Multilingual Demographic Dictionary, second unified edition, English volume
This page is a transclusion of the Demopædia:About page from the English second edition site en-ii:Demopædia:About
The first edition
In 1953, the Population Commission of the United Nations requested the preparation of a Multilingual Demographic Dictionary, a task in which the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP) offered to collaborate. In 1955, an ad hoc Committee under the chairmanship of P. Vincent of France was established to prepare the English, French and Spanish versions of the Dictionary. The Committee included as members: C.E. Dieulefait (Argentina), H.F. Dorn (United States), E. Grebenik (United Kingdom), P. Luzzato-Fegiz (Italy), M. Pascua (Switzerland) and J. Ros Jimeno (Spain). The French and English versions of the Dictionary were published in 1958 and the Spanish version in 1959. Versions in ten other languages appeared between that date and 1971.
The second edition
Because of the rapid development of demography and population studies during the 1960s, in 1969 the Population Commission recommended the updating of the Multilingual Demographic Dictionary, a task that was pursued once more in collaboration with IUSSP. A new Committee on International Demographic Terminology was set up under the chairmanship of P. Paillat (France) and started work in 1972 with financial support from the U.S. Bureau of the Census. Other members of the Committee were: A. Boyarski (USSR), E. Grebenik (United Kingdom), K. Mayer (Switzerland), J. Nadal (Spain) and S. Kono (Japan). The Committee submitted a revised draft to the consideration of a hundred or so demographic centres that provided comments. In 1976, Prof. Louis Henry was commissioned by IUSSP to edit the work and produce the second edition of the Dictionary in French. IUSSP then requested Prof. Etienne van de Walle to adapt and translate the French second edition into English. The second edition in English was published in 1982. Eventually, the second edition would be issued in all official languages of the United Nations.
From the second edition to Demopædia
The series of Multilingual Demographic Dictionaries is one of the most enduring products in the history of demography and one of the most fruitful thanks to the work and engagement of scholars who have translated the original French or English versions into their own languages. As a result of those efforts, the international community can benefit today from access to 14 language versions of the second edition of the Demographic Dictionary, mainly thanks to the initiative undertaken by Nicolas Brouard in compiling the out-of-print versions of the Dictionaries in different languages and developing a Wiki-based presentation of all of them as a web-accessible Multilingual Demographic Dictionary. The United Nations Population Division, IUSSP and the Comité national français of the IUSSP have all supported this work in order to facilitate access to these valuable reference texts.
Because the Demographic Dictionaries in various languages were conceived as tools to serve people in many countries, making them accessible via the Internet was thought mandatory. Today, thanks to the project led by Nicolas Brouard, standard demographic terminology and its meaning is only two clicks away for students, teachers, professors, researchers, government officials, journalists, non-governmental organizations and the public at large, all working in their own languages.
Visitors to Demopædia can consult the different language modules, read them, or download and print them. All copyright owners have made this possible. Users can search for a demographic term, surf between linked terms and expressions, or switch to another language or edition. Because each Dictionary consists of thematic chapters, terms are located in context, providing not only a definition of each term but also an understanding of the subject matter for which a term is relevant. Each language module has a built-in index that facilitates navigation and cross-referencing. In addition, the Wiki platform provides powerful tools for further development. It is envisaged that the next stage of the project will allow specialists to post additions, revisions or corrections to the second edition.
What is next?
Demographic knowledge made huge advances since the last editions of the Dictionary have been published. There is a clear sense that the structure and texts need updating. Doing it in a traditional format of 'live' panels and working groups would be hardly feasible. Developing on-line a renewed edition of multilingual encyclopedic demographic dictionary should be efficient and will unleash the potential of wide cooperation of professionals. Demopædia will host this project.
Demopædia also has the potential to become a platform for sharing and building a wider knowledge base in demography and population studies. Our vision is an extensive and constantly evolving encyclopedia on population, serving the world community and benefiting from influxes of ideas and texts.
Accessing the Open Encyclopedia on Population
Each text term, defined as a demographic term or demographical expression of the Multilingual Demographic Dictionary which must be translated into any language, will have its own named page in the Open Encyclopedia on Population.
The original definition expressed in one of the two Multilingual Demographic Dictionary editions is (or was if the paragraph has been overwritten by the second edition) a first start for a multimedia Encyclopedia on Populations.
The Multilingual Demographic Dictionary offers the advantage of large consensus (United Nations commission on terminology of the early 50's) and having been translated into various languages (about 15 languages). But it has the disadvantage of being old (1981 for the second edition in French): some sections or even chapters have to written or rewritten.
Also Encyclopedia have always used graphs or pictures which were missing in the printed Multilingual Demographic Dictionary and modern Encyclopedia can be multimedia and can offer animated drawings or audio files.
Using the free software of the Wikimedia foundation (called MediaWiki), Demopædia will offer the same possibilities with the same rules and constraints as Wikipedia.
Thus the syntax of the various URLS is similar to any Wikipedia site, i.e by suppressing any mention of the edition, just keeping the two letters of the abbreviated language: http://en.demopaedia.org/wiki/Fertility.
Also the wiki syntax of Demopædia is exactly the same as the Wikipedia syntax.
For an Harmonized second edition of the dictionaries as an intermediate step
Since the training in Marrakech, a lot of work has been done to improve the quality of the scanned texts. Specific computer programs using parsers have cross check the texts of the first and second editions in about 12 to 13 languages in order to detect the missing text terms in one or another language.
The first analysis of this work reveals that the second edition is not as rigorous as the first was. The first edition was the result of the Commission on terminology during the mid 50's, but the second was first revised in French in 1981 and translated and adapted to English in 1982 and in Spanish in 1985, German in 1987 etc. up to Czech in 2005.
Some terms, expressions and even complete paragraphs have not been translated into English, but in Spanish, Arabic, German etc.. And a few sentences and paragraphs have been added into the English second edition but never translated into the French second edition which was already published. Also the Spanish second edition added a few new text terms which are not translated into any other language but Arabic.
The German second edition (1987) defined a lot of more modern text terms which haven't been translated in any other language.
The current proposition (February 2010) to the Demopædia team is to discuss the opportunity of an harmonized or unified second edition before opening the Open Encyclopedia.
Editions, published after 1987, did not add any new term and thus a natural limit is 1987 (German) but harmonization between the three languages of the IUSSP could be an important step.
In many language specific editions, the numbering of the text terms differed (even between French and English) most of times due to errors but sometimes because a text term was not translated. The advantage of the technical work is to highlight the missing text terms in order to decide if the word is not used in this language or if it is an omission.
One advantage of such a short term project, will be that all the useful but out of print versions (English, French, Spanish, German, Arabic, Japanese etc.) as well as the four recently translated versions (Russian, Chinese, Italian) would be available in their unified second edition as printed book which could be ordered on the Demopædia site. Such nice samples were on display at the UN booth of the Marrakech conference. It will also be a good exercise for the third edition...
Videos for the Harmonization process
The harmonization process concerns all the modules which have been published in the past (up to 2005 for the Czech volume). But the most urgent work concerns (October 2012) the English harmonization because the new Asian modules (Indonesian, Korean, Malay, Nepali, Thai and Vietnamese) need such a final English harmonized edition because their translation is uniquely based on the English volume.
At the Third Demopaedia Workshop that took place in Chiang Mai (30 August-1st September), the six new Asian teams (13 demographers) have been trained to the Wiki technology as well as to some specificities of the Multilingual Demographic Dictionary on Demopaedia.
The videos that you can find at the subpages Demopaedia:Videos/Harmonization are a short summary of some of the training sessions. The creation of video is an on going process too. And probably many more videos will be added in the future.
The first videos explain how to login if you are a professional demographer (most important step) and how to participate to the harmonization process by different steps and approaches. If you want to participate or send us comments , you can contact us at http://tools.demopaedia.org/brd-bin/mel?contact .
When will the “Open Encyclopedia” site be open?
The Demopædia site was first opened for the International Conference on Population in Marrakesh in early October 2009 where a first training co-organized with the Population Division of the United Nations and the French Committee of the IUSSP has been proposed to participants.
The Open Encyclopedia will be opened after the harmonization process. It will be opened only to the members of the IUSSP association . Once the various tools in order to fight against spammers and vandalism will be installed, the site will, hopefully, be opened to any specialist in Population Studies.
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