Sunday, December 31, 2006

When a year ends, it is an opportune time to reflect and to look forward. The past year was pretty amazing; WiktionaryZ went from nothing but a proof of concept to OmegaWiki with functionality that includes language depended part of speech annotation. I want to express gratitude to all the people that made this possible, I want to particularly thank Knewco for their growing belief and understanding what Open Source, Open Content and Open Access. They have not only been instrumental in the development of OmegaWiki, my prediction is that their contribution will help the evolution immensely in the thinking how to make all this sustainable.

OmegaWiki is very much an experiment; it brings organisations and communities together. In the development of OmegaWiki we have seen how immensly valuable both are. It is because of this that I find it so disappointing that the Wikimedia Foundation finds it so difficult to entertain the possibilities that such cooperation brings.

As the WMF decided that they were not in a position to host OmegaWiki, we are now in a position with Open Progress, the Dutch not for profit organisation we had to set up, to do things different where we think it makes a difference. This notion of "eating our own dog food" has always been an important part of the way OmegaWiki works; in the same way we hope to implement the ideas that we agree on in our community.

The most important notion of OmegaWiki is in its definition of success; "success is when people find an application for our data that we did not think of". The implication is that the data of OmegaWiki is there to be used and that collaboration is what OmegaWiki is about. Collaboration in a way that recognises that the success of OmegaWiki is integral to the success of everyone who helps OmegaWiki to be a success.

Technically OmegaWiki is near the turning point where we have sufficient capability to host several ontologies together. This will coincide with the arrival of "collection relation types" and "domain relation types". With the arrival of language dependent attributes we are on the threshold of being able to include the information that differentiates one linguistic entity from another.

Both these two capabilities will be really important in 2007. They will bring a lot of relevant data to OmegaWiki and is likely to bring relevance to the project. I envision that we will indicate which UNICODE characters make up the standard characters for a language. It will show among other things where more characters are needed, it will also help define what the proper sorting order is for a linguistic entity.

In a mail to the Yahoo aphrophonewikis group, Don Osborn asked for a "Year of Unicode in Africa", I hope that OmegaWiki will help make this happen. In a mail to the Wiktionary mailing list, Javier Carro suggest to collaborate on what he calls "Schemes". Both are two mails of the last week, I expect the implementation of both will be feasible.

I am sure 2007 will be great .. Prosit Neujahr :)


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