Odia Wikipedia: Needs Assessment

Posted by Subhashish Panigrahi at May 11, 2013 01:00 PM |
This blog encompasses the status of Odia Wikipedia and assessment of the needs for growth of the community.

This blog is part of the annual work plan for Odia Wikipedia which was updated on Odia Wikipedia and Meta Wiki.

Odia is one of the official languages of India. It is the official language of Odisha and the second official language of Jharkhand. Odia is also spoken in parts of West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh. By 2011 census there are 3.6 crore Odia speakers across the world. Literacy rate of Odisha is 73.45 per cent (82.4 per cent male, 64.36 per cent female).

Majority of the computer users in Odisha were on Microsoft Windows platforms. Windows did not have a stable Odia language support until the release of Windows Vista. This would have forced majority of the computer users prefer English on Odia for internet communication. As per the 2011 census only 5.1 per cent of the 9,661,085 households of Odisha had computers and 1.4 per cent (357,460 households) of the households had access to internet. Odia Wikipedia has only 13 active contributors[1] who are based both in and out of Odisha and contributed to 3715 articles.[2]

Low computer/internet penetration, lack of promotion/outreach of Odia Wikipedia are some of the major factors which resulted in low Wikipedia participation. Odia Wikipedia celebrated its 9th anniversary on January 29, 2013 which is marked to be the date of its first edit in 2004.[3] The project was inactive for about 8 years until February 2011.[4]

Community building process slowly started by February-March 2011 by some of the active wikipedians in Bengaluru and gradually in six other cities in and out of Odisha.[5]The community so far has organized 18 meet-ups, 10 workshops and worked on a major media donation project on Wikimedia Commons.[6] Six on-wiki projects on various subjects[7] and rolled a Wikipedia education program.[8]

Fact Sheet

Wikimedia projectsNo. of Editors/Contributors (2011-12)No. of Editors (2012-13)No. of Active editors (2011-12)No. of Active editors (2012-13)No. of Articles/
entries (2011-12)
No. of Articles/
entries (2012-13)
No. of Page views per months
Wikipedia 29 64 19 14 1951 3209 330161
Wiktionary 6 14 1 2 98 155 30618

Identified Needs

This section gives a broad idea of the challenges for community/wikipedia growth for which there is a need of programatic and technical intervention.

  • Lack of awareness
  1. Lack of media presence: Mainstream Odia language media is still unaware of the presence and importance of Odia Wikipedia. There is a need for wider media coverage about Odia Wikipedia.
  2. Lack of focussed meetups/outreach events due to dispersed community: Outreach events and meetups have not been customized for the target audience and have been done in a low scale because of the small community dispersed in six different cities. Physical meetups often have been more on technical issues and not much focus on designing strategies for growing content and community. Experienced wikipedians conducting outreach need to be trained properly to conduct productive outreach events.
  3. More city centric communities: Majority of community members are located in three major cities; Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Nalconagar. This has resulted in outreach events being more delimited to these three cities only. There is a need for taking Odia Wikipedia to more cities.
  4. Target age group for outreach: Till date the targeted audience for outreach are mostly engineering/other students based in cities where English is predominantly the language of communication in terms of written/computer communication and partly verbal communication. Many of the elderly masses are unaware of even the existence of Odia Wikipedia. More of young professionals, elderly and retired professionals need to be involved in the outreach.
  • Accessibility issues

Technical hindrance

  1. Lack of Unicode usage: Printing industry professionals still use non-Unicode fonts for typing. There are at least three major different typing schemes and font categories used across the industry (includes book/magazine/newspaper publishers, print/digital media). Font converter tools of high accuracy are needed for easy conversion of such available content and using them as primary resources.
  2. Lack of support in typing schemes: Those who are experienced in typing schemes other than the ones used on Odia Wikipedia (InScript, Transliteration, Phonetic) often fail to adapt the typing schemes of Odia Wikipedia. There is a need of new typing schema for simplifying typing in Odia.
  • Content
  1. Lack of Open-Source culture: There is very little presence of the open source methodology across academia, media industry and public and private sector organization. A lot of resources produced are either not digitized and distributed or copyrighted. This has been a road block to the Wikipedia community to make use of any kind of archived and digitized resource. Wikipedians need to be connected to more open source communities, exchange ideas/information and spreading words across other communities.
  2. Lack of resource dissemination because of support: Some of the digitized resources are not being distributed because of shortage of manpower and resource.  A book digitization project initiated by Srujanika faced many hindrances during distribution including copyright issues, hosting and manpower for support. Such resources need to be gathered and distributed for community use.
  • Community
  1. Role of experienced wikipedians: There is a need of more experienced wikipedians coming forward to take the lead of projects along with their primary contribution for articles. Wikipedia could be a platform for them to reach out to more people who are in the domain of knowledge dissemination and language resource building.

[1]. Wikimedia stats. January 2013







[8]. https://or.wikipedia.org/s/cgj