Odisha became a separate state in British India on April 1, 1936. Odia, a 2,500 year old language recently gained the status of an Indian classical language. The Odia Wikimedia community celebrated these two occasions on March 29 in Bhubaneswar with a gathering of 70 people. Linguists, scholars and journalists discussed the state of the Odia language in the digital era, initiatives for its development and steps that can be taken to increase accessibility to books and other educational resources. 14 copyrighted books have been re-licensed under the Creative Commons license and the digitization project on Odia WikiSource was formally initiated by an indigenous educational institute, the Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS). Professor Udayanath Sahu from Utkal University, The Odisha Review’s editor Dr. Lenin Mohanty, Odisha Bhaskar’s editor Pradosh Pattnaik, Odia language researcher Subrat Prusty, Dr. Madan Mohan Sahu, Allhadmohini Mohanty, Chairman Manik-Biswanath Smrutinyasa and trust’s secretary Brajamohan Patnaik along with senior members Sarojkanta Choudhury and Shisira Ranjan Dash spoke at the event.
Eleven books from Odia writer Dr. Jagannath Mohanty were re-released under Creative Commons Share-Alike (CC-BY-SA 3.0) license by the “Manik-Biswanath Smrutinyasa” trust, a trust founded by Dr. Mohanty for the development of the Odia language. Allhadmohini Mohanty formally gave written permission to Odia Wikimedia to release and digitize these books.
The community will be training students and a group of six faculty members at KISS who will coordinate the digitization of these books. “Collaborative efforts and open access to knowledge repositories will enrich our language and culture,” said linguist Padmashree Dr. Debiprasanna Pattanayak as he inagurated the event. Dr. Pattanayak and Odia language researcher Subrat Prusty from the Institute of Odia Studies and Research also re-licensed three books (Two Odia books; “Bhasa O Jatiyata“, “Jati, Jagruti O Pragati” and an English book “Classical Odia”) based on their research on Odia language and cultural influence of the language on other societies under the same license. KISS is going to digitize some of these books and make them available on Odia Wikisource.
An OpenType Odia Unicode font, “Odia OT Jagannatha” designed by Sujata Patel from Odialanguage.com was released under the OFL license. This is the first Odia OpenType font that the community actively tested. A new Odia offline input tool called “TypeOdia” by Wikipedian Manoj Sahukar was also released for public distribution. DVDs containing the font, the input tool, Odia language dictionaries, offline Odia Wikipedia in Kiwix, Wikipedia editing guide, ISCII to Unicode font converter, various free and open source software packages and Ubuntu operating system.
Active Odia Wikipedian and Admin Mrutyunjaya Kar gave the inaugural speech. Subhashish Panigrahi from the Center for Internet and Society read the annual report and vision of Odia Wikipedia. Chief guest Dr. Debiprasanna Pattanayak discussed about the efforts put forth that brought the Odia language as the sixth Indian classical language. A large majority of Odia publications are not available on the internet and readers are devoid of easy accessibility. He further discussed the process of digitization for preserving valuable books that are out of print and the old palm leaf manuscripts. Professor Udayanath Sahu presented on the process, progress and implementation of machine translation project in Utkal University.
Experienced Wikimedians conducted an advanced Wikipedia workshop on the second day of event at KIIT University, Bhubaneswar. It was attended by a majority of the existing Wikimedians from the community including new Wikipedians who signed up for the Odia Wikipedia Education Program at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Dhenkanal. Mrutyunjaya Kar presented on WikiData and various tools for linking and accessing information in multiple languages on various Wikimedia projects. Ansuman Giri discussed advanced technical aspects such as the use of various gadgets, proper categorization, how to use subpages, how to auto-list archive pages, customizing WikiLove feature, user rights modification, including how important it is to cite biographies of living persons with secondary sources, etc. Shitikantha Dash discussed copyright and issues regarding uploading images and other media files on Wikimedia Commons. Dr. Subas Chandra Rout presented on “notability, referencing and creating citations for the notable topics.” Subhashish Panigrahi discussed the work plan for the year, failure of program projects, collective learning and the dos and don’ts of community building.
|“||We hope that more authors will come forward and re-release their books under CC-BY-SA license. The Odia community is excited to see or.wikisource.org go live. A few Wikipedians are even interested in typing their favorite free licensed books to make them available on Wikisource. I believe it’ll be challenging to train the KISS students to type and proof-read the written texts. In the CISA2K’s draft plan, the goal to have the number of editors seems overestimated. The students need to have some knowledge about Wikimedia and how it works in general before they start working. We hope that the books will be digitized properly and in coming days more users will join us in the process as we will have more free books in Odia Wikisource. I appeal to the Odia people to be a part of the Odia Wikimedia community and make Odia Wikisource a successful project, we need all the time you can devote. 🙂||”|
Ansuman Giri, Odia Wikipedian
Subhashish Panigrahi, Odia Wikipedian