2008 Multi-lingualism & Multi-culturalism Annual Report

ADHO Standing Committee on Multi-Lingualism & Multi-Culturalism (SCM)

Report on activities and matters arising

June 2007 - June 2008

Elisabeth Burr

Members of the Committee

1) At the meeting of the ADHO Steering Committee the 2nd and 3rd June 2007 at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign it was decided that the Standing Committee on Multi-Lingualism & Multi-Culturalism (SCM) would be composed as follows:

Chair: Elisabeth Burr
ACH: Natasha Smith
ALLC: Concha Sanz Miguel
Co-opted members: Christian Wittern; Jan Rybicki

It would seem that in the meantime Stéfan Sinclair has been proposed to act as the representative of SDH/SEMI

2) In a message sent out the 15th of May 2008 I asked all the members of the SCM to inform me by the 24th of May whether they were prepared to continue to serve on the committee. I did not get a reply from Concha Sanz Miguel, Christian Wittern and Jan Rybicki.


As Christian Wittern and Jan Rybicki have not responded to any of the messages or calls I sent out during the last year and have not responded to the message sent out in May I am led to assume that they are not really interested in the work of the SCM. I therefore propose not to renew their co-option after the end of their one year term of co-option.

3) As I have not heard anything from Concha for quite some time and as she has not responded to the message I sent out in May I feel the need to propose that the ALLC appoints a new representative for the SCM.

4) In the minutes of the meeting of the ALLC committee the 15th and 16th of December 2007 at the University of Leipzig it is stated that Jan-Christoph Meister, being the Internationalization Editor of DHQ, is an ex-officio member of the SCM.

Although this does not correspond exactly to what I proposed at the meeting in Illinois - I proposed that the Internationalization Editor of DHQ should be co-opted and I actually co-opted Jan Christoph Meister - I would like to propose to the Steering Committee that this wording is accepted as expressing better my intention. In fact, the Internationalization Editor being an ex-officio member of SCM does make more sense than her or him being a co-opted member.


The draft protocol which was drawn up in July 2006 has been revised. Apart from linguistic and stylistic changes and some reordering of points, under

4. Membership the terms served by the representatives of the constituent organizations has been concretized (3 years), the appointment of the Chair has been fixed in the same terms as the appointment of the Chairs of other stanting committees (annually), the Internationalization Editor of DHQ has been included as ex-officio member, her / his responsibilities have been specified and the number of co-options has been fixed at 2. Furthermore a phrase stating that by accepting the appointment the Chair as well as the representatives of ADHO's Constituent Organisations, the Internationalization Editor and the co-opted members accept the protocol has been inserted.

Under point 5. Activities the now point 7 specifies the conditions under which the protocol will be reviewed by ADHO's Steering Committee.

Under point 6. Typical annual timeline individual points have been reordered and a point concerning the appointment or re-appointment of the representatives of the constituent organizations has been introduced.


I propose that the draft protocol is considered carefully by the ADHO Steering Committee, and by the executive committees of the ADHO Constituent Organisations, at the June meeting in Oulu, Finland and that a vote should be casted on its acceptance. I would hope that such a procedure would make the work of the SCM easier and more straight forward.

Translations of the Call for proposals

The 24th of October 2007 a message was sent to the members of the SCM informing them about the necessity of some parts of Conftool and the call to be translated into various languages.

As the call and conftool use the same sort of texts I created an Excel-spreadsheet with the actual call in English and all the language versions which had been produced before split up into paragraphs.

The idea was to get the different translations of the English original already in existence updated, collect new language versions at the same time and then use this type of 'database' for Conftool (if need be) and above all for the calls in the future. In such a way the work which had been done by individuals before would be put to good use and there would be no need anymore to start from zero every time a conference was to be organized. The translations of Conftool paragraphs Concha had sent to John earlier where inserted into the spreadsheet as well.

Notwithstanding the fact that of the members of the SCM only Natasha Smith responded to my request, thanks to Jan-Gunnar Tingsell, Alejandro Bia & Concha Sanz-Miguel, Elena Pierazzo & Arianna Ciula, Natasha Smith and Laszlo Hunyadi, the call is now available in the spreadsheet in the following languages: English, Swedish, Spanish, Italian, Russian and Hungarian. Thanks to Liliane Gallet-Blanchard there is also part of a French version. Stéfan Sinclair has promised to translate the paragraphs which are still missing.


A database should be created where TEI-marked-up text chunks are stored which can be easily updated and then extracted. The database should be made available online in such a way that new languag versions can be inserted by interested members of the community.

For the translation of ADHO's Web-Site into French first of all, but later into other languages as well, funds should be allocated so that translators / graduate students can be paid for doing the translation. We cannot always expect to find members who are willing to invest their scarce time into translations.

Research into "the nature of our community"

Although the ALLC committee at its meeting in December 2007in Leipzig confirmed the allocation of EURO 1500 towards dealing with multilingual matters the research I had proposed at the meeting of ADHO's Steering Committee in Illinois in June 2007 could not be undertaken yet.


After DH 2008 y a well qualified student (foreign languages) will be employed for 2 months at 5 hours a week (cost EURO 370,00). The amount of EURO 370,00 will be transfered by ADHO onto a project account administered by Leipzig University.

John will send me the anonymised data collected via Conftool during the preparation of the 2007 and 2008 conferences. Proposals and reviews will also be needed. Any information on bank accounts will be deleted before handing the data over.

A document which will be signed by me and the student will be drawn up, where it is stated that the data will be treated confidentially and will only be used to analyse the knowledge of languages, the attitude to the usage of languages, to the quality of English written by non English mother tongues, to non Anglo-American types of academic writing / proposals and the like.

The student will analyze the data and draw up a model of the information contained. This model will be used to set up a database on the basis of which systematic reserach will be carried out.

After 6 weeks we will write up a report and a more concrete proposal which will contain also information on the projected duration and costs of a systematic and thorough study. At the moment and without having seen the data and information contained in Conftool a more precise proposal is not possible.