Artigo em Inglês (se alguem quiser traduzir seria otimo e eu prometo
colocar a tradução no blog da WMPT :) )
<http://wikimedia.pt/>(351) 925 171 484
*Imagine um mundo onde é dada a qualquer pessoa a possibilidade de ter
livre acesso ao somatório de todo o conhecimento humano. Ajude-nos a
construir esse sonho. <http://wikimedia.pt/Donativos>*
On 17 January 2012 04:08, CherianTinu Abraham <tinucherian(a)gmail.com> wrote:
*The Indian Express : "Would Gandhi have been a Wikipedian?"*
( Article by Achal Prabhala)
( Single Page Version)
In 1941, a young Argentinian librarian who would soon go completely blind
published a story about the futility of the “total” library. His
inspiration was Kurd Lasswitz, a 19th century German philosopher and
science-fiction pioneer, whose own idea of a “universal” library was a
mathematical nightmare of frighteningly large but finite proportions. The
writer was Jorge Luis Borges, and his story, The Library of Babel, (taking
off from the mythical Tower of Babel, a place of linguistic dysfunction)
spawned a minor publishing industry of its own. Borges’ library was not a
happy place: its chronically overworked librarians were suicidal, thuggish
cults periodically vandalised the books, people spent lifetimes searching
for a catalogue without success, and — wondrous as it all was — no one
expected to find anything useful there ever.
Eighty years after it was written, Borges’ feverish fantasy is a
cautionary tale for those who are tempted to take Internet-era fantasies at
their word. When a Google executive was asked to describe the perfect
search engine, he is reported to have said, “It would be like the mind of
God.” Preposterous, yes; but also exciting. And anyone excited enough to
adopt this as a mission statement would do well to have a cold shower, and
heed Borges’ conclusion on the topic — “The library is unlimited and
Happily, there are more human, and altogether more humble manifestations
of the desire to learn and share and prosper. In ancient history, the
pre-biblical city of Babylon was a working counterpoint to the biblical
Tower of Babel; a bustling site where diverse crowds made good together. In
the present day, we are no closer to knowing everything, but we have
Wikipedia: a bustling website where diverse people from everywhere in the
world create miracles. Wikipedia’s humility is the flip-side to its
success, and it comes from wanting to be precisely the opposite of the
total library: call it a perpetually partial library, if you will. No one
who has spent even a minute contributing anything to it would dare assume
that the job is done, the perspective complete, or the game won.
Eleven years ago to this day, Jimmy Wales typed out “Hello world!” and
Wikipedia was born. In 1989, Richard Stallman pioneered a form of copyright
licensing for software that allowed programmers and users to do virtually
anything they liked with it. This formed the basis for free and open source
software, or FOSS. In 1995, Ward Cunningham used FOSS to build the
underlying software for a novel form of collaboration — the “wiki”. By this
time, the benefits of a generous copyright licence to software were
apparent, and it was extended to mainstream culture — to words, sounds and
images. Wikipedia was among the early exponents of this free culture
experiment, quickly followed by sister projects of the Wikimedia
Foundation: Wikimedia Commons, Wiktionary, Wikiquote, Wikibooks and more.
Wikipedia’s collaborative system of knowledge has exceeded everyone’s
wildest expectations. Today, it is the world’s fifth most visited website —
and the sole non-profit upstart in the oligarchical fiefdom that is our
online landscape. There are thriving communities of volunteers in countries
like India and South Africa, among several other places, who are helping us
discover that learning does not have to be a passive act, and that the
value of generosity can be productive and revolutionary at once.
Interestingly enough, it was about a hundred years ago that a young,
idealistic lawyer set off on a similar journey. Affected by colonialism in
his home, India, and faced with debilitating segregation laws in his
adopted home, South Africa, he saw the productive and revolutionary
potential in generous knowledge. Over a long sea journey from London to
Cape Town, he wrote down his ideas on self-determination and independence.
The young lawyer was, of course, Gandhi, and his book, Hind Swaraj, would
go on to become the intellectual blueprint for the Indian freedom movement.
The original was written in Gujarati in 1909. One year later, it was
translated into English and published as Indian Home Rule. On the cover of
the first edition of this English translation is a prominent, if unusual,
copyright legend. It reads, “No Rights Reserved”.
Now it can be told: Gandhi was a free knowledge activist. Consider what he
was encouraging his readers to do. In short order, a person reading Indian
Home Rule in 1910 would have been able to copy the book freely, distribute
those copies widely, translate the book into other languages, and join the
conversation as a participant and not merely as an observer. I know of
Gandhi’s radical copyright intentions because I’ve seen an image of the
cover of this rare first edition, even though it is mostly unavailable in
museums and archives. Uma Dhupelia-Mesthrie and Isabel Hofmeyr, two South
African scholars, photographed the book and generously shared it with the
world. And how did they do that? By putting it on Wikimedia Commons, where
anyone can use it, in any form, for all time — exactly as Gandhi intended.
Indeed, the universe is cyclical. Gandhi would have been a Wikipedian.
Prabhala is a Bangalore-based researcher and writer, and serves on the
advisory board of the Wikimedia Foundation *
Important Note : The publisher ( The Indian Express ) of the above news
article owns the copyrights of the article / content. Request to kindly not
reproduce or circulate the content further. The information is only shared
only with an internal community who have been featured on this article.
All copyrights are duly acknowledged.
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