (31).
Rich is working on structure and substructure searching at present I believe.
There is confusion, I believe, about both Wichempedia, our own approach, Chempedia and Wikipedia chemistry. I saw this this week confirming my belief. The way this reads over 3000 people have contributed to Chempedia since Nov 2008. I was interested if this was true.
Chempedia
Chempedia is different from most other chemical databases in that its textual content is created and updated in real-time by a large and diverse community of volunteers worldwide through Wikipedia. This means every one of Chempedia’s compound monographs can be changed and adapted by you. And if you find a Compound Monograph is missing from Chempedia, you can create it and make it available for others to use. More then 3200 have contributed to this Wiki site as of Nov. 2008.
http://chempedia.com/
I clicked on the contributors link for Chempedia and saw that there were indeed 3207 contributors. However, just looking at page 1 we see that for MOST of the people listed they are no listed monographs and no contributions. In fact for the first 10 people listed there were 4 contributions. Maybe there is some historical issue here? Maybe current contributions only includes in this year. Not sure. There are pages where there is only one structure.
I was interested to see whether I was listed as a contributor since I have contributed to Wikipedia but not to Chempedia directly. As I clean data on ChemSpider I’ll make edits to Wikipedia.There is benefit to moving information from both Chempedia and ChemSpider back to Wikipedia and Rich Apodaca and I both contribute to Wikipedia.It says on the contributors list that I have contributed 15 times. I’m not sure what that means, maybe in terms of contributions to ChemBoxes, but I have left a lot of comments on Wikipedia. I think contributions must be edits..not sure.
Relative to the comments “This means every one of Chempedia’s compound monographs can be changed and adapted by you. And if you find a Compound Monograph is missing from Chempedia, you can create it and make it available for others to use. ” ChemPedia directs the user to Wikipedia to write an article and then links to it. The process is simple. When a search is done if an article doesn’t exist you get the response:

Suggestions:

  • Re-check your CAS number, monograph title, PubChem CID, or structure.
  • Remove keywords. Chempedia does not yet perform keyword searches.
  • If your article doesn’t exist on Wikipedia, create it. You can then add it to Chempedia.
if you click on create and go to Wikipedia to write the article. Then you link it back to Chempedia here.
This is great…users are directed to help Wikipedia and everyone wins. When the article is written ChemSpider will pick up the llink too and we’ll all be integrated. We haven’t introduced that onto ChemSpider..it’s a good idea though. Should we?
All is actually made clear here on the About ChemPedia page…”Chempedia is different from most other chemical databases in that its textual content is created and updated in real-time by a large and diverse community of volunteers worldwide through Wikipedia. This means every one of Chempedia’s compound monographs can be changed and adapted by you. And if you find a Compound Monograph is missing from Chempedia, you can create it and make it available for others to use. “
There are some examples of structures on ChemPedia not on Wikipedia yet (see below…is that the correct structure? It came from PubChem but I don’t know) and the same situation is true for ChemSpider.Eventually we will have systems in place to exchange such information on the fly.
Chempedia and Wichempedia are serving a valuable purpose. We are both dependent on the contributors to Wikipedia and are indebted to them!
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One Response to “The Confusion of ‘Pedias and the Dependence on Wikipedia”

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