Bangalore: Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organisation that runs Wikipedia, is planning to set up its first office outside the US. In race to house Wikimedia's India chapter is the country's IT capital Bangalore along with Pune, Mumbai and Delhi.
The India chapter will receive the funding from the parent organisation in the beginning. The organisation is looking forward to work with state governments in future to spread the Wiki culture and also use it in education programmes in the country.
The India chapter will not handle the development of Wiki platform, but will help coordinate activities of various Indian language chapters in the country. There are about 20 regional language Wikis in India, with Hindi Wikipedia having the most number of articles.
With active Wikipedia communities across India, the move will see the foundation spread awareness about the platform in the country.
The organisation, which sees a lot of potential in India, will launch advocacy programmes across the country, apart from starting Wiki academies to get more contributors.
Currently, most Indian users access the English Wikipedia making India one of the top countries to visit the English language version. India ranks 15th when it comes to Wikipedia page views and edits. Seventy per cent of the edits made from India are in English Wikipedia.
Kannada Wikipedia with 9,098 articles is ranked 10th among Indian languages, behind Hindi, Telugu, Marathi, Bishnupriya Manipuri, Tamil, Bengali, Gujarati, Urdu and Malayalam. The language currently has only 27 active editors and the foundation expects to increase the contributors with its outreach programmes.
Setting up of the India office in Bangalore may not offer any advantage to the Kannada Wikipedia as the staff will mostly be travelling across the India, said Barry Newstead, chief global development officer, Wikimedia Foundation.
The organisation which had been planning to set up an office in India for a while, appointed the first Indian on its board in the form of Bishakha Dutta in April this year.