Wikipedia is an online open encyclopedia, where anyone can , with an aim of providing an access to the sum of all human knowledge, Wikipedia is available is 292 languages. From those 292 languages, there is 22 Indic language Wikipedia. Formation of Indic language Wikipedia started in 2002, and 4 Indic languages Odia, Malayalam, Punjabi and Assamese formed in 2002.
Odia language is one of the official language in India with over 40 million speakers in Odisha and its neighboring states. Odia language has also been recognized as one of the “classical languages” by the Government of India. Open source movement and awareness are very less in Odisha. Odia Wikipedia is one of the open access and open source platform which provides users to access its content and invites them to write or edit its content.
Odia Wikipedia, being one of the first four Indic languages Wikipedia, celebrated its 14th anniversary on 3 June 2016. This 14-year-old website has the largest online content repository for the Odia language in Unicode and is also the largest online Odia encyclopedia. Started in 2002, Odia Wikipedia was dormant for almost 9 years. Content creation and Users activity started from 2011 with 3 active editors. To celebrate the 14th Anniversary, Odia Wikipedia community gathered in Bhubaneswar for a 2 days training and community consultation.
“What Odia Wikipedia community did in last 14years?”
Started with 3 active editors, Odia Wikipedia now has 29 active editors (as of January 2016). The community did a lot of efforts to spread awareness on Odia Wikipedia in Odisha.
With over hundreds of meetups and workshops, the community was able to form its base in cities like Nalco Nagar, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, and Puri. Online campaigning through social media accounts and Edit-a-thons has also helped the Odia community in getting new editors on board.
With the help of the Wikimedians and Wikipedia Education program at KISS, Odia Wikipedia community made Odia Wikisource a live project from Incubator. Odia Wikisource is the largest online library available in Odia language with more than 382 books and community with the help of CIS-A2K has acquired more than 800 books from Srujanika and re-licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0.
Not only in content part, Odia Wikimedians has also helped in creating a Unicode converter for Odia language which converts non-Unicode texts into Unicode. Wikimedians are also trying to develop an open source OCR and free fonts for Odia language.
Odia Wikipedia has always supported volunteers from different age group and of the different gender to contribute in it. With 72-year-old Wikimedian Dr. Subas Chandra Rout (a very active Wikimedian and has written highest number of medical science related article on Odia Wikipedia) to 15 years old Satyabrata Sahoo, all have contributed from their part for the growth of Odia Wikipedia.
Odia Wikipedia has also bridged the gender gap with 10 active female contributors, from Pankajamala Sarangi (The most active Wikilibrarian) to Aliva Sahoo(Having articles in top 10 longest articles list). Odia Wikipedia has a 60:40 male, female contribution ratio.
One of the major challenges of every Wikimedia project is Editor retention. It is a major challenge for Odia Wikipedia as well. Most of the Wikimedians are volunteers to the project and contribute on their own will and it’s difficult to force them to contribute to Wikipedia.
Awareness is also a major challenge for Odia Wikipedia, from past few years activities Odia Wikipedia was able to reach towards central and coastal part of Odisha. The community has to reach toward every part to spread awareness about the importance of digitization of language.
Content acquiring and content sharing is also one of the major challenges for Odia Wikimedians, Availability of content in Odia language is very less and most of them are copyrighted. Being an Open source platform Odia Wikipedia never allows copyrighted content in it. The community has to share and spread awareness about Open source and Open Access with Odia Wikipedia.
With achievements and challenges, Odia Wikipedia is increasing step by step to provide the free resource to everyone and avail the sum of all human knowledge in Odia.