Kannada is a language spoken primarily by people living in the state of Karnataka. There are about 50 million Kannada speakers of this language, which has more than 2000 years of history. Kannada also has a rich literary legacy. It was declared a classical language by the Government of India in October 2008. Kannada literary figures have won 8 Jnanpith awards, the highest national honour for writers in India.
Karnataka has a literacy rate of 75.6 per cent. According to a recent survey by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), computer literacy in rural India is 8.4 per cent and internet penetration nationally is 4.6 per cent in rural areas. The figure for Karnataka is 4.8 per cent. One of the important facts which have been found out by the IAMAI survey is that the main use of internet in rural India is for education purposes. Evidently, people are using the internet for acquiring knowledge. This also underscores the fact that there is a demand for knowledge in Kannada on the internet.
Modern writing in Kannada, like in other Indian languages, has been largely in the literary domain, although there is a fair amount of writing on topics related to the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities also.. One example is popular science writing. The annual national award for science communication instituted by the Department of Science and Technology, Govt. of India has been bagged by Kannada science writers 8 times.
Given that Kannada has done substantially well in the field of writing this would be the ideal time to make these resources available through internet. Populating Wikipedia and other sister projects with Kannada materials is a huge step in that direction.
Kannada Wikipedia, which was started in the month of July 2003,currently has about 13,000 articles. Kannada Wiktionary, started in September 2004, has more than 2,30,000 words. Kannada Wikiquotes and Wikisource are in a nascent stage.
|Wikimedia projects||No. of Editors (2011-12)||No. of Editors (2012-13)||No. of Active Editors (2011-12)||No. of Active editors (2012-13)||No. of Articles/entries (2011-12)||No. of Articles/entries (2012-13)||No. of Page views per month|
If we look at the number of Active Editors over the last two years, it is evident that the Kannada Wikipedia is not doing so well. That many of the active editors have become dormant is a major cause for concern. There is thus an urgent need to not only cultivate new editors but also bring the formerly active editors back into action.
The number of active editors is very low as is evident from the fact sheet. The A2K team has held meetings with these editors from the Kannada Wikipedia and had discussions on the needs and support requirements of the community. These are listed below:
- As was evidenced in the above fact-sheet the community strongly feels that a large pool of new editors is required to grow the Kannada Wikipedia. Towards this end, the community suggested that we hold various Training Workshops. However, it was also felt that these workshops should be tailored to specific requirements. The following sets of people were identified:
- People who know how to use computers and internet but don’t know how to type in Kannada.
- People who know how to type in Kannada but don’t know how to edit Wikipedia and
- People who know just how to edit Wikipedia but don’t know where to start. All these set of people need trainings as per the different kind of needs.
- Based on an initial analysis of the discussions on the Kannada Wikipedia Village-Pump, it was noted that many of the active Kannada Wikipedians are often working on their own steam resulting in burnout. Thus there is a need to build a sense of togetherness among the existing Kannada Wikipedians through developing collective projects and organising meet-ups.
- Standardisation policies: Whether translating technical terms into Kannada or writing names with initials, there is a need to arrive at standard terminology and a uniform policy. Regarding technical glossaries in Kannada, there do exist some but only one is available online. That too has not many terms in the field of information technology and medicine. Names can be written in many ways. For example ಕೆ.ಪಿ.ರಾವ್, ಕೆ.ಪಿ. ರಾವ್, ಕೆ. ಪಿ. ರಾವ್, ಕೆ ಪಿ ರಾವ್, etc. There should be an accepted policy on how to write names and stick to that on the entire Wikipedia.
- Focus subjects: Sometimes the enthusiastic community needs some torch-bearing for content addition. This could be for example, something like a month long focus on women achievers on account of Women's day.
- Source of information: During the interactions of the A2K team with the new editors, it was often noted that the new users complain about the lack of authentic source of information or knowledge available in Kannada on the digital platform. In addition to this many of the young new Kannada editors do not have knowledge of the Kannada resources to cite from, though they are very enthusiastic about contributing to Kannada Wikipedia. Due to these many of the new editors are not continuing their contributions to Kannada Wikipedia in a sustained manner. There is thus a need to a) create Kannada digital resources; b) provide access and information about valuable knowledge collections. For instance, someone who is interested in adding biographies of famous Kannada writers there is a book titled ಸಾಲುದೀಪಗಳು (Saalu Deepgalu) published by the Karnataka Sahithya Academy which has the biographies of more than 200 writers. The Department of Translation Studies, Kannada University has conducted a survey and analysis of social science higher education material production initiative in Kannada. This has reference and pointers to many useful materials. Wikipedia references are not only to already digital content but can be sourced from any publication. Good sources of information are the libraries - public, private and university or college-based. English-language sources also can be cited when they refer to kannada contexts. Some important old libraries are Vidyavardhaka Sangha library in Dharwad, Karnatak College library, and Karnatak University library, also in Dharwad; Karnataka Theological College archives, Mangalore; St.Aloysius College library, Mangalore; MGM College library, Udupi; A.V.Baliga College library, Kumta; Sahyadri College library, Shimoga, and many others.
- When translating from English to Kannada, especially science and technology articles, many times the editors face a dilemma on which Kannada term is to use. This problem can be addressed by providing a standardised glossary of technical terms.
- Input method editor: There are many keyboard layouts in Kannada for users. Among them the GoK layout (modified K.P. Rao layout also known Nudi or Kagapa layout) is the most popular. This layout is not available in Kannada Wikipedia. Some of the new editors expressed the need to have this keyboard layout made available on Kannada Wikipedia.
- There are some minor bugs related to the rendering of Kannada text when some unique combination is used. These need to be fixed.
- Media outreach/awareness: Many events are conducted by Kannada Wikipedians to make people aware of Kannada Wikipedia. But everyone does not come to know about this. Often the Wikipedians express the desire to have media (mainstream and social media) coverage to increase the spread of awareness about Kannada Wikipedia.
- Quality of the articles on Kannada Wikipedia is debated on the Village Pump and the community has expressed the need to tag and rate the articles, which could in turn result in the improvement of the quality over a period of time.
Based on this initial needs assessment and in consultation with the Kannada Wikipedia community the A2K team has put together the below work-plan towards the improvement and growth of Kannada Wikipedia during 2013-14.
Strengthening Existing Kannada Wiki-CommunityEdit
- Advanced User Training: Many existing editors need some training in using the advanced features like creating tables, using mathematical and scientific symbols, adding a category for the articles in Wikipedia or photo in Commons, creating an InfoBox, etc. Imparting these training will increase the number of articles as well as quality of the articles. These trainings will be held at two or three major cities apart from Bangalore.
- Regular Meet up (Facilitation): As mentioned earlier in this document since the Wikipedians feel there should be regular meet-ups to arrive at many focus areas and organising events and workshops, such meet-ups will be organised at regular intervals. This could be periodic or instance driven.
- Outreach: There are some volunteers who are ready to help other budding editors. They can become good trainers once we train them. This will be the 'Train the Trainers' program for the interested persons.
- Project based content creation is one good idea to increase the number of articles in Wikipedia. One such example is the focus on the history of Karnataka. This will have articles generated on historical persons, places and events. A2K team will help in designing the project, collaborating with the editors and will support them with required information or content.
- Visibility/Recognition: Regular intimations will be sent to print and electronic media about the activities of the Wikipedia community so that there is a visibility. Regular postings will be done in social media like Facebook and Twitter apart from the presence on some websites by posting updates and/or writing articles.
- Edit-a-thons: Topic-centric Wikipedia editing will be done on specific subjects. This will be either in-person event followed by a specified period (like a month or two) event running on Wikipedia or just fully on Wikipedia. These edit-a-thons are expected to generate articles revolving around a specific topic.
- Evolve policies: This will be one of the agenda for the regular meet-ups. It will be ideal to devote some meet-ups only to arrive at using uniform terminology and policies on various aspects.
Cultivating New EditorsEdit
- Workshops are planned in various small cities across Karnataka where we expect a sizeable number of participants. These workshops will be conducted in collaboration with Karnataka Sahitya Parishat who have good presence in these cities and will help with logistics.
- Institutional partnerships:
- Engineering colleges are the source of young, enthusiastic as well as tech savvy crowd. These students if motivated properly may become editors of Wikipedia. We may not expect high quality editors to come out of these workshops immediately. Nevertheless, even though their number may be small, some good editors will emerge eventually. Hence, workshops will be conducted for the students of these engineering colleges of Karnataka -SCEM Mangalore, MCE Hasan, JNNCE Shimoga, SJCE Mysore, and PESIT Bangalore. More colleges will be tried after evaluating the results with these colleges.
- Kannada University, Hampi is a unique university that has been set up exclusively for studies on literature, culture and the art forms of Karnataka. They have huge repository of content. The staff and students are enthusiastic about putting them on Wikipedia but have no idea on how to do it. Workshops will be conducted at Kannada University, Hampi to train these would-be editors of Wikipedia. The outcome will be good quality content on Kannada Wikipedia.
- Kannada Dept of Mumbai University has shown interest in adding content to Wikipedia. The situation is the same here also. They need training. A workshop is planned at Mumbai to train them on editing Wikipedia. Similar workshops are planned at places like Karnataka University History Dept, Mangalore University History Dept, Mysore University Political Science Dept, AV Baliga College, Kumta, Sagar College, NINASAM, Heggodu, Manipal Centre for Philosophy and the Humanities, Manipal University, Rani Chennamma University, Belgaum -to name a few.
- Special Interest Groups (SIG):
- Journalists are a valuable source of information. There are some Kannada journalists who have shown interest in becoming Wikipedia editors but expressed their lack of knowledge on the method of adding content to Wikipedia. A workshop is planned for the members of the Karnataka State Working Journalists’ Association. This will be conducted for about 30 journalists in the third quarter of this year.
- Pen-Circle Bangalore is an informal group of Kannada science writers. A workshop has been conducted for them on editing Wikipedia. This group will be now followed on Wikipedia as well as by email. Some key areas where they can add content was listed out in the workshop. If a participant faces difficulty, help will be provided. It is expected that this group will improve the science section of Kannada Wikipedia.
- Kannada blogosphere is quite sizeable. There are some really good bloggers who have command over Kannada language. These bloggers are potential candidates to become Wikipedia editors. They are already tech savvy; know how to use internet and type in Kannada. They have to be just taught some basics of Wikipedia editing to become editors. Some motivation is also needed. This can be achieved by organising a Kannada bloggers meet and showing them the essence of Wikipedia editing. The outcome will be some good editors for Kannada Wikipedia.
- Kannada Vaidya Sahithya Parishath is a body of Kannada science writers who write specifically on medicinal subjects. The community is very vibrant. But only a small number of them are tech savvy. They will be targeted and trained on becoming Wikipedia. These groups can enrich Kannada Wikipedia with subjects of their field.
- Kannada Iitihasa Academy (Kannada History Academy) is a body of historians and history writers in Kannada. These people when trained can become good source of history related content. This academy will be contacted and possibilities will be explored.
- NGO Partnerships:
- Karnataka Rajya Vijnana Parishat is a registered body for popular science writing and science popularisation through Kannada. Partnership with them could bring more editors specialised in science writing and will enrich the science section. This association conducts annual Kannada science writers’ training workshop for budding writers. A session on Wikipedia is planned during this workshop.
- Kalike is an institution working for the improvement of quality education in government schools of Yadgir district. They have 25 trainers who are well versed with computers, internet and Kannada typing. The group will be trained on editing Wikipedia with an aim that they will contribute high quality content that can be used by children. This can be a potential content for offline Wikipedia that can be used by schools across Karnataka.
Content Creation on Kannada WikipediaEdit
- Theme or topic based content addition
- Women’s day and month: A workshop was conducted to focus on women achievers. This will be followed by month long editing activities to add content on women achievers as well as create new content.
- Kannada science writers: Kannada has a history of having good popular science writing. There is a sizeable number of good popular science writers in Kannada. Science articles in Kannada Wikipedia will be enhanced and quality of existing articles will be improved. Science articles need to be regularly updated as well.
- My place my people (ನನ್ನೂರು ನನ್ನ ಜನ): Here the focus will be on writing by Wikipedians about their place (village, town, and city), the highlights of their place, any achievers who were born there, etc. Articles about places all over Karnataka are planned.
- Karnataka History: Karnataka has a long history. Articles on the history of Karnataka will be enhanced and quality of existing articles will be improved.
Quality improvement of Kannada WikipediaEdit
- Projects to focus on stubs: There are many stubs in Kannada Wikipedia. Activities to expand these stubs will be encouraged. All the groups mentioned in the â€œcontentâ€ section will be encouraged to involve themselves in improving the stubs. In every interaction and workshop, this aspect will also be included in the agenda.
- Community policy: A policy will be evolved on many aspects of content addition to Kannada Wikipedia. This will be on matters like creating new stubs, writing names, etc.
- Well known Kannada writers and editors of newspaper and magazines will be motivated to edit existing articles in Wikipedia with a view to improving their quality.
- Incentivise: Rate the article tool will be implemented for Kannada Wikipedia. Community rating of the articles will motivate people to improve the content quality. People who put quality content can be incentivised by Wikipedia merchandising, displaying the photos of star wikipedians on Kannada Wikipedia, showing animated badges, etc.
Content acquiring from public domainEdit
- There is a lot of data in the public domain. Activities will be conducted to identify data/material in public domain to bring them into Kannada Wikipedia. Meet-up with the concerned authorities will be held to convince them to part with content under CC. This will bring lot of useful content to Kannada Wikipedia.
- Example: Government of Karnataka has a knowledge text portal called Kanaja. This was set up by the Karnataka Knowledge Commission. Now this portal is handed over to a consortium headed by the Dept. of IT & BT. There are lots of materials which may be brought in to Kannada Wikipedia.
- CC events will be held exclusively for the institutions which possess lot of public domain data and convince them about putting them under creative commons. Once convinced, lot of good content will come to Wikipedia.
- There are many special groups like journalists, activists, and NGOs who have created lot of useful data. Most of them can be brought under creative commons. Efforts will be made in this direction.
The A2K team has committed to achieving the following goals for Kannada Wikipedia, in collaboration with the Kannada Wikipedia community during 2013-14. The progress of work-plan and the outcomes will be reviewed periodically.
|Parameters||Expected target||Dream target|
|No. of Editors||600||1000|
|No. of New editors||300||700|
|No. of Active editors||50||70|
|No. of Articles||25,000||30,000|
|No. of Outreach Events||12||20|
List of contributorsEdit
We are grateful to the following list of Wikipedians who have engaged with the A2K Team and contributed to the development of this work plan with their ideas and inputs:
- "Declaration of Telugu and Kannada as classical languages". Press Information Bureau. Ministry of Culture, Government of India. 31 October 2008. Retrieved 17 February 2013 http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=44340
- Bharatiya Jnanpith website http://www.jnanpith.net/page/jnanpith-laureates
- Data from Indian Census 2011 http://censusindia.gov.in/2011-prov-results/data_files/india/Table-2(3)_literacy.xls
- Internet in Rural India, IAMAI, June 2012 http://www.iamai.in/Upload/Research/9320123264601/ICube_2012_Rural_Internet_Final_62.pdf
- Internet in Rural India, IAMAI, June 2012, Page 2 http://www.iamai.in/Upload/Research/9320123264601/ICube_2012_Rural_Internet_Final_62.pdf
- Survey and Analysis of Social Science Higher Education Material Production Initiative in Kannada, Department of Translation Studies, Kannada University, Hampi
- Department of Science and Technology, Government of India http://dst.gov.in/