Two times since the launch of the new SIL.org website colleagues of mine have contacted me about the new requirement on SIL.org to log-in before downloading content from the SIL Language and Culture Archive. Both know that I relate to the website implementation team. I feel as if they expect me to be able to speak into this situation (as if I even have this sort of power) - I only work with the team in a loose affiliation (from a different sub-group within SIL), I don't make design decisions, social impact decisions, or negotiate the politics of content distribution.
However, I think there are some real concerns by web-users users about being required to log-in prior to downloading, and some real considerations which are not being realized by web-users.
In a recent paper Jeremy Nordmoe, a friend and colleague, states that:
Because most linguists archive documents infrequently, they will never be experts at doing so, nor will they be experts in the intricacies of metadata schemas.  Jeremy Nordmoe. 2011. Introducing RAMP: an application for packaging metadata and resources offline for submission to an institutional repository. In Proceedings of Workshop on Language … Continue reading
My initial reply is:
You are d@#n right! and it is because archives are not sexy enough!
Jeremy Nordmoe. 2011. Introducing RAMP: an application for packaging metadata and resources offline for submission to an institutional repository. In Proceedings of Workshop on Language Documentation & Archiving 18 November 2011 at SOAS, London. Edited by: David Nathan. p. 27-32. [Preprint PDF]
Bush house: the BBC World Service is leaving its home after 71 years Photo: Paul Grover via The Telegraph
There has recently been some discussion on the about the BBC selling its production facilities and moving from the Bush House to somewhere else.  Christopher Middleton. 7:30 am BST 10 Jul 2012. For sale: Bush House, a landmark of BBC World Service history. The Telegraph on-line. … Continue reading Jonathan Prynn. 11 July 2012. Buy a bit of BBC radio history… or an entire studio. London Evening Standard on-line. … Continue reading Paul Ridden. 12:41 pm 12 July 2012. Updated: BBC World Service equipment and memorabilia to go under the auctioneer's hammer. gizmag online. … Continue reading The BBC world service has been a major player in radio and oral culture in Great Britain and around the world for 71 years. A lot of history has been reported by the service. And the BBC's records (including its archive) have oral histories of a variety of world events for the last 71 years in a variety of languages (Wikipedia has a brief description of the collections at the BBC.). Continue reading →
Christopher Middleton. 7:30 am BST 10 Jul 2012. For sale: Bush House, a landmark of BBC World Service history. The Telegraph on-line. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/bbc/9386848/For-sale-Bush-House-a-landmark-of-BBC-World-Service-history.html [Link] [Accessed: 19 July 2012]
Jonathan Prynn. 11 July 2012. Buy a bit of BBC radio history… or an entire studio. London Evening Standard on-line. http://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/buy-a-bit-of-bbc-radio-history-or-an-entire-studio-7935734.html [Link] [Accessed: 19 July 2012]
Paul Ridden. 12:41 pm 12 July 2012. Updated: BBC World Service equipment and memorabilia to go under the auctioneer's hammer. gizmag online. http://www.gizmag.com/bbc-world-service-bush-house-auction/23292/ [Link] [Accessed: 19 July 2012]
This post is a open draft! It might be updated at any time... But was last updated on at .
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. SIL Bibliography Online. April 2012 version. SIL International on Ethnologe.com. http://www.ethnologue.com/bibliography.asp [Accessed: 21 August 2012] [Link]
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).
In a team framework where there are several members of a research team and the job requirements call for the sharing of bibliographic data (of materials referenced) as well as the actual resources being referenced. In this environment there needs to be a central repository for sharing both kinds of data. This is true for small localized (geographically) groups as well as large distributed research teams. New researchers joining a existing team need to be able to “plug-in” to existing foundational work on the project and be able to access bibliographic data as well as the resources those bibliographic details point to. It is my point here to outline some of the current challenges involved in trying to overcoming the collaborative obstacle when working in the fields of Linguistics and Language Documentation Nikolaus P. Himmelmann. 1998. Documentary and Descriptive Linguistics. Linguistics vol. 36:161-195. [PDF] [Accessed 24 Dec. 2010].This sentiment is echoed by many in the world of science. Here is someone on Zetero’s forums [INSERT LINK]. (Though Zetero does claim to combat some of these issues.)
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.
I have been doing some thinking about what would make OLAC search more valuable to its current users and to its targeted users. One of the things which would make it more useful would be if the NSF, a partial funder for OLAC and OLAC search, would aggregate its language related grants, scholarships, fellowships and awards through OLAC.
Some of these Grant proposals are really well written, and well cited documents which explain a certain snapshot of the language situation. Even the announcements that a grants like From Endangered Language Documentation to Phonetic Documentation has been awarded would allow other researchers to know that someone has applied or been awarded a block of funding to work on a particular language situation.
Notice of NSF Grant award
I was particularly happy to find that NSF does have a grant offering and grant awardedsearch section. But aggregating this knowledge with prior research would really give interested parties in particular languages the integrated perspective.