[Wikimediaindia-l] WikiPuneri - people coming together in Pune

Ashwin Baindur ashwin.baindur at gmail.com
Sat Jan 15 01:16:47 UTC 2011


Wikipedians in Pune have come together to contribute to Wikipedia and
Commons. They have formed a Facebook cum Flickr group:



The piece below is the philosophy behind the group. It also gives details of
some activities we have already carried out.

Its notable as a ready-made explanation that you can use for your own
evangelism and available under CC Attribution Sharealike.

Warm regards,

Ashwin Baindur
WIKIPUNERI (Facebook & Flickr group)

Before I explain what WikiPuneri group does, I would like to explain in
short about Wikimedia Commons. Wikimedia Commons is not an encyclopaedia, it
is a media repository. Wikipedia, as you all know, is the free online
encyclopaedia which anyone can edit. There are a total of 278 Wikipedias in
the world, each in a different language. The English Wikipedia is the
largest with 3,528,428 articles. As of now there are twenty wikipedias in
Indian languages - including in Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Malayalam, Marathi,
 blah, blah and blah. Of these Marathi Wikipedia is the third in size with
over 30,000 articles.  In addition there are twenty more wikipedias in other
Indian languages in the process of being developed. Now why I have mentioned
this is because all of these use photographs, video clips and sound files.
Now, it is a waste of space for each Wikipedia to load its images
exclusively for itself. Hence the Wikimedia Foundation has created another
project called as Wikimedia Commons or in short just Commons. Commons is the
media repository. All photos, video clips and sound files are uploaded here
just once and they immediately become available to all wikipedias.

The number of images on Wikimedia Commons about an important subject say
Pune city is important. That is because all the images on Commons are free.
When I say free, I mean free as in free speech as well as in free beer. You
are free to use them as you wish, even commercially, as long as you
attribute whose image you have used and as long as you make the material
available under a free license. These images on Commons are placed under one
of a variety of licenses that give you these rights and permissions - this
kind of license is called a free license, which allows you to use the images
as you wish, as long as you attribute and give free license to people to use
your work in turn. The most common free license used around the world is the
Creative Commons Attribution Sharealike license.


Why? Why this talk about free licenses? Because images are usually
copyrighted with all rights reserved by the creator. Because a person who is
going to break the law and steal or illegally use your image will not bother
about whether image is copyrighted or free to use. But the law abiding
person can neither use a copyrighted image whose creator has kept all rights
for himself without breaking the law nor can he afford it. Usually you have
to pay a fee ranging from a hundred to tens of thousands of rupees to use a
photograph commercially per image. Poor people cant afford that, even if the
cause is noble or good for society. Many people agree to permit use of their
photos free for a good cause, but it is difficult or sometimes impossible to
contact people who have good images on Flickr, Picassa or web ste. So a
repository of free images is required. Wikimedia Commons is exactly that -
it not only stores images for Wikipedias but also makes them available for
everyone in society to use, even commercially.

Imagine a person, Mr Patil, who has knowledge which he wants to share with
the world. Suppose he wants to write a very economically priced book on
Butterflies Of Maharashtra in Marathi for all the children of Maharashtra to
read. To illustrate it he will need over three hundred images. If he buys
the images, the book will be extremely costly and not free or cheap. But he
can take the images from Commons and use them to illustrate his book. He
will have to do only two things - acknowledge the person whose photos he has
used and publish it not under copyright with all rights reserved but with
free Creative Commons license I mentioned to you. Mr Patil can use these
images, print the book cheaply and even make a small honest profit.

The free license allows people to use Mr Patil's book in a constructive
manner. They can make derivatives. A biology teacher takes material from his
book and makes a chart of common butterflies for display in class rooms. He
acknowledges at the bottom of the chart that the information is taken from
Patil's book, mentions the authors of images used and publishes the chart
under a free lisense. Another person thinks that the book and chart are
valuable educational resources and translates it into English, Hindi, and
other Indian Languages. The free license permits them to do so. And so on.
The information and images get re-used freely, the contributions of all
people are acknowledged and same freedoms are passed on by means of the

In such a context, it is important that enough free images are available on
Commons to empower our people. If you check Wikimedia Commons today, you
will find very few images of Pune. For example, there are more than 500
historial places such as temples, wadas, buidings etc in Pune city alone but
only five such places are covered in Commons. There are images of front gate
of Shaniwarwada but none of the many wonders inside.

So some photographers of Pune have decided to remedy this by starting a
programme to add images of historical monuments of our city onto Commons. We
have formed a group of like minded people on Facebook and Flickr who are
keen to further this noble cause to help society. We call this group
"WikiPuneri".  We have already started with our first focus being
Shaniwarwada the landmark symbol of Pune city which we photographed last
Sunday. In coming weeks we will add many more images of Pune and Maharashtra
so that hopefully by the time Wikipedia becomes 11 years of age, all of
Pune's monuments are photographed.

The other thing we will do is that we will ensure that both Marathi and
English Wikipedias have articles on all these monuments and landmarks. In
this way, our exposure of our beloved Pune will increase. People can get all
the important information about Pune that they need from Wikipedia and
images from Wikimedia Commons.

On the function on 15th January 2011, as a symbolic gesture, we will be
uploading in front of everyone for the first time an image which we have
taken and contributed to Wikimedia Commons. Hopefully that will be followed
by many, many more!

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