Centre for Internet & Society

If you think that Indian languages are as important as international languages, like English, then, you are on the same page with this article. If not, then, let me explain, why it is a significant and much bigger issue than you think.

The blog post by Suswetha Kolluru and Nitesh Gill is in multiple languages: English, Punjabi, Hindi and Telugu.

Every day, millions of users try to access information from the internet. In India, the number of users who try to access information in their own language (native/Indic language) is mind-boggling. Study says that by the year 2021, the number of Hindi users will surpass that of the English users and a few other indic languages which together form  30% of the Indian languages internet user base. Research also says that 68% of internet users consider local language content to be more reliable than English content.

Despite all these facts, one major reason that is limiting users from accessing information in Indian Languages, is the huge knowledge gap that is found online. When Google’s research team analyzed the results of most searched yet missing topics on the internet in Indian Languages, they decided to partner with the  Wikimedia Foundation and started a pilot program called Project Tiger, also known as Supporting Indian language Wikipedias in collaboration with the Centre for Internet and Society - Access to Knowledge in 2017 to support Indic Wikimedians in generating high quality content in their local language Wikipedias. Read More.

Project Tiger, as the name suggests, is inspired by, and named after, an environmental project in India,  to save tigers. Similarly, Wikipedia’s project Tiger, aims at nurturing locally relevant content on Indic language Wikipedias. This project happens in two phases:The first phase during early 2018 is when Google provided 50 Acer Laptops and 100 Internet stipends to experienced and promising Wikimedians, who needed infrastructure support to increase contributions. Once the distribution is done, communities start creating articles from the list provided by Google. Read More

In the first iteration of Project Tiger held in 2018, 12 Indic communities came forward and took part in the 3 month article writing contest during March-May and created over 4,466 articles with total page views of 1,65,774! Every article is reviewed by the corresponding language jury member against several parameters. Only if an article meets all the criteria, it gets accepted. The Punjabi community won the contest with a whopping 1320 articles followed by the Tamil community with 1241 articles. Read More

Besides the monthly prizes given to the top three contributors from each community, the winner and the runner up communities had a 3-day training session at Amritsar, Punjab. This session was lead by User:Asaf (WMF) where he taught the participants on writing articles with encyclopedic value and also introduced Wikidata and tools used in it. Read More

After witnessing the humongous success of Project Tiger in 2018, the second iteration has been rolled out which is called Project Tiger 2.0 or GLOW (Growing Local Language Content on Wikipedia). This is being run in four more countries apart from India for the first time. In addition to the 12 language communities that participated previously, Santali, Punjabi(Shanmukhi script) and Sanskrit also have agreed to join the contest this year. Communities have also come up with their own set of articles to write on, along with the  list given by Google. This year, the project aims at articles with high quality and communities are committed to doing the same.

If you are interested in joining, please visit this page.

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