Wikimedia India Chapter takes shape as Wikipedia turns 10

The setting up of the organisation, the first in the Indian subcontinent and the 29th Wikimedia chapter to be established the world over, coincides with the tenth anniversary of Wikipedia tomorrow.

The setting up of the Chapter follows an announcement in September 2010 by the Wikimedia Foundation declaring India as its next focal point and its interest in setting up a Wikimedia Chapter and an office in the country.

Wikipedia, Wikimedia's parent organisation is a free, web-based, collaborative, multi-lingual encyclopedia project supported by the non-profit Wiki Foundation.The India chapter has been approved by the Wikimedia Foundation and the process of registering as an NGO was completed earlier this month, according to Tinu Cherian, Wikimedia administrator.

"The Wikimedia Chapter is driven by volunteers who are keen on promoting the use of Wikipedia," he said, adding, the headquarters of the organisation would be based in Bangalore.

Like the Wikimedia Foundation, the Chapter aims to empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally, he said.

The Chapter, which has seven members, would aim to act as an umbrella oraganisation promoting wikipedia and organising outreach programmes to promote its uses, including events like wikimania to get the community closer, Cherian said.

"The objective of the chapter is not to control or monitor the editorial content but to focus on promoting Wikipedia in Indian languages. Currently, we have Wikipedia in 20 Indian languages and there are 20 more in incubation, including Konkani, Mizo, Tulu," he said.
While language Wikipedias had around 100-200 contributors, the Indian contributors for English could run into hundreds, he added.

Cherian said currently, there were 75,000 articles in English Wikipedia dedicated to India, but the potential to include more Indian articles was "huge".

Wikipedia was launched in 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger and has become the largest and most popular general reference work on the Internet, routinely figuring among the top five most popular websites.

The website today has more than 17 million articles in more than 270 languages, including 3.5 million in English.The Wikimedia Foundation, unlike the Wikimedia Chapter, is driven by paid employees

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