WikiConference India 2011/Submissions/People are Knowledge

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This is an open submission for WikiConference India 2011.

Title of the submission

People are Knowledge

Type of submission (workshop, tutorial, panel, presentation)

Film screening, presentation, panel, discussion

Author of the submission

Aprabhala, Shijualex, Mayur

E-mail address

aprabhala at gmail dot com

Country of origin


Personal homepage or blog

For more, see:


Of late, there is increased attention on "small-language" Wikipedias. Most often, it is not the languages which are small, but their Wikipedias. And one of the reasons that these Wikipedias cannot grow is because published scholarly material in third-world languages (or non Anglo-European languages) is scarce, inadequately accessible or simply non-existent.

The presentation that we seek to make at Wikimania is the outcome of four months of research in 2011. It includes: (a) a 45 minute documentary film explaining the problem and the process, (b) a panel consisting of the people primarily involved in the research and selected guests, (c) a discussion on the experiments conducted, and future possibilities.

The problem:

Even if every single person in the south with Internet access wanted to become an active editor on Wikipedia, there is still a problem that we are going to run up against: the lack of published scholarly resources in these languages.

For Wikipedias in languages of the south, citations are not difficult to find when the articles being added are translations. However, since we all want the sphere of knowledge to be universally expanded – and not merely transferred from the north to the south – we are forced to confront two specific problems with finding citations for important local subject matter: (i) Published resources may simply not exist. (ii) Even when published scholarly resources exist, they may be limited or inaccessible and thus effectively rendered invisible to Wikipedians.

To put it another way, it’s possible that the sum of published scholarly work from Europe is somewhat close to the sum of ‘European’ knowledge, and that the sum of accessible, published scholarly work in many Asian and African languages is nowhere close to the corresponding body of knowledge that circulates among speakers of those languages.

For more on the project see:

To preview the film, see: or