A few years ago when I was still at CSIRO, I was contacted by Linda Barwick from PARADISEC to research into the use of Annodex for linguists. The main problem was that ethnographic researchers are publishing research outcomes on paper or even HTML, which are essentially discussions about small sections of field recordings of exotic languages – however, they had no means to do citations of these sections through hyperlinks or any other simple interactive means. In the time of online media, that should be a trivial task, right? But it wasn’t. Annodex and the timed URIs provided the right basis for a solution.
Fast forward lots of months of work in the EthnoER project and you get a solution for ethnographic researchers which is unique and completely based on open formats and open source software. Check out Linda’s blog entry of today!
Congratulations to everybody who has put all that effort into the project – Nick Thieberger, Linda Barwick, Shane Stephens, Stuart Hungerford, Jonathan McCabe, and all the others whom I forgot. EthnoER and Annodex might have changed the way in which linguistic research online can be published – not a small feat at all!
In the last few weeks, I’ve created an Internet-Draft (I-D – a draft specification of an IETF RFC) for the Ogg Skeleton meta track, and updated the CMML I-D to include a new element called “caption” (CMML DTD). All of this is work that should have been done a long time ago, but I only got the motivation for it through the WHATWG work on HTML5 which will take Ogg Theora and Ogg Vorbis as baseline codecs. Since liboggplay is the key open source library that implements this baseline codec support, and liboggplay supports Annodex, it seems plausible that Annodex (which adds essentially Skeleton + CMML) will be available in Web browsers of the future. So, now is the time to fix up the few open issues that remain and cast the specifications into readable I-Ds.