This week I have been outlining the types of data that linguists need to be able to use and relate to each other as they do Language Documentation and Linguistic Research. I try to express these things graphically and then also express where some of the leading tools which SIL International is offering sit in the problem space.
This post is a open draft! It might be updated at any time... But was last updated on < ?php the_modified_date() ?> at < ?php the_modified_time()?>.
The online version of the SIL Bibliography contains a subset of over 29,000 citations from the more than 40,000 publications representing 75 years of SIL International's language research in over 2,700 languages.
Finding Resources through SIL.org's (as of 2 August 2012) Bibliography can be a challenge at times - Maybe even a time-wasting endeavor. Time wasting because it might not be very useful to consult the online Bibliography.
The challenging aspect which affects usefulness is primarily three fold:
- Items known by SIL to have been created by SIL staff may or may not be listed. (The on-line Bibliography is a sub-set.)
- Items listed in the Bibilography may or may not have digitally accessible resources.
- Items created by SIL staff may or may not be in the bibliography because they have not been submitted to the Language and Culture Archive (managing division of the SIL Bibliography).
A document’s DOI (http://www.doi.org/ or on Wikipedia under Digital Object Identifier) is an important part of the citation of a document. Many style sheets allow for just the DOI of a paper as the citation. Because DOIs are unique they can act as URIs which are resolvable and look like URLs. However, a DOI is different than a URL for where a digital object might be located. It might be well argued that a DOI should be tracked in the metadata schemes of archives which collect language and linguistic data.
I was looking at the wikipedia article for Language Documentation. The only reference cited was a thesis by Debbie Chang. I happen to know Debbie. So I thought I would take a look at her thesis and see what she said. So I clicked the link and was delivered to a 404 error page on GIAL’s website. GIAL had recently renovated their website. I was able to locate thesis and fix the URL on wikipedia by digging through the GIAL website. The new URL is: http://www.gial.edu/images/theses/Chang_Debbie-thesis.pdf
But then I looked at the URL and asked: Why are PDFS in the images folder? What is the long term infrastructure for this school? It seems that when PDFs (thesis) are put into the images folder rather than into a digital repository that something is not quite right with the longterm planning for the school. Ironically, this is not too far from the main thrust of Debbie’s thesis.
It would seem that the long term solution for this kind of problem would be for a small school like GAIL to A. have its library develop an infrastructure for permanently housing these kinds of materials. Or B. contract with another organization or archive which could take care of these sorts of issues for them, provide handles or stable URLs, and then for GIAL to link to the permanent location of these items from GIAL’s website. It is interesting to note that on the same campus as GIAL is SIL International’s Language and Culture Archive, yet GIAL has not taken advantage of this opportunity.
Umm frankly, I am not sure anything out there right now is going to work to bring OAI-PMH services to WordPress1. If it does then is it going to be able to use WordPress to advertise things or is it going to use WordPress to aggregate things? if the former then nothing out there ever let the admin user choose which fields were matched to which attributes, dynamically. But if it is also the former then why would anyone actually want this functionality? What is the Use Case? If one is using WordPress as a bibliography reference system like some libraries do, then this makes a lot of sense. However, there is another use case I would like to present. That is, the website which is about several or a single language. There are potentially two ways to conceptualize this:
- If there were a website based on WordPress which was a dictionary website then the whole website might be considered a resource on a language. An example of this might be the use of SIL’s Webonary Plugin for WordPress and the Cherokee Language Project’s Dictionary.
- If there were a website presenting materials on several languages and each page was a resource on a single language then that would be a different use case. This would be more like what the Survey of California and
Other Indian Languages does or what the Central Institute of Indian Languages does.
- COinS-PMH (unAPI) WordPress Plugin (2005)
- Peter Binkley tagged blog posts for OAI.
- unAPI Server for WordPress.
- WordPress, now with added unAPI!
- New OAI-PMH metadata format (It was an update).
- ↑1 Consider these three resources for more info on OAI:
In recent time there has been a lively discussion over several issues in the translation of the Bible between various denominational and church leaders and those conducting the translation. I am not aware of all the issues, nor all the details. However, my financial supporters and friends are very interested in this discussion. Many of them are coming to the conversation late in the discussion. They do not always start to observe the discussion from the beginning of the discussion. They usually get introduced in the middle, and they do not know enough of the context of the discussion to make heads or tails of the discussion.In the end I lose credibility with my supporters if they are confused and their confusion goes unaddressed. So, I have a vested interest in explaining this conversation to my supporters and friends.1 However, I need to do it understanding the issues they can see and read about. I am not a spokesman for any company. But, as this discussion has turned into a media war, it has increasingly become hard to tell what WycliffeUSA has or has not said when. Content at the same URL can change through time. WycliffeUSA, Wycliffe Global Alliance and SIL International do not use two things consistently in their communications strategy which would make communications clearer to viewers. (Examples in footnotes 2). These two issues are:
- Post Dates
- Update Notices with Dates/time stamps.
It is common practice when issuing a statement online to provide a date on which the content was posted. It is also common practice to show when content has been updated or altered and to tell what has been altered, often it is in response to something left in a comment (in the blogging and columnist worlds).
(I do not necessarily espouse the views of the following post but I use them to present visually what is socially a common practice.)
It has been claimed that WycliffeUSA has altered their FAQ in a manner which would lead current viewers to think this is always been the way the data has been presented, and therefore always the way the story has been told. If there has been some change then this change should be clearly expressed. (And there are functional, well designed, and tactful ways to express this change without spending lots of page space or focus to the reader in the process of doing so.) However, it is this lack of date giving which makes a time oriented anthology of communication so valuable.
If you know of another Publicly available and verifiable resources, event or discussion with a date relevant to the Son of God discussion leave a note in the comments and I will consider adding it to the time line. After I add it to the time line I will delete the comment. The timeline created is
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Another timeline format is also in the works and is appearing here.
If you do not want your comment shared under this license then please do not submit it. – Comments may be edited before appearing.
- ↑1 Here is an example from 15 February 2012 (14:21CST) of the question I have had and the type of response I have given:
Hugh, I recognize you are not a spokesperson for Wycliffe but there is a lot of “buzz” right now of WBT ad SIL creating Bible versions that are less offensive to Muslims by taking out references to Jesus being the Son of God and to God as the Father. Do you know of this and what is your understanding of it?
Yes. I know a little bit about it. The issue has been brewing for the last 6-7 months. But I don’t know very much about the issue because I do not deal with that part of the world. I do work in External Communications. So my boss works with the people who are crafting the responses. There are several issues going on at the same time.
- Wycliffe as a corporation, and as a partner of the evangelical church has not been proactive in communicating the challenges in translation to the churches.
- The church has had an attitude of “support and forget”: until someone gets offended and then doesn’t know all the facts and comes at the issue with a particular theological (denominational) view.
To complicate the matter. SIL has been dragged into this media firestorm but has traditionally been silent on translation around the world and left that discussion to Wycliffe. But now SIL has had to respond. So this is new and virgin territory. SIL has said more on Bible translation in the last 6 months than it has in the last 15 years.
Neither Wycliffe nor SIL has taken the lead on explaining to onlookers to the discussion, what the whole discussion on a time line looks like or what the facts are. There are two sides in this discussion and both NGOs would do well to present the objections and the replies in a manner where onlookers could get all the facts. I do not even have a good grasp on this. But there is a lot of fear on the part of the NGOs that if they do this that they will reveal too much, because this is not an area of the world that either company publicizes that it works in. I think there are only like 9 translations in question. The only thing I have read about the issue was here: http://www.wycliffe.net/stories/tabid/67/Default.aspx?id=2408
My question has been if you use the analogy that Jesus is socially the “son” of God, rather than being sired through sexual intercourse with (the virgin) Mary, then how is the zygote formed? I have always believed in a virgin birth (No intercourse), but I also believe that the sperm must have been from God and the egg from Mary.
At any rate the controversy has pitted the churches against the Mission and churches are pulling their support for missionaries.
- SIL International
- Wycliffe Global Alliance
- Wycliffe Canada does have a date something was published!
The Ethnologue as an academic book, is somewhat of a straw man in linguistics. Many people who write grants for language documentation projects (generally on under described or endangered languages) will cite the Ethnologue and some other resources or lack of resources . These efforts seeking funding are usually an effort to get more language data. The rationale for this is two fold:
- Because so little is known that we do not know if the Ethnologue is correct.
- Because there is a conflict between other published sources and the Ethnologue .
SEO for standard websites is pretty straight forward. I happen to be working on a website redesign (in Drupal) which presents Linguistic resources both published and unpublished. I recently came across two specialized SEO options which are useful:
- Integration with Google Scholar
- Aggregation with OLAC
Google Scholar’s page on getting data into Google Scholar:http://scholar.google.com/intl/en/scholar/inclusion.html
This blog also has an interesting write up: http://blog.reallywow.com/archives/123
This means implementing the OAI-PMH protocol so that OLAC can harvest it.
I am not sure how this is done exactly… but here is the link: http://www.language-archives.org/.
Over the last several months I have been looking for and comparing digitization services for audio, film, and for images (slides and more). I have been doing this as part of the ongoing work at the Language and Culture Archive to preserve the linguistic and cultural heritage of the people groups SIL International has encountered and served. I have not come to any hard and fast conclusions on “what is the best service provider”. This is partially because we are still looking at various out sourcing options and looking at multiple mediums is time consuming. Then there is also the issue of looking for archival standards and the creation of corporate policy for the digitization of these materials. I am presenting several names here as the results of several searches for digitization services providers.
Last month I was passed a short film on the BBC highlighting one of these providers. The short is well worth the watch because it highlights the reason and madness behind some of the work of digitization.
Several of the companies which have come to the top of the list.
- http://dijifi.com/ – Does the UN’s Collections
- http://www.digmypics.com/ – does work for National Geographic
- http://www.scancafe.com/ – Great consumer grade service
Doing it on our own
Another option the Archive has been looking at is to determine if the the quantity of the work is cost prohibitive to have professional done. Meaning that, we would be better served by buying the equipment and doing the work in house. So in the process I have also been looking at people’s experience with various kinds of equipment and technology used in scanning.