FREELY ACCESSING DOCUMENTS Digital documents have that rare quality of being easily duplicated and transmitted across the net. To defend the document’s traditional mode of economic management, which is generated from an era of high reproduction costs, some feel the need to reduce this exchange capacity by installing digital document locks. To read a digital document that has one of these Document Rights Management (drm) systems, one must have a specific encrypted key.
Unfortunately, this system ignores the reality of social practices. Copyright laws worldwide have always envisaged numerous specific cases, grouped in international negotiations at wipo 19 under the heading “Limitations and Exceptions”. Therein, copy for private use, expanded rights for schools and libraries, as well as the right of citation, satire, free availability of speeches 17 See in this book : Tjeerd de Graaf, How Oral Archives Benefit Endangered Languages ;
and Maik Gibson, Preserving the Heritage of Extinct or Endangered Languages.
18 Larry Rother, Folklorist’s Global Jukebox Goes Digital, The New York Times, 30 January 2012. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/31/arts/music/the-alan-lomax-collection-fromthe-american-folklife-center.html 19 WIPO : World Intellectual Property Organization.
The official document on limitations and exceptions can be found at :
http://www.wipo.int/copyright/en/limitations/index.html Herv Le Crosnier by influential people, and so on, are registered as legitimate rights that can be mobilised by readers or by cultural and educational institutions.
Locking systems are quite rigid, and cannot take into account the type of practice or institutions wishing to use the locked document. There are, therefore, two trends : to do away with drm and find other ways of financing creation and publishing, as when the music industry’s major labels decided to drop drm in 2006 ; or else profoundly modify copyright law, turning it into a “natural” law like that of property law on material goods. Unfortunately, it seems the second approach currently dominates, if we take a look at the intellectual property laws and projects being filed around the world.
When libraries are involved in document creation, as with the aforementioned examples of oral information gathering and digitisation, they must ask themselves what rights will be awarded to readers. Permit uses, including Creative Commons 20 licenses, are a good way to expand the rights of readers and public institutions. Negotiations with publishers to obtain free unlocked versions for library use may also be envisaged.
The example of scientific publications, too often published in extremely expensive journals, and therefore inaccessible to many libraries and universities worldwide, is significant to this concept. The “open access” movement, initiated by researchers, proposes to make versions of their articles and work available to all 21. Many research institutions, such as the cnrs in France and the nih in the u.s., already require members to submit their articles to “open archives”, or to publish in journals with open access.
This question of the legal and financial means that allow people to access and share information contained in documents is central to the future of digital libraries. Libraries everywhere are mobilising to enforce their collective approach and public service. The ifla (International Federation of Library Associations), for example, has committed itself to the global movement known as a2k – Access to Knowledge 22.
20 See in this book : Melanie Dulong de Rosnay, Translation and Localization of Creative Commons Licenses.
21 Jean-Claude Gudon, Knowledge, Networks and Citisenship : Why Open Access (Connaissances, rseaux et citoyennet : pourquoi le libre accs ), In : Open CourseWare, The Commons of Knowledge (Libres Savoirs, les biens communs de la connaissance), C & F ditions, 2010, p. 67-75.
22 For an overview of this issue that, beyond the library, also affects access to knowledge recorded in property, such as drugs or food :
Herv Le Crosnier CONCLUSION Digital libraries, web archiving, and the creation and preservation of new documents (e-books, audio and video recordings) are complex issues that are nevertheless essential for the future of languages worldwide.
Every new medium brings opportunities to better understand, preserve, disseminate, and at times even revive knowledge and cultures in the very languages that created them. But technical and legal regulations may obliterate the opportunity.
Documents without metadata also lose their strength when they don’t offer the historical, cultural, and publishing context of their creation.
Digitisation, which cuts knowledge into parts, does not account for a book in a library, which is much more than the sum of its parts.
That’s why libraries cannot truly meet their missions unless they are at the service of all society, by being public services open to all, defending readers’ rights to free access of information, and providing the necessary supplemental indexing, classification, and contextualisation. It is libraries that must show how knowledge sharing is also a precondition for the expansion of the cultural property market, and that library-managed open access is the best way to accustom readers to cultural practices, which then nourish the publishing market.
Libraries as institutions, and librarians as actors, have responsibilities, competencies and goals that policy makers should encourage and listen to, to strengthen the presence of all languages in the global mental universe.
Culture is a tool for building world peace, which gives us the essential means for addressing the challenges and plagues 23 that primarily affect poor countries – those whose languages are less well-endowed with publishing, media and archival resources. Cultural empowerment, involving schools and libraries, deserves our full attention if we are to consider it a common infrastructure for sustainable and peaceful development.
Galle Krikorian and Amy Kapcsynski, Access to Knowledge in the Age of Intellectual Property, Sone Book (MIT Press), 2009, 246 p.
23 See in this book : Adama Samasskou, Multilingualism, the Millennium Development Goals, and Cyberspace.
Herv Le Crosnier Herv Le Crosnier DWAYNE BAILEY SOFTWARE LOCALIZATION :
OPEN SOURCE AS A MAJOR TOOL FOR DIGITAL MULTILINGUALISM What can the ordinary citizen do to promote his language in the digital age We show in this article that the open source and open content movements provide an ideal platform for individuals to contribute to the continuing existence of their language. We will see how these movements change the situation for those wishing to promote their language, change perceptions and influence the political space.
Original article in English.
DWAYNE BAILEY is the director of Translate, a project advancing the localization of software into the languages of South Africa and assisting other in the world to do the same for their languages. He is the research director of a large network of African experts on localization (ANLoc).
ow Open resources can create opportunities to develop and promote languages and influence the language landscape.
H SOFTWARE, CONTENT AND APPLICATIONS But firstly, what is open source and open content and how do these differ from freeware Open Source and its allied Free Software movement are both philosophies concerning how software should be developed. The Free Software movement preceded the Open Source movement. Free Software advocates believe that the ability to change the inner workings of software is a fundamental right of owners of software products. They also allow software to be copied and shared. Obviously this is a very different view from proprietary software vendors who use terms like “pirate”. Open Source advocates believe that wide public access to the inner workings of the software leads to better and higher quality software. The philosophies may be debated and their claims disputed but one thing is clear, this software now plays a critical role in today’s economy.
One commonality between Open Source and Free Software is access to the inner workings of the software and the right to change the software.
And these are critical for its influence on local languages. With the right to change the software you now have the right to change the text of the software. The industry calls this localization, yet it is enough to know that this is the translation of the software interfaces into local languages.
Taking two open source software products as examples we can see the influence that this power has for local languages. Firefox is an open source Dwayne Bailey web-browser. It commands a market share of 30 % of all internet users worldwide 1. At time of writing, the current version of Firefox is available in 68 languages and a further 14 languages are in development.
OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice are open source office suites compatible with Microsoft Office. Market share is very hard to estimate for such products for the simple reason that anyone can distribute the software and no one needs to register. However, Webmaster Pro 2 attempted to determine OpenOffice.org market share in 2010. Their data shows values from 0.2 % in China to 22 % in Poland. Usage figures seem to average 10 % across the markets surveyed, which translates into millions of users.
When it comes to languages those software are translated in 85 languages by communities of volunteers.
Both OpenOffice.org, LibreOffice and Firefox present opportunities to provide software in local languages at little cost to communities.
It is worth noting that, using traditional approaches to software localization, industry will translate into at most 35 languages. But industry players such as Microsoft have adapted to this pressure from Open Source through programs like their Local Interface Pack or lip to help raise those numbers.
Open Content is often best thought of as Wikipedia, but includes text and content released under Creative Commons 3. Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia available in multiple languages, the English version of which contains over 3 million articles. Other large European languages also have large numbers of articles in the 1,000,000 range.
Although the two largest African language Wikipedias, Afrikaans and Swahili, are much smaller with 17,000 and 21,000 articles respectively, they still represent a large body of local language knowledge. These two Wikipedias contribute 6,4 and 3,8 million words in each language to the Internet (based on data of May 2010). They represent a free resource that can be used by teachers teaching students in their mother tongue.
1 http://gs.statcounter.com/ 2 http://www.webmasterpro.de/portal/news/2010/02/05/international-openofficemarket-shares.html 3 See in this book : Mlanie Dulong de Rosnay, Translation and Localization of Creative Commons Licenses.
Dwayne Bailey It is worth spending some time on Free Applications. In this we can categorise, Google applications e.g. Search, Gmail, Maps, as well as Facebook and other social media applications. While these applications are free to use they do not provide access to the source code. However, almost all of these large applications have a combination of internally developed and community driven localization programs.
Communities choose to translate these for free mostly because it increases the utility of the program for the users themselves. While some see these large, and often rich companies’ behaviour as exploitative, the users clearly regard this as a fair trade as these applications are translated into many languages. Facebook, after releasing their community translation platform quickly had over 100 active translation communities.
Clearly Open Source and Free Applications are delivering more languages than traditional approaches : 70+ and 100+ languages compared to languages. What makes this possible and what is the response from commercial software product providers The reason why it is possible is simple. When the barriers that prevent you from providing a translation are lower many more people end up translating. In Open Source the process is clear and open and you are unlikely to ever be prevented from contributing.
Contrast this with the traditional software localization process. The company decides which language it wishes to translate based on market share and other pressures. It then contracts localization companies and delivers the translations ; an often long and tedious process that follows the release schedule of the product, which is usually a 3 year cycle. The process is not designed for community contribution, in contrast to Open Source products that see release cycles of 6 months with new languages added when ready, this speed places commercial translations at a disadvantage.
This disadvantage is one of the reasons why Microsoft started their Local Language Program (llp). This allows Microsoft to localise applications outside of the normal release cycle of a product, allowing them to release new translations after the release of the product. It would seem unlikely that they would translate into a new language close to the release of a new version of the same product. In the early days of llp local universities were contracted to perform the work but certainly in South Africa this has reverted to commercial localization companies once again.
Dwayne Bailey Microsoft’s llp programme was a very good answer to the power of Open Source localization and has grown the number of languages that Microsoft Windows and Office are available in worldwide.
Now that we understand some of the approaches and impacts of Open Source, Free Applications and Desktop software providers it is good to understand the motivations of communities before we then explore the motivations of commercial companies.
WHY WOULD YOU LOCALISE Localization is a costly exercise. Even when people volunteer we are talking of cost in terms of time. Depending on the applications we are talking about months and months of time required to localise some of the applications we have mentioned. So what would motivate someone to volunteer or organise such volunteers The first motivation is that people want software in their own language.
This is the simplest motivation, it’s not about the value or the effectiveness of software in local languages. It stems simply from the fact that the user feels more comfortable in their language.
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