Kerala

Malayalam Wiki adding muscle after lull

Two years ago, when the Malayalam Wikipedia was on a roll, activists of this open repository of knowledge announced an ambitious project that would give a leg-up to meaningful tourism in the State.

On the cards was a unique tourism project for QR (quick response) coding of significant heritage sites and monuments across Alappuzha district, on an experimental basis.

The plan envisaged setting up of QR code boards at these sites. Tourists clicking a snap of the code on their smartphone cameras would be led to the respective Wiki page offering in-depth information about the site.

Wiki activists had then told The Hindu that the project, inaugurated on the Alappuzha lighthouse premises, would be multidimensional and eventually be extended across the State. That it has not really taken off two years hence demonstrates the deep slumber the Malayalam Wiki had slipped into ever since.

Active editors

If it once had some 400 active editors, the numbers are now down to about 250 now. “But it’s a cyclical process and our activities are picking up again,” assures Manoj Karingamadathil, a seasoned Wiki activist. “It happens to every grouping or community. We are now getting a lot of fresh volunteers.”

At this year’s Wikipedia annual meet — which Manoj attended along with Malayalam Wiki activists Netha Hussain and Viswa Prabha — in Mexico in July in which some 290 languages were represented, an Asian Editathon was planned to increase Wiki content on Asiatic region in languages in the region.

“Malayalam responded rather well to this activity launched in November with nearly 200 articles. Interestingly, there was a system of rewards. Those contributing five quality articles for the Editathon would get a postcard from another country and highest contributors in each language would be selected as ‘Asian Ambassador’ for that language. The announcement for Malayalam is set to take place soon,” says Manoj.

Malabar Editathon

On the heels of the huge success of the Editathon, as Malayalam Wiki celebrated its 13 years and 4,000 plus articles, a Malabar Editathon has now been announced for generation of quality, pithy content on the region. In the pipeline are proposals for Kozhikode, other places and topics like the biodiversity of the State.

Wikipedian Ashokan Njarakkal blames the trough hit by the platform on the lack of interest in Malayalam among youngsters and the dwindling number of volunteers in society for selfless work. “That said, there’s still a sizeable number of editors at work,” he says.

Malayalam Wiki may not be at the top among Indian languages in terms of the number of articles, but it sure has far more quality content, says Manoj, also active in augmenting Malayalam Wiki library.

In collaboration with the Kerala Sahitya Akademi, it added 15,000 pages of archived literary magazines, poetry and essays in Malayalam dating back to the early periods of last century to its free and open online library, plans are being firmed up to revitalise this project.

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2020 12:11:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/malayalam-wiki-adding-muscle-after-lull/article8039105.ece

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