Saturday, April 30, 2005


How do you convince yourself that what you aim for is relevant. Ultimate Wiktionary may become great if it starts to accumulate information that is hard to find elsewhere. I have been talking to Erdal about the Kurdish wiktionary.. He explained to me why the ku:wiktionary would become important; it is the only resource that tries to have all Kurdish words including those of the varieties of Kurdish.

We discussed how this Wiktionary could be integrated into the Ultimate Wiktionary. We will have to work on that but, once it is included, it will be as important as it already is. Combined with the other content it becomes more important as we also aim to have Arabic, Farsi, Turkish, Hebrew ..


Friday, April 29, 2005


Tomorrow it it "Koniniginnedag", the day when we celebrate the Dutch monarchy. It used to be the birthday of queen Juliana, it was the day when queen Beatrix ascended to the throne and it has always been a national holiday. This year the festivities are special, it is the 25th year of queen Beatrix's reign and as such it is special, a jubilee year.

2005 will be a year with many festivities, we will celebrate this jubilee for a year. The Dutch Wikimedia projects will join Kennisnet in a project to mark the occasion. Wikipedia, Wikinews and Wiktionary have portal pages created in cooperation with Kennisnet's project to celebrate the occasion.

For me, it is one of those rare words that do not translate. I wonder what we will do with words like this in the Ultimate Wiktionary..


Monday, April 25, 2005

Spread the word

When you think of religion, it is about the word of God. Religion's words are important to it because they are essential in bringing the message of the Lord to the people. The funny thing is how difficult it is to find these words and its translations. There are now over 50 words in the glossary; many more are missing. Yesterday the new pope was installed, he will have a hard time convincing people if they do not know the words because how can you bring a message if the words you use are not known ?


Saturday, April 23, 2005

Nervous for a presentation

Today I will give a presentation in the Molenpoort in Nijmegen about Wikimedia, the projects the organisation etc. It is the first time that I will speak for a big crowd. I am nervous. I showed Sabine the presentation she had something good to say.. I have a long time that I may speak. I wonder how things will go what kind of atmosphere there is..

Anyway, there is nothing more to be done but go there.. I wonder if Jimbo still has this flutter in the tummy.. He does it all the time so at some time it must come natural..


Thursday, April 21, 2005

Learning HTML

I do not like HTML but sometimes you are pressed to use it. To add links to other BLOGS, you have to edit the template.. Thank (insert your favourite Deity) for search and replace.. :)


Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Larry Sanger on Wiktionary ...

Larry Sanger, one of the founding fathers of Wikipedia, has written a large two part story on /. . In it he describes the early history of Nupedia and Wikipedia in two parts. In part two, he mentions wiktionary and I was really interested in what Larry had to say. I hoped for something profound, something new, something that would inspire me.

For me it was a letdown. Apparently Larry did not have one look at the current wiktionary. When he had typed in He would have found a portal page for several wiktionaries. He would have known that it is not possible to make a comparison with the likes of Webster's and the OED because wiktionary is not like these pillars of wisdom. Wiktionary is not only about the English language. He would have found many projects in many languages. A bit like Wikipedia but different. Different because if Larry had looked into any of these projects, he would have found that all these projects have the ambition to have all words in all languages. He would have found that current wiktionary has moved far beyond what where the issues at the start.

So it is no suprise that Larry has not learned about the Ultimate Wiktionary. A new ambitious project that may integrate all Wiktionary projects and that will be the first "any to any" dictionary. His arguments against the use of a wiki in relation to dictionaries is a rehash of his POV that you need authority to do some work. If he had done some research, he could have found the soundfiles, something anyone with a "standard" pronounciation can produce. He could have found (with some difficulty) all the Papiamento words in the Dutch Wiktionary, a resource that has (as far as I can find) no equal on the Internet. He could have found that collaboration that exists between Wiktionaries resulting in things like the "Cristianesimo" list of words.

So I am disapointed. As Larry Sanger is a man respected for his contributions in the initial stage of the Wikipedia project, I would be ever so pleased if he had another look. I would really look forward to an opportunity to discuss the opportunies that I foresee in the Ultimate Wiktionary. It would be ever so cool if Larry had a serious look at the current Wiktionary because then we could compare notes on what is wrong with the current crop of Wiktionary projects. It would also make him relevant because what he wrote in slashdot is for me nothing but a blast from the past.


Tuesday, April 19, 2005


GCIDE is the website for the GNU dictionary. It is based on the Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary Version published 1913. It was supplemented with some of the definitions from WordNet, a semantic network created by the Cognitive Science Department of Princeton University under the direction of Prof. George Miller.

It is a big work, it is published in XML. It is free for everybody to use, licensed under the GNU public license. If there is one complaint to make, it is that it is old and needs updating. Compare it however with the English Wiktionary and you find a dictionary that has other problems that are not adressed. It capitalises every word, many entries are not complete because it does not always state a language, even though it is an English to Any dictionary.

With the Ultimate Wiktionary coming up, at some stage we can choose to either convert the English wiktionary or use GCIDE. The point is that a vocal minority prevents necessary maintenance on the English wiktionary.

The dilemma is: what to do.


Monday, April 18, 2005

Shuttleworth Foundation

On the wiki of the Shuttleworth Foundation, I have written about Wiktionary, we would really like to have a rich content of any language, I hope they will apreciate that we do not want South African money, but want a share of the South African languages and culture in our projects and, that we really want the South African people to benefit as much as any other people..


The lack of articles on the Italian Wikipedia on the Roman Catholic church

I am working on a glossary with Christian terminology (mainly Roman Catholic terminology). We try to connect to encyclopaedic information in the Dutch or Italian Wikipedia. The funny thing is how little articles there are on the Roman Catholic church in the Italian Wikipedia.

Philosophing why this might be, we can only assume that the church in Italy is a given and that people do not know much about the church or, that it is so much understood to be known that it is thought not necessary to explain it. The result is that it is not possible to give encyclopaedic information to things relating to Christian religion in the Italian Wikipedia.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Start of a new category

After the death of pope John Paul II, I had a sore throat and I did not really want to do many pronunciations. So I started doing some words about the catholic church. Sabine provided me with Italian and German translations and I added the words to the Italian wiktionary. Now she provided me with soundfiles as well. So it was a good moment to categorise them.

We now have 27 Italian words in this list. With the Ultimate wiktionary for all the translated words there will be a "placeholder". The category should be converted to a "glossary" label and the name of the glossary needs to be translated. So we will have instant glossaries for each language that we have translations for..

What about LISA

LISA is the Localization Industry Standards Association, this organisation is extremely relevant if you are intrested in setting up an Ultimate Wiktionary. Lisa is responsible for a standard called TBX or TermBase eXchange. This is a XML based standard. Having TBX as part of Ultimate Wiktionary makes sense.

The thing is the Wikimedia Foundation can become member of Lisa, we can become a free member if we give some advice and write an article for their magazine. The advice is easily given, articles we write on a regular basis, the Dutch Wikipedia for instance reached
216 articles the other day.

What about LISA is about that only two persons will be elegible for access to the restricted content of LISA. The problem is which two. Some say that I should be one of the two, I am not convinced so I am procrastinating..


Friday, April 15, 2005

Beatrix project with Kennisnet

Kennisnet will start a project to celebrate the 25 th reign of our queen Beatrix. This will be the first cooperation between Kennisnet and the Dutch wikipedia, wikinews and wiktionary. Kennisnet is working hard to be ready for this. They will include live data from the Wikis.

Yesterday I was at Kennisnet to coordinate some stuff and we came up with using glossaries to make wiktionary interesting. We came up with three glossaries that would be nice:
  • Government - for terms like "monorchie" and "regering", "grondwet" etc
  • Nobility - for terms like "koningin", "troon", "kroonprins" etc
  • Feast - for terms like "jubileum", "vuurwerk" etc
These glossaries are implemented as categories within wiktionary, they will be incomplete and, the idea is to ask Dutch kids who do speak other languages as well to contribute translations.


Glossaries in wiktionary

In the Ultimate Wiktionary glossaries will be included. This means that When we receive permission from a notable institution and agree on cooperation, that we may want to lock glossary entries to only include the "authorised" version. This goes very much against the way of the wiki. Because how do we then add content ??

My idea is that when we have a 20 language glossary and someone starts adding content in the 21th, it will be categorised as part of the glossary, this is inclusionist. When in turn the organisation of the glossary adopts this 21th language, it will re-publish the content and by doing so authorise the content. This will in turn lock the content. When there is content missing within the 20 languages, like a discription or like a relation to a new concept, this will be possible. Using the XML export interface, the glossary information will be informed of this and a similar mechanism may occur for locking the content.


Saturday, April 09, 2005

Building a glossary

Giving space to glossaries is what we do in Wiktionary it is a lot of work to create one. In the current wiktionaries, it is hard to create a glossary, you can define the words but how do you make them into one list? You can use categories, but it is stuff different from a standard lexicon lemma that makes a glossary special.

At this moment in time I have a sore throat and that is why I now work on a list of words that deal with the Roman Catholic church. It is topical at the moment. I add the words, find some translations and even add this content to the Italian wiktionary .. :)


My Name is GerardM .
I am rather active in several wikimedia projects because of there being often funny, interesting or remarkable things happening and, as it may help to promote the good cause of an "ultimate wiktionary" I have decided to start with a blog. Perhaps people find it funny/usefull. It serves its purpose if it makes for more people becoming part of the wiktionary crowd.

So here is a start. I will write in English and perhaps if you do not understand what i'm on about double Dutch :)