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Abstract: The whole world suffered the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. The daily life of people and their habits were changed abruptly by the (mobility restricting) sanitary measures put in place in different countries. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, work and leisure defined the different days of the week, creating a certain pattern, which, as we’ll find out, had a periodicity of a week. Now, the interesting thing is to ask whether the COVID-19 pandemic made us lose sense of this typical week. In other words, what we want to see is: if there was a pattern initially, how did it change during Covid? Wikipedia is known to be a relatively good measure of people’s search queries and computers and phones are increasingly defining people’s lives. Wikipedia viewership thus has the potential to enlighten us on the changing habits of people as mobility restrictions due to covid happened. We all have a feeling that our routines changed but can we prove it? And can we quantify it?


1. Goal of the study

Our study addresses the following two questions:

1.1 Data discovery

We will work with one principal dataset that comes from the 2020 paper Sudden Attention Shifts on Wikipedia During the COVID-19 Crisis by Manoel Horta Ribeiro, Kristina Gligoric, Maxime Peyrard, Florian Lemmerich, Markus Strohmaier, and Robert West [1]. It contains aggregated time-series of Wikipedia pageviews for 12 languages editions with pageviews on both desktop and mobile devices.

Among the 12 languages, we decided to study 9 of them, that can be found in the following table containing the mobility change point date, the return to normalcy date for each language and if the country to which the language can be tied to underwent a lockdown. Here, the mobility change point and normalcy dates are found in Horta Ribeiro et al (2020) [1], and correspond to sharp changes in mobility timeseries provided by Google that allow us to detect when the population began to spend considerable more time at home than usual and when people went back to their normal daily lives.

Country Danemark da Finland fi Italy it Japan ja Netherlands nl Norway no Serbia sr South Korea ko Sweden sv
Mobility Change Point 2020-03-11 2020-03-16 2020-03-11 2020-03-31 2020-03-16 2020-03-11 2020-03-16 2020-02-25 2020-03-11
Normalcy Change Point 2020-06-05 2020-05-21 2020-06-26 2020-06-14 2020-05-29 2020-06-04 2020-05-02 2020-04-15 2020-06-05
Lockdown Yes No Yes No No Yes Yes No No

Note: In our case, “change due to Covid-19” is actually a “change due to the change in mobility caused by COVID-19”. The beginning of the COVID-19 period and the beginning of mobility restrictions will be considered to be on the same date for each country in this study.

Note 2: This study focuses on languages that can be easily tied to one country. These assumptions are based on the study Just how many people are reading Wikipedia in your country, and what language are they using? [2]. Furthermore, we make the assumption that Wikipedia readers are representative of the country population. For example, we assume that readers of the Swedish edition of Wikipedia are representative of all the citizens of Sweden. Based on this, we will consider the two terms ‘country’ and ‘language edition’ to have the same meaning. Therefore, they will be used interchangeably.

The pageviews are distributed among 64 topics which can be grouped into 4 categories: