Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Nov 28:
After the success of Odia Wikipedia, it is now the turn of Odia Wikisource to bring the best of Odia literature to the people of Odisha in the language they speak.
Having gone through a rigorous assessment process by the Wikimedia language committee and Wikimedia Foundation’s board before being released last month, the Odia Wikisource was formally launched at Jayadev Bhawan on Friday.
Launching the Odia Wikisource, eminent linguist Padhma Shree Dr Debiprasanna
Pattanayak emphasized the importance of such a project in Odia language to make the best of Odia writing available on computer, mobile and tablet to ensure that youngsters take interest in Odia.
“e-books are the key to take Odia to the masses, especially those who are outside Odisha and have no access to libraries,” he said.
Speaking on the occasion, Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, Editor of leading Odia daily ‘Sambad’ said; “Internet should be treated as a friend of our language rather than as an enemy.”
He announced the relicensing of 19 books published by Ama Odisha under a Creative Commons Share Alike license that will be digitized on Wikisource.
Patnaik evinced keen interest in collaborating with the Odia Wikimedia community in the future for such language and cultural work.
Presiding over the function, noted poet and thinker Dr Haraprasad Das advised the youth for filling the gaps in the Odia language using internet.
“Odia Wikisource is connecting me with my roots, my language and culture”, said Pankajbala Sarangi, who has made the highest of 1200 edits on Odia Wikisource.
The credit for the most extensive work on Odia book digitization, however, goes to Bhubaneswar based non-profit Srujanika that digitized about 740 books.
Started two years ago as an incubator project, the Odia Wikisource is now live on the internet at or.wikisource.org.
The project now houses many precious books including writings of noted authors like Fakir Mohan Senapati, Upendra Bhanj and the entire Odia Bhagabata.
It includes most periodicals that were published between1850-1950. Odia Wikisource will further this work by going one step ahead in digitizing books in the form of text in Unicode so that they appear in a search engine search in Odia language.
It allows readers to read books from computers, mobiles and tablets, even permitting them to print and use the content elsewhere. These books are way lighter than the scanned books. This is making a way for audio books.
Books for which copyright has lapsed and many rare books could be digitized and preserved for the future.
Apart from old and valuable books, books by renowned and contemporary authors like Padma Shree Debiprasanna Pattanayak, Ramakrushna Nanda, Dr Jagannath Mohanty, Dr Subrat Prusty, Bharat Majhi and Nirmala Kumari Mohapata, and many other authors have been taken by the Odia Wikisource team to digitize.
In collaboration with Wikimedians from Bhubaneswar, Bangalore based non-profit Centre for Internet and Society’s Access To Knowledge program was instrumental in training the faculty of Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS). “50 students from KISS have digitized 4 books and are continuing to contribute more”, says Preetinanda Roy.
Wikimedians also converted Odia Bhagabata to Unicode by using the source text from Odia.org. “We are aiming to bring more rare books and manuscripts in Odia in the near future,” said Odia Wikimedian Mrutyunjaya Kar.