Survey from the Non-Latin Materials Affinity Group of LD4P-2

There is a survey available from now until October 8, 2019, from the Non-Latin Materials Affinity Group of the Linked Data for Production-2 project.  The survey asks about procedures related to romanization and processing of materials in non-Latin scripts, including African scripts such as Ethiopic (or Ge’ez).  Please consider adding your thoughts to the collection of data from respondents.

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The UDHR in Bété

From our colleague Bai Dodo in Zépréguhé, Côte d’Ivoire, we present a copy of the full text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, translated into the Bété language using the invented pictographic script of the late artist Frédéric Bruly Bouabré.  Enjoy!


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Updated dictionary of Baga Tshi-Tem

From Fred Lamp, retired curator of African Art at the Yale University Art Gallery, we happily have a new version of an online Baga Tshi-Tem vocabulary to present.  This covers 3,000 words.  Please enjoy!


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SACO Funnel Report from November 2018


Coordinator: Margaret W. Hughes


November 30, 2018


This report covers the period from Nov. 2017 to Oct. 2018.  Since the last report, 36 new proposals and 3 change proposals were reviewed by funnel participants and submitted to the Library of Congress (LC). The proposals originated with Margaret Hughes (Stanford), Joe Lauer (Michigan State), Chuck Riley (Yale), Laila Salibi-Cripe (Indiana), Shoshanah Seidman (Northwestern), and Marcia Tiede (Northwestern).




Abushiri Revolt, Tanzania, 1888-1889 

Angolan students

Biali (African people) 

Bukusu dialect -> Bukusu language

Datooga language 

Etche (African people) 

Fa d’Ambu (African people)

Folk literature, Tswapong

Glio-Oubi (African people) 

Gofa (African people)

Gor language

Hanga dialect (Kenya) -> Oluwanga language

Herdé language

Ifè language

Ikoma-Nata-Isenye language 

Ikwo (African people) 

Kemedzung language 

Kisa dialect -> Olushisa language

Koorete (African people)  

Kouya (African people)

Laudatory poetry, Hausa

Logo (African people) 

Lutachoni language

Mango language (Chad)

Motion pictures, Berber 

Naami language

Nata (African people)

Nata dialect

Ndambomo (African people) 

Ndambomo language

Okpe (Urhobo people)

Proverbs, Tunisian


Saba language

Semba (Music) 

Senhaja Berber language

Somrai language

Tswapong language
Tswapong literature





Sar language

This proposal was made to revise the existing heading Sara language. The proposal did not list a work being cataloged and also failed to disambiguate the proposed heading from other languages called Sar. The required revisions to the NTs of Sara language were not proposed, either.  Finally, this revision necessitates a revision to the classification schedules.  The proposal may be resubmitted. [October 15, 2018]




Oluluyia languages; Logooli language 

Ethnologue lists Oluluyia as a macrolangauge of the Bantu language, and it appears that this proposal was made only to insert a level of hierarchy; there was no indication that there is a work about the Oluluyia languages being cataloged. The meeting considers the additional level of hierarchy to be unnecessary, considering the lack of a work needing the heading. The proposal for Oluluyia languages was not approved.

Nine additional proposals were made to change the BT Bantu languages on existing headings. That was the only change in the revision proposal for Logooli language, and that proposal was not approved. The other eight proposals included other revisions, and approved changes to those records are indicated on the approved list. [July 16, 2018]




Qualifiers in headings for individual Kurd, Arab, and Berber groups

In LCSH, the general policy is to qualify headings for individual ethnic groups by the adjective for the continent, region, or country of the group, followed by the word people (e.g., Aro (African people); Chrau (Vietnamese people)). Practice for Kurds, Arabs, and Berbers has been mixed, however, with some being qualified by ([Arab, Berber, Kurdish] tribe) and others by ([Arab, Berber, Kurdish] people). Going forward, all new headings of this type will be qualified according to the latter formulation.

Apis (Egyptian deity); Seth (Egyptian deity); Sobek (Egyptian deity) – CANCEL HEADINGS

These authority records have been deleted because the subject headings are covered by identical name headings




Source: LCSH Approved Lists (Nov. 2017-Oct. 2018)

The submitting library’s MARC21 code appears after each entry.


Abāẓah family – DLC

Agaw (African people) – DLC

Āl ibn ʻĀshūr family – DLC

Amara West (Extinct city) – UkOxU

Amba language – DLC

Amour Mountains (Algeria) – CtY

Awori family – DLC

Āyt ʻAbd Allāh (Berber people) – DLC

Āyt Brāyīm (Berber tribe) – DLC

Bible stories, Lokele – IEN

Burj al-Qāhirah (Cairo, Egypt) – DLC

Chilwa, Lake, Watershed (Malawi) – IEN

Christianity–African influences – DLC

Chuos Mountains (Namibia) – DLC

Doornkop, Battle of, South Africa, 1900 – CtY

Dramatists, Burkinabe – IEN

Egypt–History–1981-2011 – DLC

Egypt–History–2011- – DLC

Egypt–History–Coup d’état, 2013 – DLC

Egypt–History–Fourth dynasty, ca. 2613-ca. 2494 B.C. – WaU

Egypt–History–Protests, 2011-2013 – DLC

Egypt–Politics and government–1981-2011 – DLC

Egypt–Politics and government–2011- – DLC

Essouk-Tadmekka (Extinct city) – IEN

Gashaka Gumti National Park (Nigeria) – DLC

Gharandal Group (Egypt) – WaU

Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (Ethiopia) – IEN

Hymns, Ewe – DLC

Idāwsmlāl (Berber people) – DLC

Īdāwzīkī (Berber tribe) – DLC

Kareem Formation (Egypt) – WaU

Kemeticism – ICU

Kroumirie Mountains (Tunisia and Algeria) – DLC

Maydān Ṣalāḥ al-Dīn (Cairo, Egypt) – WaU

Mograt Island (Sudan) – Uk

Mohale Dam (Lesotho) – IEN

Morocco–History–1956- – DLC

Munyikwa (African people) – DLC

Mutandawhe (Zimbabwe) – DLC

National characteristics, Congolese (Brazzaville) – IEN

Nhampasseré Cave (Guinea-Bissau) – Uk

Oluwande family – DLC

Post-apartheid era in mass media – DLC

Potberg Region – DLC

Proverbs, Ogba – IEN

Proverbs, Songhai – IEN

Qalʿat al-Jindī (Egypt) – Uk

Quifangondo, Battle of, Quifangondo, Luanda, Angola, 1975 – DLC

Riddles, Dagaare – IEN

Riddles, Wolof – IEN

Rudeis Formation (Egypt) – WaU

Ruruuli-Runyala language – DLC

Saʻdāb (Arab tribe) – DLC

Sandwich Bay (Namibia) – DLC

Short stories, Kinyarwanda – NjP

Sicily (Italy)–Civilization–Egyptian influences – DLC

Siliana River (Tunisia) – DLC

Silvermine Nature Reserve (South Africa) – DLC

Songs, Gogo – CaAE

Sudanese in mass media – DLC

Tamdoult (Extinct city) – DLC

Wadi al-Jarf Site (Egypt) – WaU

Women authors, Cameroonian – IEN

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Recently digitized material from SOAS

As I was looking into Congolese languages recently, I came across some references to records of typescript material of Edwin William Smith from the 1930’s on the Efé language of the Ituri Forest.  I then checked with a colleague, Erich Kesse, who kindly went ahead and digitized and uploaded the material.  It may be of particular current relevance in light of the Ebola outbreak that is affecting the area–not to say that Efé is widely spoken, but considered study of the material may still be warranted.  Here is what Erich sent along:

Smith, Edwin William, 1876-1957
Efe (Mbuti): Chapters 8 – 16 of the Gospel of Mark in Efe (ca. 1936)
N.B. This appears to be Smith’s reference text for numbered references in other texts.

Efe (English) vocabulary (1936)
Carbon copy:

Efe (Mbuti): Grammar notes on verbs and tenses (ca. 1936)
A Tentative grammar of the Efe or Mbuti language (1938)

As a reminder, FAQ’s on Ebola in Congolese Kiswahili, Kinande, and Lese are also now available for the region:

Congolese Kiswahili:




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Notes on FESPACO

Forwarding from our colleague Atoma Batoma at the University of Illinois, who made a recent visit to Burkina Faso and now serves as chair of the Africana Librarians Council:

“The attached document contains a list of 973 films presented at the Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO), which takes place in the Burkina Faso’s capital city of Ouagadougou. It covers the entire production of the festival since its founding in 1969. This document was provided to me during an International Book Buying trip funded by the International and Area Studies library (IAS) at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

“I arrived in Ouagadougou on April 5, 2017, a month after the conclusion of the FESPACO 2017, the 25th edition of the festival that had taken place from February 25th through March 4th. I met with several employees and Mr. Serge Kahoun, the curator of the film depository. After being given a tour of the premises of the Festival and the impressive storage facilities for housing several thousand reels, I sat down for an hour conversation with Mr. Kahoun. In his presentation of the history of the festival, he touched upon some important aspects: the role of FESPACO as a leading cultural event in Africa, the progressive increase in the number of the participants over the years, and the internationalization of the festival and its impact on the African film making ethics. At the same time, the festival organizers have had to implement increasingly heavier security measures, especially since Burkina Faso has been hit by a series of attacks by Islamist militants over the past few years.

“The 973 films listed in this document comprise short films, full-length films, documentaries, and TV series. They can be divided into two categories based on the perspective on the African reality they portray: the perspective that presents perceptions of Africa from within, that is, African self-perceptions, and the perspective that presents Africa from an external or critical standpoint.

“English and French are the two dominant languages of the Festival, but there is also a non-negligible number of films in African languages. As a principle, all the films in English are supposed to be systematically subtitled in French and vice versa, and the films in African languages subtitled either in English or French, but perhaps due to the increasing volume of submissions (1,000 in 2017), this principle has not always been followed.

“One of the problems that the Festival needs to solve is that of the accessibility of its films. FESPACO does not have a store that sells its productions, and there are no other distribution circuits. The only way to obtain FESPACO films is to order them directly from the film maker/directors. Fortunately, the list provided in this spreadsheet contains the film makers’ contact information (physical addresses, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, etc.).”

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Link to a FAQ on Ebola in Congolese Kiswahili

As in 2014, the small company I co-founded, Athinkra, LLC, has coordinated the translation of a World Health Organization (WHO) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) file, this time for a language spoken in North Kivu Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  The translated FAQ may be found here:

The translation was completed by Emmanuel Ndolimana at Athinkra’s request, with the permission of the WHO.  It may be freely distributed.  Please post any questions or comments you may have.


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A message from a teacher of Adlam

Forwarding this from a colleague in the Gambia:

“Hi, my name is Alhassana Barry.  I teach the Adlam script to students in Banjul, The Gambia on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  If you have any questions about the Adlam script or the Fula language, I would be happy to help answer them.”

𞤮𞤲 𞤶𞤢𞥄𞤪𞤢𞥄𞤥𞤢 𞤳𞤮 𞤥𞤭𞤲 𞤥𞤵𞤧𞤭𞤯𞤮 𞤥𞤮𞤲 𞤮𞤲 𞤢𞤤𞤸𞤢𞤧𞤢𞤲𞤢 𞤦𞤢𞤪𞥆𞤭.  𞤱𞤨𞤥𞤯𞤮𞤲 𞤤𞤫𞤴𞤣𞤭 𞤺𞤢𞤲𞤦𞤮𞤢 𞤮 𞤧𞤢𞤴𞤭 𞤯𞤮𞥅 𞤥𞤭𞤯𞤮 𞤲𞤮𞤣𞥆𞤢 𞤳𞤢𞤤𞤢 𞤬𞤢𞤤𞤢𞥄𞤯𞤮 𞤶𞤢𞤲𞤺𞤵𞤣𞤫 𞤢𞤣𞤤𞤢𞤥 𞤱𞤢𞤤𞤢 𞤸𞤵𞤲𞤨𞤭𞤼𞤢𞤣𞤫 𞤳𞤮 𞤴𞤮𞤧𞤭𞤼𞤭 𞤫 𞤢𞤣𞤤𞤢𞤥 𞤥𞤭 𞤬𞤢𞤥𞤭𞤲𞤢𞤴 𞤮𞤲 𞤼𞤭𞤺𞤭 𞤳𞤮 𞤥𞤭 𞤬𞤢𞥄𞤥𞤭 𞤥𞤭 𞤳𞤮𞤲



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An informal joint project between Yale and Harvard, regarding N’ko

Do you remember our “Map Challenge” on this blog from a few years ago?  That was in the N’ko script, used for Mande languages in Guinea, Mali, and elsewhere in West Africa.  Since that time, a relevant romanization table has been approved by the American Library Association and the Library of Congress, and has become available as a support to cataloging materials in N’ko.  Nafadji Sory Condé has written a helpful book on the subject of N’ko, in French.  Meanwhile, OCLC took the step of supporting full Unicode, including the N’ko range.

These developments prompted discussions between catalogers and other librarians at Harvard and Yale, who together with faculty thought it would now be possible to create MARC catalog records that would include the N’ko script.  I brought the subject up with Bassey Irele and Boubacar Diakité, a lecturer in N’ko at Harvard; Bassey introduced us to Naun Chiat Chew and Isabel Quintana, who helped to keep the ball rolling as we went through a bibliography of Valentin Vydrin looking for matches to existing Romanized records.

As a result, there are now about sixty records that have been produced, held by either Harvard, Yale, or both institutions, and have made their way into OCLC’s Worldcat, where they can be searched and downloaded by other institutions.  One example is “ߖߌ߬ߓߙߌ߬ߓߊ ߝߊ߬ߛߊ” (“Jìbìrìba fàsa”):;;  More fine-tuning is needed to ensure that the linking is being handled correctly, but it gives you a sense of how the project results have been turning out so far.

Hopefully, the results are supportive of the establishment of proof of concept, not only for N’ko, but in working out arrangements for other additional scripts as well.  Feel free to pass along your questions and comments.


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“ꕇꔧ ꖝꖕꕯ ꗓꖺ ꕮ ꗏꖺ ꕇ ꕗ.”

“The price of a whole cow is never cheap.”–traditional Vai proverb.  For those who are interested in learning Vai, there are an increasing number of available resources to work from.  They don’t all fit under the category of traditional learning materials though.  There is a Vai Wikimedia Incubator Project, a FAQ about Ebola, a copy of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a copy of the New Testament, and recent articles including one by Olena Tykhostup and Piers Kelly, and another by Andrij Rovenchak, Tombekai Sherman, and myself.  Tombekai and I also gave a presentation last year at the 10th International Conference of the Mande Studies Association in Grand-Bassam, Côte d’Ivoire, offering translations of manuscripts held at Tulane University and the British Library.  While work toward a new Vai dictionary is also underway, existing dictionary resources include Koelle (1854) and Welmers & Kandakai (1973).

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