Society

Tamil Wikipedia to publish two seminal works

In a move that could considerably bolster the freely-available database of Tamil articles online, Tamil Wikipedia has been given the licence to produce the entire collection of two seminal encyclopaedia works, under Creative Commons.

Tamizh Valarchi Kazhagam (Tamil Development Council), an autonomous institution of the State government, recently granted permission to Tamil Wikipedia volunteers to publish its encyclopaedia works, Kalaikalangiyam and Kuzhandaigal Kalaikalangiyam.

The permission to publish the works was sought last year when the Tamil Wikipedia (ta.wikipedia.org) editors’ community celebrated the 10th anniversary of the online encyclopaedia.

Explaining the significance of the permission, veteran Tamil Wikipedia author and volunteer, C.R. Selvakumar of University of Waterloo, said Kalaikalangiyam and Kuzhandaigal Kalaikalangiyam, both ten-volume sets of books, are among the highest accomplishments in the field of knowledge literature in the country.

While the preparatory work for Kalaikalangiyam happened between 1947 and 1954, Kuzhandaigal Kalaikalangiyam was worked upon between 1968 and 1976.

“The articles are of the highest order of accuracy and publishing them on Tamil Wikipedia will open them up to several millions of readers,” said Prof. Selvakumar.

V.C. Kulandaisamy, chairman of Tamil Valarchi Kazhagam, said Kalaikalangiyam is the first regional language encyclopaedia work in the country. “More than 2,000 knowledge scholars were involved in preparing it. It was done in the good-fashioned way of meticulous fact-checking and extraordinary care was taken before preparing its first edition. A lot of articles were even submitted in English and painstakingly translated into Tamil,” he said.

Tamil Wikipedia strategy

Both Kalaikalangiyam and Kuzhandaigal Kalaikalangiyam have been scanned and uploaded onto the Tamil Virtual Academy website as image files at http://tamilvu.org/library/kulandaikal/lku00/html/ lku00ind.htm.

However, this suffers from limitations as a text keyword search is not possible.

Tamil Wikipedia community’s plan is to type in all the articles but the sheer scale of data — 10 volumes of Kalaikalangiyam running to a length of 7,407 pages, and 10 volumes of Kuzhandaigal Kalaikalangiyam running to a length of 969 pages — poses a challenge.

A. Ravishankar, an active member of the Tamil Wikipedia community, is banking on scores of new volunteers taking up typing the two encyclopaedias as articles in the Wiki Source database.

Prof. Selvakumar hopes to approach schools and colleges to scout for volunteers. “It will also help students improve their knowledge. Though these encyclopaedias are old, they are treasure troves of information,” he said.

If you are interested in volunteering for the project to help Tamil Wikipedia publish these works, you can contact Prof. Selvakumar at c.r.selvakumar@gmail.com.


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Printable version | Dec 2, 2021 5:35:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/chen-society/tamil-wikipedia-to-publish-two-seminal-works/article6374149.ece

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