Friday, June 06, 2008

Not invented here ...

Most of the best ideas around are the ideas of other people. Some of the best ideas you learn of your parents, your family, the people around you. Adopting these shared ideas ensure that you are part of a culture, that you share a language.

At the Go Piedmonte conference on Wikipedia, some of the best people around discussed less and least languages. Also some great presentations were made available for the conference including a workshop by Erik Moeller on licenses, a presentation by Adam Frost why SignWriting is such a wonderful thing to him..

Raoul Weiler presented both at the conference and provided a video. We discussed the continuation of Raoul's quest to have ethnonological artefacts photographed and documented. The cultural heritage of Africa is mostly available in Western musea and most of the artefacts exist in depots away from the public eye. Much of Africa's history is unknown to Africa.

Much of the background, the culture, the language that is associated with these artifacts is lost or about to be lost. This is what gives Raoul the drive to persue his quest. Much of the material in these musea has some annotation, sometimes even pictures. Raoul's quest is to make all of this available digitally and in this way make non western history available to the whole of the world.

Of all the imagery on Commons, the pictures that have been restored are really special. Many of these pictures are testimony to a time, to events that have passed. The pictures taken in Africa are so important because they provide a rare glance in a past that is often more distant then the ancient past of the Romans, the Greek, the Hittite.

I would love to see pictures restored in Commons about Africa, I echo the need for high resolution scans. I would love to see the photos of the artifacts in Commons, the annotation in Wikisource, articles about these cultures, the histories in all Wikipedias because the history of Africa is our history and the languages of Africa are our languages. There is no NPOV without them.
Thanks,
GerardM
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