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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).
What is the role of a dictionary?
Is the role of a dictionary to regulate or to standardize spelling? Is it to validate a speech variety as being real or a bon fide language? Or is it for documenting and establishing the relationships and connections between things (plants, animals, fish, spirits/gods, medicines, etc.) as they are emicly viewed, for connecting people via collaboration, or connecting related concepts and their classes together into documented sets? Or even connecting these things and relationships as they are viewed in one culture to the same things and relationships as they are viewed in another culture or more broadly cross-culturally? Continue reading
I have been thinking through some of the presentation issues for presenting SIL International’s work on the web. As part of this I have also been looking at other organizations which are part of the language documentation and minority language revitalization movement. I recently ran across several nicely done web sites.Continue reading
I once listend to a Creative Commons Salon titled: What Does it Mean to Be Open in a Data-Driven World? and in that discussion there was a great discussion on what it means to have data which flows and is openMinute 50 has a really interesting comment about sharing scientific data.
Several months ago, I posted a question to Facebook about digital literacy.
What is the role or place of Digital Literacy in a company that values literacy as being vital to reaching its goals?
I have had several months to contemplate the question and I realize that I was a bit ambiguous in my question, or rather my question could not have been understood concisely. Digital Literacy can and is used to mean Continue reading
As I work with a particular NGO, one of the interesting questions which has come up in discussions is whither or not the NGO should put their logo on their web page with instructions for proper use. There were two main questions asked:
- Is this something which needs to be on the web publicly (as apposed to privately on an intranet)?
- Is this even a common practice?
I am listing a few use cases here to show some of the variety and breadth of the kinds of people who are sharing their logos and providing display and license guidelines to potential users of their logos.
I think there are two primary reasons for organizations to provide access to branding information in a public venue:
- Help partners accurately visually display the offering organization’s brand.
- Help staff have a visible, consistent and authoritative reference point when communicating with partners. Because this conversation with partners is about the partners displaying their affiliation with the NGO it is something which can be facilitated publicly.
I go through some of the use cases in the video below. The blog post in that video about teaching in Malaysia can be read here.
However, the IBM logo is text based and does not meet the threshold for copyright originalityThis information is what is provided on Wikipedia about the IBM icon used here.. However it is still a logo and covered under registered trade mark rules.
Another organization with a rather popular logo among internal and external users is U.S. military. This would include logos like that of the U.S. Air Force. They also have specific guidelines posted for different uses of their logo. As well as a page explaining the symbology of the logo.
Apple is another popular company with several programs and logos specifically designed for use by business partners. One of the things which is required in these kinds of relationships is for the organization granting the logo’s use to be firm in their organizational identity. This means: defining the relationship – who is the NGO and who is not the NGO. For some organizations it means defining what items are trademarks, products and logos.
The next three brands have a particularly visual representation and presentation of their branding guidelines.
WordPress logos are made freely available under their about section.
http://wordpress.org/about/logos While WordPress is an opensource product, it is also a community. About a year and a half ago one there was quite a stir made by Automatic about proper logo usage. The community had some who were less than thrilled with the emphasis Automatic brought on branding an open source project, but in the end even the controversy made the brand stronger. The consistent iconization of the product also made the brand more recognizable. Today the WordPress project has a lot of logo options which conform to established branding guidelines. This gives the community flexibility and continuity at the same time.
Adobe is a company whose name is almost synonymous with the term digital art. It is well known for products like Photoshop and for files like PDFs. When we think of PDFs we often think of the Acrobat Logo on the image of a file.Part of this visibility is due to Adobe Icons and Logos which it has made available.
Perhaps my favorite logo explanation is the simple (yet detailed) approach that Twitter has taken on its page
Twitter.com/logo. Here are some screen shots.
Over the last few weeks I have been contemplating how multi-lingual content could work on sil.org. (I have had several helpful conversations to direct my thinking.)
As I understand the situation there is basically three ways which multi-lingual content could work.
First let me say that there is a difference between, multi-lingual content, multi-lingual taxonomies, and multi-lingual menu structures. We are talking about content here, not menu and navigation structures or taxonimies. Facebook has probably presented the best framework to date for utilizing on the power crowds to translate navigation structures. In just under two years they added over 70 languages to Facebook. However, Facebook has had some bumps along the way as DropBox points out in their post talking about their experience in translating their products and services.
- Use a mechanism which shows all the available languages for content and highlights which ones are available to the user. Zotero has an implementation of this on their support forums.
- Basically create a subsite for each language and then only show which pages have content in that language. Wikipedia does this. Wikipedia has a menu on the left side with links to articles with this same title in other languages. Only languages which have an article started in them on that title are shown in the menu.
- Finally, create a cascading structure for each page or content area. So there is a primary language and a secondary language or a tertiary, or a quaternary language etc. based on the browser language of choice with country IP playing a secondary role. If there is no page for the primary language then the next in preference will show. This last option has been preferred by some because if an organization wants to present content to a user, then obviously, it would be in the users’ primary language. But if the content is not available in the primary language then the organization would want to still let the user know that the content exists in another language.
It would also be good to understand the concepts used in Drupal 7 (and Drupal 8) for multi-lingual content. There are several resources which I have found helpful:
- Localized and Multi-Lingual Content in Drupal 7
- Drupal 7’s new multilingual systems (part 4) – Node translation
- Drupal 7’s new multilingual systems compilation
- Drupal 8 Multilingual Initiative
It would appear that from this list of resources that Drupal’s default behavior is more in line with part two of the three examples given above.
I have recently been introduced to Linked Data and to RDF. In my investigation, I have noticed that some have said that Linked Data and RDF is much like a solution without a problem (Defense against the claim).
However, the relationships between datasets and the data created by those data sets have been growing over the past few years.
I am being convinced that at some point there will be enough open data out there that there will be a tipping point where if your data is not shared in this method that app producers will not process your data (without significant extra charge in home-grown apps, or at all for externally produced data consuming apps). This means that the social significance of open and Linked Data in RDF will be more important than, more labor intensive proprietary data sets.
I was watching this video, where several web app and several mobile apps were developed and competed for a prize. What one can do with this data is incredible.
I particularly like the app which tells you how long it takes someone in London to travel from point A to point B.
So where does this come into play with SIL International? Well, SIL is an NGO. NGO’s need engagement strategies. That is, Non-profits and NGOs operate to affect change. They have a compelling story, they tell the story and the hearers of the story are motivated to do some sort of action.
An engaged employee population is a strategic asset that enables organizations to inspire and mobilize their people to achieve specific business objectives. – http://engagementstrategies.com/
This has been the very nature of the Kony 2012 video and story. Their web presence is not about marketing, it is not about messaging, it is not about branding or color palettes. It is about engaging people to commit a certain set of activities. The Kony campaign’s entire web presence from the scripting of the youtube film to the design of their website is about getting people to commit to do and to carry out those suggested activities.
But how does this relate back to RDF and Linked Data? Well, if web apps and mobile apps are going to present data to users and work thought the presentation challenges of User Experience and User Interface in multiple locations and contexts. Then it becomes in the interest of NGOs as data providers to provide data which will affect users for their cause. Some NGO’s like SIL are very involved in content production. Consider the 40,000 plus items in the SIL bibliography of academic and vernacular works produced over their 75+ year history. These bits of content or resources are describable in RDF for data consumers. The obvious question is “Why”? That answer is simple: so that when others use Linked Data your resources are found and thereby promote awareness of your cause.
Let’s say that the organization, Invisible Children released 100,000 images of children who were carrying AK-47s and shooting their parents and were maimed or raped. Let’s also say that these images were also geo-tagged for the locations they were taken in. And that this metadata and these images were made available as Linked Data. Then, when global leaders in internet mapping technologies like Google, Wikipedia, and Yahoo! create web based applications which display Geo-Spacial content from Linked Data sources who’s content do you think is going to be displayed when someone is looking for pictures of Africa?Read the BBC article here.
This paper is motivated by an experience in collecting, analyzing, and then redeploying (sharing while making relevant to other corporate SIL functions) corporate intellectual assets. These assets are relevant to both products SIL products and services and corporate processes. This paper attempts to document some of the current challenges presented to the SIL staff person as well as present some items for consideration in overcoming these challenges.