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 comprises 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) program works to strengthen and support Wikimedia projects and the free-knowledge movement in India. We have been engaging closely with various Indian language Wikimedia communities for several years now, with the primary objective of 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 (A2K) is presenting the impact report for the program year 1 June 2021 – 30 June 2022. The report contains the programmatic report (program stories and narratives, supported by metrics) and the financial report. This year A2K has continued their work to design Wikimedia initiatives, including activities and events, and support Indian Wikimedia projects and the communities.
- CIS-A2K has conducted two iterations of a national-level Wikisource proofread-a-thon. The event pages may be seen at Indic Wikisource Proofreadthon August 2021 and at Indic Wikisource Proofreadthon March 2022. A2K has arranged in-person Wikisource workshops in Punjab, and in Assam.
- A2K has continued important digitisation work in collaboration with various partner institutions and organisations in India such as Vigyan Ashram, Lek Ladki Abhiyan, Pune Nagar Vachan Mandir, Goa Central library, Bharatkar Hegde Desai Pratishthan, Research Institute of World’s Ancient Traditions Cultures and Heritage (RIWATCH) and Tarun Bharat Sangh.
- A2K has taken forward the mini edit-a-thon series, and in the program year five such edit-a-thons were conducted: Mahatma Gandhi 2021 edit-a-thon, Festive Season 2021 edit-a-thon, International Mother Language Day 2022 edit-a-thon, International Women's Month 2022 edit-a-thon and June Month Celebration 2022 edit-a-thon
- Pune Nadi Darshan, a campaign in collaboration with institutional partner Rotary Water Olympiad was organised this year (2022) between March and May. 276 photographs were uploaded on Wikimedia Commons
- A2K, in collaboration with Research Institute of World’s Ancient Traditions Cultures and Heritage (RIWATCH) and West Bengal Wikimedians User Group (WBUG), started a GLAM project in Arunachal Pradesh. The program page may be seen here.
- A2K is working with institutional partners like Bharatkar Hegde Desai Trust, Goa University, Goa State Central library and Bhakti Dnyan Marg Sadhan Sanstha, Shivoli for the digitisation of historical documents and books. A project to digitise a 100-year-old newspaper, O Bharat's 27 bound volumes was completed. The uploaded volumes may be seen on Wikimedia Commons.
- A2K has continued support towards the communities through the request page. In this program year A2K has supported activities like Gujarati Wikipedia edit-a-thon, Indic Hackathon 2022, Wiki Loves Wildflowers Pilot Project, Kashmiri Wikipedia edit-a-thon. A2K has also provided internet connectivity support to 18 Wikimedians.
- The work in the research vertical was continued this year. Three studies were undertaken: Mapping Content on Gender and Sexuality in Indian Languages, Study on Infrastructural Needs of Indian Language Wikisource Projects and Exploring Knowledge Repositories on Water Resources in India
Global metrics overview - all programs
|Participants||2,900||1,955||The on-ground workshops in the educational institutes and organisations could not be conducted due to disturbed academic schedules during the COVID 19 pandemic. Therefore the targets were not met.|
On Wikimedia Commons
Digitisation projects, Wikisource proofread-a-thons and mini edit-a-thons resulted in increased content.
|Learning-Evaluation/Knowledge Sharing||10||2||Work in this portal has been slow in this program year. Writings, learning modules and documents will be documented under CIS-A2K/Academy.|
|Metric||Target||Progress (at end of Q4)||Achieved outcome|
As part of its larger objective of augmenting open access content in Indian languages, CIS-A2K has been encouraging communities to develop content in their respective languages for the last several years. CIS-A2K has started a mini edit-a-thon series in October 2020. This comprises a two-day edit-a-thon focused on a specific theme for each occasion. During these two days, all interested Wikimedians write articles on Wikipedia in their own language. The edit-a-thon does not restrict content creation to a particular Wikimedia project as well, so contributors may work across a range of content creation efforts.
In 2021–2022, A2K organised five national level edit-a-thons: Mahatma Gandhi 2021 edit-a-thon, Festive Season 2021 edit-a-thon, International Mother Language Day 2022 edit-a-thon, International Women's Month 2022 edit-a-thon and June Month Celebration 2022 edit-a-thon.
A total of 30 participants contributed towards content creation as part of these events, with 381 articles created or expanded, 168 Wikidata items created, and 64 pages proofread during these edit-a-thons.
Mahatma Gandhi 2021 edit-a-thon
Festive Season 2021 edit-a-thon
International Mother Language Day 2022 edit-a-thon
Indic Wikisource proofread-a-thon
CIS-A2K conducted the 3rd all India level online Indic Wikisource Proofreadthon in August 2021 to enhance awareness and skills related to Wikisource projects, and encourage Indian language contributors to work on them. This was a fifteen-day online event, where the participants contested from their language-specific projects, on an all-India basis. Each community selected the books to be proofread by the 198 participants. A total of 186 books were proofread in this edition of the contest. A total of 39,783 pages and 10,779 pages were proofread and validated respectively.
CIS-A2K conducted 4th all India level online Indic Wikisource Proofreadthon in March 2022. Before starting this contest, we conducted one online Wikisource meetup on 19 February 2022. Each community selected their books to be proofread. A total of 162 books were proofread in this contest by the 92 participants. A total of 12,241 pages and 3,592 pages were proofread and validated respectively. The graphs for the event in March 2022 are given below.
We organised three Wikisource Proofreadthons during the period of the pandemic from the year 2020 to 2022. During these difficult times, the communities organised themselves completely in the online mode and generated significant contributions to build resources in their languages. The communities realised their strength and weakness as well as what needs to be done to improve the situation. It was a healthy competition in which editors supported each other over social media too.
Pune Nadi Darshan photo contest
Pune Nadi Darshan was a campaign, as well as a photography contest organised by CIS-A2K, in collaboration with Rotary Water Olympiad on the occasion of ‘World Water Week'. The duration of the event was from 16 March to 16 May 2022. Training sessions were conducted for four organisations working on river issues. The structure for this project was created for the first time with experts and resource persons. During this campaign, 276 photographs were uploaded.
Specific categories to document various aspects of rivers were created on Wikimedia Commons. The organisations working on rivers were connected with Wikimedia projects. The Rotary organisation has adopted this theme in their water-related activities.
There are several groups of nature lovers and photographers on social media. The promotion of this campaign among these groups in an effective manner could have attracted more qualitative and quantitative contributions.
The iterations of this contest are planned in other districts of Maharashtra in the next program year.
Confluence of rivers Bhima, Bhama & Indrayani, in Sangameshwar - Tulapur
Jambhulwadi Lake, South Pune
Nira river necklace point near Bhatgar dam, Pune District
Untreated sewage water discharged in Mutha river near S.M. Joshi bridge, Pune
Water hyacinth in Mula river at Aundh, Pune
Training on Photo Documentation
Several training sessions on photo documentation were organised in collaboration with partner organisations over this program year. Selected organisations working in the area of flood relief were trained in documenting natural disasters on Wikimedia Commons. A total of four members from these organisations were trained in an online session conducted on 24 July 2022. The images from Satara district were uploaded by Lek Ladki Abhiyan volunteers.
CIS-A2K promoted WLM 2021 amongst photographers, students and journalists, with the objective of encouraging them to document local cultural heritage. Our institutional partners, PAH Solapur University and MGM University's School of Photography took the initiative to organise online sessions on Wikimedia Commons. Photographers from Solapur, Sangli and Aurangabad and students of MGM college of Journalism participated in these events on 24 and 29 September 2021. The contributors were also supported through online follow-up sessions.
CIS-A2K collaborated with various organisations to document important social struggles during Share Your Struggle 2021, a public photo competition on Wikimedia Commons. A session on Wikimedia Commons was conducted on 9 September 2021 to explain copyrights, Creative Commons licenses, the objectives of SYS2021 and the uploading process. In this session, 11 volunteers of organisations - Narmada Bachao Andolan, Loksangharsh Morcha, Amhi Amchya Arogyasathi, MVSTF Nandurbar, Lek Ladki Abhiyan & Dalit Mahila Vikas Mandal - actively participated and uploaded the images related to important struggles such as social movements, natural disasters and public health crises in India.
Organisations working in thematic areas, and subject matter experts holding a stock of encyclopedic and unique images were introduced to the Wikimedia world for the first time. Images of historical value, such as from long term struggles like the Narmada Bachao Andolan, or recent events like the Farmers' Protests in 2020, and natural calamities were uploaded. The future planning of developing photographic archives with these organisations has also begun as a result of the exposure through these events.
Devastated house in Humbarli floods
Struggle for drinking water
Wikisource Community Skill-Building Workshops
A Punjabi Wikisource Community skill-building workshop was conducted by CIS-A2K for Punjabi Wikisource community members on 14 – 15 May 2022. 12 participants were present at the event, including five female participants. An Assamese Wikisource Community skill-building workshop was conducted for Assamese Wikisource editors from 10 June to 12 June 2022. 15 participants were present where five were female participants. Both workshops looked at key aspects of Wikisource work in these language communities, with a focus on current status and challenges, technical issues, partnerships across projects and organisations, and future scope of work.
The editors at basic and advance levels were trained to resolve any technical issues they were facing, as a result of which the quality of their contributions has improved significantly. The model of peer learning was successful because distant editors came together after a long gap.
Participants of Punjabi Wikisource advance training workshop
Participants of Assamese Wikisource advance training workshop
Demonstration of Wikisource editing process
Intensive Personalized Wiki Training
The Intensive Personalized Training program has been formed to help Indic Wikisource users on a one-to-one basis. This channel is to be used for new contributors in Wikisource projects, in order to address any knowledge gaps and technical challenges faced in the course of their work on these projects. CIS-A2K has conducted one IPT session in this year.
Indic Wikisource Helpdesk
The Indic Wikisource Helpdesk was formed to help Indic Wikisource users with any information or support needed during the course of their work on projects. We have different help/discussion channels on 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.
GLAM Project with RIWATCH
CIS-A2K in collaboration with Research Institute of World’s Ancient Traditions Cultures and Heritage (RIWATCH) and West Bengal Wikimedians User Group (WBUG), started a GLAM project in Arunachal Pradesh. The objective is to document the tribal culture, heritage, crafts and local languages. A contributor from the community, Kime Rilla was trained in Wikimedia projects and placed as Wikimedians in Residence (WiR) at the RIWATCH Institute, located in the village of Khinjili near the town of Roing at Lower Dibang Valley district of Arunachal Pradesh. A local tribal organization named Idu Mishmi Cultural & Literary Society has been engaged to develop an Idu Mishmi language corpora and grammar for future incorporation on Wikidata. The project was started in March 2022 and the first phase ended in June 2022.
Unique images and videos of people, craft, culture from this remote region were uploaded for the first time on Wikimedia Commons. This includes three volumes of Tibetan Buddhist cannon Tengyur which was donated to the RIWATCH museum by the 14th Dalai Lama, a documentary on cultural heritage of Adis and rare historical artifacts in the museum.
The process of identification and training of local volunteers is crucial for such a project. Due to the remoteness and adverse climatic conditions of the project location we faced abrupt power cuts, poor internet connectivity and logistical issues. All these factors need to be taken into account while scheduling project-related activities.
The second phase of the project will start from October 2022 after the rainy season. The indigenous tribal organisations will be engaged in this project to record authentic oral histories and languages of the region.
A group of Adi men performing war dance, Rungmong village, Upper Siang district
Miju Mishmi women from Anjaw district in their traditional attire
Scriptures of Bhuddism
Wikimedian in Residence starts work at RIWATCH
Wikimedia orientation session of Idu Mishmi Cultural & Literary Society members and RIWATCH staff
CIS-A2K continued working on digitisation programs consecutively in the fourth year with its partner organisations - Vigyan Ashram, Lek Ladki Abhiyan, Pune Nagar Vachan Mandir, Goa Central library, Bharatkar Hegde Desai Pratishthan, RIWATCH and Tarun Bharat Sangh.
The Digitisation centre in collaboration with Lek Ladki Abhiyan's Muktangan Training centre and 150 year old Shri. Chhatrapati Pratapsinh Maharaj (Thorle) Nagar Wachanalay, a public library in Satara has been operational from August 2021. This centre has digitised a total 75 books and uploaded them in category on Wikimedia Commons.
The second set-up in collaboration with the 175 year old Pune Nagar Vachan Mandir Library to facilitate the scanning of books was started from November 2021 with a training workshop. This library has scanned and uploaded a total of 400 books on Wikimedia Commons.
CIS-A2K is building partnerships in Goa with institutions like - Bharatkar Hegde Desai Trust, Goa University, Goa Central library and Bhakti Dnyan Marg Sadhan Sanstha, Shivoli for the digitisation of historical documents and books. The first project on digitisation of a 100 year old newspaper, O Bharat's 27 bound volumes was completed. The volumes are being uploaded on Wikimedia Commons category.
The scanning centre at Vigyan Ashram continued activity in the third year and digitised a total of 35 books.Regular reviews and advanced training sessions were conducted to improve the quality and efficiency of the digitisation work.
The methodology developed by CIS-A2K in partnership with different libraries and institutions can be replicated anywhere as per the feedback from various stakeholders. This is a mutually beneficial collaboration as people develop several skills in the process of digitisation of hidden knowledge repositories, which are in turn made accessible to the society at large. This has led to the design of the National Digitisation Program. The execution of this initiative starts in the next program year.
The availability of a structured database of authors and their works is necessary in every language, in order to assess and decide the copyright status and priority of digitisation. There is a need to work with all literary bodies to achieve this objective.
After looking at the outcomes of the digitisation projects in the last three years, many institutions have shown interest in working with us. We have planned to launch such centres in at least two states of India.
Digitisation skill training session at Pune Nagar Vachan Mandir library in Pune
Digitisation skill training at Lek Ladki Abhiyan, Satara
Digitisation skill training session at Vigyan Ashram, Pabal
Skill training of Goa university students for digitisation of O Bharat newspaper at Goa Central Library
CIS-A2K started the content re-licensing movement in a systematic way from 2017 in Maharashtra, and now the interest and work has spread to other states of India. Till now, we have facilitated re-licensing of a total of 423 books in Marathi, Hindi and English. In this program year, re-licensing of a total of 139 books was facilitated by CIS-A2K with active involvement of community members and copyright holders. All these books were digitised and uploaded on Wikimedia Commons. The thematic re-licensing includes content on Suryanamaskara (Sun salutation exercises) by veteran expert, Subhash Khardekar from Nasik. It includes 12 books, 22 audio files, four PowerPoint presentations or sets of slides and three charts. Orientation sessions were conducted for Konkani language organisations and authors in Goa to initiate the re-licensing process with their content.
The awareness about the importance of content re-licensing has increased due to consistent efforts and facilitation in the process. The process is being replicated by community members and literary organisations spontaneously. As a result, every year more than 125 books are being released. The follow-up process of digitisation and uploading is also established and streamlined now.
Lot of valuable books are out of print for more than 20 years and not easily available in libraries too. The authors and other copyright holders are eager to re-license such books and make them accessible to the society. There is a need to spread awareness about the simple process available on Wikimedia Commons to release and upload these works.
The stories and informational materials on re-licensing will be created in different media formats and in multiple languages for promotion of this concept in other states. Training manuals on the process are also planned in various languages.
Thematic WikiProjects - WikiProject Birds & WikiProject Rivers
Under WikiProject Rivers or Jalbodh, Agrani river basin and Arvari river basin documentation programs were designed. Efforts were initiated to launch a Wikimedian in Residence program and digitisation work at Tarun Bharat Sangh in Rajasthan. The scanning of documents has started. The thematic partnership with the organisation, Birdsong, was started to launch WikiProject Birds. The workshops are being conducted to develop categories according to habitats and facilitate uploading images on Commons. This project is a confluence of citizen science and free knowledge creation on Wikimedia projects.
The citizen science initiatives and developmental organisations working on thematic areas are looking positively towards the Wikimedia projects to document real experiences, facts and research studies which will support action on the ground on biodiversity and conservation. Through these thematic projects, efforts in locally relevant knowledge creation are being done by experts and alert citizens. This archive is very important for future reference.
People completely new to Wikimedia platforms find methods for uploading encyclopedic content on Wikimedia a little difficult. They are familiar with uploading images very easily on social media. Therefore, we need patience in training efforts and need to ensure constant follow-up to engage the thematic groups.
Regular review workshops are planned to engage more members from these groups in these initiatives. Networking with like-minded organisations will also be undertaken as part of this project.
Nahar Singh wala johad at village Bhanwata
Category tree developed for documenting biodiversity in Sangli workshop
Birdsong members in Wikimedia Commons workshop
Chstnut tailed starling at Mahaveer Udyan, Sangli
Ruddy shelduck at Krishna river, Sangli
CIS-A2K organised an online South Asia call as part of Maryana’s Listening Tour on 26 November 2021. The meeting was an effort to connect with South Asian communities as part of the listening tour, to share work and understand current developments in the movement. Around 30 plus participants discussed about their engagement in the Wikimedia projects, infrastructure challenges and future ideas.
Maryana’s Listening Tour ― South Asia
Maryana’s Listening Tour ― South Asia
Indic Wikisource Community Newsletter
This newsletter captures Wikisource events, progress of the projects, special achievements by editors, re-licensing of content and analysis of the statistics. This year CIS-A2K published four newsletters.
CIS-A2K provides financial and non-financial support to Indian Wikimedians through the request page.
Community Events & Projects:
In this year CIS-A2K provided financial support to events organised by communities, such as, Hindi Wiktionary edit-a-thon, Gujarati Wikipedia edit-a-thon, Kashmiri Wikipedia edit-a-thon, Women's Week 2022 and Indic Hackathon 2022.
Some of the projects supported were - Share Your Struggle 2021 photo competition and Wiki Loves Wildflowers Pilot Project.
In this year, A2K provided internet support to 18 community members.
As per the requests, CIS-A2K provided support to nine members in the form of gadgets and books.
The CIS-A2K programme began work on a research component as a pilot initiative in 2019, and aimed to work closely with and engage team members and communities in exploring existing and newer areas of work in the movement. As part of this pilot initiative, a series of six short term studies on diverse topics related to Wikimedia projects were undertaken in 2019-2021. A compilation of the reports is now available on Wikimedia Commons. Work on this component has continued over 2021-22, with new projects based on learnings from the previous studies as well as reflections on programmatic work done by the team. The three studies undertaken this year include:
- Mapping Content on Gender and Sexuality in Indian languages: This study aimed to understand the nature of content creation on gender and sexuality in Indian languages, it’s digital documentation and online representation via open knowledge platforms such as Wikimedia projects. The methods of study comprised a total of 19 semi-structured interviews with key organisations and individuals working in content creation in these thematic areas. The study offers several learnings on disparities in content creation, the need for an intersectional approach (including towards processes of translation, digitisation and archiving), bridging technical and infrastructural gaps, facilitating better visibility and collaborations to enable content sharing and capacity building. The final report was published in August 2022, and is available on Wikimedia Meta-Wiki.
- Exploring Knowledge Repositories on Water Resources in India: This project aimed to understand the impact of the digital transition on availability of content related to water resources in India (with a focus on rivers), its digital documentation and wider public access. The methods of study included semi-structured interviews with selected organisations working in key thematic areas such as - awareness, training, planning/designing of projects, execution on ground, monitoring & evaluation, documenting/building archives related to water resources in India. While a total of eight institutions were shortlisted, detailed interviews were conducted with three of them, given constraints on in-person meetings and technical challenges with online meetings.The study offers several learnings on the range of content available on water resources, challenges with digital documentation in Indian languages, and how these resources may inform citizen movements at large. The final report on the study has been published in September 2022, and is now available on Wikimedia Meta-Wiki.
- Study on Infrastructural Needs of Indian Language Wikisource Projects: This study aimed to identify current needs and challenges of Indian Language Wikisource projects, with a focus on knowledge gaps in technological capacity, resources and training, and potential strategies to address these gaps, including through collaborative intervention and training. The project adopted a mixed methods approach comprising a survey, and interviews with key community members. However, the interviews could not be undertaken given several logistical challenges, and difficulties in engaging community members. Hence the team worked on a report based on the survey data, which offers several learnings on aspects of technological infrastructure, community engagement, capacity-building, content creation and open access among others. The final report on the study has been published in September 2022, and is now available on Wikimedia Meta-Wiki.
The team has also worked on sharing research outputs not only within the Wikimedia communities, but also a wider audience, including key stakeholders within the open knowledge movement, cultural and other like-minded organisations and academia. Some of the key events where research work was presented between July 2021 -June 2022 include:
- Creative Commons Global Summit: Presentation on the study on 'Mapping GLAM in Maharashtra, India' and related research at CIS on open access to digital cultural heritage and digital humanities, with a focus on mapping larger challenges and best practices for GLAM in India.
- #CultureForAll Conference on Cultural Mapping: Presentation on the A2K research, along with observations from research projects completed last year, and an overview of ongoing work for 2021-22.
- Wikisource Eighteenth Birthday Celebrations: Presentation on the study on 'Infrastructural Needs of Indian Language Wikisource Projects'.
- 'Building Multilingual Internets': Presentation on A2K research and intersections with digital humanities, at the Global Digital Humanities Symposium, Michigan State University.
- The Digital Gender Disparity: Presentation to share early learnings from the study on mapping content related to gender and sexuality in Indian languages and their digital documentation, at the Wiki Workshop 2022.
- Let's Connect:Learning Clinic on Qualitative Evaluation Methods:Presentation and discussion on learnings from A2K research on gender gap, as part of a learning clinic on evaluation methods organised by Let’s Connect.
The research studies undertaken over 2019-21, and those completed earlier have offered several learnings, not only in terms of the existing knowledge gaps across different Wikimedia projects, or newer, unexplored areas of work, but also motivations, process, relevance and impact. The process of building and structuring the overall research component, including refining its objectives and scope has been a challenging exercise. The research projects have also been led by team members with differing areas of interest and skills, and hence have evolved along with a steep learning curve in building certain kinds of capacity in research design, data collection and analysis, report writing, review and dissemination. The process has therefore been a difficult but enriching one, with attention to motivations and relevance of the research being undertaken, methodology and ethics, and centering experiences of working closely with the Indian language communities.
Revenues received during this period
Table 2 Please report all spending in the currency of your grant unless US$ is requested.
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Revenue source Currency Anticipated Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Cumulative Anticipated ($US)* Cumulative ($US)* Explanation of variances from plan WMF (Tide Advocacy) INR 14,654,976 10,258,483 - 4,396,493 - 14,654,976.00 199,747.32 199,747.32 Received full amount as per the approved budget.
* Provide estimates in US Dollars
Spending during this period
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- No changes from the grant agreement.
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