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CIS-A2K/Draft Work plan July 2014 - June 2015/Bangla

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Bangla is the official language of the Indian states of West Bengal and Tripura and the dominant language in the Barak Valley (comprising districts of south Assam- Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi). Significantly, it is the official language of Bangladesh, which has nearly 100 million Bangla speakers.[1] As per the 2011 census there are officially 20.5 crore Bangla speakers across the world. The literacy rate in West Bengal is 73.45 per cent (82.4% male and 64.36% female). Out of 20,067,299 households of West Bengal 8.3 per cent own computers and 2.2 per cent of households have access to the internet. Despite the high literacy rate, decent computer accessibility and internet penetration, Bangla Wikipedia so far has only 27,987 articles and 84 active contributors.[2]

Bangla being Bangladesh's predominant language in communication and academics has resulted in relatively high contribution from Bangladesh. Comparatively speaking, Bangla Wikipedia has low readership and also low contribution from India. The Bangla Wikipedia community in India consists of only a handful of contributors based in Kolkata. Lack of momentum in Bangla computing, lack of institutional collaborations for digitization and making available resources in digital or other easily available forms, lack of awareness about the Bangla Wikipedia among linguists, language and culture researchers, and academicians are some of the reasons which could be cited in order to explain why the situation has been bleak. Bangla Wikipedia celebrated its 9th anniversary on 27 January 2013 which is the date of its first edit in 2004.

Performance against Plans[edit]

Although CIS-A2K could not put in significant efforts towards implementing the last year's Bangla plan due to lack of human resources, it could contribute the following as part of the Bangla work-plan.

  • Organized two community meet-ups in Kolkata.
  • Supported West Bengal based Bangla Wikimedians in organizing Kolkata Book Fair 2014.

Additionally, CIS-A2K

  • Explored institutional partnerships with 3 higher education institutions and the National Library, Kolkata.
  • Conducted two Bangla Wikipedia orientation programs at Jadavpur University.
  • Trained one active Bangla Wikimedian through the Wikipedia Train the Trainer Program
  • Supported the Kolkata-based Bangla Wikimedians in organizing Wikipedia 13 celebrations.
  • Interacted with active Bangla Wikimedians from Bangladesh during Wikimania to understand their efforts in developing the Bangla Wikimedia projects.

It should be noted that although we could not achieve much progress with the Bangla work-plan because of shortage of staff, we are on the verge of formalizing two important institutional partnerships in West Bengal that will help build a wider Bangla Wikimedia community and in adding quality content on Bangla Wikipedia. CIS-A2K will also reach out to Wikimedia Bangladesh to learn from their experiences in growing the Bangla Wikimedia projects.

Needs Assessment[edit]

A needs assessment was undertaken during last year's work planning exercise. There are not many changes since then. This section gives a broad idea of the challenges for community/Wikipedia growth which indicate the need for programmatic and technical intervention.


A majority of contributors to Bangla Wikipedia are from Bangladesh. There are very few from India. This has resulted in more good quality content from Bangladesh and relatively lower contribution from West Bengal (and the Bangla diaspora elsewhere in India) in both quality and quantity. There is a vast repository of digitized original books hosted in several places out of which some need to be hosted in publicly accessible portals (e.g. the repository of the National Library) while some are already on such platforms (e.g. Society for Natural Language Processing (SNLTR)). People have access to good quality offline resources in Bangla and do not immediately look to the digital domain. Bringing more material into the digital domain is a major challenge to be addressed.

  • Lack of outreach: The number of Bangla Wikipedia outreach events in West Bengal is very low. The Indian Bangla Wikipedia community has not shown growth in cultivating new Wikipedians because of this very reason. There is a need for more outreach to bring new Wikipedians on board. It is also essential to encourage students to start citing Bangla digital material while writing. There is also the need for encouraging people to cite good offline resources in Wikipedia articles so that the reference structure gets strengthened. When readers come across well-referenced good quality articles they would start trusting Wikipedia which so far has a major credibility issue in Bangla.
  • Training for experienced Wikipedians: Experienced Bangla Wikipedians are well-versed with Wikipedia editing and technical knowhow about Wikipedia. By enhancing their public speaking and their ability to train new Wikipedians, we could help them bring many more new editors to the community. There is a need for training the trainers so that outreach can be conducted more efficiently and effectively. There is also a need for the creation of support documents, hand-outs, presentations, tutorials, etc.
  • Follow up sessions for new Wikipedians: Those who are experienced in typing schemes other than the ones used on Bangla Wikipedia (InScript, Transliteration, Phonetic) take longer to adapt to the typing schemes of Bangla Wikipedia. Typing in Bangla is also not something easy enough to be learnt in the span of a workshop. It is often noticed that newbies who start typing for the first time get excited about learning it, but the enthusiasm declines gradually and their contribution goes down. There is a need for imparting training in Bangla typing (offline and online) for the participants /new editors of the outreach events and in the follow-up outreach sessions.
  • Lack of institutional support and collaboration:
  • Educational Institutions: Till date most of the outreach events for Bangla have been 2-3 hour long workshops and there has been no direct involvement of the institution's faculty members. Students guided by their teachers about editing Wikipedia would be more keen to edit as compared to a 2-3 hour Wikipedia session by a Wikipedian. An academic environment also becomes a better place for students to access the resources from libraries, having discussions among themselves and taking help from their teachers while editing Wikipedia, which don't happen in a single workshop. There is a need for creating more teacher-Wikipedians by partnering with educational institutions.
  • Organizational partnerships:
i. There are many good quality books, journals, periodicals (e.g. influential ‘little magazines’ such as Baromash and Ekshan, and the academic journal Aithihasik) which have not been published for commercial benefit. Partnership with such publication houses is needed to bring in good quality articles on contemporary issues on Wikipedia. The ‘little magazines’ have contributed writings in Bangla over many decades on topics ranging from politics and history to current social issues and literary and film reviews.
ii. There is also a need to build research communities using the wiki platform through university partners (Schools at Jadavpur University; SCTR, English, Philosophy, Film Studies, Women’s Studies, etc.) and research centre partners (Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Mahanirban Calcutta Research Group - MCRG). Research scholars who are invested in using Bangla materials can contribute through thematic dossiers of material and articles on their research. This ensures that the quality is high and the referencing structure is sound.

Implementation Plan[edit]

Cultivating New Editors[edit]

The following activities have been planned for the period July 2014-June 2015.

Institutional Partnerships (Higher Education)[edit]

Based on the previous year’s experience of approaching the various higher education institutions the following list is put together. CIS-A2K will focus its efforts to at least formalise three of these institutional partnerships in developing thematic projects.

Name of the Institution Status
School of Cultural Texts And Records (SCTR) Formal agreement signed.
Diamond Harbour Women’s University (DHWU), Kolkata Discussions through. Formal agreement to be signed
School of Women Studies, Jadavpur University Ongoing discussions with faculty
Bhasa Bhavana, Visva Bharathi Under exploration
Department of Bengali, University of Calcutta Under exploration

To collaboratively devise thematic projects with academicians and students in at least three of the above institutions and to show how they could use Bangla Wikipedia and sister projects as part of their pedagogy.

  1. Come up with a calendar of events/schedule for each of the institution in consultation with the anchor faculty/s.
  2. Enter into formal agreements with institutions.
  3. Introduce and involve Bangla Wikipedians in advanced conversations.
  4. In collaboration with key Bangla Wikipedians, design and roll-out workshops and training programs.
  5. Continuous mentoring, monitoring and evaluation of the new users created under the project with the help of Bangla Wikipedians (i.e. Editor Engagement).
  6. Create social media platforms for visibility of these projects and facilitate need-based technical and online support. For instance, motivate the faculty or student to maintain a blog on the project.
  7. Constant liaison with the anchor faculty/department.
  1. Expected to enlist about 100 - 150 new editors on Bangla Wikipedia. Of this an attempt will be made to convert 10-15 people into active editors.
  2. Will result in creation of new 500 quality thematic articles.
  3. Will result in the expansion and quality improvement of 200 existing stub class articles.

Bangla Interest Groups[edit]


Target and enrol existing collectives/groups already interested in Bangla language and culture and motivate them to utilize Bangla Wikipedia as a platform. During this year CIS-A2K will aim to nurture at least 4 interest groups.

  1. Identify potential User Interest Groups. CIS-A2K is already exploring discussions with three groups, Bangalee Association of Bangalore (one of the oldest Bangla groups in Bangalore), Bengalee Cultural Association Hyderabad, and Spandan (Bengali cultural association of Indian Institute of Science).
  2. Establish linkages between these groups and the enthusiastic members from the Bangla Wiki Community.
  3. Design and roll-out of Wikipedia Training programs in collaboration with Bangla Wiki Community.
  4. Post-training program follow-up.
  5. Incubation of smaller thematic projects around specific themes like science, literature, technology and current affairs.
  6. Facilitate support and mentoring of the new editors, by the Bangla Wiki Community, to cultivate them into active editors.
  1. Expected to enlist about 80-100 new editors on Bangla Wikipedia. Of this an attempt will be made to convert 8-10 people into active editors.
  2. Will result in the creation of 50 new articles and improvement of 100 articles.
  3. Will result in improving the quality of specific thematic articles on Bangla Wikipedia in a sustained manner and in improving the diversification of content.

Bangla Wikipedia Editing Tutorials[edit]

New editors on Indic Wikipedias often find Wikipedia editing tough, especially in terms of Input and to browse and understand the design of Wikipedia and the technical terms used on it. During our interactions some of the Bangla Wikimedians have expressed the need to have editing tutorials for video editing in Bangla.


To create a set of video tutorials for editing on Bangla Wikipedia and make them available on Wikimedia Commons, Bangla Wikipedia and on YouTube.

  • Create a basic design for the video tutorials.
  • Involve the community in script and pre-production designing of the tutorials.
  • Production of video tutorials.
  • Make available free copies to the Bangla Wikimedia community to be used during outreach programs.
  • Production of at least 10 video tutorials.
  • 500 DVDs would be provided to the community.
  • Could result in brining new editors on Bangla Wikipedia and sister projects.

Strengthening Existing Editors[edit]

Capacity Building Meet-ups[edit]


To facilitate more qualitative interactions amongst Community Members, with an aim to a) foster linkages between new and existing users; b) creating learning and support space for new Wikimedians; c) foster a culture of collective review of the expansion of Bangla Wikipedia.

  1. Facilitate 12 offline monthly meetings/events over the next one year. Other than community interactions the group will be encouraged to participate in a specific theme based edit-a-thon, fix a couple of pages, test some specific new tools, etc. This has been successfully done by CIS-A2K in Telugu Wikipedia during the last year, which proved beneficial
  2. Organise/facilitate Google hangouts/Skype calls and IRCs. We will aim to organise/facilitate minimum of three meetings in the next one year in addition to the above.
  1. These Community Building efforts will further strengthen the community spirit among the Bangla Wikipedians and in ensuring that new editors get converted into active editors especially in Kolkata.
  2. Could result in the quality improvement and creation of 100 articles.

Bangla Wiki 11[edit]


To celebrate 11 years of Bangla wikipedia at Kolkata/Bangalore/Hyderabad. Bring in all active Bangla Wikipedians in these respective cities.

  1. Create a platform for celebrating a congregation of wikipedians. Plan a 1-2 day event that would also benefit the venue city.
  2. Use this as an opportunity to train some of the new active Bangla Wikipedians.
  3. Use this as a platform to link the new and old Bangla Wikimedians.
  4. Organize introspection sessions with the community on the growth and development of Bangla Wikipedia.
  5. Chart out plans for the year 2015
  6. Bring in other Indic Wikimedians to create strong inter-language networks and projects.
  1. Could help in bringing together 50% of all India-based Bangla editors onto a common platform.
  2. To bring media attention to Bangla Wikipedia and other Bangla projects.

Content Generation and Quality Improvement[edit]

Early Bengali Cinema Project[edit]

Media lab housed at the Department of Film Studies, Jadavpur University has been involved in creating research databases on early Indian cinema and Bangla cinema. CIS-A2K has conducted one Wikipedia orientation program at the Department of Film Studies last year for which there was a good response. CIS-A2K will approach the Department of Film Studies to create a thematic project on early Bangla cinema. The Film Studies students will be encourage to use the archived content at Media Lab to create articles on Bangla Wikipedia


To design and roll out a program on early Bangla cinema in collaboration with the Department of Film Studies, Jadavpur University.

  1. Program design to be shared with the Department of Film Studies.
  2. Involve Kolkata based Wikimedians to act as Wikipedia mentors.
  3. Conduct Wikipedia orientation workshops at the Department of Film Studies.
  4. Organizing edit-a-thons at Media Lab on early Bangla cinema.
  5. Publicize this project in West Bengal through media, blogs and social media.
  6. Provide analytical and technical support for the project.
  1. Creation of at least 250 above start class articles on early Bangla cinema.
  2. Could result in upload of 100 images from old film magazines on Wikimedia Commons.
  3. Wikipedia outreach to 50 students, some of whom could continue as active editors.
Social Sciences Translation Project[edit]

During the discussions with the higher education institutions, some of them showed interest in translation of good quality articles from English Wikipedia into Bangla broadly in the field of Social Sciences and Humanities.


To identify and translate good quality articles from English Wikipedia into Bangla in the field of Social Sciences

  1. Curate a list of good quality articles from English Wikipedia on the topics suggested by the faculty.
  2. Create a project to assess the existence of these articles on Bangla Wikipedia and rate their quality before the commencement of the project. To be done with the help of Bangla Wikimedians.
  3. Conduct Wikipedia orientation workshops at the institutions which expressed interest.
  4. Come up with a calendar of activities with these institutions.
  5. Organize translation sprints, edit-a-thons and build cross institutional networks.
  1. Creation and quality improvement of at least 300 above start class articles on social science and humanities topics.
  2. Wikipedia outreach to 100 students, some of whom could continue as active editors.

Content Donation/Release under CC license[edit]

Institutional Partnerships[edit]

CIS-A2K will also focus its energies on building institutional partnerships with the following institutions towards getting large Bangla Content Donation/release under Creative Commons license.

Name Status
School of Cultural Texts and Records Formal agreement signed
West Bengal Public Libraries Network Under exploration
Society for Natural Language Processing (SNLTR) To be explored
Centre for Studies in Social Sciences Under exploration
Media Lab, Jadavpur University Ongoing discussions

To partner at least 2-3 of the above institutions in getting Bangla content donation/re-release under Creative Commons license. This will enrich the Bangla Wikisource project primarily but will also help in creating quality articles on Bangla Wikipedia.

  1. CIS-A2K will put efforts in formalizing the content donation or release under CC license agreements with the institution.
  2. Organize public events or functions which would encourage other institutions to follow suit.
  3. Digitization of collections if required
  4. Make available all the donated content on Bangla Wikisource
  1. To make available 20,000 digitized folios for Bangla Wikisource.
  2. Could help improve/create in 100 articles on Bangla Wikipedia

Goals for July 2014 - June 2015[edit]

Parameters As on January 31, 2014 Expected Target by June 30, 2015 Dream Target by June 30, 2015
No. of Editors 904 1,250 1,350
No. of New editors 213 350 450
No. of Active editors 84 102 110
No. of Articles 27,987 31,000 33,000
% age of Articles above 2KB size 72% 76% 80%
No. of Outreach Events 2 21 21
No. of Books Donated NA 100 200
No. of Folios Digitized NA 20,000 25,000
No. of Institutional Partnerships 1 3 5

Activity wise Break-up of Targets[edit]

Activity No. of New Articles No. of Existing Articles Quality Improved No. of New Editors No. of New Active Editors No. of Events No. of Partnerships built (Institutions/Groups)
Institutional Partnerships (Higher Education) 500 200 100-150 10-15 6 3
Bangla Interest Groups 50 100 80-100 8-10 4
Bangla Wikipedia Editing Tutorials 10 (Video tutorials)
Capacity Building Meet-ups 50 50 12
Bangla Wiki 11 1
Early Bengali Cinema Project 250 & (100 images to Commons) 50 2
Social Sciences Translation Project 300 100 4
Institutional Partnerships (content) 100 & (20,000 digitized folios) 5
Total 1,250 (10 videos; 100 images; & 20,000 folios) 350 330-400 18-25 34 3


Expenditure Item FDC Support (INR) FDC Support (US$) Other Sources and in kind support (INR) Other Sources and in kind support (US$)
1 PO x 40% * 264,000/- 4,271.73407 - -
1 PD x 10% ** 240,000/- 3,883.39460 - -
Travel and Stay *** 200,000/- 3,236.16217 50,000/- 809.04054
Volunteer Support 100,000/- 1,618.08108 50,000/- 809.04054
Events/Meet-ups/Workshops 200,000/- 3,236.16217 250,000/- 4,045.20271
Consumables/Printing/Stationery/Swag 50,000/- 809.04054 - -
Miscellaneous 20,000/- 323.61621 - -
Total 1,074,000/- 17,378.190856 350,000/- 5,663.28380

* 40% time of a Program Officer who will anchor this plan at CIS-A2K
** 10% of T. Vishnu Vardhan’s time as Program Director, CIS-A2K
*** Expenses incurred by the CIS-A2K program team towards executing the plan

List of contributors[edit]