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Grants:Project/Tamil Wikimedia-Noolaham Foundation/Multimedia Documentation of Traditional Trades and Crafts of Eastern, Northern and Up-Country Sri Lanka

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statuscompleted (final report pending)
Multimedia Documentation of Traditional Trades and Crafts of Eastern, Northern and Up-Country Sri Lanka
summaryBringing the knowledge bases embedded in the traditional trades and crafts of Eastern, Northern and Up-Country Sri Lanka to Wikimeida and community knowledge platforms.
targetTamil Wiki projects, Commons
amountUSD $9,575
contact• natkeeran@gmail.com
this project needs...
created on23:27, 6 March 2017 (UTC)

Project idea


What is the problem you're trying to solve?


What problem are you trying to solve by doing this project? This problem should be small enough that you expect it to be completely or mostly resolved by the end of this project. Remember to review the tutorial for tips on how to answer this question.

Sri Lanka has a wealth of ancient, indigenous and still practical traditional trades and crafts. These are integral components of the culture, society and economy of Sri Lanka. From traditional agricultural practices, fishery, weaving and cloth production, woodworking, pottery, jewelry making, metalworking, vernacular construction to shipbuilding, the knowledge bases and skills embedded in these traditions are invaluable to all. However, many of these traditional trades and crafts are under threat and could be lost within few years due to various risk factors, including caste oppression, modernization, lack of communities of practice and lack of awareness.

The English word Catamaran is derived from Tamil word kattumaram (கட்டுமரம்). From kattumaram to large ocean sailing ships, there existed an advanced indigenous shipbuilding and seafaring tradition in Sri Lanka. Due to colonial restrictions, civil war, modernization and lack of digital access to these remote places, the knowledge base and skill-set is almost lost. There is a similar story for majority of such traditions. There exists a small window of opportunity to capture, document and possibly re-invigorate and re-imagine these knowledge bases and skill sets. This is the larger historical and social context of the problem.

“Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge.” is the vision statement of the Wikimedia Foundation. Yet, the coverage about the above stated knowledge bases are very small or absent. This is not just the case for Sri Lanka, but a general problem. For instance, though Wikipedia provides structured content on array of topics such as places, organisms, chemicals, and creative works, it does not yet have templates to document trades, crafts and other “living traditions”. Another reason for lack of coverage about trades and crafts could be lack of “reliable information sources” on matters related to indigenous trades and crafts of Sri Lanka. A focused effort is required to collect, make available, and make use of reliable reference sources. In the absence of print materials, oral histories could be collected and can be considered as a source of reference. Furthermore, regions where these trades and crafts are actively practiced are under represented among the Wikimedia user community. For instance, there are no known active contributors from Mannar, Vanni or Up-Country in Tamil Wikipedia. A targeted outreach to these regions is necessary for this and wider Wikimedia projects.

Though Tamil Wikimedia community has successfully undertaken workshops, essay contests, media contests, editathons and events, it has not undertaken any GLAM related projects in Sri Lanka. Lack of strong GLAM institutions in Sri Lanka and India is a major reason for Tamil Wikimedia communities' failure to participate in initiatives such as Connected_Open_Heritage or GLAM. This project is designed to overcome that barrier.

What is your solution to this problem?


For the problem you identified in the previous section, briefly describe your how you would like to address this problem. We recognize that there are many ways to solve a problem. We’d like to understand why you chose this particular solution, and why you think it is worth pursuing. Remember to review the tutorial for tips on how to answer this question.

This project proposes to use and enhance Wikimedia Commons, Tamil Wikipedia, Wikibook and Wiktionary along with community archival platforms to document and share trades and crafts of Eastern, Northern and Up-Country communities in Sri Lanka. These regions are the major Tamil speaking regions of Sri Lanka. The project consists of a small research component to do literature review, survey and catalog the trades and crafts (i.e via Wikibook), develop a framework/template for documenting them, and collect and if permissible digitize reference works. Majority of the work will focus on field multimedia documentation (i.e via Wikicommons and Noolaham platforms), to capture and share these knowledge bases. A significant component will be the outreach work needed to mobilize the volunteers and resources needed for this project, especially from under represented Eastern and Up-Country Sri Lanka. The outreach work will be a sustained, on the ground outreach over several months, engaging and connecting with people through their livelihoods.

The project is designed to be a partnership undertaking with Tamil Wikimedia projects, Noolaham Foundation and other local partners.

Project goals


What are your goals for this project? Your goals should describe the top two or three benefits that will come out of your project. These should be benefits to the Wikimedia projects or Wikimedia communities. They should not be benefits to you individually. Remember to review the tutorial for tips on how to answer this question.

Cataloging & Framework Development

  • Survey and fieldwork will be undertaken to catalog and describe the traditional trades of crafts. Initial target is 50 - 75 trades and crafts.
  • Template development for documentation and dissemination in Wikipedia. 9 exemplary articles will be developed. 9 trades and crafts from the above catalog will be selected for in depth documentation.

Expand Content and Coverage on these focused topics

  • Multimedia Content Development
  • Short Videos - 50 (Minimum)
  • In Depth Videos, including Oral Histories - (9 selected x 2) = 18
  • Archival Quality Images 41 crafts and trades x 10 = 410 images (Minimum)
  • Archival Quality Images 9 selected trades and crafts for in depth documentation x 50 = 450 (Minimum)
  • Icons/Clip art for trades and crafts
  • Content uploading to Wiktionary - Several public domain dictionaries related to this field have been identified. They will be OCRed, reviewed and imported into Tamil Wiktionary.
  • Digitization - The target is to identify 25 - 50 reference works. If public domain reference works are available related to the focus area, then they will be digitized and uploaded to Wikisource. If only limited permission could be obtained, they will be made publically accessible via Noolaham Digital Library Wiki.

Community Outreach & Fieldwork

  • 6 Awareness/Outreach Meetings to engage trades and crafts organizations, village organizations, local documentarians, media producers, scholars and students. We expect to reach about 600 - 1000 people through these events.
  • 3 Workshops to train volunteers with respect on multimedia documentation and Wikimedia Commons and Noolaham Multimedia Archive.
  • 15 - 30 Field Visits - Field work will be conducted by volunteers from Wikipedia, Noolaham and other projects.
  • Tamil Wikimedia community - Tamil Wikipedia community volunteers will help with project co-ordination and act as liaisons between other contributors.
  • Online/Media Outreach to crowd-source the project plan, design, information gathering, establish contacts and undertake continued worked.

Project impact


How will you know if you have met your goals?


For each of your goals, we’d like you to answer the following questions:

  1. During your project, what will you do to achieve this goal? (These are your outputs.)
  2. Once your project is over, how will it continue to positively impact the Wikimedia community or projects? (These are your outcomes.)

For each of your answers, think about how you will capture this information. Will you capture it with a survey? With a story? Will you measure it with a number? Remember, if you plan to measure a number, you will need to set a numeric target in your proposal (i.e. 45 people, 10 articles, 100 scanned documents). Remember to review the tutorial for tips on how to answer this question.

  • We have specific numeric targets with respect to content outputs of this project. Please see the next section for details.
  • After 15 years of existence, Tamil Wikimedia does not yet have any contributors from certain regions such as Up-Country (population 850,000), Mannar or Vanni (700,000), thus we assess that on the ground outreach is necessary. We aim to directly reach 600 - 1000 people from under represented regions in a sustained months long outreach effort. The outreach will include introduction to Wikimedia and community projects, resource materials to take home, and contacts for further assistance. It will engage them with topics and digital resources related to their livelihoods, crafts, trades and culture. As part of the outreach, we will assess the reach of Wikimedia and Community projects into these remote communities. Introducing them, enabling them, and making them part of the process is our strategy for long term involvement. We aim to convert 10 - 20 people from this outreach into active contributors.
  • Tamil Wikimedia community in partnership with Tamil Virtual Academy (Tamil Nadu, India) uploaded public domain works into Wikisource and conducted outreach to teachers throughout the state. However, the community does not have extensive experience undertaking GLAM or Connected Open Heritage type of projects. No projects have been conducted in Sri Lanka. Lessons Learned from this project can pave the way for wider partnerships projects with organizations with missions and objectives that align with Wikimedia Foundation. A continued assessment process will be in place to monitor and evaluate the project (i.e via a project discussion page). The feedback will be analyzed and summarized into status updates and communicated to all stakeholders.
  • Wikimedia platforms have been effectively used for linguistic documentation and preservation, including Tamil. This project seeks to establish that Wikimedia platforms can be effectively used to document and preserve trades and crafts knowledge bases in the Global South, overcoming weak institutional support. This project will help build a model that can be applied to trades and crafts in other regions and countries. It is also a model that can be used in other similar knowledge domains to bridge the knowledge gaps.
  • We expect the multimedia content to be useful for a wide audience. It will form the basis for further work and expansion of Wikimedia content. Trades and crafts are of interest to policy makers, educationists, students, activists, artists, researchers and the public. This content can be included into educational resources, and can be used to produce documentaries, photos essays etc.
  • A set of common tools and resources that will be useful to the global communities will be a major output of this project. A wiki template and a basic ontology to describe crafts and trades will be developed. The equipment, standards and technologies used will be documented. A basic field work guide will be created. The project report will also contain best practices and lessons learned sections to guide future projects.

Do you have any goals around participation or content?


Are any of your goals related to increasing participation within the Wikimedia movement, or increasing/improving the content on Wikimedia projects? If so, we ask that you look through these three metrics, and include any that are relevant to your project. Please set a numeric target against the metrics, if applicable.

  • A comprehensive catalogue targeting 50 - 75 traditional crafts and trades will be developed. The information will be compiled into a Wikibook.
  • Template(s) and 9 exemplary articles in Tamil Wikipedia are created.
  • 50 Trades and Crafts x 5 articles = 250 articles, including on notable practitioners are created.
  • Min 5 trades and crafts dictionaries are imported into Tamil Wiktionary.
  • The following multimedia content would be developed and organized.
  • Short Videos - 50 (Minimum)
  • In Depth Videos, including Oral Histories - (9 selected x 2) = 18
  • Archival Quality Images 41 crafts and trades x 10 = 410 images (Minimum)
  • Archival Quality Images 9 selected trades and crafts for in depth documentation x 50 = 450 (Minimum)
  • Outreach activities targeting to directly reach 600 - 1000 people, including 400 from less represented East and Upcountry
  • Engage 20 - 30 Tamil Wikimedia volunteers in co-coordinating and contributing to this project.
  • Mobilize min 3 volunteers for each region (East, North, Upcountry) to do field multimedia documentation and to do do field outreach.

Project plan




Tell us how you'll carry out your project. What will you and other organizers spend your time doing? What will you have done at the end of your project? How will you follow-up with people that are involved with your project?

Catalog and Framework/Toolkit Development

  • Undertake literature review and compile reference sources. The target is to identify 25 - 50 reference works. The identified reference works, if in public domain or could be obtained under the required Creative Commons license, they will be digitized and uploaded to Wikisource. If more restrictive permission is obtained, they will be digitized and made accessible via Noolaham Digital Library.
  • Conduct a survey and undertake initial field work to identify, catalog and describe traditional crafts and trades. Existing typologies or classifications schemes (example: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/ier/research/classification/isco88/english/groups/g7/) will be reviewed to organize these trades and crafts. This can form the basis of a Wikibook. An initial related list can be found here: https://ta.wikipedia.org/s/zra
  • Develop a template and framework to document a particular trade or craft in depth.
  • Select specific villages or regions to field work.
  • Select a subset (9 trades) of trades and crafts from each region (East, North, Upcountry) based on risk, knowledge value and other relevant factors to do in depth documentation

More info: #Research_Methodology

Expanding Content and Coverage - Fieldwork and Multimedia Documentation

  • Mobilize Online and Local volunteers to undertake co-ordination and field work.
  • 3 Workshops (one in each region: East, North, Upcountry) will be conducted to train local volunteers in multimedia production and documentation.
  • Editing video, audio
  • Conducting interviews
  • Uploading in Wikimedia Commons & Aavanaham.org
  • Batch uploading
  • Metadata
  • Archival Quality and Standards
  • 6 Awareness/Outreach Meetings to engage trades and crafts organizations, village organizations, local documentarians, media producers, scholars and students. We expect to reach about 500 people through these events. These meetings will help us further plan fieldwork and documentation.
  • Introduce Tamil Wikimedia
  • Introduce Community Archival Projects - Noolaham Foundation
  • Importance of Trades and Crafts Project
  • Fieldwork is essential to reach less accessible regions where traditions are alive. Thus, field work will be undertaken by volunteers. Noolaham Foundation staff will provide coordination assistance such as equipment and travel arrangements.
  • Take photographs
  • Take video
  • Conduct oral history interviews
  • Thematic Media Contest - As the focus will be field work, most of our energy is go into co-coordinating the on the ground outreach. However, if there are sufficient volunteers available or if we determine this would be a more effective vehicle for content creation, then will undertake a thematic media contest. We will request for funds re-allocation as required or do additional external fund-raising.

Please see the Appendix for a sample workflow: #Sample_Work-flow_for_a_Selected_Trade_or_Craft

Community Outreach & Fieldwork

  • Online Outreach - Building on the background work, and field work, we plan to do online outreach to continue to build on the the work.
  • Model Digital Exhibition - As work progress, the work can be shown to engage users.
  • Field Outreach work is tied with multimedia documentation work. Our target is to reach remote or under presented regions of Sri Lanka. These regions have poor Internet connectivity and digital access. Noolaham Foundation has extensive experience conducting offline, direct outreach and support in Sri Lanka.
  • Upcountry - A digitization staff members is located in the Upcountry. Thamilini is visiting Upcountry this July and planning to provide documentation and wiki training. She has contacts in Upcountry and can engage them.
  • Sivakumar has conducted wiki workshops in the East, and based in South East. Prof. Balasundaram is from East and has extensive contacts in the East. NF is planning to undertake a digital preservation project with Eastern University. We plan to use these contacts and presence engage and mobalize volunteers in the East.
  • Noolaham Foundation has an office in Jaffna (North) and Colombo (South). The target in North is to also engage users from less accessible districts such as Mannar and Vanni.

These local contacts, presences will be used for community mobalization, training and support. We are very receptive to input with respect to techniques and strategies for direct outreach.

  • Online Support - This project will work with the Tamil Wikipedia online support mechanisms such as on-wiki support, WhastApp group and Email support. We recognize the lack of experienced volunteers to provide such support. If there is sufficient need, we plan to dedicate a "Wikipedian in Residence" role to provide support during this project.

Risk Factors and Risk Mitigation

  • Shortage of online and offline volunteers - The project is ambitious in aiming to mobilize 3 volunteers to do field work in each region. In addition, it requires additional online volunteers to do campaign, coordination and wiki work. Partnering with Noolaham Foundation mitigates this to some extent, as Noolaham Foundation has experience mobilizing volunteers for Tamil Documentation Conference and digitization drives. Reaching out to other local organizations and a strong engagement and social media campaign is critical to mitigate this risk.
  • Media Quality - We are confident that we have sufficient senior editors, academics and writers to help with articles/wikibook creation. However, it can be challenge to train volunteers to take archival quality images and videos. Noolaham Foundation has undertaken some work (https://github.com/noolahamfoundation/standards/wiki) to understand the standards, equipment and skillets needed for this work. There are professional photographs and media creators in the Wiki community, and Noolaham Foundation has identified several professionals as well. Getting the expertise from the professionals, specially at the initial stages can mitigate this risk.
  • Uploading/Batch Processing - If large number of photographs are taken, it would be easier to do batch uploading, then add descriptive metadata. Technical feasibility for batch uploading to Wikimedia Commons and to Aavanaham.org is still unclear.
  • Project Length - The project may require additional time to do background, outreach or field work. Scheduling needs to be flexible to efficiently make use of the financial and human resources, on the ground and online.



How you will use the funds you are requesting? List bullet points for each expense. (You can create a table later if needed.) Don’t forget to include a total amount, and update this amount in the Probox at the top of your page too!

Funds Requested from Wikimedia

No Item Description Funding Source Cost
1 3 x Workshops Expenses ($200 x 2 + $100) Train volunteers on multimedia production, Wikimedia Commons, Community Archival platforms etc. Wikimedia Foundation USD $500
2 6 x Awareness/Outreach Meetings Expenses Meeting will be organized with wider local community members to engage and collect information. Wikimedia Foundation USD $1,200
3 Storage, Backup and Stationary Wikimedia Foundation USD $500
4 15x Field Visits & Multimedia Documentation 9 (3 per region) volunteers x 5 months $175/month each per diem ++ Wikimedia Foundation USD $7,875
Total USD $9,575
++ The costs could vary per region. Travel, accommodation and cost cost reimbursements can increase for remote locations, and decrease for more accessible locations. The estimations are based on fieldwork undertaken by Noolaham Foundation. The total includes costs needed to provide offline support, and possible gamification/contest prizes.

Funding/In-Kind Donation by Noolaham Foundation

No Item Description Funding Source Cost
1 Equipments (3 sets of equipment) DSLR Cameras for photo/video, Voice Recorders Noolaham Foundation N/A +
2 Digitization 3000 pages Noolaham Foundation USD $500
3 1 part - time Staff Co-Coordinator (2-4 months) To organize outreach, to provide training Noolaham Foundation USD $300
4 1 part - time Staff Project Assistant (6 months) To make travel arrangements, accounting etc Noolaham Foundation USD $500
Total USD $1,750 ++
+ Equipment will be provided by Noolaham Foundation and other volunteers. #Equipment_-_Mobile_Digitization_Kit
++ This total represents approximately 4% of the total budget, thus a significant contribution for this small organization.

Tentative Schedule

Work Item Description Tentative Timeline Total Months
1 Detail Project Planning, Background Work, Framework, Standards, Media Campaign, Monitoring May - June 2017 & Ongoing 2 months & Ongoing
2 Survey/Initial Fieldwork/Training June - July 2017 2 months
3 Multimedia Documentation/Outreach/Field Work July - Nov 2017 5 months
4 Post Fieldwork Activity (i.e articles, batch processing, reporting) Nov 2017 - Jan 2018 3 months
Total ~ 10 months

Community engagement


How will you let others in your community know about your project? Why are you targeting a specific audience? How will you engage the community you’re aiming to serve at various points during your project? Community input and participation helps make projects successful.

The project will be further developed, executed and monitored in Tamil Wikipedia via a Project Page. We are reaching out to active contributors directly, through their user talk pages. Preparation of this project has already re-engaged several long time Tamil Wikimedia contributors. We feel that this project will bring back some focused/mission oriented energy back into Tamil Wikimedia projects. Skype or real time meetings will be arranged as required.

The ground mobilization will make use of existing Wikimedia volunteer contacts, Noolaham Foundation's contacts and organizational infrastructure as well as other local partners. This outreach will be coupled with a social media, online and traditional media campaign.

The media campaign is needed to get additional volunteers and to collect information. We have experience executing such campaigns from past essay and media contests. We believe that the large Sri Lankan diaspora communities can be engaged via a strong social media, online campaign. The outputs of this project can be valuable asset in engaging with Wiki and wider community.

Collaborating Organization - Noolaham Foundation


Noolaham Foundation is a non-profit, charitable organization (GA 2390) founded to provide enhanced access to information sources and foster knowledge-based development in Sri Lanka. It undertakes the critical work of documenting, digitally preserving and providing free and open access to knowledge bases and cultural heritage of Sri Lankan Tamil speaking communities. Major projects of the Noolaham Foundation include Noolaham Digital Library (noolaham.org), Aavanaham Multimedia Archive (aavanaham.org), Pallikoodam - Digital Learning Resources (epallikoodam.org), Manuscripts Archive, Biographical Dictionary and Noolaham Labs. It has digitized over 1.2 million pages of 32,000+ works. It has worked with more than 20 partner organizations including Suriya Women's Development Center, Roja Muthiah Research Library, Viluthu - Center for Human Resource Development, Jaffna Public Library, and The French Institute of Pondicherry. Noolaham Foundation conducted Tamil Documentation Conference in Colombo, Sri Lanka on 2013. It was the first such conference in the Tamil context. The conference proceedings is valuable input to this project. Noolaham Foundation is committed to using and contributing to Free and Open Source Software (MediaWiki, Islandora, Fedora Repository, Drupal etc). All of Noolaham Foundation publications are published under Creative Commons license, including the conference proceedings. Noolaham Foundaiton publishes audited financial statements and regular reports about its activities. Its governance meetings are open for anyone to join in as an observer.

Get involved




Please use this section to tell us more about who is working on this project. For each member of the team, please describe any project-related skills, experience, or other background you have that might help contribute to making this idea a success.

  • Natkeeran - Natkeeran is a long term contributor to Tamil Wikimedia (since 2005) projects. He is a bureaucrat in Tamil Wikipedia and an admin in Tamil Wikibooks and Tamil Wiktionary. Natkeeran has a special interests in documenting trades and crafts, and has extensive experience organizing and coordinating Tamil Wikipedia online and offline projects, including workshops, essay and media contests. He is also active in community documentation projects, and the volunteer Technical Lead of the Noolaham Foundation. He is working as an Application Developer with the Digital Scholarship Unit at the University of Toronto - Scarborough. Natkeeran is originally from Sri Lanka, and currently based in Toronto, Canada.
  • Mayooranathan - Mayooranathan is one of the pioneering contributors to Tamil Wikipedia. He got the project started. He is a bureaucrat in Tamil Wikipedia and an admin in Tamil Wiktionary. He has been active contributor to Tamil Wikimedia projects over 14 years (since 2003). Mayooranathan has extensive experience organizing and guiding the projects through growth sprouts and challenges. He received the respected Tamil Literary Garden's (tamilliterarygarden.com) Lifetime Achievement Award in Tamil (Iyal Virudhu) for his contributions to Tamil Wikimedia projects. He is a retired architect. He is currently based in Jaffna, Northern Sri Lanka. He has a special interest in documenting cultural heritage of Tamil speaking communities of Sri Lanka.
  • Sivakumar - Sivakumar has been an active Tamil Wikimedia contributor since 2010. He is an admin in Tamil Wikipedia. He was the lead organizer of first few Tamil Wikipedia workshops in Sri Lanka, including at the Eastern University. He is a passionate documentar and has special interest in education oriented digital resource development. He is currently working at the South Eastern University of Sri Lanka as a Senior Assistant Registrar. He is based in Kalmunai, Eastern Sri Lanka.
  • Sundar - Sundar is one of the earliest contributors to Tamil Wikipedia. He is a bureaucrat in Tamil Wikipedia. He had studied and provided strategic direction to Tamil Wikimedia projects. He is a Data Engineer at Facebook. He is from TamilNadu, India, and currently works in the US.
  • Gopi - Gopi is one of the founding directors of Noolaham Foundation. He has been active in the documentation and archiving sphere for over 12 years. Recently, he has led the Noolaham Foundation's oral history project. He is also a contributor to Tamil Wikipedia and is an admin. He is originally from Sri Lanka, and currently based in Perth, Australia.
  • Parvathisri is a teacher from Tamil Nadu, India and an active contributor and admin in Tamil Wikipedia. She took part in Wikimedia teachers training across Tamil Nadu. She contributed numerous multimedia materials related to trades and crafts from TamilNadu for the Tamil Media Contest. She also expanded several articles in this field such as Tamils Textile Arts - https://ta.wikipedia.org/s/78f and Tamil Bamboo Crafts - https://ta.wikipedia.org/s/hgx. She brings field knowledge and outreach expertise to this project.
  • Ravidreams - Ravidreams has been a strong advocate for Wikimedia and Free and Open Source software and cultural movements for more than 12 years. He served as the Program Director for Wikimedia India where he executed GLAM partnerships with the support of State Government of Tamil Nadu. Disclaimer: He currently works for the Wikimedia Foundation as Strategic Partnerships Manager and is also part of the Project Grants Committee. His engagement in this project will be purely in a volunteer capacity. He will recuse himself while the Project Grants Committee decides about this project.
  • Elangovan - Dr. Mu. Elangovan is an Assistant Professor of Tamil at the K. M. Centre for Postgraduate Studies, Puducherry - India. He has a special interest in Tamil folklore and folk arts. He has written several books, including about Tamil folklore and folk arts. He regularly conducts Tamil Computing/Internet/online content introductory workshops throughout TamilNadu and Puducherry. He has helped introduce Tamil Wikimedia and community projects to thousands of students. He also undertakes field work to document important researchers and and their work in the fields of Tamil studies and arts. He will bring field work planning, execution and folklore expertise to this project. He will be a liaison contact with the academia. He will also provide assistance with online and media outreach.
  • Ramanaish - Ramanaish is a Project Director at Ministry of Skills Development and Vocational Training, Sri Lanka. He has worked on large projects for Red Cross and ADB/World Bank as Lead Evaluator and Project Director. He brings a wealth of strategic planning, project management, and institutional development expertise and experience to the project. In addition, he will provide input with respect to how this project can be designed as a resource to facilitate trades and skills development in Sri Lanka. He has been a volunteer adviser to Noolaham Foundation since 2011.
  • Balasundaram - Prof. E. Balasundaram is a research scholar in the fields of social sciences, cultural studies and history. He is a senior researcher with over four decades of research experience in these fields. He has undertaken numerous field studies, including pioneering field work researching the origins of village names (இடப்பெயர் ஆய்வு). He has written more than ten books in these fields, and some of his works are candidates to be included in Tamil Wikisource. He established the Tamil Folklore Society at the Jaffna University in 1989, and his students Arunthavanathan, Visakarupan, Balasivakumaran were very active in preserving folk arts. Originally from Eastern province of Sri Lanka, he worked in the Northern province, and currently works as Professor of Tamil at Annamalai University's Toronto - Canada campus. Prof. E. Balasundaram brings research expertise, academic rigour, field work experience and extensive contacts from all three regions to this project.
  • Thamilini - Thamilini is a documentary artist, multimedia producer and researcher with anthropology background. "Her works stem from the intersection of art and anthropology with a focus on gender, forced migration, and transnational identities. She holds a BA (Hons) in Social Anthropology from the University of Kent, UK and a MFA in Documentary Media from Ryerson University, Canada. Her works have been exhibited in Colombo, Canterbury, London, New York and Toronto." Thamilini brings her multimedia and documentary expertise to this project. She is originally from Sri Lanka and will be visiting Sri Lanka (for another project) this summer and would be able to directly contribute in the field.
  • Srikanthalakshmi is the chief librarian at Jaffna University. She has more than 30 years of librarianship experience. She is the president elect of the Sri Lankan Library Association. She has created several authoritative reference resources in the fields of documentation and library science. She has done research related to handicrafts and base materials classification. She will provide academic input and contacts for this project.
  • Volunteer I would like to volunteer in this project in technical areas and community outreach team. Vakeeswaran (talk) 01:07, 8 March 2017 (UTC)

Organizational support

  1. Thaiveedu Publications - Media outreach and multimedia documentation
  2. Rev. Thaninayagam Research Centre - தனிநாயகம் அடிகள் ஆய்வு மையம் - Research
  3. Information Technology Education and Entrepreneurship Foundation (ITEE Foundation) - (Pending confirmation) - On the ground outreach



The following people are part of the all volunteer governance board at the Noolaham Foundation: Natkeeran (since 2012), Mayooranathan (2017), Sivakumar (2017), Gopi (2008). Ramanaish is an adviser to Noolaham Foundation.

Community notification


You are responsible for notifying relevant communities of your proposal, so that they can help you! Depending on your project, notification may be most appropriate on a Village Pump, talk page, mailing list, etc.--> Please paste links below to where relevant communities have been notified of your proposal, and to any other relevant community discussions. Need notification tips?

This project will be further developed, executed and monitored in Tamil Wikipedia.



Do you think this project should be selected for a Project Grant? Please add your name and rationale for endorsing this project below! (Other constructive feedback is welcome on the discussion page).

  1. I hope this projects will be useful to our community as well as a good project. There is no any reasons to oppose this project in my view--Shriheeran (talk) 16:12, 7 March 2017 (UTC)
  2. I support this project as this can provide a very good impact on sustaining the traditional trades and crafts. This helps the documentation of such activities as well.--கலை
  3. There is no doubt that this project would be very beneficial to the Tamils in SL. It would be great if you can start as early as possible. At the same time better to make sure that this documentation should go under the clear structure & professional way which includes broad mind with wise knowledge of language, history & sociology. Good Luck! Yasotha.P (talk) 00:52, 9 March 2017 (UTC)
  4. This is an interesting project and a good initiative to document our (tamil people) knowledge for the future generation, who will have free access to this knowledge source to develop them further. Nan (talk) 03:39, 9 March 2017 (UTC)
  5. This is a very important project. Apart from the global phenomena of losing traditional trades and crafts due to technical advancements and globalization, the regions earmarked for study under this project went through abnormal situations characterized by civil disturbances, internal and external migrations etc., which make us lose our traditions in an accelerated mode. Therefore, many projects like this is an urgent need. I support this initiative. ---Mayooranathan (talk) 06:30, 9 March 2017 (UTC)
  6. Documentation of traditional trades and crafts is undoubtedly useful project to the Tamil people. As it aims in bringing jeopardizing trades and crafts to the light, It will be a big achievement in anthropological and sociological perspectives also. --5anan27 (talk) 07:06, 9 March 2017 (UTC)
  7. I endorse and encourage this project Kannans88 (talk) 22:46, 9 March 2017 (UTC)

Please see 25+ additional endorsements here: Tamil Wikipedia Project Page



Trades and Crafts Content/Data Model

  • பெயர் (Name)
  • வரையறை (Definition/Description)
  • வகை (Type/Classification)
  • முக்கியத்துவம்/பயன்பாடுகள் (Importance/Utility)
  • தனித்துவம்/Uniquness
  • வரலாறு (History)
  • தேவைப்படும் கல்வி, பயிற்சி, திறன்கள் (Required Education, Traning, Skills)
  • கருவிகள் (இருந்தால்) (Tools - if required)
  • உள்ளீட்டுப்/மூலப் பொருட்கள் (இருந்தால்) (Inputs/Raw Materials - if required)
  • உற்பத்திப் பொருட்கள் (இருந்தால்) (Output/Products - if applicable)
  • செய்வது எப்படி (How to)
  • செயலாக்க முறைகள் (Production Methods)
  • நுட்பங்கள்/நுணுக்கங்கள் (Technologies/Techniques)
  • வடிவமைப்புக்கள்/கருத்துருக்கள் (Designs/Themes)
  • பொருளாதாரப் பங்கு (Economical impact)
  • இன்றைய நிலை (Current Situation)
  • வாயப்புக்கள்/எதிர்காலம் (Opportunities/Future)
  • தொழிற்கலைஞர்கள்/வணிகங்கள் (Craftsperson/Businesses)
  • ஆய்வாளர்கள் (Researchers)
  • நூலடைவு (Bibliography)
  • கலைச்சொற்கள்(Terminology)
  • ஒளிப்படங்கள் (Images)
  • வரைபடங்கள்/தகவல்படங்கள் (Diagrams/Infography)
  • ஆவண நிகழ்படங்கள் (Documentary)
  • நேர்காணல்கள் (Interviews)

Sample Work-flow for a Selected Trade or Craft


UNESCOS's Guidelines to document the production of traditional crafts (archived URL) will be reviewed to develop the workflow.

  • Literature review, reference materials collection - Online Volunteers
  • If any practitioners or elders have been already identified by initial research/field work, consult them to collect additional information - Online/Offline Volunteers
  • Create a template, skeleton article, identify knowledge gaps - Online Volunteers
  • Identify areas where that craft is or was practised - Online/Offline Volunteers
  • Fieldwork preparation
  • Organize a meeting (s) at community centres (சனசமூக நிலையம்/வாசிகசாலை) to collect info, identify sites, practitioners, organizations, cultural object sources etc - Online/Offline Volunteers + Staff Assistance
  • Field Visits - photography, short videos, information gathering - Offline Volunteers + Staff Assistance (as required)
  • Field Visits - Identify practitioners/work sites/cultural objects - Oral History Interview, How-To videos, Process/Design/Themes/Techniques videos - Offline Volunteers + Staff Assistance (as required)
  • Upload/Batch upload to Wikimedia Commons and Aavanaham.org and other applicable platforms - Offline/Online Volunteers
  • Post field-work activities - Organize Wikimedia Commons, Enhance Wikipedia Article, Wikibook enhancement, Contribute to campaign etc - Online Volunteers

Research Methodology


The primary research methodology that will be used for cataloguing, template/framework development and multimedia documentation is field study or fieldwork. We will follow existing guides such as LOCs Folklore and Fieldwork - An Introduction to Field Techniques and Cultural Documentation Guidelines. In addition we will rely upon the expertise and experience of our advisers Prof. E. Balasundaram, Prof. Mu. Elangovan and others to provide specific guidance, taking into consideration local contexts.

We expect to use surveys for the following purposes:

  • cataloguing crafts and trades
  • assessing the reach of Wikimedia and Community resource platforms in the target regions

Equipment - Mobile Digitization Kit


We make use of the Mobile Digitization Kit guides created by the Metropolitan New York Library Council in selecting the equipments and standards necessary for mobile digitization projects. Equipment available at Noolaham Foundation and equipment owned by volunteers shall be utilized towards this project. Only hard disks for backups are included in the budget. The following is the guidelines towards selecting equipment.

  • Back up : Hard Disks - Any brand with good reputation such as Western Digital or Toshiba Hard Disks
  • Photography : DSLR cameras - Any DSLR camera capable of shooting RAW images and JPEGs simultaneously. 18 MP shall be the minimum requirement. Ex: Canon 700D, Nikon D3300
  • Video : DSLR camera or camcorder with microphone input. Should support linear PCM audio. Ex: Canon 70D, Canon 700D, Nikon D3300
  • Audio: Voice recorders capable of recording 24 bit 96 KHz linear PCM audio as .wav files. Any Zoom brand voice recorders (h1, h2n, h4n) satisfy this requirement
  • Digitization : Scanners capable of high quality image capturing with a minimum of 600 dpi saved as uncompressed TIFF files. Ex: Epson V600, Canon Lide 220

Media Standards and Samples


Please refer to here for quality standard we are adhering to, exploring or plan to adhere. This will be finalized before the field work is initiated.

  • Images (18 MP min, TIFF or high quality JPEG for preservation copies, JPEG for access copies)
  • Audio (24 bit 96 KHz linear PCM audio as .wav files, MP3 for access copies)
  • Video (FFV1/LPCM in MKV for preservation, MP4 for access copies)
  • Text/Digitization (400 dpi saved as uncompressed TIFF files for preservation copies, PDF for access copies)