Konkani Wikipedia in the making
Process of uploading the four volumes of Konkani encyclopaedia will be
completed in six months’ time
The Goa University has re-launched a four-volume Konkani Vishwakosh (Konkani
encyclopaedia) and announced its plan to upload the same on Wikipedia so as to
build the Konkani Wikipedia.
The project is seen as a major stride in Konkani learning, research and
production of books. The project, which will involve 42 students of the Konkani
Department of Goa University including four designated as Ambassadors of
Konkani, will turn students into producers of knowledge rather than mere
consumers of knowledge. The University has signed a three-year memorandum of
understanding (MoU) with the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) for building
up the Konkani Wikipedia.
“Wikipedia is a global phenomenon and a platform to bring people together for
making creative activities possible, which in fact, has challenged the monopoly
of publishers and created a movement in order to put together knowledge,
further making it accessible to public,” said Satish Shetye, Vice-Chancellor of
Goa University, speaking at the launch of the project.
Narrating how the project began, Registrar of Goa University V. P. Kamat
explained that Mr. Satish Shetye, who took over as Vice-Chancellor over a year
ago, happened to notice the huge piles of hardbound volumes of the Konkani
encyclopaedia stacked in the Goa University library and wished to digitise the
manuscripts and re-launch the encyclopaedia. The idea to upload the whole
content on Wikipedia was thus born.
The work for the Konkani encyclopaedia project was commissioned during the
tenure of the first Vice-Chancellor B. Sheik Ali. The project was seen as a
historical step to document the identity of the State and its people and the
history of Goa for posterity. University insiders, however, said that no
serious efforts were made to take the invaluable research work undertaken
beyond the University. Secondly, because of the lack of human resource and
funds, no initiative was taken so far to update these volumes.
Prof. Shetye took a proactive initiative and tied up with Access to Knowledge
Programme of the CIS. The four volumes of the 3,632 page Konkani encyclopaedia
are being released under Creative Commons License CC-BY-SA 3.0 to support the
movement of open knowledge and open access.
Programme Director at CIS’s Access to Knowledge Programme Vishnu Vardhan said
that the process of uploading the four volumes of Konkani encyclopa edia on
Wikipedia would be completed in six months’ time. He also stressed on the need
to rewrite some of the articles in the encyclopaedia so as to make the content
Students of the University involved in digitisation work and rewriting the
content see this as an opportunity to learn about digitisation and to write
Konkani of global standard, said Madhavi Sardesai, Professor, Department of
Konkani at the University. Mr. Vardhan also disclosed plans for a relevant
training programme specially co-designed by the CIS as well as the University
to put up the content on Wikipedia.
He said that the Goa University is the first in the country to re-license
copyright of its content and hailed the initiative towards open knowledge.
Though the MoU signed last month would be initially valid for three years, Mr.
Vardhan is optimistic that it would go beyond the launch of the Vishwakosh
Mr. Halarnkar, associated with the Konkani literary movement, who was present
at the launch as the editor of the original volumes, welcomed the process of
digitisation as relevant, historical and need of the hour. However, he stressed
on supervision over the accuracy and accountability while digitising original
data and regular updating of the content in the context of the Konkani
language, its history and movement.
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