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Digital Futures of Indian Languages - Notes from the Consultation

Posted by Tejaswini Niranjana at Jan 12, 2016 08:10 AM |
A consultation on 'digital futures of Indian languages' was held at the CIS office in Bangalore on December 12, 2015, to generate ideas and structure the Indian languages focus area of the CSCS Digital Innovation Fund (CDIF). It was led by Dr. Tejaswini Niranjana, Centre for the Study of Culture and Society (CSCS), and Tanveer Hasan, A2K programme at CIS; and was supported by CDIF. Here are the notes from the Consultation.


The group that gathered at CIS on Dec 12, 2016, brought a wealth of digital Indian language experience to the meeting, including database creation, working to develop wikimedia, TEI initiatives, digital glossary creation, localisation and standardisation, development of open platforms and content management systems for teaching-learning, font development, and optical character recognition (OCR).

There was a detailed discussion of existing digital projects in Indian languages, and presentation of a few new ideas for development of applications that would strengthen digital infrastructure for research and teaching in social sciences and humanities. Among the proposed ideas were:

  • concept-clustering tool for multiple language comparisons,
  • semantic mapping tool or data visualisation tool that connects concepts to exisiting wikipedia entries,
  • online interactive bank of questions, to convert learnables into material that can be grasped conceptually,
  • annotation tool that aggregates tagged material across databases, eg. Shodhganga, Digital South Asia Library, Digital Library of India (Hindi example), and
  • gamifying as a way of enhancing teacing-learning as well as research process.

The participants agreed that increased archiving and digitisation, and annotation of digitised material, was a priority for Indian language work. Alongside the curation of the material to be thus processed – whether as an archive or a database, it was important also to develop better OCR systems, fonts and typefaces, DIY scanners, tagging and annotation tools.

CDIF would like proposals that might further some of these objectives. Priority will be given to those projects for which there is no funding already potentially available from other sources. Wherever possible, CDIF will try to synergise its work with existing efforts taken up by the government, or by platforms such as Wikimedia. CDIF will see its primary role not as a funding body but as an incubator of new ideas, and to this end will seek to provide technical support and other expertise apart from seed money.




  1. Tejaswini Niranjana, CILHE, CSCS, CIS
  2. SV Srinivas, CSCS, APU
  3. Rajesh Ranjan, Govt of India
  4. Nagarjuna G, Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, Mumbai
  5. Sohnee Harshey, TISS Mumbai
  6. Sherin B.S., EFLU Hyderabad
  7. Swati Dyahadroy, Pune University Women’s Studies Centre
  8. Tanveer Hasan, CIS
  9. Tito Dutta, CIS
  10. Sneha P.P., CIS
  11. Jnanaranjan Sahu, Odia Wikimedia community
  12. Spandana Bhowmick,  JU, Kolkata and IFA Bangalore
  13. Ravikant, Historian, CSDS Delhi
  14. Veeven, Telugu wikimedia community
  15. Rahmanuddin Shaik, CIS
  16. Abhinav Garule, CIS consultant, Marathi
  17. Ashwin Kumar AP, formerly CSCS, now Tumkur University
  18. Subhashish Panigrahi, CIS
  19. Ashish Rajadhyaksha, CSCS
  20. Ravichandra Enaganti, Telugu Wikipedia
  21. Ananth Subray, CIS consultant, Kannada
  22. Om Shivaprakash, Kannada Wikimedia community
  23. Pavithra H, Kannada Wikimedia community