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LINGUIST List 20.1089

Wed Mar 25 2009

Supporting: the Discipline's Digital Infrastructure

Editor for this issue: Maria Moreno-Rollins <marialinguistlist.org>

To post to LINGUIST, use our convenient web form at http://linguistlist.org/LL/posttolinguist.html
        1.     linguist, High Degree of Cooperation, Efficiency, and Professionalism at LINGUIST         2.     linguist, Creating a Digital Library of Scholarly Hypotheses About Language Relationships and Subgroupings

Message 1: High Degree of Cooperation, Efficiency, and Professionalism at LINGUIST
Date: 25-Mar-2009
From: linguist <linguistlinguistlist.org>
Subject: High Degree of Cooperation, Efficiency, and Professionalism at LINGUIST
E-mail this message to a friend

Dear Subscribers,

When I first began at LINGUIST in June of 2006, I didn't
have much of an idea what the organization was really about.
Like many people, I knew about the listserv that provides
the discipline with information about academic and commercial
jobs, conferences, books, and all of the rest, but I didn't
know about any of the research projects the organization was
involved in.

Over the years, my involvement on the various projects here
has slowly helped me understand all of LINGUIST's seemingly
varied endeavors as a unified whole. Understanding that the
EMELD project (http://emeld.org/index.cfm) project gave birth
to MultiTree (http://multitree.linguistlist.org/) or that
GOLD (General Ontology for Linguistic Description) is an
integral part of our newest project, LEGO (Lexicon Enhancement
via the Gold Ontology) is something that can easily be overlooked.

In the hustle and bustle of accomplishing our goals and meeting
both internal and external deadlines, it is easy for people on
different teams (each GA is involved in at least 3 and sometimes
as many as 6) to miss the "big picture" of what it is exactly
that we do here. Furthermore, being involved in these projects
and coordinating team efforts (as all of us learn to do) is
possible because of the high degree of cooperation, efficiency,
and professionalism that LINGUIST List graduate students learn
to employ. Although you will hear about all of the projects
individually throughout the course of Fund Drive, it is important
to note that each has been undertaken with the purpose of
creating and supporting the discipline's digital infrastructure,
trying to anticipate the needs of the linguistics community.
LINGUIST continues to create and maintain all of these resources
while trying to support a large number of linguistics students
through their MAs.

Now, in my 3rd and final year at LINGUIST, watching the office
become populated with new faces, it's exciting to think of what
improvements and ideas will arise from the next generation of
LL GAs. But the learning experiences this job provides that
prepare us for our academic careers while simultaneously
benefiting the discipline's infrastructure cannot continue
without the support of our loyal subscribers. I'd like to
extend a sincere and warm thank you to all of you who've
supported me and the rest of The LINGUIST List crew in years
past and ask that those of you who have not donated this year
to please take this opportunity to do so now.


Bethany Townsend
LINGUIST List Editor

Message 2: Creating a Digital Library of Scholarly Hypotheses About Language Relationships and Subgroupings
Date: 25-Mar-2009
From: linguist <linguistlinguistlist.org>
Subject: Creating a Digital Library of Scholarly Hypotheses About Language Relationships and Subgroupings
E-mail this message to a friend

Dear Subscribers,

For the past few years, you have been hearing about the
MultiTree Project. The goal of the project is to create
a digital library that contains all of the existing
scholarly hypotheses about language relationships and
subgroupings. Besides displaying language and bibliographical
information for each tree, the system will also be linked
to the LL-Map project, a geolinguistic database which will
provide users with a fully functional Geographical
Information System through which linguistic data can be
viewed in its geographical context. Not only will MultiTree,
once finished, constitute the largest database of language
information in existence, both projects will also be connected
to the LL database to provide additional information for
researchers and students.

In the past year, we've made significant improvements to our
beta interface: http://multitree.linguistlist.org/. Our
public search interface has been redesigned to allow
inexperienced users to view all the language families in a
particular geographic region. A more advanced search facility
also exists that allows a knowledgeable user to search by
name (language, dialect, subgroup, as well as any alternates),
code, and/or scholar's name. Once inside the hyperbolic
viewer, trees are customizable for easy viewing with different
fonts, backgrounds, sizes, color schemes, and orientations.
Most importantly, we have developed the ability to view two
trees in the same hyperbolic viewer window simultaneously,
thereby allowing a researcher to compare the disparities in
conflicting hypotheses. Furthermore, the search algorithm
within the viewer autocompletes and brings the search item
to the foreground in each tree, making them more easily

Beyond these improvements to the interface, graduate students
working on the project have, of course, been busily inputting
hypotheses including the entire list of subgroupings proposed
in WALS, The World Atlas of Language Structures. We have also
been slowly gathering information about what are the most
current, widely-accepted hypotheses for each language family,
so that we can display them in our system. Deciphering the
notation system that each scholar employs in creating his or
her trees in order to digitize them is an incredibly time
consuming task, but one that we think will greatly benefit the
discipline in the long run.

Unfortunately, the project has run out of funding, while there
are still so many hypotheses remaining to be input and so many
useful additions needed to our interface, such as a commenting
facility. Without your donations, we may not be able to continue
inputting these hypotheses indefinitely. Please take a moment
to donate so that this and the many other projects supporting
the discipline's digital infrastructure may continue beyond their
periods of funding.

Support the Grad students by donating now!


Bethany Townsend
Team Leader, MultiTree Project

This Year the LINGUIST List hopes to raise $60,000. This money will go to help 
keep the List running by supporting all of our Student Editors for the coming year.

See below for donation instructions, and don't forget to check out our Fund Drive 
2009 LINGUIST List Restaurant and join us for a delightful treat!


There are many ways to donate to LINGUIST!

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Please take a moment to check if your company operates such a program.

Thank you very much for your support of LINGUIST!

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