Malayalam language has been conquering the frontiers of cyberspace for long, with an upsurge in the number of regional blogs and portals published online every year. And Malayalam Wikipedia (http://ml.wikipedia.org/), one of the largest online encyclopedias in the world that has completed 10 successful years, is now all set to cross the golden figure of 30,000 articles soon. While this publicly editable regional language edition of Wiki stands first in quality in the country, it has also become the seventh Indian language Wiki, after Telugu, Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Bishnupriya Manipuri and Tamil to have 10,000-plus articles.
“Anyone who wishes to deliver new information, and has a grip on the language, can be a member of this online portal. The website is a storehouse of articles related to a wide range of subjects, including history, literature, geography and arts, and has a group of regular columnists, who provide insightful ideas through its pages,” says Ditty Mathew, an editor of the encyclopedia for the past two years.
A major feature of the website is that anyone who has an account can rectify the mistakes that appear in articles, provided they are checked and approved by a panel comprising of expert editors.
“Besides the Malayalam encyclopedia, another major initiative is Wiki Granthasala, a digital library that consists of a collection of books (that have no copyright) like Bible, Quran, collection of works by poet Changampuzha Krishnapillai, Panchathanthram Kilippattu by Kunchan Nambiar, works of Chattambi Swamikal and Aithihyamala by Kottarathil Sankunni to name a few,” she said.
“The latest work provided by Wiki Granthasala, the only website in Kerala that provides books online, is a collection of poems by Ulloor S Parameshwarayyar,” informs Ditty.
Wikiquotes is another interesting aspect of the website that has a rare collection of traditional proverbs, folk riddles, idioms,
similes and metaphors besides quotes from famous personalities, scriptural quotes and folk songs. “Through this, we are trying to revive the regional dialects of our language, that now remains largely unknown,” says Ditty.
Malayalam Wikipedia Map is another initiative through which one can trace places in Kerala through open-source maps. Malayalam Wiktionary (http://ml.wiktionary.org/), a free content dictionary, is yet another helpful tool which provides definitions in Malayalam for words in different languages. Interestingly, besides Malayalam and English, definitions of Japanese, Tamil, Korean, Chinese, Arabic, and Hindi words are also available on the website.
Wiki Clubs have also been opened in various schools in the state and Wikipedia workshops centred at different engineering colleges are also garnering interest.
The website, which is a major hit among the non-resident Malayalis, was started by Thiruvananthapuram-based M P Vinod Menon on December 21, 2002, and has come a long way from its humble beginnings.