Some come to gain knowledge, others come to share. It's been 11 years since Wikipedia, now ranked among the top six websites (Alexa.com) came into being. Meet-ups to commemorate the anniversary were held at various cities across the country including Delhi, Pune, Kolkata and Ahmedabad.
A multi-lingual, web based, free encyclopaedia, Wikipedia has created a niche for itself among information sources online. Completely run by volunteers, this trove of information can be edited and expanded by anyone.
Wikipedia has over 3,848,143 content articles and 25,987,209 pages in 270 languages (as of January 16) clearly an information overload. And the numbers keep growing.
How does Wikipedia function? Volunteers from across the world write, edit and review content for Wikipedia, without any pay. What drives them is their passion about an issue or a subject and the urge to make information accessible to everyone.
Be a part of Wikipedia: While millions of Indians browse through Wikipedia to garner information, very few actually contribute to providing it.
According to special interest group (Delhi) chair, Noopur Raval, the India chapter of Wikipedia, soon to open its first office outside the United States, in Delhi, is in need of volunteers to contribute articles of interest in regional languages. "Wikipedia encourages one to write articles in their mother tongue. India being a diverse, multi cultural and multi lingual nation has a lot that has to be, or has been discovered and yet not easily accessible."
Be it about a heritage structure in ruins that no one knows about or something as interesting as locks made in Dindigul, Tamil Nadu, one can begin writing and putting up information.
According to Hisham Mundol, head of Wikimedia's India programs office, anyone can be a Wikipedia editor. "All you need to do is click 'edit' on an article. But before you do that, you need to abide by a set of philosophies that the Wiki community has drawn up."
1. You need to be neutral 2. You need to attribute the information that you add 3. The topic needs to be of notable value to an audience.
The skills you need? Thorough knowledge about the topic, the flair to write in a language, it could be regional or universal, and the ability to abide by the Wiki philosophies, Mundol adds.
Wiki projects that you can be a part of:
Wiki Takes Your City: Wikimedia commons is in the process of documenting places of interest, across cities. All you have to do is click a good picture of a place of interest in your city or pull out really good pictures you clicked while you visited a place and put it up on Wikipedia. The picture will be a creative commons one and can be shared online for free.
Wikipedia Offline: Considering that a large section of our country is sans internet, Wiki volunteers from across the country are putting together articles in various languages on to a portable medium such as a compact disc. This information will be then shared and made accessible to those who cannot access Wikipedia online.
Glam: Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums. Interests you? Well Wiki volunteers across the globe are in the process of digitising these information rich hubs. Fifty two cultural institutions including the British Library have already joined the movement. It is yet to begin in India and you could volunteer.
If you want to be a part of the Wiki movement in India, log on to wikimedia.in or email firstname.lastname@example.org to know about the movement in your city.
Keep the information flowing!