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Ramdhenu to switch over to Unicode - Move to streamline software used widely to write in Assamese for the Internet

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By Staff Reporter
  • Published 11.06.12

June 10: Ramdhenu — the software used widely to write in Assamese — will switch over to Unicode (a computing industry standard for the consistent encoding, representation and handling of text expressed in most of the world’s writing systems).

“We are working so that Unicode can be used in Ramdhenu. The process will be completed soon,” said Tridip Barua, the developer of the software, on the sidelines of a workshop organised at Sudmerson Hall in Cotton College to celebrate the 10th foundation day of Assamese Wikipedia.

The software is widely used in Assamese newspapers and magazines. But, once a document is written using Ramdhenu, searching and retrieving it from the Internet becomes difficult because the software creates image files. This is one the reasons why, unlike English, the repository of Assamese is very weak on the Internet despite the fact that almost all Assamese newspapers are available online.

Once Ramdhenu switches to Unicode, retrieving data will be easier because it will allow people to search for a topic by using a key word or phrase, something that is not possible with the present system.

Assamese Wikipedia is an online encyclopaedia where all the articles are available in Assamese. Like Wikipedia, anyone can upload articles and photos on this website. The initiative can be termed as a big boost in spreading Assamese globally.

The website was launched on June 2, 2002, and uploads articles written in Unicode. During the 10 years of its existence 1,198 articles have been uploaded here.

There are 4,564-registered users and six administrators in Assamese Wikipedia. Administrators can protect, delete and restore pages, move pages over redirects, hide and delete page revisions, edit protected pages, and block other editors.

Assamese Wikipedia was one of the country’s earliest versions of Wikipedia in a regional language. But owing to the low number of active members, the number of entries is still limited.

“There are only 31 active members on Assamese Wikipedia,” a person who has been associated with Assamese Wikipedia said.

In today’s workshop, participants from various parts of the state took part to know more about Assamese Wikipedia and about ways to contribute to it.

Bishnu Saikia, an executive member of Assamese Wikipedia, said they would take the help of social networking sites like Facebook, conduct awareness drives in educational institutes and organise workshops to spread awareness about Assamese Wikipedia.

The Assamese Wikipedia community also felicitated the winners of the article and photography competitions that were organised recently. Mousumi Bordoloi, Indranil Gayan, Upama Kalita and Manjil Konwar were felicitated for winning the article competition while Akashdeep Goswami, Jugal Bharali, Anirudha Buragohain and Nitul Bora were felicitated for winning the photography competition.