Oral Culture and Language Documentation: Virtual and Hands-on Workshops

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Oral Culture and Language Documentation Workshops were a series of virtual and in-person workshops under the project of Needs assessment for documentation and revitalization of Indic languages using Wikimedia projects. The project is funded by Movement Strategy Implementation Grants which focus on those projects that are in the current state of a Movement Strategy Initiative.

Focus areas

The project is divided into three stages:

  • Collecting survey responses from Wikimedians and indigenous/native language speakers
  • Workshops with Wikimedians and native language speakers
  • Interviews with Wikimedians, native language speakers and language experts

During the project, there were three virtual and a two-day hands-on workshops to engage and to create awareness among people to document their own oral cultures and languages. It focuses on WH questions about oral cultures, the importance of documentation of languages and culture via Wikimedia projects: Wikimedia Commons and Wikisource.

Arrangements prior to workshops:[edit]

Arrangements prior to workshops: Beginning of the project, we committed to do three virtual workshops under this project. We had planned workshops for two months and researched on the interest or needs of attendees. We planned those workshops accordingly and started to engage people through surveys and notify them, as their interest can involve in Workshops and do something for their language communities. 118 participants showed interest to take part in the workshops and after reviewing their answers, we chose 70 people to notify about the conference and 35 to 40 people confirmed to become a part of the sessions. Here is the detailed information and statistics regarding workshops:

Workshop 1[edit]

The first Oral Culture and Language Documentation was conducted on 20 August 2022 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm IST.

  • Brief introduction to the funded project
  • Introduction to Wikimedia Projects
  • What is Wikimedia Commons? - Copyright & Licences
  • How to upload?

The first virtual workshop was conducted on 20 August 2022 after getting confirmations and availability of attendees. We designed from the basics and introduced our project to participants. Beginning of the workshop, there were 32 participants. During the session, we introduced participants about the Project’s motive behind Language activism and open knowledge and we also invited WikiTongues founder, Daniel Bögre Udell, to share his experience and introduce participants about language and its preservation. We shared that Wikimedia is restricted to Wikipedia only and introduced them to Wikimedia's sister projects. Other topics that were discussed: what is the meaning of Licenses & Copyright policy in  Wikimedia Commons and Who can use, how to upload an image or content on Commons. At the end of the workshop, we assign a task doable in a short time to all the participants.  

Workshop 2[edit]

The second virtual workshop was held on 27 August 2022 for two hours. This time, a total of 26 participants attended the workshop and co-founder of O Foundation and veteran Wikimedian, Shubhashish Panigrahi was the guest speaker of the workshop. He shared his experiences regarding language digitization with attendees. He also shared ideas on how the participants can contribute to their own language. During the second half of the session we presented on how to record video and demonstrated via video recordings of the volunteers.The participants were also informed on uploading videos on Wikimedia Commons. The session ended up by assigning a task to attendees. The task was to record a short video and to upload it on Commons.

Workshop 3[edit]

Before the second workshop, we found a possibility to collaborate with Central University of Himachal Pradesh. We connected a professor there and had a few virtual meetings with the Head of Department of Punjabi and Dogri. They showed interest and were pleased to arrange an in-person workshop. The university gave us a commitment that they would register a few students for the workshop. The organizers visited the university one day before the workshop for workshop arrangement in the university such as to ensure good accommodation, venue, equipment, logistics etc.

The workshops were conducted over the span of two days, on 3rd and 4th September 2022. An introduction and recap were provided to the attendees on the first day of the workshop. Then, the participants went for field visit, where they recorded oral culture and interviews. On the second day, the participants were instructed on uploading the recorded videos on Commons, creating transcription of them and uploading that on Wikisource.

Workshop 4[edit]

The final workshop was conducted online. This workshop included a presentation on creating transcription for the recorded videos and updating them on Commons and Wikisource. This workshop was essential since some of the workshop participants were not able to attend the 3rd, in-person workshop.

Tasks carried under the OCLD workshops:[edit]

The in-person workshops involved field visits by the participants. They interacted with the locals and recorded oral history and folk song videos in several languages. Check out the media created during the workshops here.