The ancient Gaelic language of Scotland is being supported by one of the modern world’s most popular websites in an ambitious initiative to develop it online.
A Gaelic speaker is being recruited to work with groups all across Scotland to develop Uicipeid, the Gaelic Wikipedia.
It is a partnership between the National Library of Scotland and Wikimedia UK, the charity that supports and promotes the free online encyclopaedia Wikipedia. I
t aims to improve knowledge, understanding and use of Gaelic for current and future users. The initiative is being supported with funding from Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the agency responsible for promoting Gaelic language throughout Scotland and internationally, and Wikimedia UK.
It will involve the recruitment of a Gaelic Wikipedian whose role will be to support Gaels to write and translate content for Uicipeid.
It is hoped the initiative will encourage more people to practise and use their language skills and share their knowledge of Gaelic culture, heritage and community.
The search for the Gaelic Wikipedian begins this week as the national Mòd – the annual celebration of Gaelic culture - opens in Stornoway.
It is a part time role funded for 12 months and will involve designing, managing and delivering a programme of activities for Gaelic speakers. This will be directed at helping them learn how to edit Uicipeid and create new or improve existing Wikipedia articles. All training will be provided.
“This is a unique and exciting opportunity for someone fluent in Scottish Gaelic who has a real commitment and passion for the language,” said Gill Hamilton, Digital Access Manager at the National Library of Scotland.
The Wikipedian will work with the National Library, Wikimedia UK and Gaelic agencies and organisations to identify groups to engage with. These will include young people between the ages of 16 and 25, community groups and those active in areas such as music, local history, literature etc.
“We are flexible about where the Wikipedian will be based because we realise that he or she will need to deliver training in the Western Isles, Highlands and central Scotland,” said Gill. “We hope there will be a lot of interest in this really exciting initiative that holds great promise for the continuing development of the use of Gaelic.”
Lucy Crompton-Reid, Chief Executive of Wikimedia UK, said: “As the national chapter for the global Wikimedia movement we believe that open access to knowledge is a fundamental right, and a driver for social and economic development. We are delighted to be working with the National Library of Scotland on this important project, which will see the Gaelic Wikipedia becoming an increasingly important source of information created by and for Gaelic speakers, with better online coverage of Scottish Gaelic history, culture and heritage.”
The National Library has been working hard in recent years to digitise Gaelic material including books, papers and historic documents and make them available online. These help to demonstrate the key role played by Gaelic in Scottish history and culture.
Further information on the Wikimedia role and an application form is available online at http://www.nls.engageats.co.uk/Welcome.aspx