Proceedings talk:MB1

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This is the discussion page for Martin Benjamin's presentation at Wikimania 2006, Huru na Bure: Swahili Collaboration and the Future of African languages on the web. Please join the discussion below!

Will be interesting to talk about how to integrate this project with kasahorow's tools-building approach.

Haven't caught whether there was any reference to Wiktionary. Have heard negative comments on the latter - some of what MB is saying about the control on definitions and entries themselves address some of the typical issues with the Wiktionary process.

Also, does a "dictionary" - especially bilingual - need a more concerted management than an "encyclopedia"? I.e., the Kamusi model may be more appropriate?

Connectivity, Access etc

Yes, essential for talking of developing Wikis and other participative uses of ICT.

User skills issues / Expense of access

Yes more basic issues. In tandem with the technical (conectivity, physical access, even electrification) factors, user skills from basic literacy to computer literacy reduce potential participation a lot. Then there's the fact that even a skilled, literate, computer savvy person in a location with connectivity and computers, will likely have to fork out a significant % of personal budget to get online. These are fundamental issues.

Parenthetically, there is an idea of giving cybercafe/telecenter access vouchers to people who contribute to a locally relevant Wikipedia. (Maybe KS will have something to say on that)

Aargh (not for discussion)

Lost transmission. Hope it's on my end here.

Really a shame to miss this. Anyway since I can't seem to resolve the problem, let me say that it is great that MB is presenting this. He also has worked on assisting a Yoruba online dictionary. There were some issues with that as regarts Unicode or not (they used an 8-bit font) and how to facilitate input. That (forget the name offhand), Kamusi, the Akan dictionary Kasahorow, and others are learning processes. I'm looking forward to the development of monolingual online dictionaries for at least major African languages. Some interesting ideas there.

Also, I'd like to mention that I'm communicating with MB and others re some possible informal group to encourage, facilitate, and keep communications open on African language (can we say "Afrophone"?) Wikipedias. (See Facilitating African Language Wikipedias.) Especially important in this, the "Year of African Languages" (per a declaration by the African Union). A12n

"AfrophoneWikis" Yahoogroup

Martin Benjamin and I set up a new list on 7 August 2006 as a way to facilitate and expand dialogue on this topic. It's at

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