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.
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.
Roadmap for development for the Advanced Custom Fields plugin for WordPress.
I am working with a team to redo a rather large NGOIt is worth noting that there are different flavors of NGOs. This particular NGO is also a non-profit charity and also a volunteer organization (most of the staff are volunteers). Not all NGOs fit this category, though I do make some assumptions in this post as if all NGOs do fit this characterization. website (both the NGO and the website are large). One of the questions through the process is How do we “dismantle a huge 1995 era website” and replace it with a “modern CMS system”? The new CMS of course is going to have to be phased in as its detailed features are built out. The social challenge is that if something which is not meeting the organizational (NGO’s) needs is replaced with something else which also appears to not meet the organizational needs then the people within the organization (the spectators, not the people directly involved with the website project) have a tendency to think that the newly launched product is a flop. The bottom line is that there is a general loss of confidence in the development and implementation team. In my particular context this often means that when people loose confidence in a development or implementation team that they stop expecting great things and start looking for other “more suitable” solutions. One way to combat this loss of confidence is to address the the people (and their concerns) who are watching the phased role-out. One part of that engagement strategy can be to do use a publicRoadmap. 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.
Manpower logo terms from section 10 on 26 October 2012
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.
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. WordPresslogos 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.
WordPress logo page visually displays good and bad logos for designers and fans to understand how to display the product’s brand.
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.
This post is a open draft! It might be updated at any time... But was last updated on at .
Metadata is very important - Everyone agrees. However, there is some discussion when it comes to how to develop metadata and also how to ensure that the metadata is accurate. Taxonomies are limited vocabularies (a set number of items) where each term has a predefined definition. A folksonomy is a vocabulary where people, usually users of data, assign their own useful words or metadata to an item. Folksonomies are like taxonomies in that they are both sets but are unlike taxonomies in the sense that they are an open set where taxonomies are closed sets.
An example of a taxonomy might be the colors of a traffic light: Red, Yellow, and Green. If this were a folksonomy people might suggest also the colors of Amber, Orange, Blue-Green and Blue. These additional terms may be accurate to some viewers of traffic lights or in some cases but they do not fit the stereo-typical model for what are the colors of traffic lights. Continue reading →
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.  Nico Vera. 11 February 2008. ¡Bienvenidos a Facebook en Español!. The Facebook Blog. https://blog.facebook.com/blog.php?post=10005792130 [Accessed: 5 March 2012] 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.  Dan Wheeler. 18 April 2011. Translating Dropbox. http://tech.dropbox.com/?p=1 [Accessed: 5 March 2011]
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.
SIL International in English
Other Pages in other languages may not show the same content.
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 7Karen Stevenson. 17 November 2011. Localized and Multi-Lingual Content in Drupal 7. Lullabot Ideas. http://www.lullabot.com/articles/localized-and-multi-lingual-content-drupal-7 [Accessed: 5 March … Continue reading
Karen Stevenson. 17 November 2011. Localized and Multi-Lingual Content in Drupal 7. Lullabot Ideas. http://www.lullabot.com/articles/localized-and-multi-lingual-content-drupal-7 [Accessed: 5 March 2011]
Gábor Hojtsy. 31 January 2011. Drupal 7’s new multilingual systems (part 4) – Node translation. http://hojtsy.hu/blog/2011-jan-31/drupal-7039s-new-multilingual-systems-part-4-node-translation [Accessed: 5 March 2011]
However, the relationships between datasets and the data created by those data sets have been growing over the past few years.
Linking Open Data cloud diagram, by Richard Cyganiak and Anja Jentzsch. http://lod-cloud.net/ CC-BY-SA
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?
Image from BBC article about Kony. The BBC caption reads: "Some South Sudanese have already taken up arms against Kony and the LRA"