From the internet to the "real world" - Wikipedia,
the world’s largest multilingual, free Internet encyclopedia, will touch ground
at the Kolkata Book Fair next month. Never before has the website taken part in
any fair in the world. In an effort to enthuse people to become regular
contributors to its site, Wikipedia will launch a campaign at the Kolkata Book
Fair. It has already booked a stall and lined up an awareness programme to sign
A grand debut plan
Wikipedia needs people from Kolkata to contribute
voluntarily not only to the mother website but also to its Bengali link, Banglapedia.
"We would hold workshops where we would give presentations about how to
edit existing material on Wiki/Banglapedia. The biggest incentive for any
contributor is that, the moment he/she writes a piece or edits something, it
gets updated and is published for the world to see," explained Jayanta
Nath, chief of Banglapedia.
The Book Fair authorities have already sealed the deal and
are looking forward to this heavyweight participant. Last year about 1.8
million people visited the fair, a world record.
At the fair, the website’s volunteers will distribute
leaflets and sell Wikipedia’s first CD and demonstrate how people can edit
“Wikipedia is a renowned multi-national institution that
collects information from around the world. Its presence at the fair will
benefit all,” Tridib Chatterjee, secretary, Publishers and Book Sellers Guild,
Hope for the future
“Bengali is the seventh most spoken language in the world. However,
Wikipedia has only 27,000 Bengali articles. It ranks 80 to 90 in terms of
number of entries among all languages,” Nath said.
“There are far fewer articles in Bengali compared to
lesser-spoken languages such as Russian, German, Japanese, Telugu and Marathi.
We want to address this, said Nath. We believe Kolkata has a very small
community of overall contributors compared to cities such as Chennai, Mumbai
and Bengaluru,” said Bengaluru-based Tinu Cherian Abraham, administrator of
Surely, Wikipedia’s grand debut will mark a new chapter in
the history of Kolkata.