Monday, May 02, 2011

#Malayalam Loves #Wikimedia - an interview

In a reversal of roles I received questions from Shiju Alex about the Malayalam Loves Wikimedia project. As it happened we were talking about the project and many questions were raised so I suggested Shiju to send me his questions so that we could share the answers and some pictures with you.

The Malayalam photo project has finished, do you know it?
I first heard about it on the Wikimediaindia-l and read about it on my reader. I followed it with interest and it did really well by bringing 2155 images to Commons.

Cheena Vala Uyarthiyathu

Do you think projects like this are relevant and why?
The world is such a big place that it is hard to appreciate how different it can be. The articles and pictures informing us about different parts of the world help us appreciate these differences and help us appreciate that our notions of the world are not universal.

Should such projects be replicated elsewhere, especially in India?
India is such a big country with so many diverse cultures that it would not surprise me when the Indian Wikipedias will be most interested in each others projects. There are so many places we hardly know and, Commons still has only 10 million pictures.

Applying Mehndi

How do we learn in how many articles pictures are used?
For the GLAM projects there is functionality to learn this. I am sure that this can also be done for the pictures that are in this category.

Bulls and its Owner

Is there is some tool available which will help us to find the unused images in a category?
As far as I am aware there is not. When you have a tool that informs you where pictures are used, it should be really easy to have a report that informs you on the ones that are not used.

Boat used for transpotation of goods

How do we learn how many people have seen these pictures?
There is a tool for this too. The numbers can be generated by month and this gives a splendid idea what the value of some pictures are. What the tool does not do is show how often a picture is used outside of the Wikimedia projects.


How do we make people aware of projects like this?
The only way to make people aware is getting the word out. Not once but frequently. You can blog about it, tweet about it, post on mailing lists about it (why not foundation-l as well) and repeat this several times. Getting statistics with results is a powerful motivation for a next project.


How can we interest people to use illustrations of local objects?
By using pictures taken locally, you get more resonance from the viewer. People can go and see for themselves not only what it looks like but what it is like. This is much more powerful.

Kodungallur bharani

How can we give India more prominence on Commons?
Malayalam loves Wikimedia is one way of doing it. Promoting pictures of India by featuring them on the main pages of the Indian Wikipedias is another. Proposing the best pictures as featured picture on Commons or the English Wikipedia is another. In the end it is about bringing high quality pictures to Commons and being involved in its processes.

Obviously you need to use your pictures as much as you can; in your articles, on your blogs, in your press releases...

A Tamarind tree seedling.

Is there a difference between pictures of people local and tourists?
Local people are interested in different things. Local people are more likely to know what is special or what best illustrates something. In the end both groups of pictures have their place. The big advantage local people have is that they can go back to take another shot.

Shrimp Biriyani

How can we get more high quality pictures about Kerala and Malayalam?
You are doing good. Do repeat "Malayalam Loves Wikimedia". Promote it widely. Maybe you can get support from the Tourist bureau. Most of all take pride in your pictures and continue making them.
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