...and we thought it was appropriate to name this program that we have developed accordingly, we at ACRA feel that if you are using Miromaa for Aboriginal language work you have gone a long way to save your language.
So what is it? Miromaa is a program which we have developed to aid in language preservation, reclamation and dissemination work, it is a easy to use, user friendly database to help you gather, organise, analyse and produce outcomes for your language work. The program enforces good archive practise and helps you gather any and all evidences of language including, text, audio, images and video. You can also use it to store your digitised documents for example pdf and Word documents, Excel spreadsheets plus more. It has a secure environment which can only be accessed by username and password, it can help you work on multiple languages or dialects and it also has a learning area where you can begin learning immediately.
The program can run on either a stand-alone desktop or on a network and you are not just limited to using Miromaa only as the program has the ability to import and export its data in various forms including SIL Shoebox/Toolbox text file format, Lexique Pro text file format, Microsoft Word, tables and more. It also comes with heaps of support, just ask or visit our Learning Centre.
Miromaa3 has been developed using a Windows .Net development platform with an Access data file.
The program has the ability to work with multiple languages in two ways, they are:
1. Many languages or dialects in one data file or
2. A data file for each separate language
You can add a new language to the database anytime.
In the beginning of our consultation period of developing Miromaa it was evident that Miromaa needed to have good user and security management.
You can have as many users as you like, there is a default admin account which is used for setting up other users or controlling security.
Miromaa has inbuilt security features which you can either use as they are or adjust to suit your community and needs. You can control who has access to each specific area.
You can enter language data using two methods, either a simplified language entry screen or a detailed area which also lets you add further information and multimedia for each word entry. For languages which use unique fonts we have added a onscreen keyboard where you can up to 30 special characters which can be entered into any field without having to remember special key combinations.
Aside from the many fields which are present there are also 9 customisable fields, semantic domain selection and even parts of speech.
Our Aboriginal languages are traditionally an oral language learnt through emersion within our community environment, so from the outset we knew this was not going to be just another text based database, we had to have the ability to upload and access all sorts of multimedia. As such Miromaa provides you with the following multimedia features:
- Upload previously recorded files
- Record and save sound files within Miromaa using Audacity
- Playback the audio files directly from within Miromaa
- Add images to create a more visually stimulating learning enviornment
- Attach several images to one word
- Print a color dictionary using images
- Maintiain and build an image catelog of your language words
- Combine sound, imagery and movement for an overall multimedia experience
- If you have speakers, RECORD them!!
Miromaa can help prepare your language data, metadata and media to make building talking dictionaries and multimedia learning tools much easier.
Miromaa has an inbuilt Learners area where only words that you select can be made available for learning, basic information about the word and the multimedia attachments are made available.
Because certain users have certain needs Miromaa also has a work area for linguists, this area has a few extra fields just for them, you still have access to audio attachments but no other multimedia, they are all accessible from the language worker screen.
One area which we feel Miromaa is especially strong in is enforcement of good archive practise, once a new word is entered it automatically receives a word id which forever stays with that word, Miromaa asks you the source of where you found that word and you if it was a document you can even upload a copy of that document, pdf or image to Miromaa for storage. The source is then accessible at anytime from within Miromaa.
The image to the right is of the Source Entry screen and as you can see you can enter ample information about each source, the source can be a speaker, a book, a tape, anything you like. Note the blue hyperlink of the source, this means that you have an attachment and this can be opened just by clicking on the link.
One of the first things that community ask for from a language preservation program is a word list, so we have ensured that Miromaa has this ability to construct word lists. We have incorporated many filters so that you can construct a word list to suit your needs e.g. you would like a word list of just words that relate to wild life, easy, set your filters appropriately and all done within a moment.
You can now export this to Microsoft Word or maybe even Adobe PDF as well.
Probably one of the most important areas within Miromaa is this Export area. Around the world many linguists use Shoebox/Toolbox for their linguistic work, it is a great work and the program has many features including the ability to construct dictionaries via the Multi-Dictionary Formatter (MDF) tool. One thing that we see is that the popularity of Shoebox/Toolbox and the text file format which it uses to store the language in can be used by other programs including Lexique Pro (a lexical interactive language learning tool, if I may describe it as that).
So we have ensured that Miromaa can export its data ready for use by these other programs. The image to the right shows the area where you construct your Shoebox/Toolbox file contents before exporting.
A newly added feature, importing from a text file which uses standard format markers is now possible by our extensive Import screen, you have complete control over where you data will be imported into Miromaa, this feature is extremely useful for language programs where a visiting academic or linguist may have done work in Toolbox or Lexique Pro and has now moved onto other projects. These data files which have been left behind can now be transferred into Miromaa and then expanded upon with Miromaa's extra features including Multimedia, Learners screen and user friendly environment to name a few, later they can always be exported back to a Toolbox or Lexique Pro data file.