CALLING all those who are fluent in Gaelic, and especially all those attending the Royal National Mod in Stornoway over the next week. There could be a job for you spreading Scotland’s ancient language across the internet.

One of the modern world’s most popular websites, Wikipedia, and the National Library of Scotland are teaming up in an ambitious initiative to develop Gaelic online.

Uicipeid, the Gaelic Wikipedia, has been in existence for a number of years, but now a Gaelic speaker is being recruited to work with groups all across Scotland to develop it.

The initiative is a partnership between the National Library of Scotland and Wikimedia UK, the charity that supports and promotes the free online encyclopaedia Wikipedia.

The project aims to improve knowledge, understanding and use of Gaelic for current and future users, and is being supported with funding from Bord na Gaidhlig, the agency responsible for promoting Gaelic language throughout Scotland and internationally, and Wikimedia UK. The partners will recruit 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 Royal National Mod – 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. 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 and so on.

Hamilton added: “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. 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 exec-utive of Wikimedia UK, said: “As the national chapter for the global Wikimedia movement we believe 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 in recent years been digitising Gaelic material including books, papers and historic documents and making them avail- able online. These help to demonstrate the key role played by Gaelic in Scottish history and culture.

Wikipedia is of course a two-way process, and contributors can help with things like translations. Perhaps some kind soul might help Uicipeid with its latest article on midges.

The Gaelic is excellent but press translate and you get: “These midges female adult bite very near the centers their spawning grounds

(although they were found up to 1km away from them), and in the twilight they come out particularly. But they bididh any time of the day if overcast because a shortage of light attracting out of midges female.”

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