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University of Mysore Re-releases Kannada Vishwakosha (Encyclopaedia) under Creative Commons Free License

Posted by U.B.Pavanaja at Jul 24, 2014 05:30 AM |
The University of Mysore and the Centre for Internet and Society co-organized the Open Knowledge Day in Mysore on July 15, 2014. On this occasion Mysore University released six volumes of Kannada Vishwakosha under the Creative Commons (CC) license.
University of Mysore Re-releases Kannada Vishwakosha (Encyclopaedia) under Creative Commons Free License

Dr. U.B. Pavanaja (CIS-A2K), DR. C. Basavaraju (Registrar, UoM) and Prof K. S. Rangappa (V.C., UoM) on the occasion of signing the MoU

Kannada Vishwakosha brought out by the University of Mysore can easily be termed as the best encyclopaedia in Kannada. It has been modelled after the famous Britannica encyclopaedia. Mysore University Vishwakosha has 14 volumes having a total of 13802 pages. The very first volume was brought out in the year 1969 and the final volume was released in 2004. Many famous Kannada authors, scientists, academicians and stalwarts from other fields have worked on creating this encyclopaedia. The print volumes of the first version of the encyclopaedia are out of stock now. Recently UoM has started revising and reprinting the encyclopaedia. So far 4 volumes have been revised, enhanced and published.

UoM believes in Open Access to Knowledge. It has put up the research outputs from its departments online for free access to the public. UoM has done these as a subscriber to the idea of Budapest Open Access Initiative. The Open Access Institutional Repository, of UoM, covers scholarly publications covering journal articles, conference papers, books, book reviews, presentations, reports and patents ever since UoM was established in 1916. Extending the philosophy of open knowledge to the Kannada encyclopaedia published by UoM becomes a natural extension. UoM is in the verge of celebrating its centenary soon and has taken many initiatives in that direction.

CIS-A2K has been in negotiations with UoM towards releasing of its high quality Kannada Vishwakosha (Kannada Encyclopaedia) under Creative Commons license. CIS and UoM signed a MoU on February 22, 2014. Here is the relevant extract from the MoU: "They will work together to digitize all encyclopaedic publications for which the copyright is owned by UoM, and re-release them under the Creative Common license (CC-BY-SA 3.0). The digitized content will be made available for everyone through free content distribution platforms like Wikipedia and Wikisource. The digitization will be done employing the global standard Unicode so that the content has longevity, is universally portable and is easily searchable. Both parties have joined hands to undertake the above in order to enhance digital literacy in the Kannada language and facilitate collaborative production and free dissemination of knowledge in Kannada to the students, academics, researchers and the wider public. The parties also believe that by reintroducing the knowledge in digital and openly accessible formats could significantly enhance the production of knowledge in Kannada and give a new lease of life to Kannada language in the digital era. The parties will co-design and jointly implement relevant programmes to achieve this objective." As part of this MoU, UoM agreed to release the first six volumes of Kannada Vishwakosha under CC.

Volume numbers 1, 2, 4 and 6 of Kannada Vishwakosha of UoM have been revised and published recently. A project page has been created in Kannada Wikipedia for this project. Kannada Wikipedians joined hands in the project. The project involved extracting the text from the soft copies of the files, converting them into Unicode, extracting articles from these files and uploading them to Kannada Wikisource.

A team of interns from Christ University had a major role to play in this development. These were students from the Wikipedia in Education Program that was conducted in Christ University during the academic period of 2013-14. These students took active part in the current project and uploaded about 1200 articles so far (till July 21, 2014).

Media Coverage

The event attracted very good media coverage. Leading English and Kannada dailies like Andolana Kannada, City Today, Deccan Herald, Hosa Diganta, Kannada Jana Mana, Kannada Prabha, Rajya Dharma, Samyukta Karnataka, The Hindu, The New Indian Express, Udayavani, Vijaya Karnataka, and Vijaya Vani published about this. Scanned versions of the published articles can be downloaded here.

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