Centre for Internet & Society

Piles of the thick four volumes of Konkani vishwakosh or encyclopedia waiting to be picked up by users at the Goa University (GU) will now attain a modern avatar.

The article was published in the Times of India on September 27, 2013. T. Vishnu Vardhan is quoted.

The volumes, work on which was first started by renowned Goan writer and academician late Manoharrai Sardessai at GU, will not only be available in digitized format, but will form the base for a Konkani Wikipedia.

Goa University has become the first varsity in the country to enter into a creative commons licence that will allow data produced and copyrighted by an Indian university available to internet users and open to modification, making GU a champion of sorts of free knowledge. The Konkani Wikipedia is expected to be ready for use within six months, officials said.

The university has signed a three-year memorandum of understanding with the Centre for Internet and Society's Access to Knowledge Programme, which represents Wikipedia in India, for the Konkani Wikipedia project.

"Professors, students and anyone with expertise or love for Konkani can come forward to help with the project for which training will be provided. Information in the Konkani vishwakosh will also be updated as per the current developments," Vishnu Vardhan of the centre said.

The Wikipedia is the fourth most used property on the internet after Google, Facebook and Yahoo, which acts as an internet based encyclopedia where any of the users can upload new information or update or modify an existing chapter. The Konkani Wikipedia too will offer similar privileges to users and GU's Konkani department and the centre will oversee the process from the university campus.

"The Konkani vishwakosh covers all realms of knowledge like any other encyclopedia. The Konkani Wikipedia will act as a digitized repository of knowledge for future generations and Konkani speakers across the world. I look forward to the pleasure of going to the internet and clicking away to access a Konkani Wikipedia," GU vice-chancellor Satish Shetye said.

Shetye said that GU is glad to associate with Wikipedia which has become a global phenomenon and broken the monopoly of publishers and converted distribution of knowledge into a democratic process.

"At present, it takes time for a page with information in a regional language to download because they are usually found in the form of scanned pages, which are accessible as images and not text. The Konkani Wikipedia will make the text accessible as is the case of any English text on the internet," GU registrar Vijayendra Kamat said. tnn

The Konkani vishwakosh was created over a period of 14 years.

Edited by late Manoharrai Sardessai and later Tanaji Halarnkar. GU staffers Ranjan Naik, Kalpana Naik, Kanchan Mordekar, Surekha Naik, Mukesh Thali and Shailendra Mehta contributed to the compilation process.

Contains four large volumes of 3,632 of total pages.

Konkani vishwakosh or encyclopedia encompasses world information in a nutshell with special emphasis on Goa, Konkani, Goan culture, folklore, history, geography etc.

Wikipedia is available in 20 Indian languages including Telugu, Assamese, Marathi, but not in Konkani so far.

Students, professors and anyone interested in contributing to the project can do so by enrolling online at bit.ly/konkanivishwakosh before October 5.