Huru na Bure: Swahili Collaboration and the Future of African Languages on the Web
|Projects and Content
|GNU Free Documentation License (details), Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike (details)
|About the author
|Martin Benjamin is the founder and editor of the Kamusi Project Internet Living Swahili Dictionary. He has worked as an anthropologist on many health and development projects in East Africa. His doctoral dissertation at Yale, completed in 2000, is titled Development Consumers: An Ethnography of 'The Poorest of the Poor' and International Aid in Rural Tanzania. He has been involved in many Swahili localization projects, and is a professor of Swahili and Anthropology. He is an avid news junkie, skier, runner, and player of ultimate frisbee.
|The Kamusi Project Internet Living Swahili Dictionary is a collaborative web knowledge initiative that began in 1995. Participants contribute new terms and edit existing ones via user-friendly online lexicographic software developed by the project. An integrated online multimedia Swahili learning center is also under development. Unlike Wiki projects, all submissions must pass through editorial review before becoming public. The project is free for all users and is likely the most widely used African language resource on the Internet. This paper will describe the project's main technical features, discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the editorial oversight model, and discuss the needs, challenges, and opportunities for participatory open knowledge projects in the contemporary African context.
Martin Benjamin and I (Don Osborn) set up a new list on 7 August 2006 as a way to facilitate and expand dialogue on this topic. It's at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/afrophonewikis/
This may seem an unusual decision - but we can carry on discussion and work across media with the focus on developing African language Wikipedias. Yahoogroups is a medium that I personally have the impression of being familiar to many African internet users (seen this in English and French Yahoospaces). In any event it, and e-mail lists generally, are certainly much more familiar at this time to the average African internet user than Wikipedia. So we leverage that.
There will be crosslinks of course. A12n
Don Osborn set up a mailing list and wrote a text Facilitating African Language Wikipedias