Help:Introduction to OmegaWiki
OmegaWiki is a wiki-based project. Its aim is to bring together information that is lexicological, terminological or thesaurus-like. The software is opensource and the data is free. The key idea of OmegaWiki is to be based around concepts (which we call DefinedMeaning) rather than around words (which we call Expression). This is what makes it truly multilingual.
Another advantage of OmegaWiki with regard to traditional wikis is that data is stored in a relational database. For a computer, this means that the data is easy to retrieve, analyze and reuse. For a human, it means that the pages showing definitions are not fixed in a given language, but can be easily generated dynamically in any language. If you set the interface to French, you see the definitions in French, but contribute to the same data as e.g. another contributor having the interface in English.
What OmegaWiki is
OmegaWiki is ...
- ... a dictionary
- it contains words and their definitions. See for example Expression:word.
- ... a translation dictionary
- if you type a word in a foreign language, such as "λόγος", you will see a list of definitions in your language, as well as translation in your language and many other languages.
- ... a thesaurus
- It has indications of hypernyms, hyponyms, antonyms, etc. In Expression:African elephant, The word Expression:elephant is given as hypernym.
- ... an illustrated dictionary
- See Expression:mouse. Each definition can have its own image.
What OmegaWiki is not
OmegaWiki is not...
- ... for neologisms
- Words that are entered in OmegaWiki must already exist in a published source.
- ... a place to advertise for your company
- It is also free of Google ads.
The idea of OmegaWiki was born out of frustration with Wiktionary. Many Wiktionary projects worked together in using templates to indicate the non-language specific information. The labels of this information were indicated using templates. It proved useful; much information was copied from one project to another. It became problematic when updates happened. It had to be done manually in all participating projects. Given that the ISO 639-6 recognises in between 7,000 and 8,000 languages, it just does not scale.
The advantage of being based on concepts
Let's assume the following editing process:
- A native English person defines the word "fan" with two definitions: (1) "A device that provides air circulation" and (2) "A person who likes a particular interest or activity".
- A French contributor, who speaks English, indicates that "ventilateur" is a French translation of (1) and that "fan" is a translation of (2).
- A German contributor, who speaks English, indicates that "Ventilator" is a German translation of (1) and that "Fan" is a translation of (2).
Since it is based on concepts, we now also have the information that "ventilateur" is a French translation of the German "Ventilator", without the need to have a contributor who speaks both French and German adding that. On the other hand, French "ventilateur" and German "Fan" will not be connected in any way, even though they both translate in English as "fan".
So, by building a French-English and German-English dictionary, we are also building a German-French dictionary. If we add an Italian contributor, we build 3 more bilingual dictionaries... this is exponential.
Other annotations such as images, hypernyms, antonyms, etc. are also not language-specific information, but rather concept-specific information. In OmegaWiki, if you add an image of a "fan" (1), you do not add the image to the English word "fan", but rather directly to the concept "A device that provides air circulation". Therefore, the image will also be shown as an image for French "ventilateur" and German "Ventilator".
The requirements were to be able to update information once, and have the resulting information available for everyone. To make this possible, it would be required to have user interfaces for all languages and, in order to store the information once, to use a relational database for the information.
At the same time, we want to maintain the functionality of a Wiki and, given the background, the functionality of MediaWiki. For that, we use an extension called Wikidata. Wikidata offers structured data in a wiki format. "Structured data" means that the data can be easily read and organized by a computer, which makes it possible to separate data and interface, and have the data available in many languages.
- http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Ultimate_Wiktionary_data_design - the model shown there is a planned extension of the model above.
- Samples of MySQL queries
- OmegaWiki database layout