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Photo by Sailesh Patnaik, CC BY-SA 4.0.

The Asian Athletics Championships is an intra-continental sports event organized bi-annually since 1973. The 22nd championship was held in July at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, India, where 655 athletes from 41 countries participated in 21 games. The Odisha Wikipedia community worked with the event organizers in different ways, to document the event on Wikipedia, by holding edit-a-thons (editing workshops), to improve Wikipedia’s content about the championships and releasing official photos of the event under free Creative Commons licenses.

The original plan was for the Indian city of Ranchi, Jharkhand to host the 2017 athletics, but plans changed 90 days before the event when Bhubaneswar was selected as a venue instead. Preparing the Kalinga Stadium and getting ready for the championships in that short period was a challenge for the organizers. However, the state government of Odisha stepped in to assist, and as part of that freely shared knowledge from the championships on Wikimedia projects.

The local Wikipedia community, along with the WikiTungi project in Bhubaneswar, were invited by R. Vineel Krishna, the State Department’s Director of Sports and Youth Services, to organize an edit-a-thon for the Championships. The scope was to improve Wikipedia’s content about the participating Asian athletes.

Before the event, existing Wikipedia articles provided little information on the biographies and accomplishments of some of the participating athletes. Odia Wikipedians collaborated with the Sports and Youth Services Department of Odisha to bridge the dearth of information.

Edit-a-thon participants gathered at the office of CSM Technologies, an event partner for the championships. Fifteen Wikimedians from Bhubaneswar and Puri WikiTungi, with some CSM staff members and new editors participated in the edit-a-thon.

The event started with a basic Wikipedia orientation session for new participants. There was no Wikipedia article for the championships in Odia language, so participants created it in addition to improving the English Wikipedia article. Along with that, 10 new articles were improved and created on both Odia and English Wikipedia. The 2017 Championships page on the English Wikipedia received over 100,000 views during the championships week.

“Wikipedia has been the one-stop source of knowledge for me,” says Alankar Devta, an edit-a-thon participant. “It has helped me learn a lot and prepare for competitions. This is the first time, I got a chance to take part in any Wikipedia edit-a-thon. Apart from that, the articles about the athletes taking part in this year’s Championships are of great help for the readers who may want to search for the athletes with expectations to find useful information about them.”

Wikimedia community members were offered passes to attend the opening ceremony and take photos. We spent four hours taking photos of the 41 participating teams, athletes and cultural events. All were uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. Nearly 19% of the photos taken at the opening ceremony are used on Wikipedia articles.

A major outcome of the edit-a-thon was releasing the content and images of the championship’s official website under a Creative Commons license. 286 images from the websites were added to Wikimedia Commons, of which 47.2% are used on Wikipedia in several languages.

Photo by Athletics Federation of India, CC BY-SA 4.0.

The collection includes images of the athletes during their Heats, Semi Finals, Final, and Medal ceremonies of all four days. 127 images are used in 269 pages on Wikipedia in 27 languages, and many articles added their first image from this collection. WikiProject Women in Red used the images in many female athlete articles. The Odia Wikipedia community and the Centre for Internet and Society are also planning to work with the Wikipedia Asian Month competition to use these images to illustrate Wikipedia articles they work on, in their next edition.

Victuallers, one of the volunteers of Women in Red project, identified athlete photos from the games website collection and used them to illustrate their articles. She has also created new articles of other female athletes.

“I have worked with the Women in Red project since it started,” says Wikipedian Victuallers, who has created many articles for participating female athletes in the Asian Athletics Championships. “Over the past two years, we have helped raise the percentage [of female biographies on the English Wikipedia] from 15.5 to 17%. One of the things that hold us back, though, is that women are less likely to have images available. It’s, therefore, amazing to find that a major athletic event has released hundreds of images with a CC BY-SA license. Participating athletes are all notable and women are fairly well represented. I have downloaded over 100 pictures and cropped group photos to create portraits. We’ve been tweeting the new articles and pictures on @WikiWomenInRed and trying to encourage all to “one up” the Odisha people. It’s a great success and we need more people to follow suit.”

With such collaborative spirit from the Government institutes, the Odia community is planning to get more content from Odisha under a free license. The community has also partnered with the Bhubaneswar Development Authority, to run a global edit-a-thon named Bhubaneswar Heritage Editathon, for documenting the culture and heritage monuments of the city.

Sailesh Patnaik, Odia Wikimedian, and Community Advocate, Access to Knowledge (CIS-A2K), Centre for Internet and Society
Jnanaranjan Sahu, Volunteer Odia Wikimedia, Freelance Web Developer.

In brief

300,000 images from Auckland Museum are now open for free use: The Auckland War Memorial Museum has released over 300,000 images from their collection under Creative Commons CC BY and CC0 licenses. “Our collections are open by default,” Sarah Powell, the museum’s Rights Specialist, wrote on the Auckland Museum blog, “which means that images of collection objects for which no copyright exists, or where copyright has expired, we allow reuse for any purpose, including commercial, as long as Auckland Museum is identified as the source.”

Seattle Wikinic: On 16 July, Wikimedians in Seattle gathered for this year’s summer Wikinic. Every year the group gathers for a picnic in the summer where Wikipedians can play, eat and spend some leisure time together. This year’s Wikinic was held at the Gas Works Park in Seattle.

Wikipedia and tourism: Improving Wikipedia’s content about your city may increase tourist visits to it by 9% according to an experiment conducted by economists in Spain. To measure the impact of improving a Wikipedia entry about a German city on the German Wikipedia, the group improved it using information translated from other languages. They assessed the changes in tourist visits during the next season compared to previous years, where in 95% of the cases improving the article had a positive impact.

Discover Russia, start from Don: The second round of this thematic writing contest organized by the Russian Wikipedia community is open to Wikipedia user participation in any language on Wikipedia. The contest is dedicated to Rostov Oblast memorable sights, in addition to the rich literary heritage of the Don River Area. More information about the contest and how to participate on Wikipedia.

The Wikipedia Library in Kanara: Wikipedians in the Kanara region in India are making progress with their Wikipedia Library program. The program helps provide reliable sources for Wikipedia editors. The Kanara program will support Wikipedians editing in Kannada, Tulu and Konkani languages.

Samir Elsharbaty, Digital Content Intern
Wikimedia Foundation

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