Celtic Knot Conference 2017/Programme

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Time Details Room
9:00am Registration and coffee University of Edinburgh Business School - Main Concourse
9:30am Welcome - Melissa Highton, Assistant Principal for Online Learning, University of Edinburgh. Auditorium
9:35am Introduction from Ewan McAndrew, Wikimedian in Residence at the University of Edinburgh, and Daria Cybulska, Wikimedia UK Programme Manager. Auditorium

9.50am to 10.05am: Conference Opening - Robin Owain (Wales Manager for Wikimedia UK)
A glimpse into some of the milestones in the development of Wicipedia Cymraeg, starting with Marc Haynes residence at the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol (the Welsh federal university of Wales) and ending with the latest WiR: Aaron Morris at Menter Môn and the National Eisteddfod. The talk foresees Wikipedia being nothing more than an empty shell, a bare platform and the content taken in as live feeds from content providers such as the National Library of Wales, Llen Natur (nature website), Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, dictionaries, archives, museums etc. Lastly he will name the person who originally imagined “a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge.”

10.10am to 10:45am: Keynote presentation - Jason Evans (Wikimedian in Residence at the National Library of Wales)
Welsh Wicipedia – Thinking big
Jason Evans will discuss his strategy for working with the National Library of Wales, Wikimedia UK and the Welsh Government to develop the Welsh language Wicipedia using a combination of community engagement, data manipulation and the implementation of Open Access policies. Jason will discuss how this strategy was implemented as part of the recent Wicipop project, which saw the creation of nearly 800 new Welsh Wicipedia articles in 3 months. The talk will also explore the growing importance of open data in the development of the Welsh Wicipedia, and how this may hold the key to the sustainability of smaller and native language Wikipedias.

10:45am Coffee break Main concourse
11:00am Parallel sessions

Lecture Theatre 2

  • CK101: A "state of the question", sharing our model on how we do things to promote the Catalan language project and why we do it and how we engage with language activists and also which are our challenges - Àlex Hinojo, Executive Director, Amical Wikimedia.

Did you know that Catalan Wikipedia was just the second version of this encyclopedia to have articles, right after the English-language version and weeks before versions began to appear in other languages that are much more widely spoken throughout the world? It is just one example of Catalans on the internet and of their civic activism in favor of their language. With more than 500,000 articles, it’s the 18th biggest Wikipedia in a ranking by number of articles. If you take into account the number of Catalan speakers—about 11.5 million—it should be in 80th or 90th place. Those who write in Catalan on the internet still have a decidedly activist character borne of the prevailing diglossia. Even still, the position of the Catalan language is not fully normalized, despite its advances. On the internet, net neutrality and the existence of open platforms that are easily adaptable to different languages have been key factors in the success of networked Catalan successes. The net favors activism and facilitates getting people with similar interests together: it is a tool that connects. In a society with a tradition of community involvement like Catalonia, the net has been ideal for making our language and culture visible. Without political borders or obstacles, we are able to grow more than we can in the real world, which is significant given the numerous roadblocks that we suffer there. Our only weapon to gain the world’s confidence has always been our work ethic. Read more.

2016 was a critical year for the Basque Wikipedia, a project surging in 2007 that reached an activity peak last year by establishing the Basque Wikimedians User Group, benefiting from its synergies with Donostia-San Sebastián Capital of Culture 2016. As a minority language community, the project has faced the insecurities and hurdles inherent to a small community with a lesser status and pending corpus related issues, but determined all the same to live up to the challenges posed by an ever mutating reality. Individual editing has given way to a concerted effort aiming to expand Basque Wikipedia beyond online contribution into GLAM and Education outreach, as well as interaction with local communities, so becoming a referential player in today’s Basque cultural scene. In 2017, the Basque User Group sets off towards new horizons related to upcoming Education outreach programs that challenge its own internal structure.

  • CK114: The Scottish Gaelic Uicipeid project: a talk discussing the role of the Gaelic Wikipedian at the National Library of Scotland and the success/failures of encouraging Gaelic speakers to make the Uicipeid a hub for online Gaelic knowledge - Susan Ross, Gaelic Wikipedian in Residence at the National Library of Scotland.

Lecture Theatre 1B

The Bywiadur is part of the Llên Natur (nature lore) website and comes under the auspices of Cymdeithas Edward Llwyd – a charity set up in 1978 to promote the appreciation of nature, cultural heritage and the environment.] The editorial language of this environmental, interactive recording project is strictly Welsh but it nevertheless welcomes testimony in whatever language is offered. Items in Gaelic, Breton and Cornish are currently included, as well as the more dominant languages. It seeks to make the environment a more mainstream aspect of Welsh culture and by the same token welcomes those with a limited knowledge of the language into the Welsh cultural fold.

In Switzerland we work a lot with Rhaeto-Romance languages (spoken in Grisons and South Tyrol). We are building the biggest digital library in this language and we are in contact with local administration to use this library at the school. In this session, we will outline our project of Digital Library in Romansh and also about new initiatives to map the archeological sites connected with Celtic culture in the Alps - Ilario Valdelli from the staff of Wikimedia Switzerland.

Lecture Theatres 1B and 2.
12:00pm Facilitated group discussion

How to kickstart a dead Wikipedia?
Wikimedia Norge is supporting Wikipedias in three languages: Norwegian Bokmål (460,000 articles), Norwegian Nynorsk (130,000 articles) and Northern Sami (7,000 articles). The two Norwegian varieties are Germanic languages, while Northern Sami is an indigenous language in the Uralic language family. Northern Sami is spoken in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia, and is by far the biggest of several living Sami languages. In Norway about 25,000 people speak Northern Sami, but far fewer are able to write in the language. The Northern Sami Wikipedia currently has no active contributors, and Wikimedia Norge is looking into building a project to revitalize the Northern Sami Wikipedia.

This conference gives us all an unique opportunity to learn from the representatives from different Celtic & Indigenous language Wikipedias. Astrid Carlsen will host a 15 min presentation followed by a 45 min discussion space, pertinent to all attendees, where we ask the following questions:

  • Where do we start with no active community?
  • What kinds of institutional partners should we seek?
  • What activities should we prioritize?
  • How can we best support a language with limited resources?
  • What have been the biggest challenges for similar projects supported by Wikimedia UK and other related entities?
  • What are the pitfalls, things to avoid?
Lecture Theatre 2
1:00pm Lunch Main concourse
2:00pm Keynote presentation: Professor Antonella Sorace, University of Edinburgh and Bilingualism Matters.

Bilingualism in minority languages: a resource and an opportunity
Research on the bilingual mind shows that bilingualism in any languages, regardless of their status, prestige, and worldwide diffusion, can give children a range of mental benefits. Equally, child bilingualism is essential to the inter-generational transmission of these languages, and in some cases to their very prospect of survival. However, there are still many widespread old misconceptions – as well as some new ones - about what it means to grow up with two languages. For example, many people still think that early bilingualism makes children confused and puts them at a disadvantage at school. Research, in contrast, shows that when there are differences between monolingual and bilingual children, these are almost invariably in favour of bilinguals: bilingual children tend to have enhanced metalinguistic skills and language learning abilities, a better understanding of other people’s points of view, and more mental flexibility in dealing with complex situations. Some of these benefits have also been found in adult second language learners, both younger and much older. I will first illustrate the main facts and benefits of bilingualism over the lifespan, focusing in particular on current research on minority languages, including Gaelic. I will then present what can be done to disseminate correct information on bilingualism in different sectors of society and to enable informed decisions in minority language communities.

2:30pm Parallel sessions

Lecture Theatre 1B

  • CK111: Using the UNESCO Atlas of World Languages in Danger and Wikidata - organising knowledge about world languages on Wikipedia including using open license text from external sources. John Cummings, UNESCO Wikimedian in Residence.
  • CK110: Welsh/Celtic speech technology in Wikipedia: Text-to-speech and speech recognition are becoming increasingly important in our digital world. Major languages such as English are well catered for, but smaller languages such as Welsh and the other Celtic languages are often left behind. Wikipedia is both a huge resource for the creation of Celtic automatic speech capabilities and a platform for deploying the technology. A new project to make text-to-speech possible for Wikipedia has been announced for English and Swedish, (see https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Wikispeech) which may be extended in time to other languages. However, as far as we know, there are no plans yet to develop speech recognition in the Wikipedia environment, and speech recognition for the Celtic languages in general remains underdeveloped. In our Welsh National Language Technologies Portal we have published the work we have done so far in this field (see http://techiaith.cymru/speech/?lang=en) aiming at disseminating our resources on free and generous licences. We now wish to engage with our Celtic colleagues to explore how we can create speech recognition for our languages with Wikipedia, starting with training in named entities, and questioning and answering modules e.g. who was, where is, where/when was someone born etc. - Delyth Prys, Head of the Language Technologies Unit, Canolfan Bedwyr.

Lecture Theatre 2

  • CK127: Project Miljon+ and Vikipeedia in Estonian language Strategies for Estonian Wikipedia for getting more articles in Estonian language include a new big project, Miljon+. The main goal for the project is to get 1,000,000 articles on Estonian Wikipedia. This project is part of a gift for the Estonian 100th anniversary (Estonians are making collective gifts to our homeland) so it will last til year 2020. Currently Estonian Wiki has ~157 000 articles and there are not so many users, because there is not enough data. This lightning talk will cover how we are engaging more and more people to write inside of the Miljon+ project. Käbi Suvi - Wikimedia Estonia.
  • CK121: Welsh-language technology and digital media: This presentation will share with the conference what we’ve discovered about the importance of the number of Wikipedia pages in a language in getting better services for that language from big companies. I’ll show slides mapping the languages supported by Google, Twitter, Apple, etc. against both number of speakers and number of Wikipedia articles in languages to show how much importance major companies attach to creative activity on Wikipedia. I’ll explain how this information has led to Welsh Government helping to fund two Welsh-language Wikipedia initiatives called WiciPop and WiciMôn and how we wanted to strike a balance between the need to scale up article production with the need to encourage more people to hand-craft articles in workshops. I’ll compare this activity with that of the Papurau Bro – Welsh-language community magazines – which have brought people together to fold and staple editions in chapel vestries since the 1970s. And I’ll argue that including a link to a Wikipedia article started by a school pupil is an asset for their personal statement and CV. So this isn’t an academic paper I’m presenting; it’s a passionate account of a public intervention aimed at solving a lot of challenges at the same time - Gareth Morlais, Welsh Language Unit, Llywodraeth Cymru - Welsh Government.
Lecture Theatres 1B and 2
3:00pm Parallel workshops and unconference spaces

1. Lecture Theatre 1B
CK113: Using Wikidata to support small-language wiki content
Wikidata - The essentials. Learn about the basics of editing Wikidata and discover some of the tools which make it so powerful. Have a go at editing, add data in multiple languages and discover how to search and visualize the data in your chosen language. Practical workshop led by Léa Lacroix, Project Manager Community Communication for Wikidata, and Jason Evans, Wikimedian in Residence at the National Library of Wales.(Laptop required for hands on element of the workshop).

2. Lecture Theatre 2

  • Unconference space- 3pm to 4pm.

3. Auditorium
CK129:Kathabhidhana- 3pm to 3:15pm.

  • Kathabhidhana, an open toolkit for anyone to record their language in a human and machine readable form. It is a collection of open source tools, educational material, and open sample datasets. It not helps one to record their language but helps creating resources that can be used for building Machine Learning and Natural language Processing tools. I have personally recorded over 2000 words in my native language Odia. More about this toolkit are summarized in a quick video. - A 15 minute presentation by Subhashish Panigrahi and Prateek Pattanaik.

CK112: Lingua Libre an interface for massive open audio recording.- 3.15pm to 3:30pm.

  • During the launch of the Langues de France project, the ability of minority language speakers to participate to a great extent in the written aspects of Wikimedia projects encouraged us to come up with a new way of contributing. The purpose of Lingua Libre is to realize records all around the world with a documentation useful for quality linguistic re-use thanks to city-accurate geolocation. Lingua Libre is an open and open-license platform and webapp which boosts the recording of mass of words or sentences into clean, well cut, well documented audio files. It is perfect to create small to large datasets of audio files.The video presentation will include a demo / training for LinguaLibre. LinguaLibre.fr is the professional cloud system used by Wikimedia to swiftly record series of words or sentences into super clean, high quality audios. LinguaLibre is excellent for OpenData creation, languages teaching, and language conservation. Over 120,000 audios have been uploaded with this tool. It also allows you to record the words and voice of your grandma for ever.

CK131:Rising Voices 3.30pm to 3:45pm.

  • Rising Voices is a Global Voices project that focuses on providing training and mentoring to marginalized and underrepresented communities in Latin America. Video presentation by Eddie Ávila, director of Rising Voices.

CK130:Translating articles between different language Wikipedias: the new Content Translation tool- 3.45pm to 4pm.

  • Wikimedia’s mission is to be "the sum of all human knowledge". That Wikipedia has amassed over 43 million articles in over 295 languages in its short existence is quite incredible and a testament to the dedication of its community of volunteers. Yet the distribution of articles in these different language Wikipedias is nowhere near evenly spread. Wikipedia’s new Content Translation tool offers an impactful means of sharing open knowledge globally between languages as it brings up an article on one side of the screen in one language and helps translate it, paragraph by paragraph, to create the article in a different language taking all the formatting across to the new article so a native speaker just has to check to make sure the translation is as good as it can be. This presentation and practical workshop will outline the successful models already employed in a Higher Education context where one editor was able to translate five articles on notable Women in STEM onto Portuguese Wikipedia in one afternoon and where twenty-eight Translation Studies MSc students were able to complete the translation of Wikipedia articles of 4000 words into different language Wikipedias. In this way, sharing open knowledge between languages and improving areas of under-representation. - Ewan McAndrew, Wikimedian in Residence at the University of Edinburgh.

4. Breakout space outside Lecture Theatre 1A

  • Unconference space - 3-4pm.
  1. Lecture Theatre 1B,
  2. Lecture Theatre 2,
  3. The Auditorium
  4. Breakout space outside Lecture Theatre 1A.
4:00pm Coffee break Main concourse.
4:15pm Panel discussion & Closing plenary: The Politics of Language Online

Questions to be considered:

  • What are the barriers in terms of local, national, and international policy to supporting language communities? And how can these be overcome?
  • What are the best methodologies for community engagement and how do we avoid ‘pickling’ a language?
  • What are the challenges of supporting and engaging both native and learner communities?
  • A recent study suggested Indyref supporters were more likely to use Scots words. Is the use of a Celtic and Indigenous language a political act? Are languages inherently political? To what extent have some Celtic & Indigenous languages been adopted by political movements? Or is it the other way round?
5:00pm End of conference Auditorium