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55 books by Kannada author Niranjana being digitized & released on Kannada Wikisource


Around 55 books written by the Indian author and activist Niranjana in Kannada will be digitized and made available on Kannada Wikisource, allowing Kannada speakers to access these books easily, informs Wikimedia (hat tip – CIS India).

Wikimedia mentions that it has collaborated with CIS’s Access to Knowledge program (A2K) to re-license around 55 books under the CC-BY-SA 4.0 license. It notes that these works could be used as a potential resource for creating and improving articles on Wikipedia’s Kannada edition.

Wikipedians started the painstaking process of digitizing out-of-copyright texts in eight Indian languages in May 2012, trying to address the comparative paucity of Indic language texts online. What’s particularly notable about this digitization is that the texts are being typed out by volunteers on their own time, one word at a time. 

Hisham Mundol, then Consultant (India Program) at the Wikimedia Foundation had told Medianama that community members in Kerala had also involved schools in the process of digitizing Ramchandra Vilasam.

“As a part of the 7th or 8th standard, the school curriculum encourages typing in Malayalam. So the community members work with the teacher, and instead of 40 students typing out the same two pages that they would have done in a class assignment, they split a book between them, and each types out a separate page. It’s great because if everyone gave in the same page, it would go to the recycle bin quite promptly”. More on the initiative and how Wikipedians are identifying texts for digitization here.

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Earlier in August this year, Kerala school students had also digitized more than 13,000 pages across 150 Malayalam books as part of a digitisation competition held by the Malayalam Wikipedia community, IT@School, Kerala Sahitya Akademi, Centre for Internet and Society and Swathanthra Malayalam computing.

Goa university had also entered into a three year memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) for building the Konkani Wikipedia in September last year. The partnership with CIS India included processes such as scanning, digitization, and creating articles as per Wikipedia requirements.

Update: CIS A2K program director Vishnu Vardhan T has informed that Hisham Mundol is no longer with the Wikimedia Foundation. The article has been updated accordingly.

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