Friday, October 25, 2013

Read. Create. Remix. Give - A Platform to Make Stories Accessible

Pratham Books is a finalist in the Google Impact Challenge. Our idea is to create an open source platform for children's books. We need all our readers and supporters to VOTE FOR OUR PROJECT IDEA so that we can win this grant and make this dream a reality.

Purvi Shah's shares more details about the platform we want to create :

Please click on the image for a larger view

Pratham Books is one of India's largest children's book publisher. And we do about a million books a year. Big numbers, right? But for a country with 240 million children, India prints just 1 book for every 20 children.

Therefore, the way we see it, this is not a problem that 'one organization' can magically solve. This requires the collective strength of a million minds. And hence our solution is to build an innovative, collaborative open source platform. This platform will grow an entirely new ecosystem of content creation and publishing that can help solve the book drought in India and even globally. 

The platform will have 3 verticals each helping with our overall goal of generating stories, translating them in local languages and getting them to children who need it the most.


READ: The first vertical will be a repository of all open content. So copyright free stories, stories under the creative commons licenses will all get featured here. Pratham Books has always propagated an open content policy and therefore to begin with we will upload 1000+ of our CC licensed books.All the content will be curated and presented in a user-friendly manner. The stories will be tagged age-appropriate wise, genre-wise, language-wise etc. This will enable parents, teachers, librarians, facilitators to find stories that are just right for the children that they work with. 

There are very many organizations working towards a literate India. These organizations need good quality reading content. They need stories to fuel the reading hunger. Nobody is addressing this gap in the market and this platform will do just that - enable a continuous stream of content for facilitators and librarians. 


CREATE & REMIX: The collaborative platform will enable the community to write new stories, remix existing content, upload illustrations, do real-time translations, record audio, convert content into digital formats, adapt readily available content to make it locally relevant. 

By default all the work and the derivate work created on the platform will come under the CC licenses. There will be standard templates in place. It will be possible to separate the text, image and layout layers. This will allow communities and individuals to translate, proof, edit, fix and revise translations of one common version. People can make their own versions too. The community can then vote for the translation thats acceptable and lock that version of the translation. Especially for tribal languages and local dialects this platform will work as a language preservation tool. 

Recently when we celebrated 'One Day-One Story' initiative, the books sent for the reading was available in 5 languages but the community translated it and read it out in upto 25 languages. Some of of which were Mizo, Nagamese, Sanskrit, Santhali. This was because there aren't enough good children's books available in these languages. For that storyteller this platform will now suddenly open up a pitaara of thousands of stories which she can translate on the platform, take digital prints and read out to her students. 

The other advantage of this platform is that the content from this platform will be medium agnostic. Such that it can be read online, via ePub readers, text-to-speech, via apps or even Braille. Based on each organizations' mission and goals the content and the content delivery can easily be manipulated. Access will be increased by enabling digital consumption and physical distribution of digital stories via CD's, printed formats etc. 

Essentially this platform will enable a model which is one to one, one to many and many to many model – so depending on local requirements the content can be made highly personalized or highly diffused. 

GIVE: On one hand the platform will provide an open access to a library of digitized stories and illustrations and on the other the platform will seek to leverage the communities we have fostered to crowd-fund libraries for children where they are needed most and for whom they are needed most. 

The crowd-funding platform will help showcase a portfolio of curated organizations looking to raise funds for setting up libraries and provide a way to collect online and offline donations to a preferred library appeal, thereby increasing access of books to children.

We hope that through this platform we will be many steps closer to our dream of creating a Reading India and seeing, 'A Book in Every Child's Hand'.



The posts we are sharing about the project will help you understand our vision as well as the scope of this project. Related posts:

2. Let a Thousand Tongues Speak - Increasing language diversity in children's books

You can also spread the word by :
4. Writing a post on your blog about why you believe in our mission and why you want readers to vote for us. Here's an example from one of our champions.

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