The Centre for Internet and Society
Access to Knowledge
Access to Knowledge
The Centre for Internet and Society (or "CIS") is a registered non-profit research organisation based in India that undertakes interdisciplinary research on the internet and digital technologies from policy and academic perspectives. Research at CIS spans the following areas: accessibility for persons with disabilities, openness, internet governance, telecommunication reform, intellectual property rights, digital privacy, cybersecurity and research on socio-material and cultural aspects of the internet. The official website of the organisation may be seen at cis-india.org. Annual reports of the organisation may be seen at cis-india.org/about/reports.
The Access to Knowledge (or A2K) works to strengthen and support Wikimedia projects and the free-knowledge movement in India. We have been closely working with various Indian-language Wikimedia communities for several years now. Our focus is primarily on augmenting and improving content in Indian languages on various Wikimedia projects. We are also working to promote better access to free knowledge content and improving its presence and discoverability on the internet. With this vision and these values, A2K has been working on annual plans to prepare, conduct, and support various events, activities, and initiatives in collaboration with Wikimedians from diverse Indian language communities. We are grateful to the Wikimedians, communities, and our partners for their feedback, collaboration, inputs, and support. We have learnt a lot from their contributions, enthusiasm and collaboration, and we look forward to continue learning and working together.
Impact report overview
Access to Knowledge (or A2K) is submitting the "Impact Report" for the work-plan period 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021. CIS-A2K conducted and supported a series of Wiki-events and activities, and we present here more details related to these activities. We will also try to illustrate the impact our work has made with respect to supporting, facilitating and growing the work of the Wikimedia communities in India, and add follow-up plans or future ideas related to our areas of work.
The program year 1 July 2020 – 30 June 2021 was challenging because of the global pandemic and its effect on human life and society. Following the Wikimedia Foundation's guidelines and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India's instructions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, A2K did not conduct or support any on-ground Wiki-event throughout the program year. Although the pandemic imposed several strict restrictions on us (and everyone else) in terms of activities, this also gave us an opportunity to rethink and reimagine our approach to offline and online programs and activities. Some of the events we conducted/supported in this year are:
- Wikimedia Wikimeet India 2021: For quite sometime, A2K was planning to conduct a large-scale online event, and we were gradually focusing more on remote events. This year we conducted Wikimedia Wikimeet India (19 – 21 February 2021), an online wiki-event with different components such as online workshops, presentations, discussions, etc. We had around three months of preparation before the event. After conducting this event, we have much better knowledge of conducting remote events; this was therefore a good a learning opportunity. The event's main report may be seen here.
- COVID-19 support for Wikimedians: During the pandemic, we added some components/activities in the program which were new, and were planned because of the necessity of these unprecedented times. We started a COVID-19 support portal for Wikimedians in India and provided support such as couriering COVID-19 safety kits, reimbursing COVID-19 vaccination charges, initiation of support towards COVID-19 Mental Health Care and Counselling Services.
- Focus on remote events: A2K is focusing more on online events. In the proposal we expressed our wish to explore the area of online training and workshops. Other than Wikimedia Wikimeet, we have been conducting and supporting online meets and events. For example, A2K provided logistical and co-ordination support to two sessions of Stay safe, stay connected, a lightweight interaction zone created for Wikimedians in India.
- Content creation activities: We have conducted a series of mini edit-a-thons over the year. We also conducted a national-level Wikisource proofread-a-thon (the third iteration of the proofread-a-thon).
- Content relicensing activity: We have continued our efforts to bring content under free licenses. We have had conversation with various authors, organisations/institution to bring content under free and open licenses, and therefore available on Wikimedia projects. In this program year more than 150 books and 370 images have been relicensed. The institutional partnerships are helpful not only to bring more free licensed content, but it also helps in content creation/improvement, or to bring resource support (such as access to library for Wikimedians) etc. We will continue to work on building and maintaining sustainable institutional partnerships.
- Research: The research studies initiated at the beginning of this component were completed, and published and shared on relevant platforms and mailing lists. A compiled volume is also available on Wikimedia Commons. Learnings from these research studies were presented at the Wikiworkshop 2021, and published on other platforms. A research needs assessment was undertaken to understand awareness about research work and priority areas of focus for Indian language communities. This year the research work will again continue with a focus on specific topics/thematic areas of relevance to the program.
Global metrics overview - all programs
|Participants||4,350||1,492||Any in-person event was not (/could not be) conducted in the entire program year. All educational, cultural and other institutions, who we work with for various Wikimedia programs and outreach, were closed throughout the year. As a result, we have fewer number of participants and newly registered Wikimedians this year.|
|Wikisource continues to be A2K's focused project. The proofread-a-thons we organised helped to improve more content on different Indian language Wikisource projects.|
We have also continued our partnership activities to relicense content (books, media etc.).
This year we have had less content-creation on Wikipedia. Suspension of educational institutions, therefore lack of educational Wiki initiatives was a reason for this.
|Footprint Tracker||29||0||No in-person event took place. We thought to include digital footprints, however we failed to find a proper method to calculate digital footprints.|
|Gender ratio||25%||An aggregate of approx 27.6% of female Wikimedians have taken part in the events organised by CIS-A2K.||Please see Gender ratio here|
For a large part of 2020, India was under a stringent lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And like other areas of work and businesses, the Wikimedia movement was also affected. To keep the Indian communities and volunteers engaged, A2K planned a series of mini edit-a-thons, on a range of relevant topics. During these events, we were able to engage about 100 editors. We conducted three mini edit-a-thons namely, Mahatma Gandhi 2020 edit-a-thon, Festive Season 2020 edit-a-thon and Wikipedia 20th anniversary celebration edit-a-thon. In the Mahatma Gandhi edit-a-thon organised on 2 and 3 October 2020, 42 Wikimedians from 11 language communities contributed to various Wikimedia projects on Mahatma Gandhi related topics. In the Festive Season 2020 edit-a-thon conducted on 5 and 6 December 2020, 76 Wikimedians from 13 language communities participated. Wikipedia 20th anniversary celebration edit-a-thon was organised on 9 and 10 January 2021. In this event, 40 editors from 12 language communities contributed.
During as well as after the events we found that users participated enthusiastically. The series of edit-a-thons have given them an impetus to carry on with this work.
पुणे येथील मंदिरात महाशिवरात्री उत्सव, by आर्या जोशी
Sabarmati Ashram - Ahmedabad - Gujarat, clicked by User:Vijay Barot
Sabarmati Ashram - Ahmedabad - Gujarat - by User:Vijay Barot
Lingua Libre Project with Marathi Community
CIS-A2K started working with some linguists from the Marathi community on Lingua Libre (LL) project with an introductory session in November 2020. As part of the events during the Marathi language fortnight, a Wikimedia Introductory session was organised for several community members from various places on 23 January 2021. After this workshop, a group of women showed specific interest in the Lingua Libre project. Therefore, a training workshop on Lingua Libre was organised on 29 January 2021, in which 25 members participated. In this workshop the importance of LL project and the process of recording & uploading content were demonstrated. A hands-on activity was done to clarify doubts and for trouble shooting. Other aspects like planning the process for the group, how to develop lists, the integration with Wikidata Lexeme project and application of LL content in other free knowledge projects were also discussed.
The members started developing the lists according to their interests, on topics like cuisines in India, articles & tools in daily usage, festivals in India, Marathi alphabets, verbs and their forms etc. As part of Women's History Month activity, the women's group decided to achieve 10,000 recordings on Women's day. A milestone of 10k recordings was crossed on 8 March 2021. There was a setback to this activity due to shut down of LL website for two months. Due to consistent follow-up sessions and enthusiasm of the group, a total 14,000+ recordings have been uploaded by 25 women on Wikimedia Commons.
This activity has created a cohesive group of women interested in creating knowledge in the Indian language sector. This was a completely online program which generated significant contributions in a short period with negligible resources.
Consistent training sessions with thematic groups give concrete outcomes.
A small group of women from this group have started working on Lexemes project. The integration of audio and text in Wikidata is planned.
Edit Wikisource Campaign
CIS-A2K organized an Edit Wikisource Campaign for the Punjabi community to make contributors more active in the time of pandemic. This campaign was organised during April and May 2021. Two online meetups were organized for the community regarding this campaign. In the first month, proofreading and validation was done and in the second month, Wikidata+Wikisource Integration part was taken up.
A total 292 pages were proofread and 65 pages were validated under this campaign on Punjabi Wikisource.
The long duration events clash with other events and also affect energy level of the participants.
Wikisource Audio books Project
An introductory session on Wikimedia projects was conducted on 23 January for 45 active citizens from different cities in Maharashtra. Few members in this group have previous experience of recording content for differently abled students. Hence around 15 women expressed their readiness to work on Wikisource audio books project. First training was conducted on 5 February 2021, in which 22 members participated. The session covered processes of recording & uploading, the precautions to be taken while recording, gadgets used in the process and selection of completed books on Marathi Wikisource project.
After the first session, few members started recording the books. The samples were shared and evaluated by each other in the social media group created by the members. As the members were facing difficulties and needed guidance from experienced Wikimedians, an expert session was conducted with active Gujarati community user User:Modern Bhatt who has uploaded several audio books. This event on 17 March 2021 was attended by 24 members. The demonstrations and discussions about the sample recordings were useful to resolve many issues being faced by members of the project.
The online sessions connected similar experienced members to each other and helped develop this audio books project. This is the first of its kind in the Marathi language community and they will be uploading first batch of audio books on Marathi Wikisource project. This has also created a partnership between two language community members.
As Marathi Wikimedia community lacks audio books experience, it collaborated with Gujarati and Bengali community members, who are experts in this sector. This cross-learning promotes inter community collaborations and networking.
The recording and finishing of audio files is in progress. There were frequent gaps in the activity due to the pandemic. The completed audio books will be reviewed and uploaded in the next quarter.
Audio book session of Marathi women community
Audio book session of Marathi women community
Indic Wikisource proofread-a-thon
CIS-A2K conducted the second all India level online Indic Wikisource Proofreadthon in November 2020 to enhance skills and awareness, and encourage Indian language Wikisource contributors. This was a fifteen day online proofreadthon, where the participants contested among their language projects as well as on an all India basis. A total of 12 language communities selected 372 books to be proofread by 280 participants. A total of 50,771 pages and 27,566 pages were proofread and validated respectively.
We organised two Wikisource proofread-a-thons during the lockdown period. Indic Wikisource communities worked collectively to contribute to their native language projects. They realised their strengths and areas for improvement.
- Before November 2020 edit-thon, The IndicTechTeam developed/improvised a contest tool that would work well for the contest. But still there some issues in it, an would need further improvement.
- The stats are not updated in real-time mode like other Wikipedia contest tools like Fountain because Wikisource data schema is different from Wikipedia.
- Co-ordination between 12 language communities is too complex in nature. Every community has unique issues regarding each section, like the selection of books, reviewer process, quality control etc.
International Mother Language Day 2021 - Label-a-thon
CIS-A2K has been actively working on Wikidata projects and trying to engage more editors with the same. 21 February is dedicated to International Mother Language Day. A2K decided to celebrate this day by organising International Mother Language Day 2021 - Label-a-thon on 6 February 2021. It was a pre-event of Wikimedia Wikimeet India 2021. The list of items was provided to participants. A total of 24 contributors made 1,580 edits.
The first training session on Wikidata Lexemes was conducted for 10 Marathi community members on 26 August 2020. The technical expert User:Mahir256 guided the members with demonstrations and discussions on queries. The session was moderated by User:Bodhisattwa (CIS-A2K). After this session, the linguists along with other technical members have worked upon the forms of verbs, adjectives and nouns in the last few months to create a vast database of around two lakhs forms in spreadsheets. To initiate the further step of integrating this database with Wikidata, a technical group was formed. The introductory session of this technical group was conducted on 14 March 2021. Due to difficulties during the pandemic, next stages could not be completed. The activity will be resumed in the first quarter of next program year.
Documentation of endangered languages
CIS-A2K is exploring collaborations with several organisations in North-East region of India for the last two years. The knowledge about this region as well as the various language communities are very less represented in Wikimedia projects. The region has a rich tribal culture and diversity of languages. The focus of this project is on offering barrier-free open access to resources of North East Indian languages. North-East India is home to more than 200 languages, out of which 82 are listed as Vulnerable, 63 as Definitely Endangered, six as Severely Endangered, 46 as Critically Endangered and six as Extinct (The Guardian Dataset). One of the volunteers group, VANI working on vulnerable and endangered languages approached CIS-A2K for collaboration. A First session for orientation on Wikimedia projects to decide the components of proposed project was conducted on 3 June 2021. In this session two coordinators of VANI participated. The current scope of the project covers four spoken languages in the two states - Adi, Idu Mishmi, Khasi and Nishi.
Focused attention towards language enthusiasts resulted in initiation of the above projects in the respective languages for the first time. The experts in linguistics are getting connected to Wikimedia projects through such thematic projects.
It is difficult to get a combination of language expertise and computing or technical aspects in these projects. This dependency delays the progress.
The Lexeme project will be taken to the next level with inputs from leading Indian and global Wikimedians working on such projects. The project on languages of North-East region of India would be launched in next three months once the resources are finalised.
Trainings on Photo Documentation
On the occasion of Wiki Loves Monuments 2020 contest in India, CIS-A2K mobilised five groups of active Wikimedians and citizens across Maharashtra state to encourage contribution of content related to cultural heritage, specifically monuments. The members of these groups were trained in copyright rules, contest guidelines and the uploading process through a series of workshops. A total of 16 members from different places contributed 324 images on Wikimedia Commons. The groups were involved in listing of monuments, acquiring official lists from Government departments and on-Wiki documentation. These groups consisted of INTACH Pune & Solapur Chapter, photographers from Satara, Wikimedians in Ichalkaranji and Vigyan Ashram, Pabal Wikimedians. Online training workshops were conducted for five groups on encyclopedic content, copyright issues, licenses, and the uploading process. INTACH, a national organisation working on heritage conservation also actively collaborated in building heritage lists and uploading images.
Entrance of Solapur fort built in 14th century
Ruins of Barakhambi temple at Ambajogai built in 12th century
Old Palace in Ichalkaranji
Old palace in Satara
The organisations involved in Maharashtra Gene Bank project (MGB) have taken the initiative to generate content related to biodiversity under CC-BY-SA on Wikimedia Commons, Wikipedia and Wikisource. CIS-A2K is facilitating this process through online training sessions. The first online session on 'Introduction to Wikimedia projects' was conducted on 23 October 2020 for organisations involved in this project. A total of eight members participated in the three hour session. The second session on Wikipedia was conducted on 24 December 2020 for 15 participants. The third session on Wikimedia Commons was organised on 29 December for 15 participants. The Project category has been created in Wikimedia Commons.
The thematic organisations, photographers and citizen forums already involved in documenting heritage and biodiversity for many years were connected to the Wikimedia movement. They are planning to release their archives in Wikimedia Commons.
There is a great potential in approaching repositories at the organisations and photographers to encourage release of valuable images under a free license.
A follow-up meeting to explore further partnerships will be conducted with potential groups.
Short life span species on Konkan plateaus in Maharashtra
Medicinal shrub found in dry regions
Endangered species on hills of Western ghats
Indigenous variety of sheep in Marathwada region of Maharashtra
Intensive Personalized Wiki Training
Intensive Personalized Training facility has been developed to resolve specific issues of the Indic Wikisource users. It a resource offered to individual Wikimedians and communities, based on specific requirements, and a way to connect expert Wikimedians with others who would benefit by learning from their experience. This channel is being used by newbies. CIS-A2K has conducted two such sessions from July 2020 to June 2021.
Indic Wikisource Helpdesk
Indic Wikisource Helpdesk has been formed to help Indic Wikisource users. We have different help/discussion channels on different platforms like Facebook, Messenger, Telegram, Whatsapp etc. But we realised the need of centralised platform for discussions and help on issues and topics related to Indic Wikisource. Thus, Indic Wikisource Helpdesk was launched in January 2019. CIS-A2K has resolved/discussed three issues in this year.
This central helpdesk reduced frequently asked questions in all social media chat groups. The queries and solutions are being archived for future reference and use.
Women's History Month
Due to pandemic-related restrictions, various activities conducted during Women's History Month in March 2021 were all online. Content creation in different projects was taken up by various women's groups. CIS-A2K's partner organisation, Lek Ladki Abhiyan conducted two events as part of this collaboration. On 8 March, a three hour online event was organised for women activists across the state on knowledge creation regarding social, legal and health issues. A total of 42 women attended this program. A total of seven short films on the theme, 'Women at Work' were created. These videos capture the grassroot struggles of women entrepreneurs in different sectors which are primarily male-dominated. These include construction, transport, laundry, leather craft etc. The short films were uploaded on Wikimedia Commons. This concept was very well received by three more organisations, and they have shown interest in working with us on this theme. Women's day was celebrated with Jnana Prabodhini's Sanwadini group working on Lingua Libre, Audio books and Lexemes. On 9 March, a two-hour online discussion, experience sharing and brainstorming on future plans was done. A total of 24 women participated in this session.
The two organisations continued collaborative activities on bridging the gender gap for the third consecutive year. The online nature of the programs created more scope of participation from distant areas of the state. This diversity enriched the interactions.
Women participate pro-actively and express their views firmly in an exclusive women-only online event. The online platform is also comfortable and convenient for them.
A few gender-based organisations have shown interest in online skill-building sessions for free knowledge creation. Some women authors wish to release their books on Wikimedia Commons. These projects will be continued in the next program year.
Bhakkam Paya (Strong Foundation) captures a life of woman, who showed courage to start concrete mixing business.
Women's day workshop of gender activists organised by Lek Ladki Abhiyan & CIS-A2K
The content re-licensing campaign continued this year as well. The major re-licensing was done by the organisations - Tarun Bharat Sangh and Manavlok. Manavlok released books of their founders - Dwarakadas Lohiya and Shaila Lohiya. The individual authors include Ramesh Sharma, Bhaskar Girdhari, Madhav Gadgil, Pradeep Purandare, Anil Shidore, Santosh Gondhalekar, Rajnish Joshi, Mangala Apte, Mrunalini Phadnavis, Sudha Kothari and Kaustubh Tamhankar. In this program year, a total of 136 books were relicensed and uploaded on Wikimedia Commons. The promotion of the free license concept was done through Facebook live session, Media publicity during 'Reading Week', Appeal on Marathi language day and Online release event by reputed university. All the books were digitised by our institutional partner, Vigyan Ashram.
Due to consistent re-licensing over the last four years, the concept of content donation is getting positive response from authors and their heirs as copyright holders. Now, without a lot of effort, and through word of mouth publicity by previous authors and some promotions during occasions, every month a few copyright holders approach us with interest to release content under free license.
The first meeting with copyright holders on the re-licensing process is very important. Offering clear explanations on 'Why' and 'How' questions are crucial to encourage them to contribute content. One has to be well prepared for possible queries and doubts before this session.
More systematic efforts will be taken up through preparation of a database of authors and their heirs as copyright holders. A small booklet on work done so far will be published and used for promotion. A short video featuring the authors who released their works would be prepared.
Project Jalbodh is an ongoing activity in collaboration with various organisations to enrich content related to water resources in India on Wikimedia projects. Under the Paani Foundation's Water Cup Contest, villages in the drought affected Beed district of Maharashtra have taken great efforts for water conservation with facilitation from Jnana Prabodhini, Ambajogai an organisation in Beed district of Maharashtra. The volunteers from these villages have taken the initiative to build knowledge about these activities on Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons. The first training program was conducted on 17 August 2020 for eight members on Wikipedia editing and uploading on Commons. This process will be replicated for other village articles.
The articles created in the first phase are - जायभायवाडी, मांडवखेल, व्हरकटवाडी, and राडीतांडा. The images are being uploaded in Category:Natural resource management in Beed district
CIS-A2K has also started sessions with district level consortiums working on water issues in collaboration with an organisation named Jal Biradari. A total of four such introductory online sessions on Wikimedia projects were conducted in April 2021 in which 47 activists participated.
The re-licensing of water related content to build reliable reference resources was also continued in this program year. Our institutional partner, Tarun Bharat Sangh released 90 valuable books which were uploaded on Wikimedia Commons. Three subject experts, Pradeep Purandare, Shaila Lohiya and Santosh Gondhalekar also re-licensed their books on water related issues.
The structure and process of Project Jalbodh is getting a positive response from other organisations with knowledge repositories on water issues. More and more organisations at the grassroots level are being connected to the Wikimedia movement through these initiatives.
The organisations working on water issues are based in rural and less developed areas. There are hurdles in connectivity during online activities. At least two offline training sessions are necessary for hands on exercises.
The follow-up sessions are planned quarterly for district-wise groups of organisations.
Earthen nala bund
Farm pond filled with water
National Digital Library of India (NDLI) is a central government project under the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) that aims to collect and collate metadata and provide a full-text index from several national and international digital libraries, as well as other relevant sources. It also functions as a digital repository of textbooks, articles, videos, audiobooks, lectures, simulations, etc. The huge resource it contains, can be useful to enrich Wikimedia projects in various ways. Also, integrating Wikisource and Wikidata contents into NDLI websites will bring more visibility and attention to the projects. CIS-A2K started the partnership discussions in September 2020 with NDLI and Wikimedia Foundation regarding this project of integration. Finally the MoU between these three parties was signed in March 2021 and the work was started. The Indian wikimedia communities were also involved in the process through a webinar on modes of engagement of Wiki Communities with NDLI. After working on the technical and operational aspects, the integration of completed books on Wikisource with NDLI site has been started. As of now, 970 English books, 154 Bengali books and few other books in Indian languages have been linked with database.
This is the first collaboration with a Central Government project. As the NDLI is a valuable digital resource in all languages, this mutually beneficial process has been launched for all language Wiki projects. The communities are positively looking towards a rich exchange of knowledge.
Wikimedia Wikimeet India 2021
Wikimedia Wikimeet India 2021 (WMWM 2021) was a national level virtual event conducted by CIS-A2K from 19 – 21 February 2021 during the occasion of International Mother Language Day. The main objectives behind organising this meet were to celebrate the work done by Wikimedians of India, to provide an online platform for wiki-learning and skill-sharing, to support discussions and interactions, to give training on important and relevant topics, and explore the medium of online training and wiki-events for future use. WMWM 2021 was an entirely online Wiki-event with 31 sessions spanning keynote addresses, workshops, presentations, panel discussions, lightening talks etc. under tracks - Growth, Partnership, Technical, Strategy, Community, Language and Miscellaneous. As it was a first-ever large scale online event, the A2K team and program committee had interactions with members of the Celtic Knot Conference, LD4 Conference, Wikimedia CEE Online Meeting, Creative Commons Global Summit, Italy Wiki Conference, Wikicite Virtual Conference, and Wikimedia Strategy Global Conversation for clarity and guidance. For community engagement, Request for Comments was started and five blog posts were published on diff. The volunteers submitted a total of 44 submissions on various topics. The program committee selected 29 presentations distributed over seven tracks to finalise the program schedule for three days. During this three-day event, around 200 participants joined in at different times. Out of the 29 presentations, 18 presenters were from India and the rest were international presenters. A detailed report of WMWM 2021 is published on meta.
A process for exchange of best practices in online events globally was initiated. The Wikimedians enthusiastically joined in discussions on local as well as global topics through an online platform; facilitating these conversations would not be possible offline.
After this event we have much better knowledge and experience of conducting remote events, hybrid learning methods, remote co-ordination processes etc. We have been working to share the learning in blog posts, report etc.
We found Wikimeet has great potential. In future, we would like to conduct another iteration of Wikimedia Wikimeet, or similar events.
Internet Support for Wikimedians in India
COVID-19 has affected the financial situation of volunteers and they highlighted this concern in different ways. Some of them were unable to recharge and get internet connectivity because they lost their jobs, and a variety of other reasons. Internet Support for Wikimedian in India is a program run by A2K from 1 June to 31 August 2021. We are extending our support to the Indian Wikimedians in need. We started this program when we have got multiple requests regarding internet support on our request page. Till June, we received 52 requests on the meta page from different communities. We have supported 19 users in the month of June with internet charges for a period three months. In order to facilitate this whole process, we have set up a committee of four volunteers.
COVID-19 support for Indian Wikimedians
Responding to the pandemic situation across the country, CIS-A2K extended support to Wikimedians as per their requirements at the time. The first program included support in the form of COVID-19 protection kits and reimbursement of vaccination costs. This support was provided to 71 Wikimedians. The second program comprised access to counselling services in order to address mental health concerns resulting from the stress and anxiety of coping with the pandemic. CIS-A2K collaborated with Institute of Psychological Health, an organisation actively working in the sector for more than 30 years with the primary objective of ‘Mental Health for All’. An interactive online session was organised to understand the basics of mental health, and concerns raised due to pandemic-related anxiety, stress and trauma. The founder of IPH, Dr. Anand Nadkarni discussed some of the key issues related to mental health during the pandemic as part of this session. We also provided counselling services through the IPH team to the Wikimedians who applied for the same.
Internet support for Indian Wikimedians
Awareness session on mental health and the pandemic
Three editions of Indic Wikisource community newsletter have been published in this year—
CIS-A2K has been supporting the Indian Wikimedia communities through the request page to conduct Wikimedia events/activities. Due to COVID-19, we had suspended this facility for in-person events for some time. When the communities approached us with requests for support with online events, such as help with internet and hardware we started the facility again. We have three types, namely financial, non-financial & technical requests from the communities.
Some of the requests received between 1 July 2020 and 30 June 2021:
- Gujarati Wikipedia Edit-a-thon: Gujarati Wikipedia community conducted an edit-a-thon related to Gujarati literature which includes but is not limited to evolutionary phases of Gujarati language, different eras and works of Gujarati literature, various dialects of the language, important people and organisations who contributed significantly for Gujarati. Six community members took part and created/expanded around 28 articles as part of this event.
- Tamil Wiki Internship Program 2020: Tamil Wikipedia community conducted a 30-day internship program for college students to enhance the ongoing work. A total of 43 students took part in the event for and contributed to Wikisource with the help of experienced Wikimedians with two online sessions per week. This was first event of its kind with participation of school students.
The research component for APG 2020-21 was planned as a continuation of work on important aspects of Indian language Wikimedia content and communities, but also with the objective of undertaking further research based on learnings from the previous year. All six projects initiated at the beginning of this component were completed, which were as follows:
- Mapping GLAM in Maharashtra
- Bridging the Gender Gap: A Report on Indian Language Wikimedia Communities
- Understanding the Data Gaps on Wikidata Concerning Heritage Structures of West Bengal
- Wikipedia in the Classroom: A Study of Wikimedia in Education at CHRIST (Deemed to be University)
- Content Creation on Punjabi Wikipedia
- A Comparative Study of Article Creation Campaigns on Wikipedia
Short updates on some of these studies are as follows:
- Content Creation on Eastern Punjabi Wikipedia: The aim of this study was to analyse the nature of content produced on Eastern Punjabi Wikipedia, to understand knowledge gaps in content creation and curation from the perspective of Punjabi language contributors and users, as well as challenges for creating new content. The research methods comprised semi-structured interviews with five active members of the Punjabi Wikimedians User Group. The research highlighted existing challenges for contributors and users, such as the lack of sufficient and high-quality content about the Punjab region and good online references, and inordinate focus on content translation instead of creating new content.The study offered some recommendations and strategies to address these challenges. This report can be seen on Meta and the CIS website.
- A Comparative Study of Wikipedia Article Creation Campaigns in India: The objective of this study was to compare and analyse two content creation campaigns on Wikipedia i.e, Project Tiger and Wikipedia Asian Month. The study focussed on factors such as what motivates volunteers to contribute to Wikipedia during a campaign or a contest, the challenges they face, the kind of content being added during these contests, etc. During this study, we observed that campaigns or contests follow a few common aspects but also have some differences. The research methods comprised interviews with community members, event participants and organisers. The report is available on Meta and the CIS website.
The final reports of these studies offer insights from conversations with contributors across multiple language communities, and delve into a range of topics in close alignment with existing work in the programme. These include opportunities and challenges in content creation and access across specific projects, creating multilingual and open educational platforms and resources, to an understanding of asymmetries in content and participation due to socio-cultural factors such as the gender gap. The final reports (including translations for two of them) are now available on Wikimedia Meta-Wiki and the CIS website, and have been shared with the relevant mailing lists for community feedback. A compilation of the final reports is now available on Wikimedia Commons as well.
Wiki Workshop 2021
The research work undertaken by the team over the last couple of years was shared at the Wikiworkshop 2021 held virtually and as part of The Web Conference 2021. Along with an overview of the projects, the research supervisor presented key observations and learnings from the projects completed thus far. This was primarily with the objective of gathering feedback that may help design next steps of the research at A2K, and further align these efforts with areas of work and interest in the larger movement. Former A2K team member, Bhuvana Meenakshi Koteeswaran also shared insights on bridging the gender gap in Indian language Wikimedia communities, as part of a lightning talk on the recently published report on the study undertaken as part of her research with A2K. In addition to these, an overview and insights from the research were shared in a short essay on digital infrastructures and languages published in Seminar magazine.
Research Needs Assessment and Ongoing Work
This year a research needs assessment was undertaken with the objective of understanding broadly the existing knowledge gaps and areas of focus in Indian language Wikimedia communities, in terms of content, platforms and community engagement, and the role that research may play in addressing the same. The needs assessment was shared on all relevant community mailing lists, and received a small but interesting set of responses. It identified a set of challenges, primarily related to technological/infrastructural gaps, and training/capacity-building needs of communities. Despite the limited responses, the needs assessment offered some important insights into areas of focus for upcoming work and research with Indian language Wikimedia projects. A short-term research study on mapping and documentation of content in Indian languages on water resources in India was also initiated, and is to be led by a team member. The concept note and research design for the study were completed, and online sessions were conducted with eight organisations to finalise the questionnaire. Organisations were selected based on areas of work - awareness, training, planning/designing of projects, execution on ground, monitoring & evaluation, and documenting/building archives. However, as the representatives of these organisations were unaware of Wikimedia projects, at least one offline meeting is required. Owing to travel restrictions due to the pandemic these visits could be undertaken; the study will now be continued in the next program year with a revised timeline.
Observations and Learnings
The process of working on these studies offer us several learnings, given the diverse contexts of the projects and the capacities and interests of the team members themselves. The studies used mostly qualitative methods, and capacity building for team members was undertaken through close collaboration and supervision. There was also considerable effort in designing and modifying the studies to ensure they were accessible to the wider community of people engaged with them. The research process and related challenges such as translation, revealed several interesting gaps, like the lack of technical terms related to digitization and open access in Indian languages for example. The COVID-19 pandemic led to restrictions on offline visits, and to a change in methods as well as reliance on online conversations
The overall experience of working on this component has also highlighted important questions of awareness, relevance and impact. There is little easily accessible research on Wikimedia in the Indian context (outside of academic spaces), which poses limitations in designing further work. The limited awareness about, and imagined relevance and impact of research for Wikimedia projects has also been a challenge in framing these conversations. The needs assessment illustrates that few community members are aware of research on Wikimedia projects being undertaken in India or at a global level. The studies undertaken as part of this component also focus on short-term impact, in the form of best practices and recommendations etc. While this approach is best suited to small studies, it often frames research within an instrumental lens to identify problems, solutions and their implementation, often without a critical analysis of larger, systemic and structural issues. It is important therefore that future processes of research design address these challenges, in order to create a long-term, sustainable and self-reflexive model of engagement with work in this area.
Revenues received during this period
Table 2 Please report all spending in the currency of your grant unless US$ is requested.
- Please also include any in-kind contributions or resources that you have received in this revenues table. This might include donated office space, services, prizes, food, etc. If you are to provide a monetary equivalent (e.g. $500 for food from Organization X for service Y), please include it in this table. Otherwise, please highlight the contribution, as well as the name of the partner, in the notes section.
Revenue source Currency Anticipated Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Cumulative Anticipated ($US)* Cumulative ($US)* Explanation of variances from plan WMF INR 16,215,380 9,293,013.00 - 3,796,781.29 13,089,794.29 227,015.32 183,257.12
- The second instalment was adjusted against the unspent money of previous grant years, and other unspent money such as fund received for fiscal sponsorship
- INR 4,543 was charged by the bank as bank transaction fees.
* Provide estimates in US Dollars
Spending during this period
Spending during this period
|Budget Head||Budget Amount INR.||Q1 Actual Expense July 2020 to September 2020 INR.||Q2 Actual Expense October 2020 to December 2020 INR.||Q3 Actual Expense January 2021 to March 2021 INR||Q4 Actual Expense April 2021 to June 2021 INR||Total Expenses INR||Total Expense USD||Budget in US|
|Program Officer (GLAM)||678,000||-||516,000||236,000||96,000||848,000||11,872||9,492|
|Community Advocates/Program Associates||1,800,000||235,500||386,512||290,500||292,500||1,205,012||16,870||25,200|
|Regional Wiki Events||800,000||5,284||315,406||91,069||320,109||731,868||10,246||11,200|
|Staff travel & stay||440,000||-||-||-||-||-||-||6,160|
|Skill Building Initiatives (Offline)||2,450,000||-||-||178,023||2,950||180,973||2,534||34,300|
|Skill Building Initiatives (Online)||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|General Community Support||400,000||-||39,298||10,719||248,642||298,659||4,181||5,600|
|Creating movement resources||800,000||50,000||-||-||150,622||200,622||2,809||11,200|
|Indian Wikimedians' Global Engagement||320,000||-||-||-||166,000||166,000||2,324||4,480|
|CIS-A2K members Global Engagement||140,000||-||50,019||-||70,477||120,496||1,687||1,960|
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- No changes from the grant agreement.
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