Permanently accessible? to whom?

Photo of the Bush House


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. 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

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.

Linking Minority Language Dictionaries to Open Data

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

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

Continue reading

The importance of writing for the web

Lets say it this way, If you want reader to comprehend the things you are trying to communicate to them, and then to act on something then when you write for the web:

  1. Make it short: People scan the web. This is part of making things readable.
  2. Make it readable: that is use pictures to explain concepts.
  3. Make it interactive: [Press the like button…]
You’ll notice that on my personal blog:

  • I do not write short blog posts.
  • I am trying to use more images and photographs to explain concepts.
  • And there should be a like button or a comments section.

One choice, two lists

I have been listing a bunch of stuff on Craig’s list this week. I have been fascinated by the screen below.

List view on Craislist

Should we just have a choice to list as owner or list as dealer?

Why is the list really long and include two apparent sub-categories for each category? Why not ask the question: Is the lister a dealer or an owner? Then ask the lister what category they are going to list the item in?