Did you know that there is another Mangalore in Victoria, Australia, which has a railway station and an airport?

This fact came to light at a workshop, aimed at helping people to contribute and edit the Wikipedia content on the internet, at St. Aloysius College here on Friday. The participants got to know that there is yet another place in Australia which is also called Mangalore when they were discussing that the Wikipedia page on Mangalore was available in 25 languages, including French, Suomi, Galego, Polski, and Svenska, besides many Indian languages.

A participant took people by surprise when he sought to know whether resource person G.N. Prasanth, a medical professional from Bangalore, was referring to our own port city or the Australian township.

Disambiguation

Mr. Prashanth, a registered user of Wikipedia, pointed out that there is a note right under the head -- Mangalore -- which clearly points out that “For the town in Victoria, Australia, see Mangalore, Victoria”. When two places are called after the same name, Wikipedia has such a note and offers a link “disambiguation”. A click on it takes you to a list of other search topics. In this case, the link suggests that Wikipedia has the other pages such as “Mangalore Railway Station, Victoria” and “Mangalore Airport Australia”.

To a query on why some pages in Wikipedia are allowed with notes on their reliability instead of withholding them led to a discussion on the page on Surathkal. The resource persons -- Prashanth and Hariprasad Nadig, a software engineer from Bangalore -- pointed out that Wikipedia is like a building under construction. People are still striving hard to make available all the information about the world on a single website.

The Surathkal page has following notes: “This article’s tone or style may not be appropriate for Wikipedia. Specific concerns may be found on the talk page. This article may need to be rewritten entirely to comply with Wikipedia’s quality standards. You can help.”

The resource persons told the participants that information on Wikipedia cannot be written in the way blogs are written. Instead, the information provided needs to be given in an objective manner.

For several internet users in Mangalore it was news to know that each of them could contribute and edit content on the Wikipedia website and that the general public was contributing information to build the website on Mangalore. The participants learnt how to edit the content with or without registering as an editor. All changes made are cross-checked by other volunteers who have registered as administrators of Wikipedia.

A student participant said he was already contributing and editing articles to Wikipedia on defence. The resources persons said that information on Wikipedia was available in over 100 languages and soon it may be available in Tulu and Konkani languages too. Efforts were on to get some content in the two languages, Mr. Nadig said adding that there were more than 6,500 articles in Kannada on various topics on the Wikipedia website.

Comparing the website to encyclopaedia, they pointed out that nobody could question the veracity of information in the printed volumes and searching the information was difficult. In contrast, Wikipedia made searching content easy and anyone could question the content and change it.

The profit one gets by being content editor on Wikipedia, they said, is “satisfaction.”

St. Aloysius College Principal Swebert D’Silva and Head of the Department of Journalism Richard Rego were among those who participated.