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Odisha Dibasa 2014: 14 books re-released under CC license

This post is available in 2 languages:
English  • Odia

 Guests releasing a kit DVD containing Odia typeface “Odia OT Jagannatha,” offline input tool “TypeOdia,” Odia language dictionaries, open source softwares, offline Odia Wikipedia and Ubuntu package.

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.

 Group photo of Odia wikimedians participating in the advanced Wikimedia workshop at KIIT University.

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.


Wikimedia RU expands Wikipedia Voice intro project to include music

WikiMusic logoRecently, Wikimedia RU (the Russian Wikimedia chapter) successfully launched the Russian version of the “Wikipedia voice intro project” and expanded it to incorporate the “WikiMusic” project. Now it not only covers celebrity voices but also free music – which prior to this had no significant presence in any Wikimedia project.

How did it happen?

The recent launch of the “Wikipedia voice intro project” got extensive coverage in Russian and European press. While the topic was hot, directors of Wikimedia RU achieved an agreement with the chief editor of “Echo of Moscow” radio, Alexei Venediktov, to start a similar joint project in Russia – “WikiVoices“.

It should be mentioned that Echo of Moscow has the largest audience among Moscow radio stations and broadcasts in more than 40 cities in Russia, the United States and Baltic states. It has the highest citation index between all Russian media, exceeding even TV channels. So, we are really happy to start working together with such a partner. According to the agreement, Echo will do the following:

  • ask their guests for short neutral stories about themselves without propaganda, advertising or personal attacks so that they will be suitable for future usage in Wikipedia;
  • search through their archive records (dating back to 1990) and provide us with interesting samples;
  • not only provide us with records of guests who came to their studio but also ask their external correspondents to make such records;
  • publish  photos of their guests under free licenses.

“Waves of the Danube” waltz.

Gypsy song from the opera “Carmen.”

“The Lost Chord.”

Voice Recording of speech “On the cultural role of the gramophone.”

Echo of Moscow not only agreed to donate such materials but also did a lot for simplification of this process: all records are posted at their official website with information about the person and direct statement of CC-BY-SA license for the records. The log of uploads is prepared in the machine-readable XML format and new records are automatically uploaded to Commons via bots in the free OGG format. At the moment about 40 records were uploaded: now we have voice records of the Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel (with translator), the USSR president Mikhail Gorbachev, journalist Vladimir Pozner and many other famous people.

Fortunately, that’s not the only good news we want to share. While we were announcing the start of WikiVoices project on the, we were heard by the Russian State Archive of Sound Recordings. This archive was founded in 1932 and at the moment has more than 240,00  records. Many catalogs are not available online and many records are not digitized, but the Archive is ready to convert desirable records into the digital format and donate them to us.


Journey across Pakistan – Saqib Qayyum

Lulusar-Dudipatsar National Park in Khyber Pakhtunkwa is encircled throughout the year by snow clad peaks

Saqib Qayyum intends to forever alter Pakistan’s tourism reputation via Wikivoyage.

Pakistan is not exactly a leading tourist destination, but for Saqib Qayyum, a young active contributor to one of Wikimedia’s youngest projects – Wikivoyage – it has the potential to be just that.

“Pakistan is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. It has an extensive history, rich culture, unique heritage, incredibly diverse landscapes and breathtaking natural beauty,” he says. “But, Pakistan’s image has severely deteriorated over the past few years due to instability in the country and many countries declaring Pakistan as unsafe and dangerous to visit. Foreign tourists stopped visiting and even local people are afraid to travel around the country for recreation and leisure while some simply prefer to spend holidays outside Pakistan.” While abroad in Germany, Greece and Austria, Saqib met fellow European travel enthusiasts. “I’ve been told by fellow travellers that their priority is to explore and see their own country first, and then go anywhere else because they want to invest their money in their own country instead of spending their money abroad and they want to understand who they are and where they come from before going to learn about others.” This perplexed and disheartened Saqib.

“That’s not fair and it really hurts me. Pakistan is home to beautiful, hospitable, generous and peace-loving people, and is a land of spectacular and stunning places, but it lacks good branding. The country deserves to be explored, even by its own people at the very least.” This inspired Saqib to begin something astounding.

In mid-February, Saqib set off on what he calls a “journey consisting of a chain of journeys” to canvas, photograph, and upload the entirety of Pakistan to Wikimedia Commons, and Wikivoyage in an effort to alter Pakistan’s dubious image. Already, Saqib has traveled to the Kirthar National Park in southwest Pakistan, and created its article on Wikivoyage, which surely to be the first of many new additions to the online travel guide.

“I strongly believe a travel guide is something that can motivate travellers to travel to Pakistan and I think Wikivoyage can be a very useful and powerful tool and it can play a very positive role in helping promote the tourism in the country. That’s why I decided to show a unbiased and true image of Pakistan through Wikivoyage. Saqib points to other countries that are deemed dangerous and their equally – if not more – tenuous reputations that have better travel coverage than Pakistan. “There hasn’t been an updated travel guide on Pakistan since 2008,” says Saqib about the travel publisher, Lonely Planet. “And even their website that references Pakistani destinations is now incomplete and out of date,” he laments, “they still publish about more dangerous countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, and many African countries.” Therefore, in a culmination of negative press coverage, and lack of current travel information (aside from the all-too-common travel advisory), Pakistan’s image suffers mercilessly.

Launching an Unconventional Trademark Policy for Open Collaboration

The Wikipedia puzzle globe and wordmark.

On February 1, 2014, the Wikimedia Foundation’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved an unconventional new trademark policy. The new policy is uniquely permissive, was developed in a massive online collaboration among the Wikimedia community, and contains cutting-edge information design principles to make it user-friendly.  Just like the content on the Wikimedia sites, the new trademark policy is licensed under a free license, so everyone is free to build upon it when crafting their own trademark policies. In short, it is the perfect fit for Wikimedia’s collaborative projects.

Unlike the legal policies of other companies that are drafted by lawyers in a vacuum (if not simply copied from other websites), this trademark policy was developed through a seven-month long consultation with the Wikimedia community to address its particular needs. This unique process distinguishes Wikimedia from virtually every other top website.

We began by asking the community how they would like to change our 2009 trademark policy. Using their suggestions and other concerns, we prepared a draft policy that we posted on a wiki for online discussion and editing. According to the page’s revision history, the draft policy was edited 138 times in the course of the remaining consultation. While the policy itself has only about 4,000 words, the consultations around the policy resulted in a discussion of 52,000 words. That’s more words than in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy!

Here are some of the major changes.


Wikimedia and Open Access — a rich history of interactions

This post is part of a week of action by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other organizations in January 2014, to which the Wikimedia Foundation is invited to contribute, particularly on Wednesday January 15, when the topic of action is Open Access.

Open access is about freedom to read and to reuse research communications, including to remix, revise and redistribute them.

You can download the clip or download a player to play the clip in your browser.

Courtship song of a male Cotesia congregata wasp.

Fluorescent fish and sponges

Paedophryne amauensis, the smallest known vertebrate.

You can download the clip or download a player to play the clip in your browser.

Humpback whale song

CC BY logo

Wikipedia aims to collect the sum of human knowledge and is operating under five fundamental principles, also known as the “five pillars” – it is (1) an encyclopedia that can (2) be read, modified and shared by anyone, while it strives for (3) a neutral point of view and (4) civil discourse on the basis of respect within its community of contributors, which (5) can amend policies and guidelines.

Writing with the aim of representing a topic neutrally requires access to quality sources of information. Citing these sources allows readers of the encyclopedia to verify statements made in its articles, and to explore the topic further, be it for themselves or to enrich future versions of the same or some related Wikipedia article.

Existing copyright legislation makes it difficult to use sources in these ways. In the current default mode with “all rights reserved” articles hidden behind paywalls, Wikipedia authors are barred from reading the sources they might need to improve Wikipedia content, readers might be prevented from verifying the information they find in Wikipedia articles, or even whether it represents a copyright violation or plagiarism. In the event that they can eventually get read access to specific sources, they still do not have the right to use any materials from there (e.g. images, audio or video) to illustrate Wikipedia articles or blog posts about relevant topics.

Over the years of exposure to this set of problems, the Wikimedia communities have come up with a number of approaches to handle the situation. Two of them shall be presented today in a pair of blog posts. The first one is about the Wikipedia Library, an effort to provide read access to the scholarly literature for active Wikipedia contributors. This second one is about interactions of the Wikimedia and Open Access communities, most notably via WikiProject Open Access, which places particular emphasis on reusing materials from suitably licensed scholarly publications in the context of Wikimedia projects.

The Open Access movement and the Wikimedia community have interacted for more than ten years, particularly via the English Wikipedia. For instance, the article about arXiv was started on February 11, 2002, the entry on preprint followed ten months later. In November 2003, the entry open access publishing was started, which was renamed into open access two months later.

Still in 2004, the first Wikimedia chapter — Wikimedia Germany was founded, which went on to become the first Wikimedia entity to sign the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities in 2006, followed by Wikimedia Poland and the Wikimedia Foundation a year later. Since that time, suggestions for large-scale import of materials from Open Access sources into Wikimedia platforms have kept coming up.

In early 2007, the first images from Open Access sources were promoted to featured status on Wikimedia Commons, with one of them reaching the final of that year’s Picture of the Year contest (the 2013 contest is scheduled to start on Friday, again with an Open Access image).

With the beginning of 2009, the journal RNA Biology (which was and still is not Open Access) started to require manuscripts about new RNA families to be accompanied by drafts for corresponding Wikipedia articles, and a few months later, WikiSpecies started a collaboration with the Open-Access journal ZooKeys that was expanded to its sister journal PhytoKeys in the following year.

While more and more images from Open Access sources were uploaded and the number of references from Wikipedia to Open Access articles continued to grow, research about Wikipedia was still mainly published in closed-access journals. This prompted the newly established Research Committee to draft, in 2010, an Open Access policy for research projects receiving significant support from the Wikimedia Foundation.

Since July 2011, the Research:Newsletter has marked references as to whether they were free to read or not. Later that year, Wikimedia Germany had approved funding for the Open Access Media Importer, an automated tool to harvest audio and video materials from suitably licensed scholarly articles and to upload them to Wikimedia Commons. Still in late 2011, the Open Access File of the Day initiative was started, and the Research Committee submitted a response to a EU consultation about Open Access, followed by a response to a similar consultation by the White House in January 2012, at a day when a tiny frog’s image from PLOS ONE was on the front page of more than a dozen Wikipedias. Two days before that, WikiProject Open Access had been launched.

Since January 2012, an Open Access report has been published as part of the monthly GLAM newsletter. In March, PLOS Computational Biology started its Topic Pages — a manuscript track for review articles destined to become updatable as Wikipedia entries — with the article about Circular permutation in proteins. In May, Jimmy Wales became an advisor to the UK government on matters of Open Access, and the Wikimedia Foundation endorsed the Access2Research petition to the White House.


Enter the video game museum through Wikipedia

The first video game Evan Amos ever played was Super Mario Bros on the classic Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and he remembers the day clearly: December 25th, 1988. In the 25 years since, the 30-year-old Missouri native has witnessed the evolution of gaming consoles into they state-of-the-art units they are today.

As a game enthusiast and photographer, Amos began to notice the lack of high-quality pictures for game consoles on Wikipedia and on the Internet generally. Feeling that he could do a better job himself, he set out to take his own pictures and upload them.

He started by taking photos of household items in his apartment after he moved to Brooklyn, New York, where he uploaded them onto Wikimedia Commons, the freely-licensed image database behind Wikipedia. “The first picture I uploaded was a poorly shot roll of duct tape,” he says. “I knew I wanted to take pictures of the video game consoles I owned, but I took some test shots of things lying around the apartment first.”

He put the duct tape on a piece of white poster board to minimize shadows. He shot it with a Sony A700 DSLR and an inexpensive Impact studio strobe. He used Photoshop to wipe away the remaining shadows, a technique that he applies to the console photos.

“Since this was for an encyclopedia, I wanted the pictures to be as direct, neutral and clean as possible. If you go too stylized in your photos, I think that it limits their application or ability to be educational,” he says. “I’m sure that the style is also what helps the pictures get around as much as they do, because it makes them so easy to use for a variety of projects.”


As Arab countries participate in Wiki Loves Monuments for the first time, stakes are especially high in Syria

This post is available in 3 languages: العربية  • Français English

In English

Khan As’ad Pasha in the Old City of Damascus

Damascus, Aleppo, and Homs are among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The monuments in these cities are among the oldest on the planet. There are buildings, churches, theaters, and gates that date back to the second century.

Unfortunately, not far from these ancient sites, a brutal civil war rages on. “Most of the monuments have already been damaged to some extent,” Abbad Diraneyya says. “Almost all of them lie a few kilometers away from direct clash lines.”

Diraneyya organized Wiki Loves Monuments 2013 in Syria and Jordan, part of a worldwide contest to photograph historic monuments and upload them onto Wikimedia Commons. “I have been an editor on Arabic Wikipedia for many years, and I have written many articles about my country,” says the Jordanian, “Yet I have always had problems finding photos for them. We have very few photos on Commons to document the history and heritage of the region”.

Diraneyva helped support organizers in four countries, including his native country of Jordan, in an attempt to capture and upload as many photos as possible. Syria, Jordan, Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt make up the group of Arabic-speaking nations that are participating in Wiki Loves Monuments for the first time; all of which have been directly or indirectly influenced by the events of the Arab Spring.

“Like much of the region, Jordan has a lot of monuments dating back thousands of years , since the Islamic, Roman and Greek times or even many centuries earlier,” says Diraneyya, “This contest brings us a new opportunity to expose and preserve the heritage of the country.”


“Good Pictures do Matter” – Miha Grmek

Panorama of Lake Bled in northwestern Slovenia

5 years ago Miha Grmek began uploading his photographs to Wikimedia Commons. By doing so, he hopes to have allowed countless others to travel vicariously through his images.

Grmek loves to travel. Before every trip he uses Wikipedia as a tool to learn as much about his destination as possible. It was during one of these pre-departure research sessions of Scotland that he realized the pictures in his own collection were of higher quality than some of those he came across on Wikipedia. In many instances, Gremek explains, “The beautiful places I had visited did not have any pictures at all.” That’s when he understood just how much of a positive impact he could have by sharing his photos.

Grmek bought his first SLR when he was 18 years old and he credits the camera with helping him begin to take photography more seriously. In 2008, he acquired a Nikon D200 DSLR, which he jokingly refers to as a “dinosaur,” due to its relative age. It was with this dinosaur that he placed sixth in the 2012 Wikimedia Commons Photo of the Year competition with his panoramic photo of Kranjska Gora in Slovenia (below).

When he’s not taking photos, Grmek spends his time working for a company that specializes in railway engineering and surveying. “I’m not a professional photographer,” he admits. “It’s more of a hobby. I just love to take pictures when the time allows. It is nice to break up the routine of daily work.”


A bird’s eye view of “Wikiproject Sauerland” on German Wikipedia

(This post was drafted by Commons user Falkmart. It is a translation from his corresponding post in German, published on the Wikimedia Deutschland blog.)

Eine Landschaft im Sauerland

WikiProject Sauerland” was an initiative by German Wikipedians to document the region of Sauerland and beyond by conducting a photo flight. The flight took place in July 2013. The crew included a pilot, navigator and two photographers on board a chartered Dornier Do 27. During the three-hour flight, they successfully covered a range of 600 kilometers, which included the entire region of Sauerland and several counties in North Rhine-Westfalia and parts of Hesse.

They photographed mountains, lakes, buildings and general topography in the eastern Sauerland, including Hochsauerlandkreis and Upper Hessen. Overall, 1,350 photos were uploaded to Commons. Within five weeks the pictures were identified, labeled and categorized by fellow Wikipedians. 268 photos were added directly to German-language Wikipedia articles.

The flight was financially supported by Wikimedia Deutschland’s community budget. The project team is planning to document the entire region within the next three years. We’ll keep you updated!

User:Falkmart, Wikimedia Commons

Prominent wildlife photographer donates images to Wikimedia Commons

Nilgiri tahr kid photo by N.A. Naseer

For those who love nature and photography, there is exciting news in the Malayalam Wikimedia community. The photographs of one of India’s famous photographers have been published in Wikimedia Commons. N.A. Naseer was approached as part of the Malayalam Loves Wikimedia-3 program in an effort to encourage photographers to contribute photos and other documents onto the Malayalam Commons page. As a gesture of solidarity to the more than 75 Wikimedians who participated in the event, Naseer and his friend Joseph Lazar added more than 350 original photographs.

N.A. Naseer by NPT

Naseer is a wildlife photographer from South India. He has published his writings and photographs in a variety of magazines, including Sanctuary Asia, Hornbill, Frontline, Outlook, and Traveler. Naseer practices Tai chi-chi kung, karate, yoga, taido, and upasana meditation. For the past 35 years, Naseer has been a frequent explorer of the Kerala forest. An advocate for the preservation of wildlife, Naseer founded the Nature Conservation Society of Photographers. He is also a lifelong member of the Bombay Natural History Society. Naseer’s book, “Woods and Photographer” was the first of its kind written in Malayalam. The book contains photographs of fauna in the regions of Southern India. The book sold out in three months.

More than 14,000 photos have been collected as part of the Malayalam Loves Wikimedia-3 campaign. Naseer’s photo collection provides new high-resolution photographs of a variety of rare species of animals including the white wild buffalo, nilgiri marten, Indian bisons, rufous babbler, and an array of elephants, bears and sloths. For both the casual and experienced photographer, Naseer’s photos are an exciting and useful resource.

You can view Naseer’s photographs in this Category on Commons. (user cat(hidden))

MLW3 collected 14606 (32.54 GB)images and user:Vinayaraj(7869) was the top uploader from this event.

Manojk (Malayalam Wikimedian)


Manojk (talk) 13:28, 2 October 2013 (UTC) (Malayalam Wikimedian)