It is sometime since Malayalam has carved a niche for itself in cyberspace with Keralites, especially those in exile, resorting to Internet browsing in Malayalam. Concurrently, blogs and websites in Malayalam stole the show.

Now, signalling the popularity of its use as a digital repository of information, Malayalam Wikipedia (http://ml.wikipedia.org/), the free online encyclopaedia, crossed the 10,000-article milestone on June 1.

As on Sunday, it had 10,093 articles, most of them pertaining to geography. With this, it has become the seventh Indian language Wiki, after Telugu, Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Bishnupriya Manipuri and Tamil to have 10,000-plus articles. “However, with regard to quality and depth of articles, it ranks third, after English and Hebrew, among 229 different language Wikipedias stacked away in the cyber world,” says Shiju Alex, an active Malayalam Wiki user.

From its modest beginning on June 15, 2001, the free-for-all cyber encyclopaedia at the moment has 10,574 registered users, 13 administrators and three bureaucrats.

Created by United States-based M.P. Vinod Menon, the initial record of Malayalam Wiki as a storehouse of information was somewhat dismal.

The advent of Malayalam Unicode, however, turned the tables in its favour as it started gaining in popularity. Besides geography-related articles, the Malayalam Wikipedia has a rich history section as well.

The flipside is, there is virtually nothing on physical science and earth sciences. Psychology and archaeology, too, have not found any contributors.

The stupendous growth of Malayalam Wikipedia prompted the State Institute of Encyclopaedic Publications to authorise it, a few months ago, to release online its ‘Sarvavijnanakosham’ series under GNU Free Documentation Licence 1.2 besides utilising the corpus of knowledge to pad up the articles in Malayalam Wiki.

S. Anandan

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