CIS-A2K/Events/Digitization & Documentation of Cultural Heritage and Literature in Meghalaya

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The knowledge about the North-East region of India is underrepresented on Wikimedia projects. Considering this, CIS-A2K has started building partnerships with the institutions in various states from the last two years. In 2022, the first project was launched in Arunachal Pradesh with local partner RIWATCH to document tribal culture and diversity on Wikimedia projects. CIS-A2K collaborated with West Bengal Wikimedians User Group (WBG) for this project. In February 2023, CIS-A2K in collaboration with Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama, Sohra, Meghalaya and West Bengal Wikimedians User Group (WBG) have started a project to jointly work on the "Digitization & Documentation of Cultural Heritage and Literature in Meghalaya". This pilot project is partially funded by "The North East Centre for Technology Application and Reach (NECTAR)".

Project Objectives[edit]

The primary objectives of this project are -

  1. digital documentation of the rich cultural heritage in Khasi, Jaintia and Garo hills of Meghalaya state along with museum collections, art collections, books, manuscripts, audio files etc. produced or collected in different regions of the state,
  2. online storage and display of the digitally documented products in the free and open-access platform of Wikimedia and,
  3. gradually building a stable long-term partnership between the Wikimedia world and Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama, Sohra along with other local organisations to improve the quality content about Meghalaya on different Wikimedia projects with verifiable and reliable resources.

Project Activities in Pilot Phase[edit]

CIS-A2K and Ramakrishna Ashrama with local partners have started the following activities in the first phase of the project as below -

  • Digitisation of the repositories with the institutions - Jeebon Roy Memorial Trust Library, Seng Khasi (Organisation of Indigenous faith of Khasis, Niam Khasi) and Ramakrishna Ashrama Sohra.
  • Photo-video documentation: The list of historical monuments, heritage architecture and major tourist centres in the surrounding places will be prepared. The plan of photographic documentation will be prepared and executed by RK mission, local organisations, CIS-A2K & WBG.

Initial visit to launch the project[edit]

CIS-A2K representative Subodh Kulkarni and WBG representative Bodhisattwa Mandal visited Meghalaya during 21-27 February and conducted the programme as below -

Tuesday, 21 Feb[edit]

  • To discuss the objectives, implementation process and deliverables of the project
  • Brief introduction to Wikimedia projects and their working
  • To understand the roles & responsibilities of human resources, monitoring, reporting etc.
  • To decide the operational details for the equipment

Wednesday, 22 Feb[edit]

Visit to Vivekananda Cultural Centre, Shillong

  • Project briefing, Interviews for selection of the candidate for the post of Wikimedian in Residence (WiR) to implement the project activities
  • Wikimedia orientation session for all stakeholders - Wikimedian, RKM team, members of Seng Khasi & Jeebon Roy Memorial Trust library, NECTAR team
  • Understand the nature of material, publications, information and data to be digitised.
  • Technical training of Wikimedian, demo of uploading

Thursday, 23 Feb[edit]

Visiting Jeebon Roy Memorial Trust library and Seng Khasi organisation

  • Meeting with Hammarsing & others to understand the culture, history, heritage
  • Study of documents, literature and other things
  • Mapping the locations of knowledge repositories and preparing the database of institutions and contact persons.
  • Detailed discussion on copyrights, free licenses and uploading on Wikimedia projects.

Meeting with Prof Sanjeed Kakoty at IIM Shillong - To discuss the historical journey of the region, cultural aspects, languages and literature.

Meeting with Dr Arun Kumar Sarma, DG NECTAR - Discussed the objectives, implementation process and outcomes of the project.

Friday, 24 Feb[edit]

Understanding resources with RKM Sohra - Museums, publications, data, library etc. Training of Wiki coordinators, developing category structure on Commons

Saturday, 25 Feb[edit]

  • Meeting students and teachers from all RKM schools
  • Training session with Wikimedian, working on the project

Sunday, 26 Feb[edit]

Visiting heritage sites, monuments at Shella, Sohbar etc. to see historical sites, local culture, sensitize active citizens about Wikimedia projects.

Monday, 27 Feb[edit]

  • Summarising the learnings and preparing work plan for the month of March & April
  • Finalising the schedule of online review meetings