Working in an archive, I deal with a lot of metadata. Some of this metadata is from controlled vocabularies. Sometimes they show up in lists. Some times these controlled vocabularies can be very large, like for the names of language where there are a limited amount of languages but the amount is just over 7,000. I like to keep an eye out for how websites optimized the options for users. FaceBook, has a pretty cool feature for narrowing down the list of possible family relationships someone has to you. i.e. a sibling could be a brother/sister, step-brother/step-sister, or a half-brother/half-sister. But if the sibling is male, it can only be a brother, step-brother, or a half-brother.
FaceBook narrows the logical selection down based on atributes of the person mentioned in the relationship.
All the relationship options.
That is if I select Becky, my wife, as an person to be in a relationship with me then FaceBook determines that based on her gender atribute that she can only be referenced by the female relationships.
Menu showing just some relationships based on an atribute of the person referenced.
I found this image which I think explains many of the kinds of things that Website builders need to think through. For some in the industry this is like.. Duh! but for others this kind of layout really helps us see the complexity and the parts we need to be thinking through to implement the website.
Many of the different kinds of things that website planners have to think through.
This post is a open draft! It might be updated at any time… But was last updated on at .
Meta-data is not just for Archives
Bringing the usefulness of meta-data to the language project workflow
It has recently come to my attention that there is a challenge when considering the need for a network accessible file management solution during a language documentation project. This comes with my first introduction to linguistic field experience and my first field setting for a language documentation project.The project I was involved with was documenting 4 Languages in the same language family. The Location was in Mexico. We had high-speed Internet, and a Local Area Network. Stable electric (more than not). The heart of the language communities were a 2-3 hour drive from where we were staying, so we could make trips to different villages in the language community, and there were language consultants coming to us from various villages. Those consultants who came to us were computer literate and were capable of writing in their language. The methods of the documentation project was motivated along the lines of: “we want to know ‘xyz’ so we can write a paper about ‘xyz’ so lets elicit things about ‘xyz'”. In a sense, the project was product oriented rather than (anthropological) framework oriented. We had a recording booth. Our consultants could log into a Google-doc and fill out a paradigm, we could run the list of words given to us through the Google-doc to a word processor and create a list to be recorded. Give that list to the recording technician and then produce a recorded list. Our consultants could also create a story, and often did and then we would help them to revise it and record it. We had Geo-Social data from the Mexican government census. We had Geo-spacial data from our own GPS units. During the corse of the project massive amounts of data were created in a wide variety of formats. Additionally, in the case of this project language description is happening concurrently with language documentation. The result is that additional data is desired and generated. That is, language documentation and language description feed each other in a symbiotic relationship. Description helps us understand why this language is so important to document and which data to get, documenting it gives us the data for doing analysis to describe the language. The challenge has been how do we organize the data in meaningful and useful ways for current work and future work (archiving)?People are evidently doing it, all over the world… maybe I just need to know how they are doing it. In our project there were two opposing needs for the data:
Data organization for archiving.
Data organization for current use in analysis and evaluation of what else to document.It could be argued that a well planned corpus would eliminate, or reduce the need for flexibility to decide what else there is to document. This line of thought does have its merits. But flexibility is needed by those people who do not try to implement detailed plans.
Bepress is an internet based service from Berkeley Electronic Press. They basically allow a user to display their work. i.e. a Professor’s CV which has a list of publications, those publications are then displayed by Selected Works™ & BePress as downloadable PDFs. These works can then also be described, downloaded, their bibliographic references can be downloaded, etc. Berkeley Electronic Press archives the Documents and presents them in an understandable, accessible, usable format. They have integrated Google search. Seems like lots of Love all around.
This kind of thing would be really good for an organization like the one I work with.
Connecting resources and projects. Academia.edu is a great UI. I wish the company I am working for designed something which could drive interaction with this site, or would create a site which would create interaction around our content and in the communities we interact with in a manner like this site does.