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Oral Citations on Hindi Wikipedia

People Are Knowledge is the film I mentioned that explores ways in which video and oral testimony/history/documentation can function as a citation in oral cultures. Here is the coverage in The Hindu, and below is is from the Wikipedia Signpost:

Verifiability and No original research are two of Wikipedia’s core content policies. The core idea is that noteworthy information will have at least some source that Wikipedia articles can cite, and if not, then the information isn’t noteworthy. While this might hold for the Western world, local information is rarely written down in areas like India and South Africa; there, knowledge exists predominantly as the spoken word. In the UK, for example, one book is published for every 372 citizens each year; but the ratio in South Africa is roughly 20 times smaller, and in India as much as 30 times smaller, with one book per 11,000 citizens each year. This raises an important question: how can there be a balance between local knowledge and global knowledge in Wikipedia if local knowledge is all but non-existent in the written world?

People are Knowledge, a CC-BY-SA film published a few days ago, offers an answer: instead of written citations, Wikipedia language versions like Hindi, Malayalam and Sepedi could use oral citations. Interviews and recordings could serve as a source of knowledge for Wikipedia. The team which tried this did experience problems early on, as documented in the 45-minute film: two residents of a small village described a local children’s game differently. The team’s solution seems to fit the mindset at Wikipedia: present both sides in the Wikipedia article.

And If all goes well with my .ogv embed code and your browser, here is the video it looks like WP does not like .ogv files, in which case, the video lives here: People are Knowledge

Posted in After Class Discussion.

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  1. Jacob Lederman says

    Interesting ideas. I think this applies to a certain degree here in the US as well. Particularly with regard to news sources, there is a logic to what is newsworthy that most often corresponds to a middle-class sensibility and thereby limits the citations that might make various counter-logics appear more credible.

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