The project page can be found here
Discussions are currently happening on foundation-l mailing list
and respective language Wikipedias
eg: Malayalam Wikipedia

I am planning to create a discussion page on English Wikipedia soon. Please
join in the discussion. :)
It will be great if other language Wikipedia discuss and evaluate
the possibility of Oral citations.

Btw note that *The Economic Times *story headline is slightly misleading and
is the job of desk/editors as usual. But I am more than happy with the
coverage they did on this.

Tinu Cherian

On Thu, Aug 25, 2011 at 9:09 AM, Ashwin Baindur <>wrote:

> Tinu, where is that long discussion thread to be found?
> Warm regards,
> Ashwin Baindur
> ------------------------------------------------------
> On Thu, Aug 25, 2011 at 8:41 AM, CherianTinu Abraham <
>> wrote:
>> Thanks Anirudh.
>> Essentially we wanted a more balanced article this time, collating both
>> sides of view. Oral citations is still much to be debated and discussed in
>> the current form.
>>  Regards
>> Tinu Cherian
>> On Thu, Aug 25, 2011 at 8:34 AM, Anirudh Bhati <>wrote:
>>> This is a well-rounded article.  Thanks for posting, Tinu.
>>> Yours sincerely,
>>> Anirudh Bhati
>>> +855 975 529 803
>>> Skype: anirudhsbh
>>> On Thu, Aug 25, 2011 at 9:55 AM, CherianTinu Abraham <
>>>> wrote:
>>>> *The Economic Times : "Oral citations to be part of wikipedia entries"*
>>>> *When you set out to make the entire global knowledge base freely
>>>> accessible , can you leave out subjects that find very little mention in
>>>> print? The question posed by Bangalore based researcher Achal Prabhala,
>>>> has kicked off a debate among Wikipedia editors, the volunteers behind
>>>> world's largest encyclopedia . The collaborative online encyclopedia ,
>>>> supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation, has over 19 million
>>>> articles written by about 90,000 editors across the world. Achal began
>>>> working on the problem in January 2011 and carried out a project called the
>>>> Oral Citations to find ways to increase local language entries into
>>>> Wikipedia . At the crux of the problem is the lack of printed material in
>>>> local languages and for topics related to indigenous culture. Editors find
>>>> it difficult to add articles because of the lack of citable material. *
>>>> *
>>>> *
>>>> *Right now, the online encyclopedia relies heavily on published
>>>> material like newspapers , journals and magazines for citations . However,
>>>> when it comes to vernaculars , there is very little published material
>>>> available and editors often find a huge amount of knowledge being left out
>>>> defeating the entire objective of Wikipedia. Take for instance, Dabba Kali,
>>>> a traditional game played in North Kerala is finds very little or almost no
>>>> reference in citable sources. "But that's also an important part of
>>>> culture," says Achal. "The sum of human knowledge is far greater than the
>>>> sum of printed knowledge ," he argues. Of late, the Wikimedia foundation 
>>>> has
>>>> been trying to make its projects more global. While this is relatively easy
>>>> in developed countries with better infrastructure which generate a lot of
>>>> citable material, the problem in developing and underdeveloped countries 
>>>> are
>>>> acute. *
>>>> *
>>>> *
>>>> *" Germany, whose entire population is a fraction of India's online
>>>> population has a massive footprint on Wikipedia. While a country like India
>>>> is behind. Why is that?" asks Achal. "Because there is a lot more published
>>>> material which can be used for citations out there... maybe, because the
>>>> people who made the project largely were from the Anglo European or 
>>>> Japanese
>>>> world, there has been a conflation of the sum of human knowledge and sum of
>>>> printed knowledge," says Achal who mainly works on intellectual property
>>>> issues related to medicine. With Shiju Alex, a Malayalam Wikipedian ,
>>>> Mayur, one of the top 20 global contributors to the encyclopedia and Mohau
>>>> Monaledi, a software developer from South Africa, Achal set out to find
>>>> how easy it is to create original articles that discuss things that have 
>>>> not
>>>> been discussed before and are particular to a linguistic culture. "We found
>>>> that the citation rules are a huge problem. What do you do when the largest
>>>> university library in South Africa has only 80 books in Sepedi, a South
>>>> African language spoken by five million people ? Of that, most are bibles
>>>> and dictionaries and fiction and poetry which is not good for citations," 
>>>> he
>>>> says. The situation is no different for Malayalam or Hindi. *
>>>> *
>>>> *
>>>> *In Kannur, the number of Malayalam books in the varsity library is not
>>>> more than 3,000. "A lot of that is also translation which don't contain
>>>> original Malayalam knowledge which don't deal with topics intrinsic to
>>>> Kerala," he said. He also points out a relatively newer problem: the rules
>>>> for citations were made a few years ago when social media was not big and
>>>> the Internet was different. While the Internet culture has changed, to
>>>> become a significant part of people's lives, the idea is to broaden the 
>>>> base
>>>> of citation "to reflect peoples lives more realistically ." So will this
>>>> change the way Wikipedia works? "This is a discussion within a community 
>>>> and
>>>> the desire is to take it to its logical conclusion. Now we want to know 
>>>> what
>>>> we can do around citations as a whole and depending on the inputs make it
>>>> more concrete," he said. The project, however, has not been without its
>>>> share of critics within the volunteer community. One of the longest running
>>>> thread, in the recent history of the foundations public mailing list,
>>>> debates the project with scathing criticism, supporting arguments and
>>>> balanced suggestions . *
>>>> *
>>>> *
>>>> *For instance, Ziko van Dijk, a Wikimedian from Netherlands, writes:
>>>> "So, when someone believes that those "accessible printed sources" are
>>>> "biased" , he comes up with the video of his grand uncle telling the truth?
>>>> I don't think that it fits into the scope of Wikimedia. It certainly does
>>>> not fit into the scope of Wikipedia." Achal counters: "First, this is an
>>>> experiment - an experiment which those of us working on it, and others
>>>> around us, thought might lead to interesting result ... the project is not
>>>> on "oral history" - it's on using oral sources as citations." Indian
>>>> Wikipedians have not been sparing either. For the new generation which is
>>>> growing up on the internet, the whole world of referencing and authority is
>>>> online instead of through print and very little of that is allowed on
>>>> Wikipedia, they counter. Criticsim of the project comes from local
>>>> Wikipedians too. A Wikipedia editor told ET: "I'm a bit sceptical about the
>>>> project. One of our core principles is we don't do original research. But
>>>> with oral citations, we will begin to do original citations. Wikipedia is a
>>>> tertiary source and not a primary source. This will be a breach. Also, oral
>>>> citations are more unreliable than printed sources." He, however, concedes
>>>> that the area of oral citations is relatively unexplored and has potential
>>>> for study. "Perhaps it is time to have a conversation around how you can
>>>> include these sources ?" says Achal. The debate still goes on.*
>>>> Regards
>>>> Tinu Cherian
>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>> Wikimediaindia-l mailing list
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> Wikimediaindia-l mailing list
>> _______________________________________________
>> Wikimediaindia-l mailing list
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimediaindia-l mailing list
Wikimediaindia-l mailing list

Reply via email to