This is probably once in a lifetime experience: I am actually excited to come back to work from my summer holidays. My eagerness is due to the 12th International Congress for Finno-Ugric Studies, or CIFU XII, which is about to take place during this week at Oulu, Finland.
For me personally, this congress is one of the highlight moments in the course of the Digitization Project of Kindred Languages. Albeit being a librarian, I have always argued that the library staff should not only attend the events of their clients, but also actively take part in academic conferences by planning sessions, symposia or workshops etc. Attending the scientific program increases the capability of a subject librarian to discuss with the academia.
And this is what I have tried to do in conjunction of this congress in particular. When the hosting organization launched the call for symposia in September 2013, I contacted Jack Rueter of the University of Helsinki (and later Trond Trosterud of Arctic University of Norway, Tromssa) in order to organize a symposium that would combine some emerging trends among the Finno-Ugric studies. With the help of Jack and Trond, we wanted to focus on language technology and discover its possibilities within citizen science.
In our opinion, this approach is important addition, when it comes to the language revitalization, for example. A large number of the Uralic languages we know today are peripheral, lack computational linguistic resources and have little if any presence in the webosphere. These languages have a threshold to overcome before they can be utilized sovereignly in the social media and IT networks.
By drawing upon open-source achievements and development in language technology and open-source language materials available, the individual language communities may come to realize actual opportunities in the reusability of their own language resources.
The purpose of the symposium is two-fold:
- To present open-source language technological achievements and tools directed at the documentation of minority Uralic languages through the application of Citizen Science methods and crowd sourcing possibilities.
- To present and develop innovations for advancing the utilization of Citizen Science and crowd sourcing in open-source language technology.
The individual papers are intended to direct our attention to existing forums for mutually beneficial open-source language technological achievements, development and their maintenance through Citizen Science and crowdsourcing.
Our symposium (Language Technology through Citizen Science) will take place on Wednesday, the 19th of August and it will consist of ten interesting papers that are discussing the field in various ways. Please, be welcomed to attend our symposium in order to get acquainted with language technology and citizen science within the contemporary Finno-Ugric studies.
View the full program and the abstracts for additional information. You may also follow the Facebook site of the congress. Tweets will be available with the hashtag #CIFUXII (I believe) and you’ll find more of my analysis on the congress on this blog site too.
Digitization Project of Kindred Languages,
National Library of Finland