Report by Orissadiary.com bureau; New Delhi: Wikipedia is a free-content encyclopedia on the Internet that gives you information about the whole world in almost 300 languages. Did you know that it also exists in Odia? Odia Wikipedia (http://or.wikipedia.org) is one of the 20 Indian language Wikipedias with more than 2,500 articles on various subjects and topics related to Odia culture, language, cuisine and places. It is visited by almost 5 Lakh people every month.
Although Odia Wikipedia started way back in 2002, most of the content started being generated only in 2011 when a bunch of young and enthusiastic contributors took up the task of preserving knowledge in the language they love: Odia. Most of the information on the Internet exists in English and topics relating to Indian local cultures, languages and traditions are not adequately covered there. This is where projects like Odia Wikipedia step in to make sure that you can get all the knowledge you want, in your mother tongue.
So, like all other encyclopedias, who contributes to these articles on Odia Wikipedia? Srikant Kedia, a young Wikipedia contributor responds, "Anyone at all!" He's right. You don't need to be a subject expert to write Wikipedia articles. All you need to know is how to type in Odia and some beginner lessons! Anyone with access to the web can just visit or.wikipedia.org, look for an article and edit (a contribution is called an edit). For example, if you search for Konarka Temple (http://or.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konarka_temple), the article is small and if you know something about it, just click on "ଏହାକୁ ବଦଳାନ୍ତୁ" button on the right side. It will open a textbox for you. Go add your information and save it. Easy, right? But, remember to add a reference link so that people know where you got the information from!
What is the benefit for you in it? Mrutyunjay Kar, a long time contributor explains, "We are fast losing a grip on our language. Most of us can hardly speak, leave alone writing. Writing on Odia Wikipedia gives you a chance to improve your general knowledge, spelling, grammar and typing skills. Also, you get to associate with Wikipedia, a global name that thousands of students depend on." Sounds like a wonderful way to contribute to our culture and society, right? These Wikipedians also have regular meet ups (http://or.wikipedia.org/wiki/WP:Meetup) and celebrations to mark the success of their collaborative work.
If you want to know more about contributing to Odia Wikipedia or just hang out with these Wikipedians, join them on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/groups/OdiaWiki/) and drop a message.
If you want to know more about contributing to Odia Wikipedia or just hang out with these Wikipedians, ask a question on 'Chatasabha' – a portal where you can ask all Wiki related questions: http://or.wikipedia.org/wiki/WP:CS. Here (http://tiny.cc/odia) is a neat presentation on Odia Wikipedia that can also help.