吳實錄

Annals of Wu

漢藏緬語々言研究ㄟ博客
a sinotibetoburman linguistics blog
2014-09-21

Developing A Cooperative Dictionary Creation Tool tools - dictionary

I was frustrated that TLex, despite being a great piece of software, is so darn expensive. I don't fault the developers for that. It's their every right to try to make back some of the money spent in creating it. Still, I can't afford it. So instead, I'm working on my own such software, with the added intent to have a more cooperative focus to include crowd-sourced dictionaries, much the way we've been running Phonemica from the start. The idea is to have the data exist in the cloud as much as possible with locally stored revisions and logs for each contributor, since you can't always be online. Then that way multiple people can work on a single language's dictionary as they go, with edits and revisions checked and confirmed against the time they were done rather than the time they were uploaded. Here's a preview of one of the screens, still very much in progress:



An additional hope for the future is that much of what's being done on the back end of this will have later implications for Phonemica and how data is handled there, especially in terms of being able to work on entries offline and then uploading the data later without fears of someone immediately wiping out another person's hard work without even realising it. Or as I call it, the "n00b effect" as is often seen on OpenStreetMap.

I'm working on a few things still. The screenshot is just the minimum functionality to get it up to where the older PHP based version is at.

The most recent edition, not pictured, is offline revision logging. You and a colleague/friend/neighbour/classmate are both working on a dictionary for Waxiang. You're up in the mountains with spotty internet access and knockoff Erguotou while they're chilling in their flat in Lujiazui streaming Netflix and drinking single malt. Not to worry because your edits are still being saved, even if they're not immediately applying to the database. Then when you have internet access again, your logged edits are checked against theirs to see if you both edited a single entry. If so, you have the option to choose one of the two most recent edits to be applied to the database. This way you can both be working even if you're not both online.

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    About

    A semi-academic linguistics blog about Sinotibetan, previously focused primarily on Wú, a Sinitic language spoken in the Yangtze Delta region. Topics now include historical linguistics, documentation, language rights, sociolinguistics and learning materials, as well as acting as the dev blog for Phonemica from time to time.

    I'm a linguist based in Asia, working on documentation and historical development of Sinotibetan. In addition to academic research, I'm heavily involved in Phonemica, an organisation that promotes crowd-sourced preservation of local languages.

    I'm currently in the field, so getting in touch isn't easy. However you can try to email me at the following address and I'll respond as soon as I'm able:

    yhilan.ko@gmail.com
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