Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Kamusi Project at the WLDC

It is with great excitement that we are able to unveil the new home of the Kamusi Project under the auspices of the World Language Documentation Centre. The Kamusi Project is back online at (drumroll please...........) www.kamusiproject.org

The Kamusi Project, also known as the Internet Living Swahili Dictionary, was born and raised at the Yale University Council on African Studies. Over time it has become one of the world's most used resources for African languages, serving over a million dictionary lookups a month to users around the world, including tens of thousands in Africa.

The WLDC will offer the Kamusi Project a home where we can thrive and grow. The project will benefit greatly from the support of an organization devoted specifically to the goals of language documentation. At the same time, the WLDC gives the project the autonomy and flexibility necessary to manage such a complex and diverse project.

I will write in the future about PALDO, the upcoming multilingual dictionary for African languages that is the next step for the Kamusi Project under the WLDC.

Though the new kamusiproject.org site is mostly functional, some places are still a bit rough, with some pages and functionality yet to be activated. We are hard at work finishing the transfer, which involves tens of thousands of pages and numerous complicated computer scripts. However, we welcome you to visit and use the resources as we finish moving in to our new home. (If you find something broken, please let me know the specifics at martin /at\ kamusiproject /dot\ org)

Finally, a mention about financing. We've made the leap to the WLDC without the benefit of any current funding, and no money in the bank. (And with enormous thanks to the Negaunee Foundation for clearing our previous debts, so that we're starting with a zero balance instead of deep in the hole.) We have a number of plans in the works to put the project on the path to sustainability, and we will soon be launching a kick-off campaign to raise funds for the project. If you wish to help, please consider yourself invited to make a donation before we start the formal campaign! Accounting and financial oversight will be provided by the WLDC as a registered non-profit organization in the UK.

I'm looking forward tremendously to developing the Kamusi Project and PALDO under the wing of the WLDC. And I'm thrilled to announce that, after a two month hiatus, the Kamusi Project is once again open for business!

Martin Benjamin
Kamusi Project Director

1 comment:

Debbie Garside said...

This is The WLDC's first major project... what an exciting one!

I am really looking forward to working with the Kamusi Project team and I think we are very lucky to have retained such a versatile, knowledgeable and dynamic Project Director. Thanks Martin.