CIS-A2K/Work plan April 2013 - June 2014
The A2K Work Plan has the following structure:
The Wikimedia Foundation has approved a grant of ₹26,000,000 to the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) in Bangalore to expand their Access to Knowledge (A2K) program in India; of this, ₹11,000,000 has been released. The purpose of the grant is to enable the A2K team to work with the Wikimedia community of volunteers in India to expand on Wikimedia’s Indic-language free-knowledge projects. In addition, the grant aims to generate improvements in India-relevant free knowledge in Wikimedia’s English projects, and the wider distribution of Wikimedia’s free knowledge within India.
The main objective of this document is to present a detailed Annual Work Plan for 2013–14, setting out the expected outcomes and impact of the A2K program activities. The overall objectives of the A2K Team are here.
In putting together this Work Plan the A2K team has, over the last two months extensively engaged with various stakeholders. These include a) some Wikimedia India Community members across various Indian-language Wikimedia projects; b) some English-language Wikimedia community members from India; c) Wikimedia India chapter executive committee; d) some potential institutional partners; e) a few like-minded advocates of free knowledge; f) A2K Program Adviser Dr. Tejaswini Niranjana; and g) a few of the Wikimedia Foundation staff.
A draft of each of the language plan will be shared with the particular language community through respective language Wikipedia village pumps, mailing lists; feedback will be collected in finalizing the plan.
A2K’s method of work
A2K principally sees itself as working hand-in-hand with the Indian Wikimedia community and the Wikimedia India chapter, and with all formal and informal groupings within the Wikimedia movement in India. A2K will mostly engage in catalytic kind of work; however, depending on the requirements of each language-area, the A2K team may also undertake the hands-on implementation of some activities that would otherwise be done by the community. The planned A2K program activities are mostly in the south and south-east of India, and it makes better programmatic sense to have the A2K team located in Bangalore. This will not only save the A2K program from relatively larger overhead spending for the project (which could be productively used for programmatic work) but will enable the A2K team to be more in touch with the Wikimedia India community and in proactively undertaking collaborative activities with the community on the ground. Thus the entire A2K team will relocate to Bangalore and work out of the existing CIS office. Please kindly note that the A2K team will hire a new space in Bangalore, once the work plan is finalized, and the intention is that this space will be open to free use by the WM India community and chapter alike.
How to read this Annual Work Plan
This plan is not set in stone and will be periodically (right now quarterly) reviewed and revised. The intention of this Work Plan is to continually ensure better design and better engagement. The broader aspects of the plan have been outlined here. Thus this document is more towards evolving a sense of granularity of the A2K team’s work along with micro level outcome and impact metrics.
We have worked towards developing an Annual Work Plan that is language-specific. The A2K team has not adopted ONE single model, because we believe that each language area has a) specific strengths that we need to build on; b) particular needs for support that we could offer; and c) specific challenges that require localized solutions. Thus there are chances that you might see repetitions in the strategies mentioned across language areas.
Please note that the A2K team has some language area plans worked out in greater detail than others. This is mainly because we intend to prioritize working on five language areas during the coming year. This does not mean that we will not support other language areas/communities, but our engagement will be activity/project-specific, based on requests made to the A2K team by the community. The A2K team will continue its efforts in actively exploring to include a few more language areas, and will share such plans after they reach a certain stage.
Risk and mitigation
The message that comes across, after a cursory glance at Indian-language Wikipedias, is that there is a huge potential to increase the number of editors, especially active editors, along with the expansion of article entries. On one hand, unfortunately there is no fool-proof formula or plan that either the Wikimedia India community, Wikimedia India chapter or A2K can immediately bank on. This does not mean, on the other hand, that there are no ideas, experiences, learnings and failures, that can inform a strategy. An important point is that what we (the community, WMI chapter, WMF and A2K) all are attempting to do is to achieve something that sounds very simple (increase the number of editors, increase the articles, and build article quality) but yet complex to achieve. In addition to this, improving the Indian-language Wikipedias becomes even more complex for some the following reasons:
- Lack of reference material available online in Indian languages.
- Typing in Indian languages is a major challenge.
- Relative dearth of quality content available in digital format.
- Relative lack of research/academic standards, which is transferred on to Indian language Wikipedias.
- Various technical issues like input, browser compatibility, font display, which deter new users.
Thus it should be noted that we should extend our work beyond Wikipedia, if we are to grow Indian-language Wikipedias. We need to think of a holistic intervention that would also involve enabling, facilitating and forming localized language-based virtual communities. That this has never been done before, and Indian language Wikipedias have a huge potential to do so. This is also the significance of Indian-language Wikipedias, which are a potential (often the only) medium/platform for migrating Indian languages into the digital era. Also Wikipedia can be leveraged to further the much-needed active research culture in India and Indian culture. As a collective, we are doing something cutting edge and have too much of a risk of failure, time and again. This kind of work has high risk of failure. The only mitigation by which we can aim to be more successful is by being open to learning, working as a collective, being supportive of each other, picking ourselves up whenever we fall down, and celebrating the little successes.
Language area work plans
As indicated above, the A2K team has prioritized the five languages and developed a detailed plan. We had initially set out to work with a different set of languages. The language set has slightly changed during the past two months.
Some of the key factors that determined the selection of languages areas have included:
- Networking of institutions and groups. The A2K team has put together a list of knowledge institutions, groups and individuals with whom it has some connections and believes that it can bring them into the Wikimedia movement. These collaborations will not only result in significant quality-content contributions, but will lead to the diversification and increase in that particular language Wikimedia community.
- Willingness of that particular language community to interact and engage with the A2K team. Though we tried approaching other language communities, we were given to understand that they would like to consider engaging with us at a later point. We have respected the community's decision and are open to work with a couple of language areas later in time.
- Work on one incubation project. During our interaction with Wikimedia India Chapter EC about the A2K plans, they have actively encouraged the A2K team to take up at least one project under incubation. Based on their suggestion we have taken up Konkani as we have some institutional contacts that could be leveraged to build the Konkani Wikipedia. The A2K team has also conducted some outreach work in Goa over the past 3–4 months that could be built on.
- Familiarity of the A2K team members with the language. Each of us are editors/can edit in most of the above language Wikipedias. This will give us an insider's perspective of what is happening in that particular language community and the Wikimedia projects.
As mentioned earlier, A2K team's prioritization of working actively with these five language projects does not mean that A2K team will not support other language areas/communities. The A2K team will continue to provide overall support to all Wikipedia Communities in India. Our engagement will be activity/project-specific, based on the requests made to the A2K team by community members.
Besides the specific programs mentioned under individual language area plans, A2K team will provide overall support to all Indian-language Wikipedia communities. Please see this page for more details.
India has a wide range of performing arts. A lot of work is done on performing arts by various individuals and institutions, which offers rich knowledge about the aesthetics, artists, institutions, performance spaces/infrastructure, and policies, across various geographies and languages. This pilot is premised on a theme and seeks to create a multilingual repository of knowledge on Indian performing arts that is interdisciplinary, dynamic and ever evolving. Please go here to read more about the plan.
Based on discussions with the Wikimedia India Chapter EC and with some members of the Community, the A2K team has arrived at some evaluation tools to assess the impact of its work. Please see this page for more details.
We appreciate your valuable feedback. However, for the sake of structured engagement by everyone, we request you to consider the following before you share your feedback.
- For feedback on the overall A2K Work Plan you can write here
- For feedback on respective Language area plans, please write on the discussion page of the respective language plan.
- For feedback on Pilot Project plan go here.
- For feedback on Overall Support Across Indian language Communities you can write here.
- Alternatively you could also share your feedback over e-mail at vishnucis-india.org. Please use the subject line Feedback on Work Plan.
- Should you feel the need to discuss any aspect of the plan before sharing your feedback, please call +919845207308 from 08:00 to 21:00 hours IST (Indian Standard Time).
List of contributors
We are grateful to the following list of Wikipedians who have engaged with the A2K Team and contributed to the development of this work plan with their ideas and inputs:
- Abhijith Jayanthi
- Abhishek Suryawanshi
- Achal Prabhala
- Adethya Sudarshanan
- Aditya Mahar
- Arjuna Rao
- Arnav Sonara
- Arun Ganesh
- Arun Ramarathnam
- Ashwin Baindur - more about my collaboration...
- Bhaskara Naidu E
- Bishakha Datta
- Biswarup Ganguly
- Durga Prasad G
- Frederick Noronha
- Gautam John
- Gorvachove Pothal
- Harriet Vidyasagar
- Jayanta Nath
- Jnanaranjan Sahu
- Kalyan Sarkar
- Kamalakanta Nayak
- Kameswara Rao Malladi
- Kiran Ravikumar
- Prasad JVRK
- Manoj Sahukar
- Manoranjan Behera
- Mrutyunjaya Kar
- Pradeep Mohandas
- Radha Krishna A
- Rahul Deshmukh
- Rajasekhar A
- Ramakrishna Reddy Palagiri
- Rangan Datta
- Rao CB
- Reddy YVS
- Rohini Lakshane
- Sambidhan Mohanty
- Sankarshan Mukhopadhyay
- Sailesh Patnaik
- Santhosh Thotingal
- Sengai Podhuvan
- Sharma KBS
- Shiju Alex
- Shisir Nayak
- Shitikantha Dash
- Srikant Kedia
- Srinidhi T G
- Srinivas Sharma Bandi
- Subas Chandra Rout
- Sujatha T
- Sushant Savla
- Suyog Vyavhare
- Tausif Rahmathullah
- Tinu Cherian
- Veera Venkata Chowdhary
- Vishwanath BK
Disclaimer: The above listed people have engaged in one or more of the following ways and in turn helped CISA2K to put together the Work Plans. They have:
- taken part in physical meetings with A2K team members, to discuss ideas; methods of working that A2K could adopt; and draft plans.
- taken part in on-Wiki discussions pertaining to A2K plans.
- taken part in discussions on meta (until June 2013).
- taken part in telephone calls and e-mail conversations with A2K members discussing about A2K's work, methods and plans.
- taken part in IRCs pertaining to A2K work plans.
- taken part in discussing A2K work plan and methodology on social media platforms (Facebook groups; mailing lists).
It was not possible for us to capture and attribute each point of feedback/discussion/suggestion that we had received from the above list of people, as there were many overlaps in the conversations and a lot of assimilation and aggregation of thoughts was done by the A2K Team. Thus it was decided to acknowledge their time and feedback as Contributors using the above list. A2K is thankful to you for your time, effort and initiative to engage! However, if you feel that your name should not have been mentioned in the above list you may please take the liberty and remove it from here. Apologies for those of you who have contributed to A2K's thinking and work plans, specifically during (February to June 2013), and if your name is not listed above. Please feel free to add your name above. Or you could even communicate the oversight to any of the A2K team members. We will be more than glad to include it! Thanks.
- Many of the challenges that we see vis-à-vis Indian-language Wikipedias are somewhat akin to the challenges print technology faced during the 19th century in India.