Wenner Gren's "Initiatives" Grant (2013)

Final report


The project aimed at improving the Etnolinguistica.Org website (http://www.etnolinguistica.org), a peer-maintained repository of information on indigenous South American languages. The website offers the largest freely-available collection of theses and dissertations, news articles, open-access articles, and other resources on the languages of the continent; it also hosts a peer-reviewed electronic journal, Cadernos de Etnolingüística (ISSN 1946-7095). In addition to the main website, we also run the Curt Nimuendajú Digital Library (formerly at http://biblio.etnolinguistica.org), a digital collection of hard-to-find books and articles on South American languages.

The main website (http://www.etnolinguistica.org) and the digital library (http://biblio.etnolinguistica.org) were initially conceived as independent websites. As their popularity grew, it became clear that they should be merged into one single resource hub, in such a way that all information on a given language (from a 16th-century grammar to a recent master’s thesis) would be available at one-click. Etnolinguistica.Org is a resource users came to rely upon, being often cited in publications, social media, and other websites; we are strongly committed to the stability and permanence of such resource. Therefore, a major concern of the integration was to avoid link rot, in such a way that the original links would still work once the unification process was concluded.

As predicted, the requested funding was used to hire an Australian web developer, Mr. Shane Smith (http://www.shane-smith.com/), with proven expertise in the platform (Wikidot) on which the sites are built. Mr. Shane designed an API-based program that allowed for the automated migration of the digital library into the main site. After a few initial glitches with the program, the migration process was finally concluded in mid-2014. The main site seamlessly absorbed the digital library: old links (for instance, http://biblio.etnolinguistica.org/autor:alfred-metraux) now link automatically to the new ones (http://www.etnolinguistica.org/autor:alfred-metraux). The entire site is now a single digital library, currently surpassing 4,000 pages (http://www.etnolinguistica.org/stats).

Also as predicted, the grant enabled us to purchase the most recent version of the Adobe Acrobat Pro X software. We are now able to not only produce high-quality scans of out-of-print, public domain books and articles for our digital library, but also improve the quality of PDFs donated by our users or made available through related projects. In summary, the improvements made possible by the Initiatives Grant resulted in a more efficient, straightforward, and user-friendly website, with increased peer engagement and community participation.

December 4th, 2015
Eduardo Rivail Ribeiro
Peter Buck Postdoctoral Fellow, NMNH/Smithsonian Institution
Administrator, Etnolinguistica.Org

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