Centre for Internet & Society
Indic Wikisource Speak: Dr. Gitartha Bordoloi

Dr. Gitartha Bordoloi at IWCC2018 (Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0)

"People are more aware of Wikipedia than Wikisource." - Gitartha Bordoloi from Assamese Wikisource community, share his experience with CIS-A2K team.

Gitartha Bordoloi from Assamese Wikisource community

CIS : Tell us about yourself, When did you join Wikimedia movement? And What are the projects you are involved in?

Gitartha: I'm Gitartha Bordoloi hailing from Jorhat, Assam. I edit in Wikimedia projects under the username Gitartha.bordoloi. I'm a doctor by profession and currently I'm working as a faculty in the Department of Physiology, Silchar Medical College and Hospital, Assam.

I joined Wikimedia movement in February, 2011. I tried to write an article in English Wikipedia when a friend of mine informed me that there's even a Wikipedia in Assamese and suggested I contribute there too. I'm now mostly involved in Assamese Wikipedia and Wikisource. I contribute to commons also to the best of my ability.

CIS : What are the methods or workflow you follow to contribute to your language Wikisource?

Gitartha: When we started as.wikisource we didn't have any scans and we typed or collected only texts. Then after learning about the detailed process I scanned a few books from my personal collection and uploaded those to commons for proofreading in Wikisource. We are currently digitizing scanned books found in Archive and other online sources. We are putting the list of new additions on the wikisource home page and encouraging the volunteers, mostly through social networks, to work on them. Instead of picking random books for proofreading, we are choosing an author every month (based on the birth or death month) and doing proofreading works penned by the author.

CIS : How is the awareness about Wikisource in your language Wikimedia community?

Gitartha: The awareness about Wikisource in the community isn't that great reflecting the awareness of the general population. People are more aware of Wikipedia than Wikisource. We're trying to tell people about this project through facebook group, page and twitter. Some articles were published in news papers in the past  which we'll have to do again. We'll also arrange some wikisource meets and workshops in near future.

CIS : We see there’s a growth in Indic Wikisource movement (showing Amir’s stats), what kind of help does the community need to grow?

Gitartha: Of late there has been a sharp growth in Assamese Wikisource due to active engagement of a number of users which we would like to sustain in the long term. We're planning to conduct the first Assamese wikisource workshop within a few months. Many new users have shown interest in this. Hopefully we'll get the guidance from CIS at every step. When the community grows we should be given a chance to hold a national level program such as TTT which will catch people's eyes and increase the number of contributors.

CIS : What are the challenges do you face while contributing to the project? Or social challenges while reaching out to authors or publishers.

Gitartha: As a contributor the first challenge I faced in wikisource was its steep learning curve compared to wikipedia. It's one thing to do only the proofreading part, but Wikisource is much more than that. Checking copyright status, uploading, indexing, transcluding, formatting etc take some effort. So the new users have to be kept away from some of the processes. Another major challenge for me is get sufficient time for offline wiki activities which I'm unable to do now. Third major challenge for me is motivating people about developing  project without any monetary benefit.

CIS : How would you describe the future of Wikisource? What are your personal goals for it?

Gitartha:Our project is still in the nascent stage and so we're not yet having any social challenges. We hope we face such issues in the coming months with the growth of our community.

CIS : Please share one remarkable work which is available at your domain and you had contributed. 

GitarthaI would like to consider all the works that I've contributed as remarkable and close to my heart. Though one rare book titled "ল'ৰা-ছোৱালীৰ ৰং-ঘৰীয়া খেল" (Lora-suwalir rong-ghariya khel) stands out. It was published in 1849 and teaches a large number of simple sports and physical activities including dance movements which can be practiced in schools. I found it in archive.org and transferred to commons before completing proofreading process with some other users. 

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