Grants talk:Project/MSIG/Amrit Sufi/Needs assessment for documentation and revitalization of Indic languages using Wikimedia projects

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Overall Positive Feedback[edit]

It is nice to see a proposal that touches on both "knowledge equity" and "knowledge as a service." Knowledge equity in that it offers other ways to capture and document knowledge, which diversifies representation and contribution by allowing more people to contribute in different ways. Knowledge as a service in that it is building skills and creating a platform that is more accessible to all. The potential impact is great with this proposal. YPam (WMF) (talk) 12:36, 6 April 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thank you so much for acknowledging the potential impact of this project and for your support around the same. Amrit Sufi (talk) 14:54, 12 April 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Feedback For Improvement[edit]

Important to note

  • Please clarify which language communities this project aims to impact - Hindi, Punjabi and Bengali?
  • How does the project team intend for the toolkit to be used, especially in consideration of scalability and adaptability for other language groups.
  • Providing a strong definition and description of what an Oral Culture Transcription Toolkit is specifically. Providing this definition will enable other communities that might be thinking about this, to understand better.
  • Providing clearer metrics for project impact and success is critical for a project like this. Has the team considered metrics such as the increase in Wiki oral language contributors or contributions that happen as a result of the workshop? and the abilities of volunteers to independently and confidently document oral language? as well as the number of people who use the Toolkit?


Research Focus

  • The identified research participant pool is too small for this project too small for a proper research to happen, if the plan truly is to "determine needs around language documentation and language revitalization”.  Currently, the project states that the total number of participants is 15 - do consider that out of this 15, 5 are Wikimedians and another 5 are language experts who would be consulted. The plan also includes conducting up to 3 workshops, considering the research pool, for whom are these workshops intended?
  • What is the reasoning for conducting a needs assessment, and what is the primary issue at hand? This needs to be more clearly identified.
    • Is the issue at hand that there aren’t many volunteers (in the Indic region) who contribute to oral language documentation? If this is the issue then perhaps a training needs assessment isn’t necessarily needed as there might be other reasons inhibiting people from contributing?
    • Or is it that there are people interested but these people don’t know how to contribute to this language form?
  • The project plan appears counter intuitive in that there’s the project plans to conduct research to understand skills gaps, however, the project plan also includes hosting workshops to train people on documenting oral language using the already-created Oral Culture Transcription Toolkit. If an approach already exists for helping people with oral language documentation, what is the purpose of a needs assessment?
  • On the methodology, the proposal states that the plan is to “contact experts globally,” the team will focus findings on the Indic region. What then is the reason for contacting experts globally?

More generally, and for greater impact and feasibility, has the project team considered focussing primarily on the Toolkit rather than conducting a broad needs assessment? This will mean focusing on testing and iterating on the Toolkit specifically. In this case the team could then instead conduct (a few) workshops using the existing Toolkit, with the goals of 1) seeing how and whether it improves people’s abilities to document oral language and 2) gathering feedback to improve and expand the Toolkit. YPam (WMF) (talk) 12:38, 6 April 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Important to note:
  • Please clarify which language communities this project aims to impact - Hindi, Punjabi and Bengali?-
    • The toolkit has been translated into these languages since they are widely spoken, but we aim to impact minority languages to document their language and culture.
  • How does the project team intend for the toolkit to be used, especially in consideration of scalability and adaptability for other language groups.
    • We aim to test the usability of the toolkit with the 3 groups (Linguists/Experts, existing Wikimedians and Native speakers) that have been identified for the project. This should help us make any changes to the toolkit.
    • How the oral culture transcription toolkit fits in this context is that we want to use the opportunity to test the toolkit with the three groups, get their feedback on the current version. After the research/needs assessment is complete and conclusions are drawn and based on the feedback we will make changes to the toolkit. We see this project as an opportunity to broaden the toolkit to possibly include other sister wiki projects as well. In conclusion, the edited toolkit will be one of the outcomes of this research.
  • Providing a strong definition and description of what an Oral Culture Transcription Toolkit is specifically. Providing this definition will enable other communities that might be thinking about this, to understand better.
    • The toolkit has been created with the goal of inclusion of oral knowledge and culture on Wikimedia Commons and Wikisource. While creating content in a certain language’s Wikipedia is a common practice for assertion of the language’s existence, this toolkit provides guidance on using Wikisource and Wikimedia Commons to digitize oral culture. Oral culture can be recorded and uploaded on these repositories. The idea behind the toolkit is to promote languages not only in terms of written content but also unique features of a certain culture e.g. folk songs, traditions and oral histories etc. Within the proposed project, we aim to see how it fares with different types of groups: language experts, Wikimedians, and indigenous language speakers. We aim to edit the toolkit according to the research conducted, conclusions drawn and feedback provided. We also aim to understand the needs of the Wikimedia communities and indigenous language communities around language documentation and revitalization.
  • Providing clearer metrics for project impact and success is critical for a project like this. Has the team considered metrics such as the increase in Wiki oral language contributors or contributions that happen as a result of the workshop? and the abilities of volunteers to independently and confidently document oral language? as well as the number of people who use the Toolkit?
    • This is a research project unlike an edit-a-thon there won't be immediate content creation. After understanding the needs around skill development and validating the toolkit we aim to create a future project which will have more tangible metrics around contribution.
    • We have decided to increase the number of people engaged from 15 to 45.
Research Focus
  • The identified research participant pool is too small for this project too small for a proper research to happen, if the plan truly is to "determine needs around language documentation and language revitalization”.  Currently, the project states that the total number of participants is 15 - do consider that out of this 15, 5 are Wikimedians and another 5 are language experts who would be consulted. The plan also includes conducting up to 3 workshops, considering the research pool, for whom are these workshops intended?
    • Based on the feedback, we have decided to increase the number of people engaged from 15 to 45. After the survey and interviews, we will choose a pool of participants for the workshops. The purpose of the workshops is to identify needs in language documentation. So, that it doesn’t remain a theoretical project but also has a practical aspect!
  • What is the reasoning for conducting a needs assessment, and what is the primary issue at hand? This needs to be more clearly identified.
    • Need of the Indian community in language documentation. Determine needs around language documentation and language revitalization. We will collect information on the views of people around these topics, the challenges faced on ground and possible tactics to follow them up with. We have made more changes in the project’s Goals section of the application to clarify upon this aspect.
  • Is the issue at hand that there aren’t many volunteers (in the Indic region) who contribute to oral language documentation? If this is the issue then perhaps a training needs assessment isn’t necessarily needed as there might be other reasons inhibiting people from contributing?
    • No, a lesser number of contributors is not the primary reason behind the needs assessment. The main goal instead is to understand the needs and understandings of the different groups being engaged.
  • Or is it that there are people interested but these people don’t know how to contribute to this language form?
    • Yes! One of the main objectives of this project is to understand the barriers to language documentation for indigenous language speakers.
  • The project plan appears counterintuitive in that there’s the project plans to conduct research to understand skills gaps, however, the project plan also includes hosting workshops to train people on documenting oral language using the already-created Oral Culture Transcription Toolkit. If an approach already exists for helping people with oral language documentation, what is the purpose of a needs assessment?
    • The toolkit is an approach to document oral knowledge, however, we need to assess how useful it is in its present form. Also, we can improve the toolkit as per the feedback provided after the project. More details regarding this query are provided in the other responses.
  • On the methodology, the proposal states that the plan is to “contact experts globally,” the team will focus findings on the Indic region. What then is the reason for contacting experts globally?
    • We believe that there are parallels among languages in language documentation and revitalization so that other languages can benefit from them. So, inclusion of experts from non-Indic communities will provide more opinions, solutions, and diversity to the data collected. Our focus is still going to be the Indic communities and Indic language experts.
  • More generally, and for greater impact and feasibility, has the project team considered focussing primarily on the Toolkit rather than conducting a broad needs assessment? This will mean focusing on testing and iterating on the Toolkit specifically. In this case the team could then instead conduct (a few) workshops using the existing Toolkit, with the goals of 1) seeing how and whether it improves people’s abilities to document oral language and 2) gathering feedback to improve and expand the Toolkit.
    • We want to focus on the research around the understanding of language documentation and revitalization. We aim to identify needs for skills, equipment etc. and we plan to test the toolkit with a larger pool of participants. We have added more details to the Goals section of the proposal.
Amrit Sufi (talk) 14:42, 12 April 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Request for extension and additional budget[edit]

@YPam (WMF) This message is to inform you that the project and the report have been delayed. This happened because of unforeseen extension of tasks that we did not account for in advance. Though the outcomes had been achieved by the due date, we interviewed a few more people as part of the research. This was done to ensure that the research is well-rounded. The analysis of an unprecedented number of survey responses and interviews is taking a bit more time than expected. We will produce the outcomes and the project report latest by 15th January 2023. We would also like to inform you that we spent extra money since we conducted a two-day, in-person workshop in collaboration with Central University of Himachal Pradesh in the month of September 2022. The budget exceeded 808 USD. Please let us know any procedure for reimbursement. Amrit Sufi (talk) 11:23, 21 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hello @Amrit Sufi,
A Happy New Year to you and the team. Thank you for being patient through the holidays on this request.
Sounds like your research faced a "a good problem" of having more responses that was expected! Your request for the additional sum $808 (USD) and the extension of your reporting timelines is now approved.
Well done to you and the team for the work on this project and we look forward to reading your reports and learning from your experience in implementing this project. Best, YPam (WMF) (talk) 14:26, 10 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]