A Vir­tual Pool of Free Knowl­edge on Eastern Visayas

The Freeman - - LIFESTYLE - Eileen Nazareno By

But such dearth of con­tent in Waray is soon to be taken care of. A page linked to the Wikipedia, the widest read free online en­cy­clo­pe­dia, is be­ing loaded with in­for­ma­tion that is in­her­ently Eastern Visayan.

Very re­cently, sev­eral Ta­clobanons joined hands with a Wiki­me­dia com­mu­nity to take the ini­tial step to­wards an am­bi­tious pro­ject to fill up the Waray Wikipedia pages with con­tent to an­swer the need for gen­eral in­for­ma­tion about Eastern Visayas (Re­gion VIII), the so-called Waray re­gion. Waray Wikipedia was cre­ated years back, pri­mar­ily aim­ing to pro­vide the web­site with facts and fig­ures on the 2.6 mil­lion speak­ers of the Waray di­alect.

The site, col­lo­qui­ally named Waray Wiki, is yet to celebrate its 10th year on Septem­ber 25 this year but al­ready marked 6th largest in terms of num­ber of ar­ti­cles among the more than 290 Wikipedia projects. It is the first re­gional lan­guage and the first Asian lan­guage to have reached one mil­lion ar­ti­cles.

The lo­cal group, Sini­ran­gan Bisayas Wiki­me­dia Com­mu­nity (SBWC), which is duly rec­og­nized by the Wiki­me­dia Philip­pines, goes to Sa­mar and Leyte towns con­duct­ing Waray Wiki ori­en­ta­tions and con­tent-edit­ing work­shops.

Michael Glen Ong, SBWC co­or­di­na­tor and one of the ad­min­is­tra­tors of the Waray Wiki sites, is zeal­ous about this new de­vel­op­ment and de­votes his time and re­sources prop­a­gat­ing the cause. Ong is an ac­coun­tant by pro­fes­sion and busi­ness­man by oc­cu­pa­tion while his part­ner, Ta­clobanon Har­vey Fiji, is a prac­tic­ing lawyer in the U.S.

The most re­cent edit­ing work­shop, held at the Tacloban Leg­isla­tive Bldg. Ses­sion Hall Gallery, was proof of how pas­sion could move other peo­ple to con­crete ac­tions. Wiki­me­dia Philip­pines and the Na­tional Press Club Tacloban set the stage for Waray Wiki, and the ac­tiv­ity was backed by Tacloban City Vice­Mayor Jerry "Sambo" Yaokasin. "It is a very wor­thy pro­ject that we all must sup­port, es­pe­cially the Warays," said Yaokasin, who fa­cil­i­tated for the venue and ameni­ties needed for the half-day event. The par­tic­i­pants, who were largely lo­cal news­men, con­trib­uted ar­ti­cles that may now be browsed at Wiki­waray web­page.

Joseph "Jojit" Balles­teros, found­ing mem­ber of Wiki­me­dia Philip­pines, flew in from Manila with wife Bel to open the web por­tal. Balles­teros dis­closed that Wiki­me­dia Philip­pines was cre­ated by some ac­tive wikipedi­ans in­clud­ing him­self. His wife joined two months af­ter its cre­ation.

The event, which par­tic­i­pants call an edit-a-thon, "is ba­si­cally a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence; a lot of peo­ple know about Wikipedia, but only a few, in­clud­ing my­self, know how to use it and edit it," said one par­tic­i­pant. A stringer of Agence France Presse is very thank­ful and elated to be part of the ac­tiv­ity, say­ing, "We can learn a lot thru it es­pe­cially about our cul­ture and history."

"Part of the ap­peal of the Wikipedia is that it is avail­able for use free of charge. Imag­ine if you are re­quired to pay for us­ing it, the Wikipedia would not be as pop­u­lar as it is to­day," Ong said.

The Wiki­me­dia Foun­da­tion, Balles­teros dis­closed, sus­tains its op­er­a­tion through grants and do­na­tions; it does not ac­cept com­mer­cial ad­ver­tise­ments at their web­sites since "it might lead to pres­sures from spon­sors [that are] con­trary to the free and open con­tent na­ture of the projects."

Wiki­me­dia's mis­sion is to em­power and en­gage peo­ple to col­lect and de­velop ed­u­ca­tional con­tent un­der a free li­cense, and dis­sem­i­nate it ef­fec­tively and glob­ally. Its vi­sion: "Imag­ine a world in which ev­ery sin­gle hu­man be­ing can freely share in the sum of all knowl­edge. That is our com­mit­ment."

In Wikipedia, the bat­tle is among sources, ac­cord­ing to Bel Balles­teros. Hence, the more re­li­able the source the bet­ter the chance it re­tains its space. Jojit Balles­teros points out, "No­body has the mo­nop­oly of knowl­edge and even or­di­nary per­sons can edit ar­ti­cles in Wikipedia as long as they have in­ter­net con­nec­tion." He adds that "Wikipedia ar­ti­cles are not only freely edited but also freely li­censed; mean­ing, all con­tri­bu­tions can be freely dis­trib­uted to any­one by any means as long as you at­tribute Wikipedia and you agree that the ar­ti­cles you dis­trib­ute along with its re­vi­sions should re­main free for­ever."

Participan­ts in the July 2t5 edit-a-thon take note of the do's and dont's in Wikipedia edit­ing.

Jo­jit Balles­teros, co-founder of Wikimedia Philip­pines, un­furls the scroll of knowl­edge on Wikipedia dur­ing edit-a-thon on July 25, 2015.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.