Thursday, February 4, 2010

Bringing Urdu based Local Content and Knowledge Online for the Internet & Mobile/iPad platforms

I seek ideas from my readers and support for this effort so please read on and blog about it and share it with others as well contributing where ever and however you can.

The Issue at Hand:
Our actions reflect our attitudes portraying local content as a critical factor of our culture and an attitude that portrays our future  as well as the technology culture that prevails here. A key pressing issue with relevance to both the local Internet and Mobile Technology scenario in Pakistan has been availability of local content and making the local content widely accessible to the community at large across Pakistan and the entire world using a variety of currently available technology platforms.

As an initial effort to find a possible solution to the problem of local content availability in Urdu Language, we are attempting to bring some valuable information and knowledge in the form of local content to a broad Urdu Language fluent, reading, speaking, writing community online where I am teaming up with friends who are adding considerable critical value to solving this issue that prevails in the Pakistani and global Urdu online world and converged ICT environments.

Online Urdu Encyclopaedia 
(Being Multi-platform available with Converged Content)

We are embarking upon a project (in requirements research phase with content completely available in local language) to introduce online (through) the Internet and Mobile Platforms as well as Tablet Platforms (iPhone, ipad and Android) and pre-flashed (ROM) Netbooks/Low-Cost Laptops, a full length, locally written Urdu
Encyclopaedia (completed/compiled/edited by our Writer Team Member who developed it from 100 self written Urdu material-over 10 years) over an overwhelming long period of four plus years consisting of 2.5
Million Words (25 Lac), 25020 Pages, 7000 Images, 2 Volumes (typed on A4 page settings). It comprises of 17000 knowledge and information entries searchable by an index.

This Urdu Encyclopaedia will be further transcribed into Urdu Language Audio with the availability of Video based content that describes the content in its full length and true nature to accommodate users. The output of this project is multi-fold in terms of the content accessibility and delivery options we are planning to churn out as deliverables. It will create a converged environment overtime for presenting updated knowledge that is usable through reading, listening and visuals for both social and economic awareness, education, knowledge application in various fields, higher education, competitive exams, expert resources and endless Urdu language options.

We are currently working with a team of volunteers including the writer, researching the various technical/non-technical issues and options involved as well as the feasibility. We are planning to go forward with Free & Open Source Software technology platforms with an exception of iPhone/iPad Apple Software Development Kits. The content will be available globally under a Creative Commons Licence as well as indexed in the International Library Catalogues with a standardized code facility that is usually freely available. Possible content management technology platforms are Media Wiki or Drupal CMS.

This enormous project requires a great deal of initial human effort, local content conversion (specifications of the content already given) to be presentable through various platforms, various technical expertise, equipment and financial support to become a true reality and we are at the tip of this iceberg but we know it is achievable
otherwise I would not have shared it here. There will be an integrated promotional campaign for both offline and online awareness of the availability with the team members moving about most of the cities, districts and rural regions introducing this facility.

This project will not be a one time activity but will enable us to send into the online space 100 publications by the same Writer and Author plus other latest publications that require translation into Urdu. The first role out of the initial alphabetically indexed content is expected this year. The other publication that I am sponsoring is a freely downloadable/printable/compiled book on Wireless Networking in Urdu with an associated content website.

Initial Immediate Requirements - Please Contribute Now!

* We are still attempting it but would love to welcome, present and acknowledge our supporters, sponsors and contributors from this initial point onwards whether individuals, groups or organizations:

  1. Making available the Encyclopaedia through SMS search with Ufone, Telenor, China Mobile, Warid, V-PTCL, Worldcall 
  2. Apple iPad Membership Support to get the SDK and associated development instructions from
  3. Apple iPad - Qty: 2 when it is launched next month for testing and distribution of Urdu Encyclopaedia for iPad 
  4. Amazon Kindle - Qty: 2 we can't download its SDK or PC Simulator either since you can't access those from Pakistan 
  5. Sponsored Cloud Space for a minimum of 5 years for full completion of the project (plus associated 99 projects) with an affirmation of commitment to continue the project for its content life? 
  6. Financial Sponsors/Small Supporters/Contributions/Donations from established Local Entrepreneurs and Overseas Pakistani IT/ICT Community, Local Public Sector ICT Organizations and Corporate Sector contributors such as Telecom Operators, P@SHA, PSEB, Universal Service Fund etc. 
  7. Suggestions for conversion of thousands of Urdu Inpage Software Text files to simplified text or standardized Web Fonts.
  8. Suggestions for creating an online searchable index
  9. Volunteers for constituting an Advisory Committee, Out Reach and Awareness Committee, Technical Advisory Committee, Sponsorship Committee, Local Content Expert Group etc.

Thanking you in advance for any feedback ahead of time and hope to be in contact with some of you soon to receive or share information.