For about the past year and a half, ParaSport News has been working on a project called ParaSports Data. After adding a lot of data and doing a fair bit of testing, we’re ready to have people start using it. This project has been the main reason ParaSport News has not been updating with new news stories. It can be found at https://para-sports.es/ .
ParaSport Data is a Project created by Laura Hale, a two time Wikipedian in Residence for two different National Paralympic Committees, a sport journalist who has covered three different Paralympic Games and a sport researcher who graduated with her PhD from the University of Canberra with a thesis focused on developing understanding of sports culture using social media data.
The purpose of ParaSport Data is to create the largest database of Paralympic, Deaflympic and disability sport data in existence. This data will include basic biographical data, sportspeople rankings, individual and completion results, classification information, disability prevalence data by country, and information about many disability sport organizations around the globe.
Paralympic, Deaflympic and other disability sport data exists in a fragmented form across various parts of the Internet. In many cases, this information is also either offline or in scanned PDFs of hand written notes. No large scale attempts have been made to normalize this data and present it in a similar fashion to that of these sportspeople’s Olympic counter parts. ParaSport Data has the objective of addressing this lack.
In doing so, ParaSport Data works towards several important goals. The first is to provide a research tool for academics working in this space. This data can provide numerous insights that can allow real world actions to be taken to better the lives of people with disabilities around the globe, and to better assist sports scientists in improving sportsperson performance.
The second goal is to provide a comprehensive data source for government organizations, grant giving organizations and sport administrators to assist in the delivery of disability sports and disability services to areas most in need. This can be done by identifying clusters of sportspeople in funding deserts, identifying clusters of specific disability groups being underserved or overserved because of cultural biases towards certain disability type groups.
A third goal is to provide a platform that enables sports fans to get a large amount of data and other information about elite sportspeople with disabilities. This is an important component towards the integration of people with disability in society, and creating a more inclusive culture through the high level of visibility sportspeople tend to enjoy.
One of the things that makes ParaSport Data so valuable is the query engine. It allows people to access the data, generate lists, analyze the data and otherwise better understand how the disability sport community works. This data can then be exported to Excel, Open Office or Google Docs for further investigation. The query engine can be accessed at https://query.para-sports.es . A list of example queries can be found at https://para-sports.es/wiki/Help:Query_examples .
If you are interested in assisting with this project, please get in touch with Laura Hale. We have created a Slack channel at https://parasports.slack.com/ where we discuss issues related to improving data, importing data and working on the software, Wikibase, that supports ParaSport Data. A Wikimedia user group, the Wikibase Community User Group, was created to further support the software that is used by ParaSport Data. Developers with experience with RDF would be really valuable to this project at this time.