Writers hit the online button

Aim to increase popularity of Odia literature among youths

By Anwesha Ambaly in Bhubaneshwar
  • Published 24.11.15
JP Das and (below) a screenshot of his works available online

Bhubaneswar, Nov. 23: Several writers in the state are obtaining public copyright licences for their books so that readers can easily access their works.

Eminent author and former IAS officer J.P. Das recently got Creative Commons Share Alike (CC-BY-SA) licence for 30 volumes of his books enabling them for digitisation and making it available on the Odia Wikisource, an online digital library run by Wikipedia.

The CC-BY-SA lets others tweak and build upon one person's work even for commercial purposes, as long as they give the original author a credit and also obtain a licence under the identical terms.

"Most of the young readers are digital natives. So, a free licence would ensure that a lot of knowledge produced over the past many decades in the state is accessible to the next generation. Many of our young Odia writers are quite active on social media. I hope they will take the initiative to get more Odia books available on the Internet," said the author.

Other authors such as Bharat Majhi and Ramakrushna Nanda have also re-licensed their books. Five Odia poetry books by Majhi and four children's books by Nanda have also received CC-BY-SA licence.

"One cannot upload contents of authors on the Wikisource unless it has obtained a free licence. So, it is important for them to obtain the same. Once they obtain the licence, they are made available on the online library making them accessible to everyone around the globe," said administrator of Odia Wikisource, Mrutyunjaya Kar.

The young volunteers of Wikisource are working towards encouraging authors and copyright holders to provide permission for re-licence so that their works become accessible on the online platform. Last year, the community in Odisha brought around 141 books from multiple authors under free licences to widen the reach of Odia literature.

"Notable individuals such as Debi Prasanna Pattanayak, Manoj Panda, Subrat Prusty and organisations such as Manik Biswanath Smrutinyasa and Aama Odisha have also come forward to make their books available online," said Subhashish Panigrahi, programme officer at Centre for Internet and Society and a regular contributor to Odia Wikisource.

The Odisha Sahitya Akademi is also taking steps to start online availability of Odia books. Very shortly, all the editions of the popular Konark magazine published by the akademi will be available on their website.

"The process of digitisation in on. The initiative will cater to the needs of bibliophiles and researchers," said Ashwini Kumar Mishra, secretary of the akademi.

Thereafter, a number of Odia classics will also be made available. "We will approach the respective authors and get their consent following which we will start the process," said Mishra.

Bhubaneswar-based organisation Srujanika have also been working towards obtaining free licences from various authors. They have already re-licensed over 700 books many of those including books on science education.

Srujanika and Odia Wikisource are working towards making those books available online.