The Rosetta Project
A publicly accessible online archive of ALL documented human languages, with the support of The Long Now Foundation.
The Rosetta Project is a Long Now Foundation project that strives to build a publicly accessible online archive of ALL documented human languages.
The Long Now Foundation contacted Six Feet Up to help them improve their Rosetta Project website. The site was slow; the search features not accurate; the overall layout not consistent. Six Feet Up started by fixing the templates and making sure they worked across multiple browsers.
The architecture of the database soon came as a big concern as it would limit the growth potential of the site and its ability to reorganize the data. Calvin Hendryx-Parker, Dir. of Engineering at Six Feet Up, proposed to refactor the language archive using RDF (Resource Description Framework).
The new RDF technology implementation translated into extended searching abilities and increased site speed. It allowed for the insertion of metadata that support statements about facts in the system. In other words, RDF allows to track the statement that language B is a child of language A (reification). This complex and unique capability now allows the linguistic community to track different supporting ideas about languistic debates.
Even more importantly, the new RDF technology now permits the overlay of infinite language structures, allowing languists to try language theories by rearranging data genetically and/or geographically at will.
As a platform-independant data model, RDF provides automatic interoperability with other systems that may be running on different platforms but do understand RDF. In addition, RDF allows to serialize data into XML format for archival purposes.
In the latest round of development, the Long Now Foundation has asked Six Feet Up to add community tools to the Rosetta Project's website.