Celtic Knot 2018

Celtic Knot Conference, Edinburgh 2017 – image by Llywelyn2000 CC BY-SA 4.0

The Wikipedia language conference is back, and it’s coming to Wales.

By Jason Evans, National Wikimedian for Wales

Celtic Knot provides a stage and a meeting place for contributors to small and minority language Wikipedia’s from all around the world. You can now submit a paper and register for this years conference, which will be held at the National Library of Wales in the Welsh seaside town of Aberystwyth.

In 2017 Ewan McAndrew, the Wikimedian in Residence at the University of Edinburgh launched the first Celtic Knot conference. As the name suggests the original focus of the conference was the 6 Celtic language Wikipedias including Welsh, Gaelic, Breton, Cornish and Irish. And whilst Celtic languages were well represented, the conference also attracted delegates from Norway, Catalonia and the Basque country, to name but a few.

The issues, challenges and opportunities facing smaller language communities on Wikipedia are often very different to larger Wikipedias such as English, which has a large contributor base, technical support community and 5.5 million articles. There are also advantages whereby smaller wikis can move quickly and implement new technology, as has been the case with Wikidata. Celtic Knot acts as a meeting point for these smaller communities in order to coordinate and develop ideas common to smaller wikis.

Aberystwyth shore – image by Gjt6 CC BY-SA 3.0

Last year there were discussions about the Sami (davvisámegiella) Wikipedia, which has just 7000 articles and a handful of editors, and the Cornish (Kernowek) Wikipedia with 3,800 articles and less than 1000 native speakers. How can we engage the speakers of these languages with their Wikipedias? And what would be the benefits and impacts of doing this successfully?

At the other end of the spectrum are the hugely successful Basque and Catalan Wikipedias with nearly 1 million articles between them. What drives their success? And what can smaller communities learn from them? The Welsh Wikipedia is being taught in schools, and is being supported by the Welsh Government – can this good practice  be replicated elsewhere successfully?

Wikidata, the wiki community, bilingualism and education will all be huge themes at this years conference as we work together to grow the diversity of Wikipedia and to encourage the use of local languages in a digital environment.

The conference will be opened by the Welsh assembly Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning, Eluned Morgan, and we expect to announce more exciting speakers to the programme over the coming months.

With limited tickets available, book early to ensure your spot at the conference!

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