The vast majority of the urban educated in India have a fair knowledge of English. Therefore, when Wikipedia lists 13,23,383 articles written in English, some of those can claim to have authorship from India.
But a language such as Tamil, with multi-national presence, has just 3,944 articles in Wikipedia, which is a shame. Hindi fairs even worse at 1,596. It should matter to us that Indian languages don’t seem to be doing very well in Wikipedia.
|Language||No. of articles|
Since Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia that allows anyone â€œirrespective of qualifications and expertiseâ€ to add content while being its strength is also a source of controversy. The user-generated encyclopaedia is based on Wiki technology, which allows editorial access to user with or without registering. It’s popularity is probably no justification for concerns of being a viable reference source.
What apparently looks like a recipe for disaster hides a process that has stores a lot under the hood. In the new media environment media literacy is important. Wikipedia lends itself to a transparent process in which the evolution of the â€œfinal productâ€ is evident, unlike in professionally run encyclopaedias. It helps in distinguishing the â€œwheat from the chaffâ€, as David J. Rosen says in a post to DDN. Rosen lists the Discussion tab where one can see the â€œdiscussion/debate/ controversy has been in developing the article to dateâ€. And then there is the History tab that â€œshows every version of the articleâ€. As Sonya Lipczynska says in Reference Reviews that â€œthe criticisms that have been levelled at Wikipedia are, in fact, the very source of its strengthâ€.
For Indian content to be in Wikipedia is simply because more than anything else it is the lack of good Indian content in cyberspace that requires urgent correction. What better effort than a citizen-led effort.