Thursday, July 13, 2006

Burmese and Mon inscriptions, Online open content project

There are certainly very few Burmese or Mon inscriptions or translations of inscriptions online.

This is an opportunity for an open content project.

There are some excellent Burmese language volumes with inscriptions (Pagan to Ava periods). There is also a well-known list of inscriptions with locations and dates as well as some translations into English by Than Tun and associates. This all could be integrated and put online in an open content project.

Wikipedia as a platform also has a benefit that experts in Burma or Myanmar could easily access them, add to the content, edit, and correct them (even anonymously if they wanted to). Wikipedia also allows you to roll back to previous versions if a vandal who does not really want to cooperate and contribute is bent on destroying your hard work.

One thing for sure is that no one is currently using Wikipedia as a medium for open content history.

If a westerner whose expertise does not match that of a native Burmese scholar, contributes, this might motivate native Burmese scholars to participate and correct them and we can learn. Collaboration and peer review are universal goods.

There is a small repository of Mon inscriptions online at the Euro-Mon Community. The Shwe Dagon Mon inscription is a good model of how inscriptions could be presented online, although a little bit more background information plus a translation into English would also be nice.

Wikibooks is: 1. the most accessible place to start such a project, and 2. requires almost no overhead.
Burmese Wikipedia already has Burmese unicode fonts up and working, though I personally have yet to get it working for me. Will have to work on this.