Disability Wikibase: Modelling and Implementing an Intelligent Bilingual Knowledge Network, through Mapping Disability Advocacy Data Needs Scaled to Local, National, and International Policy Interventions

Principal Investigator: Christo El Morr
Funder: SSHRC Insight Development Grant
Research Team:

  • Christo El Morr (PI), Rachel Gorman, Geoffrey Reaume, Serban Dinca Panaitescu(School of Health Policy and Management, York University)
  • Canadian Centre on Disability Studies, Inc. (operating as Eviance)
  • Enakshi Dua(School of Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies, York University)
  • Thumeka Mgwigwi(Library, York University)
  • Alexis Buettgen(Canadian Centre on Disability Studies, Inc. operating as Eviance, Canada)
  • Pierre Maret(Université de Lyon, France)
  • Fabrice Muhlenbach (Université Jean Monnet, Saint Étienne, France)

Human rights monitoring for people with disabilities is a pressing issue in Canada, France and internationally. Data about laws, lived experiences, and media portrayal of people with disability are scarce and disconnected, which hinder the ability of researchers, non-governmental organizations, advocacy groups to search and compare this information in a country or across countries. In addition, policy-based definitions of disability vary widely across jurisdictions.

A Wikibase is a collaborative tool for editing, integrating and storing structured data. Our aim is to create "Wiki-Disability" a wikibase website that structures and integrates data about people with disability in Canada in English and French. This wikibase will be endowed with automated data-from-text extraction function, and with an intelligent natural language search capability in French and English.

This interdisciplinary project consists of (1) organizing and structuring available data about people with disability in Canada, in English and French; (2) using the data to build a Wikidata for people with disabilities; and (3) implementing an intelligent search engine to query the data in both English and French using natural language processing tools (i.e. semantic artificial intelligence algorithms). In the background, artificial intelligence algorithms will be monitoring the use of the search engine to gain insight into the users (e.g. researchers, advocacy groups) behaviour and needs. The access to the Wikibase for people with disabilities will be made public and the base will be open for other researchers and organizations to create additional content and search for information.

The project will open the door for international data integration that leads to the generation of new domain specific knowledge that can feed the wikibase and that enable international collaboration and comparative studies of disability experience and contexts in French and English. It will also allow the team to create advanced innovation related to data extraction from text and to search methodologies by using the wikibase as a real-life case study.

The team includes researchers from York U and from Université de Lyon (France), and Université Jean Monnet, Saint Étienne (France) and consists of leading experts in:  ecollaboration, data analytics, and data analytics ethics; data analysis and modelling; ontologies and data integration; data extraction; data sets, data taxonomy and meaning across constituencies and languages, data needs in the disability field, and international collaboration in the disability world; race and gender, immigration processes, women and health, and equity policies; history of people with disabilities; poverty, disability and employment; and library and data organization.