Palagummi Sainath, the Rural Affairs Editor of The Hindu, is planning to launch an online platform called ‘People’s Archive of Rural India’ to archive various aspects of rural life in India, reports The Hindu.
While the details on how this platform will work are still sketchy, the report states that the platform is expected to go live in June this year, on an experimental basis and will comprise of audio, video, print and still photos from various rural regions in the country. This platform will reportedly include content from Sainath’s media archive and also allow users to submit content to the online archive, provided the content complies with their guidelines. However, there is currently no information on how this submission process will work at the time of writing this article.
It is also not clear if the platform will be offering any type of infrastructure to the users, since Sainath apparently stated at a conference in Bangalore, that they had provided cameras to 15 video volunteers to capture various content from rural regions. We therefore wonder if the platform will work on a model similar to Wikipedia, where the site allows users to contribute information but has also appointed regular volunteers called Wikipedians, who contribute majority of the information present on Wikipedia.
We believe this type of structure is essential for any community project to stay alive and remain relevant, after the initial enthusiasm among users wanes or dies down.
Funding & Rights
The report states that the platform will not accept any direct funding from the government or any corporate house, so we wonder whether the site will work on a donation model and allow free access to the archive like Wikipedia or will work on a paid subscription model.
Another question that remains unanswered is that who will own the rights for the content uploaded on the platform and if the site opts for a paid subscription model, will there be a revenue share model in place with the site contributors.
In December 2011, music director Shantanu Moitra had previewed a prototype of Folksome, a platform which allowed users to submit folk music to an online repository, which is then mapped to a specific region. Nikhil Velpanur, Director, Fellows Program and INKTalks.com had told MediaNama that music submissions to the platform, could be made through voice calls by providing their name and coordinates, and placing their phone near the music source. Following this, they geotag the music and place it on the map. Moitra had stated their plans to bring in ethno-musicologists to track the music history.