While my work on the pilot project is over, the BNHS is still taking a look
at it. The BNHS is yet to convey its decision about forming a partnership
with the Wikimedia community. I shall soon write at length about
transferable lessons and experiences from the pilot project and I hope to
be able to address the points Ashwin and Vickram have raised above.
On Sat, Aug 10, 2013 at 11:31 AM, Srikanth Ramakrishnan <
> Hi Rohini, can you share some of your experiences, wrt to what Ashwin and
> Vickram have pointed out?
> On Sat, Aug 10, 2013 at 7:15 AM, Vickram Crishna <vvcris...@radiophony.com
> > wrote:
>> As Ashwin points out, from the point of view of a partnership, this was
>> less than a resounding success.
>> However, Rohini does not call it a partnership, because it isn't one.
>> This was a pilot, intended to demonstrate to persons of influence at BNHS
>> what a partnership could achieve for the Society. The partnership lies
>> Pradeep does not call it a partnership either, he squarely labels it a
>> pilot, and suggests to Wikimedians everywhere that they initiate similar
>> efforts with similar physical archives in other parts of India.
>> It would have been exceedingly unrealistic to imagine that the philosophy
>> of open knowledge be instantly understood and enthusiastically embraced.
>> None of us did at any stage of this pilot, which we well understand to be a
>> foot in the door. I was warned by other senior Wikimedians, recognised
>> naturalists in their own right, as well as naturalists who are not
>> Wikimedians, but know the Society well, that this would be an uphill task,
>> long before we even took the first steps. Dissing the organisation for its
>> traditional mindset is easy, but not fruitful.
>> For all I know, it may be easier to do this elsewhere, with other
>> organisations. And the very best to others who take up that challenge.
>> Everyone should do what they can, when they can, wherever they can.
>> This is a work in progress. And I wish Rohini the very best, every
>> encouragement, to continue her efforts to get that door opened wider now.
>> Fool On The Hill communicall.wordpress.com
>> " He's still watching me watching you watching ...
>> And the way he stares - feel like locking my door
>> and pulling my phone from the wall.
>> His eyes, like lights from a laser, burn
>> making my hair stand - making the goose-bumps crawl. "
>> Jethro Tull: Watching Me Watching You (1982)
>> On Aug 9, 2013 8:12 PM, "Ashwin Baindur" <ashwin.bain...@gmail.com>
>>> From a point of view of GLAM partnership this was emphatically NOT a
>>> success. It was not a complete failure also, because brave Rohini persisted
>>> in the face of an unresponsive BNHS. In the end BNHS and Wikipedia got a
>>> better article on Humayun Abdulali and Rohini got some hard-won experience
>>> - that is all.
>>> But the potential for this project could have been so much greater. The
>>> experiences of Wikipedians-in-residence in the Smithsonian and the British
>>> Museum (and other initiatives) was so wonderful, so engaging to both sides
>>> and so fruitful that the lacklustre report in the link Pradeep mentions
>>> feels like ashes in one's mouth.
>>> BNHS has been for many years the iconic symbol of private wildlife
>>> research. It has a very long history, had some truly wonderful people in it
>>> including Salim Ali and Humayun Abdulali, has a very good library and a
>>> very good collection of skins, shells, eggs etc. It has a peer-reviewed
>>> scientific journal more than 100 years old which has high repute. It was
>>> the place where eminent scientists like Johnsingh, Ravi Sankaran and Bharat
>>> Bhushan, besides many others, began their careers or were encouraged.
>>> Whether it is mammals, birds, reptiles, marine life or insects; anywhere in
>>> India one can definitely say about BNHS - been there, done that!
>>> So one would expect BNHS to be open to the idea of helping Indians to
>>> learn more about wildlife, nature, environment and conservation? Wrong.
>>> Check the site of BNHS for stuff which educates or informs or which
>>> guides or helps and see the complete paucity of material. Its a nice enough
>>> looking website & tells you very much what the organisation, its goals and
>>> programmes, but there is zilch information about India's wildlife, from
>>> India's premier wildlife NGO. If you compare that with a comparable
>>> organisation in the USA and UK say Audobon or RSPB, you will find they have
>>> useful articles, knowledge material aside from what they are involved in.
>>> Compare Audobon which gives Tips on how to get nature to the classroom or
>>> taking schoolchildren outdoors, or RSPB which provides a complete bird list
>>> with short writeup.
>>> BNHS does not have an altruistic outlook towards IP and the resources
>>> they hold. The reason for that is not difficult to understand. BNHS
>>> publishes a variety of handbooks, coffee-table books etc and their
>>> employees derive additional income from their publication, sale of
>>> photographs they take on BNHS funded trips etc, Hardly any activity in BNHS
>>> comes without a pricetag for the participants. Standard copyright model is
>>> their bread and butter.
>>> No wonder, they are not interested very much in joining hands with
>>> Wikipedia - there is a direct conflict of interest, if Wikipedia develops
>>> pages on India's natural heritage well, the need/dependence for their
>>> handbooks reduces. This will affect sales in the long run and affect income
>>> of the organisation and its staff.
>>> So Rohini's valiant attempt was akin to trying to clap with one hand.
>>> You can't hear the clap because BNHS never showed any eagerness other than
>>> a bureaucratic acquiescence grudgingly obtained after much effort by
>>> Rohini. Imho, Rohini could probably have written the Abdulali article to
>>> the same quality even without the cooperation of BNHS.
>>> It would be my advice to GLAM enthusiasts who put in humungous amount of
>>> hours of drudgery work in GLAM projects to please not take up pilots with
>>> organisations which do not value the importance of Commons, common heritage
>>> and public domain.
>>> Ashwin Baindur
>>> On Fri, Aug 9, 2013 at 6:14 PM, Pradeep Mohandas <prad2...@yahoo.com>wrote:
>>>> It was announced earlier that a Wikipedian from Mumbai, Rohini Lakshane
>>>> was working with the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) on a GLAM pilot
>>>> project. I am happy to inform you that this is now completed. A short note
>>>> on the pilot was posted here -
>>>> It will be great to do similar projects in other cultural and/or
>>>> scientific institutions in your city. If you need help from the Chapter in
>>>> doing this, please feel free to contact me on this email id.
>>>> warm regards,
>>>> Pradeep Mohandas
>>>> Pradeep Mohandas
>>>> How Pradeep uses email? - http://goo.gl/6v1I9
>>>> Wikimediaindia-l mailing list
>>>> To unsubscribe from the list / change mailing preferences visit
>>> Warm regards,
>>> Ashwin Baindur
>>> Wikimedia-in-mum mailing list
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> Srikanth Ramakrishnan
> Wikimedia Chapter [India]
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