Where to put useful stuff: a call for help

As you all know, Marc van Oostendorp has been posting several useful links lately: first a link to Toshi Shiraishi’s recent Groningen dissertation on Nivkh phonology, then one to Tobias Sheer’s bibliographic web-library of papers on the phonology/morphosyntax interface, then one to the ConstraintCatalogue developed by Marc, Curt Rice, and Nathan Sanders, and most recently one to Julien Eychenne’s WYSIWYG tableau editor for LaTeX.

This is an interesting mix of useful stuff that I don’t think I would have heard about anywhere else. Shiraishi’s dissertation was (somewhat later) announced on LINGUIST List, but that’s about it — although LINGUIST List is a great resource, probably even in ways I haven’t taken advantage of yet, it’s not the place I imagine I’m going to (easily) find this kind of collection of useful stuff. (If you disagree, please comment!)

One good reason why a “one-stop shop” of resources like these would be useful to have was made clear in the comments on Marc’s most recent post: there are at least two other LaTeX tableau editors out there — the latter developed almost 10 years ago. If I were about to (decide to) embark on a programming project like this, I think I’d find it useful to know whether I was about to reinvent the wheel so that I don’t waste too much of my time.

So what should this one-stop shop be?

At one point I thought it’d be useful to have a site separate from phonoloblog, one that I called phonolinks, where people could post links to useful stuff that is of specific use to phoneticians and phonologists (for both teaching and research purposes). It didn’t quite work out, one reason perhaps being that I used software I was familiar with (WordPress, which powers this blog) rather than software that might be better suited to the task (e.g., wiki software, as suggested to me early on by Elliott Moreton), and two other reasons probably being that (i) I limited the scope of the thing to “phono” and (ii) I limited the advertising of it to this blog (which is itself admittedly not very well advertised, but I digress).

I’ve since made an effort to remedy two of the deficiencies of phonolinks. One was to have a UCSD Linguistics undergrad, Ben Yang, put together a wiki in place of the old pseudo-blog (as part of an independent study project). The other was to broaden the scope of the thing to “ling” in general. I have to admit that I resisted at first, but Ben insisted and I conceded that it was a good idea. What I was afraid of, and what I’m still afraid of, is the administration of this thing. I’m busy enough as it is with phonoloblog, ROA, the Optimal List, and other stuff to take on an entire linguistics resource wiki.

So, as the title of this post says, I’m looking for help, specifically of the wiki-administrative type. I have a wiki set up on this server and it’s ready to go — you can see it here. I realize that part of the point of a wiki is for its users to manage it, but I imagine that random technical things frequently need to be done in the background. If there’s someone out there with wiki-know-how and with sufficient interest in seeing this project develop, please let me know.

6 thoughts on “Where to put useful stuff: a call for help

  1. Eric Bakovic

    Bridget — thanks for the reminder about lingnews.net. I’ve been following it (and have had it linked in the “Other resources” section of the sidebar), and it’s great. It seems to be primarily for news items of linguistic interest though, right, at least at the moment? If I manage to get this wiki going, maybe we can work out cross-linkage for maximum awesomeness.

    Ed — of course I’d be ok with that. Let me just figure out how to pass you the rains

  2. Eric Bakovic

    Jane — I just got back from a visit to lingforum.com. It seems like it will be a great place for all kinds of discussions about linguistics as a subject and as a field. The idea behind the wiki I have in mind is somewhat different, though: it’ll be a place for folks to post links to substantive contributions to the field that can be accessed online (manuscripts, software, course packets and web sites, etc.). I don’t think it’ll be a place for commentary about how much MIT sucks.

  3. Jane

    Haha, right!! Yes, I do agree with that. I think that your wiki idea is awesome!! First of all, everything will be there in an organized way. LingForum is different, right… It is basically a discussion site for everything that is linguistics whether it is about how good a university is at phonology or how bad it is at, let’s say, syntax or about a grammaticality judgement that a researcher needs. (Of course, grammaticality judgements gathered online cannot be very trustable, but at least they can give a researcher some idea…)

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