|Image by Chris Dlugosz|
Glossaries are easy to set up for simple examples but very hard to scale - especially when you try to scale across use cases, across domains and across organisations.
We are kicking off a pilot project to address cross-domain management of glossaries and preferred word lists. The pilot will build processes and tools for the generic use case, developing and applying them within the geospatial mapping domain.
Communication about this document will be on the OSGeo Lexicon email list. (Check your spam for confirmation email after subscribing.)
GoalsWe aim to achieve the following:
- Create best practices in cross-domain glossary management, for adoption by the technical writing community.
- Build a community who define and manage geospatial terms across multiple geospatial communities.
Use casesThis project is designed to address the following use cases:
- As a general document reader, I want to find definitions for the terms and acronyms in the document I am reading. There may be multiple definitions for a term, determined by context, or having multiple upstream source definitions.
- As an advanced document reader or term maintainer I want to understand the inheritance path back to upstream source definitions.
- As a technical writer, I want to find the preferred spelling, capitalization and word choice for a term.
- As a document translator, I want glossary terms to be translated into my target languages, so I can consistently translate a source term to the same target term.
- As a project, I want a glossary which includes terms specific to my project, as well as terms sourced from multiple external glossaries.
- As a foundation, I want a glossary which sources terms from my many sub-communities.
- As a glossary owner, I want to ensure my glossary is continuously updated to align with updates in my source glossaries.
- As a software developer, I want terms and relationships between glossaries in a machine-readable form so that I can integrate glossary functionality into software.
ScopeThe pilot project will focus on the geospatial domain, which has an advanced ecosystem of stakeholders and technologies. However, the templates and processes will be developed to be broadly applicable for all software ecosystems managing glossaries.
- August 2020: Kickoff
- December 2020: Soft launch at the Write the Docs Australia/India conference
- February 2021: Hard launch
DeliverablesThe following deliverables are likely to be achieved within the pilot’s timeframe:
- Schema for a preferred word list. For example: Word list | Google developer documentation style guide.
- Schema for a term definition. For example: ISO/IEC Directives art 2, Principles and rules for the structure and drafting of ISO/IEC documents - 16.5.5 Term and 16.5.6 Definitions.
- Schema for translation of terms between languages
- Process for a central glossary owner to accept, triage, and refine proposals for new terms from their community:
- As single terms.
- As a curated set such as a word-list from an authoritative source.
- How-to guide for a project to set up their own glossary by selecting a subset of master glossaries plus adding their own terms.
- How-to guide for setting up a master glossary.
- How to handle aggregation and overlaps between sets of terms and mappings between similar terms used in different contexts.
- Tool for managing glossary terms through a standards based lifecycle such as OGC’s statuses:
Geospatial domain deliverables
- Term management committees:
- OSGeo Lexicon committee managing OSGeo terms.
- OGC Naming Authority committee managing policies and final publication for OGC geospatial standards terms.
- ISO TC211 committee managing ISO geospatial standard terms.
- [Optional] Specific software project committees managing their project’s terms.
- OSGeo Foundation Glossary Web Service.
- OGC Glossary Web Service.
- ISO TC211 Glossary Web Service.
- [Optional] Multiple OSGeo projects standing up their own glossary instance. For instance, set up one for QGIS and/or PostGIS.
- Publishing of Glossary within Geoforall Newsletter
- Publishing of Glossary within OSGeoLive documentation
Why now? Why Geospatial?As of August 2020, many things are lining up to enable us to collectively solve the tough challenges around the cross-domain management of glossaries.
Aligning activities include:
- The Good Docs Project has been making progress tackling technical writing problems. We have recently built a How to apply/customise a writing style guide for software projects. A next step is to explain how to apply word lists and glossaries. And we have volunteers willing to push this forward.
- The geospatial community is very advanced at trying to solve terminology management challenges:
- Through the OSGeo Foundation, we have relationships with ~ 50 geospatial open source projects who all need glossaries, and through the OSGeoLive project we have contact points with each of these projects as well as access to volunteer translators for OSGeo documentation. In the 2019 Season of Docs program we connected with all these communities and updated their quickstarts. We can do it again for glossaries.
- We have experienced volunteers from the OGC and ISO TC211 standards bodies keen to bring their expertise to advance this challenge. These volunteers are already working on this problem.
- From the ISO TC211 and OGC communities, we have access to open source software for term management and access to the people who wrote it.
- Through the Geolexicon working group, we have OSGeo volunteers who have been maintaining a glossary of terms. They will be able to apply these terms and add more.