Wikimedia Blog/Drafts/Odia Wikisource turns 2: A GLAM project for digitization of rare books kicks off

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Odia Wikimedians along with a few authors that gathered for Odia Wikisource's 2nd birth anniversary celebration. Image by Subhashish Panigrahi, CC-BY-SA 4.0.

Odia Wikisource turned two in October 2016. Started in 2014, the project has over 500 volumes of text including more than 200 books from diverse genres and eras of publications. There are about 5-10 active contributors to this project that are dispersed geographically. On January 29, a day-long event was organized in the Indian city of Bhubaneswar—the capital of the state of Odisha where a majority of Odia-language speakers live—to bring them together under one roof, to provide training to those who wanted to learn more, and to assess the work done and create strategies for the future. 40 Wikimedians—a fair combination of long time and new members, and over 15% women—participated in this event where inputs of all the participant-Wikimedians were captured. Six of the active contributors to the project—Pankajmala Sarangi, Subas Chandra Rout, Radha Dwibedi, Sangram Keshari Senapati, Prateek Pattanaik, Chinmayee Mishra, and Aliva Sahoo along with Mrutyunjaya Kar, administrator of the project joined this event in person. The event marked the beginning of many new community projects including Pothi, a project to digitize old and rare Public Domain Odia books, another digitization project to archive and digitize Public Domain books from the Utkal University library that are in the verge of perishing, an archival and digitization project to digitize a few hundred year-old palm leaf manuscripts in a temple in the city of Bargarh, and Kathabhidhana, an open source project to record pronunciation of words for Wiktionary.

Several small workshops—on a low cost set up for large-scale digitization of books, managing communications for small–large events, how to upload scanned works on Commons, dealing with OTRS-related issues, OCRing scanned pages, cropping images and inserting them in Wikisource, general guidelines for proofreading, and tips for promoting digitized works on social media and other platforms—were organized.

Books like “Odishara Itihasa”, “Ama Debadebi”, “Manabasa Laxmipurana”, “Sabitri Osa” weren’t available in internet even though many would have searched for them and I am proud to contribute in digitizing them
— Sangram Keshari Senapati, Wikisourcer.
Pothi, a project to collect, archive and digitize old and rare Odia books

“Odia Wikisource is run by volunteers (commonly known as Wikimedians). This project is a storehouse of out-of-copyright books. Apart from old books, we're also including many new books. We are reaching out to well known Authors and Publishers with the aim to include some of their books in this free library. This way, the new generation won’t become oblivious to the invaluable pieces of Odia literature in this digital age”, explained Mrutyunjaya Kar, an administrator of this project. Prateek Pattanaik, who is a 12th-standard student in Delhi Public School Damanjodi, has started a project called “Pothi” to collect out-of-copyright and rare books and make them available in digital form in this free library. Many people who are interested in bringing the digital form of Odia books and Pothi to a larger audience were present at the program.

Palm leaf manuscripts are perishing in temple archive—how we are digitizing them
Ancient manuscripts preserved by the temple administration

Shree Dadhibamana Temple, a 400-year-old temple in Bargarh, a city in the Indian state of Odisha has an archive of over 250 ancient Odia manuscripts that date back to 16th century. These palm leaf manuscripts include Mahabharata, Ramayana, Skanda Purana, and the history of the temple, all in Odia. Many of the manuscripts from the collection are on the verge of erosion, and the temple administration and the temple trust have preserved the manuscripts with available preservation techniques. The preservation started a coupe of years back where the student volunteers of different colleges of Bhatli, a nearby town, helped the temple administration in identifying the about-to-be-perished manuscripts and preserving them.

Going forward, the Odia Wikimedia community is planning to collaborate with the temple administration and the trust to organize a three-day-long digitization camp so that students of two different colleges of Bhatli can be educated about Wikisource and the digitization process for it. Some of the temple manuscripts will be digitized during this camp. After scanning the manuscripts the Odia Wikimedia community will help the students for uploading, digitizing and proofreading the manuscripts on Odia Wikisource.

Digitizing books in Utkal University library

Utkal University is one of the oldest universities in Odisha and the 17th oldest university in India. The central library of Utkal University, named after its first Vice Chancellor, Professor Prana Krushna Parija, is home to many old and rare books and manuscripts that was set up in 1946 in Cuttack, and then shifted to the campus of Utkal University in Bhubaneswar in 1962. Odia Wikimedians are working closely with the university to set up a structure where the Wikimedians in Bhubaneswar, otherwise known as the Bhubaneswar WikiTungi, will be involved in the scanning process. This collaboration with the university will enable the Wikimedians to use the Public Domain books for Wikisource where the university will host the e-books on their website.

Learning from the Wiki Loves Ratha Jatra photothon, and planning for future photothons
Fixing the axle in the large wooden wheel of the chariot. Video by Jagannath Dora, CC-BY-SA 4.0.

Led by members of the WikiTungi Puri, the Puri-based sub-community of the Odia Wikimedia community, the community organized a photothon to document a thousand-year old festival called Ratha Jatra. The festival originated from Puri and is one of the most widely celebrated festivals in India and abroad today. The Jagannath temple where the festival is celebrated being a no-camera zone does not allow Wikimedians to document several artifacts whereas this festival bring many of those artifacts outside the temple premises. The festival also includes construction of three huge chariots and the construction of those include several indigenous techniques that are valuable for the Wikimedia projects. This event saw great contribution of as many as 386 images and videos. Wikimedians Dinesh Das, Dibyadarsi Nayak, and Jagannath Dora who led the event shared the challenges they faced especially because almost all the members of the Puri WikiTungi edit Wikimedia projects using their phones. They asked around for feedback on bettering for the upcoming events. They also shared their plans for leveraging such grand festival celebrations in documenting everything that is encyclopedic and worth of documenting for all the Wikimedia projects.

The work done by Puri and Bhubaneswar WikiTungi is captured in another blog post.

A home studio setup for recording using Kathabhidhana.
Kathabhidhana
Open Source project to create audio recordings of large chunks of words

Kathabhidhana is a community project to create an open source solution for recording large chunks of words, and then uploading them under open licenses so that they can useful for projects like Wiktionary. The project is led by Odia Wikimedian Subhashish Panigrahi draws its inspiration largely from another open source software created by Wikimedian Shrinivasan T. When the original source code of the software for Kathabhidhana is written in Python, and over 1200 audio recordings have been created so far using this tool, Odia Wikimedian Prateek Pattanaik is working on creating a workflow using a proprietary iOS-based app so that one can record about 5 words per minute using iPad or iPhone and still contribute to the project. More than 1000 recordings have been added to Odia Wiktionary so far. Odia Wiktionary, which has been seen low contributions in general but huge contribution from [Shitikantha Dash who is a sysop of the project, is getting bigger with pronunciation of words. So far the project has more than 100K words, mostly from Bhashakosha, a Public Domain lexicon digitized by nonprofit Srujanika.

... Subhashish Panigrahi, Bikash Ojha, Prateek Pattanaik, Sailesh Patnaik, and Chinmayee Mishra, Odia Wikimedians