Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Welcome to The World Language Documentation Centre

It gives me great pleasure, as CEO of The World Language Documentation Centre, to make this first post on our official WLDC blog.

My first task is to let people know what The WLDC is all about so here it is in a nutshell...

The World Language Documentation Centre (TheWLDC or WLDC for short) was created in May of this year after many years/months of discussion with like-minded people. We have a board of some 25 members from a variety of different backgrounds - although we are all linked in some way or other to either or both the language and standardization industries.

Members are charged with formulating the aims and objectives of The WLDC and assisting, where possible, with strategy and implementation ideas. Some members are more involved than others dependent on the amount of time they have a available; which seems to change throughout the year. Most correspondence is conducted by email with meetings taking place, usually, to coincide with other events that members attend throughout the year.

We launched the WLDC at our inaugural meeting, hosted by UNESCO in Paris in May 2007, and since then we have had two further meetings and a whole host of online correspondence via the members private forums. We are very fortunate to have a dynamic Chairman in Christian Galinski of Infoterm to preside over our inaugural year .

Our aim is... "To achieve international recognition as a reliable and trusted source and facilitator of sources of metadata, data and information about the languages of the world". See for our full mission statement.

Obviously, The WLDC is in its infancy and we need to establish the role that it will play within both the Linguistic and standardization communities. It is hoped that The WLDC will become the prime mover within TC37 Standards as Databases initiatives; particularly for ISO 639. We also hope to be the focal point for linguistic documentation and research - linking to projects conducted by the multitude of related organizations and universities around the world. Our first project along these lines has been established thanks to Yale University who have most recently passed responsibility for the Kamusi Project (an online Swahili dictionary) to the WLDC. More news on this later when we relaunch the project.

On another note, members have had some discussions with regard to setting up International Research Awards within The WLDC and we are currently discussing this as well as our membership scheme. More news about this coming soon.

The WLDC is very much in its infancy and we could really do with your help and assistance. I hope you will join us once our membership scheme is up and running.

One final note, we are in the first stages of organizing what will become an annual event - The World Language Documentation Centre Conference. It is very fitting that this first conference will be held in Wales as this is where we are based administratively - albeit that our base is in Pembrokeshire in West Wales and the conference is being hosted by Bangor University in North Wales.

Hwyl fawr am nawr!

Debbie Garside


GerardM said...

Congratulations on the new blog, I hope it will be a great success and help people to become aware of the many issues we face when we want to support languages.

Peter Wittenburg said...

Agree with Gerard. Let's see what we can ahcieve.