Tamil Wikipedia is a user created, free encyclopedia started in 2003 as part of the Wikipedia project which began in 2001. The main and ambitious objective of the Wikipedia is to bring together and give access to all world knowledge in all languages. The altruistic objective, open spirit, and the enabling wiki technology and process lead to the creation of more than 1.5 million articles in English by 2006, and about 6000 articles in Tamil.
Barriers to Tamil
Unlike English which has massive resources and inherent technological advantages, Tamil is limited in resources and reach. Most of the Tamil speaking population do not have computers or access to the Internet. Even if they do have computers, they are not connected to the Internet. Moreover, there are technological shortcomings in reading and typing in Tamil via the computer.
The Need for the Tamil CD in Sri Lanka
In recent discussions with Tamil Wikipedians from Sri Lanka, it has become evident that Tamil Wikipedia is or becoming an important source of information for them. Lack of access to library or books, and the notable price in purchasing books are significant barriers to learning. Moreover, Tamil Wikipedia can be more current and relevant source of many type of information. Along with Wikipeida’s sister projects it can truly be a importance source of knowledge in Tamil. As a multilingual project, it can also encourage and help students learn other languages as well.
Unfortunately, as noted before the Tamil population in Sri Lanka does not have access to Internet, even if they can manage power supply and computers. Thus, putting selected number of quality articles in CD can be valuable to them.
Not Just in Sri Lanka but in TN Many TN schools do not have reliable Internet connection. Internet has not reached TN villages. Thus, the CD is not jus for Tamils in Sri Lanka, but for Tamils in TN, and all over the world.
Currently we are considering 50 articles in each 12 top category areas (Tamil, Mathematics, Science, Technology, Geography, History, Society, People, Culture, Literature, Arts, Religion). There may be some overlap. Another 400 articles can supplement depth coverage in important topic ranges. Or we can limit the topic range and increment the depth coverage. It really depends the audience, and our resources. In addition, we can include articles that can help learn English or Japanese or other languages.
We need volunteers
If we want to do all this, we have to have more volunteers. Our main source of volunteers has been from the Tamil blogshpere. Unfortunately, the Tamil and Tamil Nadu academia is very silent and not engaged with Tamil Wikipedia at all. The “serious” writers or literature people are not engaged with Wikipedia to the extent they can. The contribution form certain expert areas are minimal or none. The geographic spread of contributors is also of notable concern.
However, there has be more interest forthcoming from all circles. For instance, notable writer from Canada A. Muthlingam has shown an active interest in Wikipedia, and is attempting engage others as well. Professor Selva has also encouraged his colleagues and friends to contribute to Tamil Wikipedia. Many others have shown great interest, but direct contribution has been slow in forthcoming.
Any one can edit Tamil Wikipedia. And we welcome all, not just domain experts, writers, and students. But people of varied interests, all have something to contribute. Even if you are not comfortable with writing Tamil, there are many other activities that can be done such as graphics, programming, maintenance, layout design, photography, audio video content generation etc.
Please note that Tamil Wikipedia is neutral, non-profit, non-political fully voluenteer driven project which main purpose is to build a quality Tamil Wikpedia using the Wiki technology and process as the means. So, join us and share some of your time and your thoughts.
Tamil Wikipedia Community
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