About THL > Overviews > THL Tibetan Historical Dictionary Resources > THL Tibetan Historical Dictionary Overview
The THL Tibetan Dictionary is created and maintained by a broad array of scholars rather than by professional editors, such that entries reflect a rich dialog on the meaning and history of terms. It allows for charting the historical usage of terms, as well as their contemporary spoken usage via recordings. It is in fact many dictionaries in one.
The dictionary is designed to function in five primary formats depending on what view users take, and how extensive any given term or set of terms has been documented to date. At the first, most basic level, it can be used as a glossary - term + translation. At the second level, it is a standard dictionary with definitions, part of speech, etymology and so forth. At the third level, it includes a rich array of multimedia resources - videos, sound recordings, images, etc. - which illustrate the term. At the fourth level, it provides rich contextual examples of usage, whether historical literary passages, or transcripts of contemporary speech. And at the fifth level, it actually indexes other resources within the Tibetan and Himalayan Digital Library that can be indexed on a term basis so that users can see much richer materials that may exist outside of the dictionary within THL - seeing a place on a GIS map, reading an Encyclopedia article on a subject, and so forth. The Dictionary’s content allows users to use it as a glossary, an ordinary dictionary, or a historical/spoken dictionary with rich contextual examples of word’s usage.
All data is entered using Unicode, the world's standard for digital encoding of scripts. Thus Tibetan appears in Tibetan script, Chinese in Chinese characters, and English in roman script, with all necessary diacritic marks appearing just as they should. We plan to also eventually allow users to specify seeing Tibetan in Wylie transliteration or even phonetic rendering, so users who don't know Tibetan but are interested in looking up Tibetan terms are not impeded.
The interface itself we plan to provide in English, Tibetan and Chinese. The dictionary is keyed to Tibetan head terms, with explanatory fields potentially in Tibetan, English, or other languages. We plan to eventually offer the alternative of searching against the "translation equivalents" so that users could use this as a resource to start with English, or Chinese, for example, and find the corresponding Tibetan terms. While not the same as a carefully prepared English to Tibetan dictionary, we still expect that this should be very useful for such purposes.
The "passages" section allows editors to insert passages from Tibetan literature showing historical instances and explanations of the term in question. Metadata about those texts - author, publishing information, etc. - will be pulled in directly from THL bibliographical repositories via their ID, as well as enabling passages to be directly linked to the original text (if available in an e-edition).
citations of literary passages, including author, edition, title, pagination-lineation, composition time
When THL holds electronic editions (TEI-XML) of a given text being cited within the passages section of the dictionary, the passage should be directly linked to its location in the full text so that users can view the passage in its original full context. when THL holds electronic editions (TEI-XML) of a given text being cited within the passages section of the dictionary, the passage should be directly linked to its location in the full text so that users can view the passage in its original full context.
Citations of bibliographical sources of literary passages, or anywhere else in the dictionary, will refer to THL bibliographic IDs and pull in metadata (author, title, etc.) directly from those bibliographical repositories. Thus the editing will be simple (put in ID, start page/line, end page/line), while the main the inserted ID will be used to pull in that data. citations of bibliographical sources of literary passages, or anywhere else in the dictionary should refer to THL bibliographic IDs and pull in metadata (author, title, etc.) directly from those bibliographical repositories
authoring of all entries is potentially collaborative, while metadata on authorship of each individual component within an entry (a single etymology, a single definition, etc.) is maintained
Authoring of all entries is potentially collaborative, but metadata on authorship of each individual component within an entry (a single etymology, a single definition, etc.) is separately maintained. Thus editors can submit components to any entry, but they cannot generally (see below for exceptions) alter or delete another editor's work. Once editors have logged in, their dictionary editorial privileges should be automatically activated at whatever level they have without requiring a separate login process.
Dictionary access has five different levels:
- Admin: can do everything – make fingerprintless changes to any entries, delete words, delete components, add projects, thematic classification, change option lists.
- Proofing: grants the ability to change any entry without fingerprints, such that the public metadata is unchanged, though it would be preferable if private version history was retained. This is designed for global editing, whereas if someone wants to work with an editor on just their own entries, they can share their own ID login. They CANNOT create a new component or create a new word. No capacity to delete components. These changes should not change the metadata or the "last modified by" in particular.
- Editor High: grants the ability to add new terms and components to any term, as well as add words
- Editor Medium: grants the ability to add new terms and components to any term, but cannot add words
- Editor Low: can only work on terms that are classified as part of their project. Can add components to terms affiliated with their project, but they cannot add words, and cannot associate new words with their projects.
Each term is typed ("medical", "philosophical", "architectural", etc.), so that students can study specific types of vocabulary, while users can extract thematic dictionaries out of the larger dictionary.
The dictionary incorporates sound files, video files and images as relevant (and dynamically drawn from the THL audio-video and image databases). The most common use of this function will be pronunciation files. However, for some items, illustrative images will be used, and in some cases illustrative video files. The actual multimedia is stored in THL's multimedia databases, and editors refer to them by ID#, such that the data about the multimedia is pulled into the dictionary directly from the corresponding record entry.
If a given term is also a head term in the Encyclopedia, then the dictionary will automatically show the existence of a corresponding Encyclopedia entry so that users can easily consult it.
The classification of terms by parts of speech will be directly linked to a typology of parts of speech in the THL Grammar Reference so that they can access more extensive information about those parts of speech in Tibetan.
We plan to use the dictionary to manage a variety of lexicons used for various purposes within THL, such as glossaries to standardize translations of interfaces, glossaries for language instruction, and other such items.
We plan to integrate the dictionary into other THL resources, so that if you are reading a Tibetan text, or you see a Tibetan term in an essay, you can easily proceed directly to see the corresponding dictionary entry.
Searches of the Dictionary will simultaneously search the THL Gazetteer (place names) and Literary catalogs (text titles), so that users will know if additional information on such terms is available outside of the dictionary proper.
Dictionary users should be able to proceed directly from any dictionary entry to search the THL archives of texts and/or oral transcripts for occurrences of that term. Thus, in addition to passages editors have already selected and incorporated in dictionary entries, users will be able to see an ever more extensive range of usage of the term in literary and spoken contexts.
Any Tibetan term referred to within a dictionary entry will be hyperlinked to its own dictionary entry so that users can easily go back and forth between dictionary entries.
We are considering the implementation of ways that editors can easily input new entries offline for later migration into the Dictionary. We realize that not everyone can easily compose work online, especially amongst Tibetan commnities.
We would like eventually to allow exports of the dictionary – obviously some data and functionality will need to be deleted – to be used locally on one’s own computer or PDA.