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Grants:PEG/Anderson/Script encoding proposal for Nepal/Report

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Report accepted
This report for a Project and Event grant approved in FY 2014-15 has been reviewed and accepted by the Wikimedia Foundation.
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Project status[edit]

Did you comply with the requirements specified by WMF in the grant agreement?
Is your project completed?

Activities and lessons learned[edit]


The project centered around holding meetings in Kathmandu with Unicode representatives and Nepal Bhasa user community members, particularly members from the group Nepal Lipi Guthi, which promotes the Nepal Bhasa language. The goal was to help progress script proposals for two scripts of Nepal, "Prachalit Nepal" and Ranjana, so they become part of the international standard and can ultimately be accessible for Wikimedia projects and for general and scholarly use.

Meetings were held at the Microsoft Innovation Center in Kathmandu on October 4-6. On Tuesday, 7 October, an announcement dinner took place at the Alpha House, Baneshwor, Kathmandu. At this event, the agreements made during the meetings were announced before a large audience, which included members of the media.

The total number of attendees at all the events was 60, with a wide range of participants, including modern language users, Wikimedia Nepal members, journalists, linguists, Unicode members, and font designers. (A complete list of attendees is contained on page 8-12 of http://www.unicode.org/L2/L2014/14253-rec.pdf.)

A newspaper report on the Kathmandu meeting is available at: http://www.nepal-lipi.com/uploads/4/2/3/3/42338875/nepallipi-encoding-myarticle-on-trn.png (Note: There are a few errors in the story.)

The meetings from 4-6 October resulted in a set of recommendations for the Unicode Technical Committee (UTC) (http://www.unicode.org/L2/L2014/14253-rec.pdf). The public announcement of these recommendations was made at the announcement dinner on 7 October, 2014. Anderson forwarded the recommendations to the UTC.

The following describes subsequent developments, which followed on the meetings in Kathmandu:

  • In mid-October, Anderson discussed the Kathmandu recommendations with a few members of the Unicode Technical Committee. Based on these discussions, a Unicode proposal and supplementary documents were prepared for the Newa script (with a new name). The proposal took into consideration the Kathmandu recommendations and tried to arrive at a proposal that the UTC might find acceptable. On 30 October, the Unicode Technical Committee approved this proposal for the Newa script (http://www.unicode.org/L2/L2014/14285r2-newa.pdf).
  • The UTC's approval of the Newa script was relayed to the attendees in Kathmandu (via Allen Tuladhar), and a copy of the proposal and ancillary documents were sent to Nepal attendees for their comments. Slight modifications were made based on the feedback received, and the amended proposal was uploaded to the website for the UTC (which is the version accessible at the link above).
  • In December, Anderson sent the amended proposal to the Convener of the ISO Working Group on ISO 10646 for posting on the WG2 website. The script is now included in the Draft Repertoire for the Preliminary Draft Amendment 2.3 (pp. 29-31 on http://www.unicode.org/L2/L2014/14295-n4651-pdam23-charts.pdf), which is expected to start balloting in the first or second quarter of 2015. If ISO voting goes smoothly, the Newa script would be eligible for inclusion in Unicode 9.0, which will be released in the summer of 2016.

Lessons learned[edit]

What worked well?
  • Holding a face-to-face meeting with the user community in Kathmandu was invaluable, since email communication was not able to clearly convey the issues or to allow the parties to discuss the technical points in depth.
  • By scheduling the meeting for a few days, the discussions were not rushed, and it allowed time to revisit any points of confusion.
  • Having a large drawing pad on hand made it easier to show examples.
What didn't work?
We ran into a few unforeseen problems. For example, Chris Fynn could not participate due to delays in getting a visa and a ticket from Bhutan. At the last moment, Anshuman Pandey was not able to attend the meeting. In addition, some people were out of town during the meeting in Kathmandu, as it was a holiday.
What would you do differently if you planned a similar project?
  • Verify no holiday is taking place during the appointed meeting time.
  • Allow extra time for participants to get visas.
  • Try to ensure that users of modern and historic materials are both represented at the meeting, so the discussion and recommendations on the scripts reflect broad usage by all parties.

Learning patterns[edit]

Outcomes and impact[edit]


Provide the original project goal here.
The main goal of this project was to meet with the user communities in Nepal to discuss two Unicode script proposals, and to agree on the concrete steps for the proposals to be submitted to the standards committees. The ultimate goal was for the scripts to eventually become part of the international character encoding standard Unicode (/ISO 10646), and be used in WM projects, as well as by general users and scholars.
Did you achieve your project goal? How do you know your goal was achieved? Please answer in 1 - 2 short paragraphs.
Yes. We met with the user community in Nepal, and the meeting resulted in a set of recommendations for the standards committees on the "Prachalit Nepal" (= "Nepaalalipi" = "Newa") and Ranjana scripts, as well as on the Bhujinmola script (see http://www.unicode.org/L2/L2014/14253-rec.pdf).
The results for the various scripts included:
  • A script proposal for the Newa script (="Prachalit Nepal" = "Nepaalalipi") was approved by the Unicode Technical Committee in late October and is now in line to get onto an ISO ballot. The recommendations from the Kathmandu meeting -- alongside intense discussions with Unicode encoding experts -- were instrumental in getting the script proposal approved by the UTC. If no serious issues appear during the ISO balloting period, the script should be published in Unicode 9.0, which will appear in the summer of 2015.
  • Work on the Ranjana script has been postponed, pending successful progress of the Newa script proposal in the standards committees. (The two scripts share many features, so the approval of Newa can be used as a general guide for Ranjana.) The UTC did not yet formally discuss Ranjana. However, a few comments are contained in the Unicode ad hoc script group recommendations from 24 October (see page 3 of http://www.unicode.org/L2/L2014/14253-rec.pdf). The ad hoc group recommendations, which are not binding, noted that because Ranjana is used in Tibet, Nepal, and other countries, any proposal will need to have buy-in from users in those communities. A future meeting to discuss Ranjana with experts from various constituencies is needed, hopefully to take place in 2015.
  • The group in Kathmandu also had recommendations on the Bhujinmola script, which the UTC also did not have time to discuss. However, a Unicode ad hoc script committee did have suggestions (see page 7 of http://www.unicode.org/L2/L2014/14268r-script-rec.pdf) on how to proceed, which are similar to the notes in the Nepal report (i.e., prepare a document supporting the request to separately encode the Bhujinmola script).

Progress towards targets and goals[edit]

Project metrics

Project metrics Target outcome Achieved outcome Explanation
Meet with the user community in Kathmandu to discuss script proposals for 2 scripts of Nepal Anderson met with community in Kathmandu on 4-6 October 2014 (Constable took part on 4 October) (Pandey and Fynn were not able to attend.)
Create a way forward on how to progress two script proposals (i.e., in a report) Prepared a detailed list of recommendations on the two scripts for Unicode Tech. Comm. (UTC) (See the document: http://www.unicode.org/L2/L2014/14253-rec.pdf)
Identify next steps for moving the two script proposals forward. Meeting recommendations led to creation of a script proposal for Newa (=Prachalit Nepal) which was approved by UTC in late October; the script is now in line for an ISO ballot in 2015. The Ranjana script proposal was put on hold since Newa had a more urgent need (see explanation). Ranjana was not yet discussed by the UTC. Since it involves a script that crosses national and cultural boundaries, a follow-up meeting with experts from various countries is needed. A tentative date for such a meeting is 2015.
Submit a report to WMF outlining the results of the meeting and the project. (This report!)

Global Metrics[edit]

Metric Achieved outcome Explanation
1. # of active editors involved 3 Wikimedia Nepal editors were in attendance
2. # of new editors 0 not applicable (Note: the goal of the project was to agree on script proposals so two scripts of Nepal would become part of the international standard and ultimately capable of being used on WM projects; see also Learning question response below)
3. # of individuals involved 60 60 people participated in the events
4. # of new images/media added to Wikimedia articles/pages 0 not applicable (see Note above; see also Learning question response below)
5. # of articles added or improved on Wikimedia projects 0 not applicable (see Note above; see also Learning question response below)
6. Absolute value of bytes added to or deleted from Wikimedia projects 0 not applicable (see Note above; see also Learning question response below)
Learning question
Did your work increase the motivation of contributors, and how do you know?

At this point it is difficult to predict whether the project will motivate Wikipedia contributors to contribute to Wikipedia in the Nepal Bhasa language with the script of their heritage, Newa, since the script is still some distance away from being fully approved and implemented. However, at the event held on 7 October, Anderson mentioned that one by-product of the project would be the ability to create Wikipedia pages in the Newa script (and not in Devanagari, as is currently done). The audience was very enthusiastic about getting their script into Unicode (and subsequently supported on various devices), so it is hoped their enthusiasm would result in the development of new content on Wikimedia projects (with the Newa script).


What impact did this project have on WMF's mission and the strategic priorities?

Option A: How did you increase participation in one or more Wikimedia projects?
This project will likely have a delayed reaction in increasing participation in WM projects, since it is providing the infrastructure for two scripts of Nepal to display (and be made searchable). However, since the scripts are used by under-represented populations in Nepal, there is considerable potential for engaging such populations and encouraging them to contribute content.

Option B: How did you improve quality on one or more Wikimedia projects?
Currently, Wikipedia has only pages for the Nepal Bhasa language in the Devanagari script. One of the ultimate outcomes of this project is to make it possible for the Wikipedia entries to be in the script originally used for the Nepal Bhasa language, Newa, and not Devanagari. Once the script is officially approved by the standards bodies, then standardized fonts can be used, which can help assure that WM text is being correctly sent and received. Such WM pages can act as reliable models, increasing quality of such pages. (Without standardized fonts, the text can become garbled when sent and received.)

Option C: How did you increase the reach (readership) of one or more Wikimedia projects?
Wikimedia could act as a driver for the spread of Newa across the Internet, once the script is officially approved and implemented, since it can be a reliable reference for the script among everyday users and scholars.

Reporting and documentation of expenditures[edit]

This section describes the grant's use of funds


Did you send documentation of all expenses paid with grant funds to grants at wikimedia dot org, according to the guidelines here? Answer "Yes" or "No".


Please list all project expenses in a table here, with descriptions and dates. Review the instructions here.
Number Category Item description Unit Number of units Actual cost per unit Actual total Budgeted total Currency Notes
1 airfare Colombo-Delhi-Kathmandu one-way 1 $377 + $132.03 $509.03 USD For Anderson to attend scripts meeting in Kathmandu:

$377 is for travel on Air India from Colombo-Delhi 3 Oct. and Delhi-Kathmandu 4 Oct. (Note: No direct flights available from Colombo-Kathmandu); $132.03 were change fees incurred in modifying original ticket to include trip to Nepal (from a meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka), before heading back home to San Francisco Bay Area.

2 lodging Delhi night 1 nights $137.45 $137.45 USD One night in Delhi necessitated as there is no direct flight from Colombo to Kathmandu
2 lodging Kathmandu night 4 nights 3913.97 NPR ($39 USD) 15679.88 ($156 USD) NPR (USD) 3913.97 NPR * 4 nights = $39.09/day * 4 = Total $156 USD (OANDA conversion rate)

Total: $802.84

Total project budget (from your approved grant submission)
Total amount requested from WMF (from your approved grant submission, this total will be the same as the total project budget if PEG is your only funding source)
Total amount spent on this project
Total amount of Project and Event grant funds spent on this project
Are there additional sources that funded any part of this project? List them here.
  • Microsoft Nepal provided meeting facilities, a dinner for the user community and Anderson (7 October), lunch during the meeting days, and general logistical planning.
  • The Unicode Consortium provided office support (waiving overhead costs).
  • The group Nepal Lipi Guthi also provided an in-kind contribution by helping to organize the meeting and sending out invitations.
  • Peter Constable did not require outside funding for his travel to Nepal from Sri Lanka (approximately $377), one night's accommodation in New Delhi ($137) or one night in Kathmandu (approximately $39) = $553
  • Deborah Anderson Anderson donated her time devoted to this project (in-kind contribution from Script Encoding Initiative, UC Berkeley) 40 hrs.@ $66/hr = $2640

Remaining funds[edit]

Remaining funds from this grant have been returned to WMF in the amount of $1305.75.
Are there any grant funds remaining?
Answer YES or NO.
Please list the total amount (specify currency) remaining here. (This is the amount you did not use, or the amount you still have after completing your grant.)
$1305.75 ($2077.75 + $30 wiring fees [paid by WMF] - $802 paid to Anderson)
If funds are remaining they must be returned to WMF, reallocated to mission-aligned activities, or applied to another approved grant.
Please state here if you intend to return unused funds to WMF, submit a request for reallocation, or submit a new grant request, and then follow the instructions on your approved grant submission.
The unused funds have been returned to WMF