The Power of Interns

Today I was reading about how an intern at FaceBook created their new Mobile ad interface. For those of you who watch the business news, FaceBook being able to monetize their mobile market has been a big concern for their investors. I think this really speaks to several things in the corporate culture at Facebook:

  1. They are willing to listen to the ideas of young, fresh people.
  2. They are willing to work with temporary staff.
  3. They are willing to mentor.
  4. They are willing trust (things like project goals and budding technologies).

Each of these things listed above are social issues. They are social issues within the context of the corporate environment. Additionally, the company has to be contentious of them to the point that they implement HR processes to allow these sorts of things to happen. In this respect these four things have to be something that is fought for (in order to maintain them as part of the corporate culture). I currently look at the NGO I work for and wonder, What it would take to have harness the power of Interns? We don’t currently have the corporate culture to facilitate interns, but why is that? Is our walled garden so well constructed with bricks from the baby-boomer generation that we forget the power which comes when we can run with young people? For businesses, even for NGOs, if we don’t fight for relevance within the social networks of the up-coming generation then we will marginalize our significance.

Modular Courses for Linguistics

In 2008 I was contacted by a professor who wanted to be able to share various linguistics exercises with fellow professors. He asked for a website to be build so that if a professor were to translate the directions of these exercises that they could in turn put these translated versions back into the “set of exercises”. Continue reading

Reflections on CRASSH

In July I presented a paper at CRASSH in Cambridge. It was a small conference, but being in Europe it was good to see many of the various kinds of projects which are going on in Digital Humanities and Linguists, or also Cloud Computing and Linguistics. One particular project, TypeCraft, stands out as being rather well done and promising was presented by Dorothee Beermann Hellan. I think the ideas presented in this project are well thought out and seem to be well implemented. It would be nice to see this product integrated with some other linguistics and language documentation cloud offerings. i.e. Project Lego from the Linguist’s List or the Max Planck Institute’s LEXUS project. While TypeCraft does allow for round tripping of data with XML, what I am talking about is a consolidated User Experience for both professional linguists and for Minority language users.

A note on foundational technologies:

  • It appears that Lexus is is built on BaseX with Cocoon and XML.
  • The front page of TypeCraft has a very Wikipedia like feel, but this might not be the true foundational technology.
  • Linguist’s List often does their work in ColdFusion and the LEGO project definitely has this feel about it.

The Look of Language Development Websites

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.

National Geographic Genographic Project

National Geographic Genographic Project

National Geographic Genographic Project

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