Project "Biaroza"
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About the project
Technical information

Introducing the Biaroza project

Short explanation: Biaroza is a project for developing free high-quality Belarusian dictionaries.
The idea is to build a solid language reference base for the Belarusian language, thus helping to salve this language from degradation and extinction.

1. Some history

Back in 1999, when I was in Belarus visiting my family, I was trying to find a Belarusian-English dictionary to buy. I though it would be a good idea to learn belarusian language instead talking to people in Polish.

All I could find was a Belarusian-Russian dictionary in a bookstore. All other dictionaries were Russian-something.

Is that all?
Will the Belarusian language be replaced by the Russian one, as if Belarusian culture was something obsolete soon to be discarded?

By the end of 2001 I decided to start "Biaroza" after realising that no one was implementing a similar project.

2. The objectives of the Biaroza project

  • To create and maintain high-quality belarusian dictionaries' databases.
    (Belarusian-English-Belarusian is the first one being developed)
    Free (under GFDL license, not public domain), free even for printed books.
  • To create and maintain dictionary software technology.
    • Standards' specifications (e.g. the Biaroza dictionary format)
    • Software libraries (for programmers)
    • End-user software (like the Biaroza software).
    Free (under GPL license, not public domain).

3. How the work is organized

Biaroza bases its existence on volunteers' contributions to the project.
Usually this contribution is some type of work (in some dictionary database or software development).

The dictionaries' databases are developed in a team-oriented fashion.
This way we avoid overloading the central coordination of the Biaroza project.
The graphic below illustrates an (fictional) example of this structure:

BY-EN-BY Dictionary's
Central Coordination
"Slang Words"
A. Dreva
B. Jablonski
W. Januszkiewicz
G. Nowak
P. Duchowny
Prof. W. Nowak

The teams are self-administered.

Each team has its section in the dictionary database, so there's no conflict.
The teams may want to talk to each other sometimes, in order to avoid excessive redundancy of work (e.g. duplicated definitions).

The technology development (softwares and standards) is done in one of two ways:

  • The development is coordinated by the Biaroza main staff.
    Anyone may contribute.
    This is the case of the Biaroza software dictionary.

  • The development is coordinated by someone else, contributing to the Biaroza project. It's up to its coordinator to decide whether to accept external contributions or not. (e.g. a new dictionary software using Biaroza libraries)

4. Final considerations

Biaroza is not an one-man-project, it's a team project, thus it needs people contributing in order to succeed.

If you appreciate the cause of Belarusian as a living and modern language, please consider helping the Biaroza project.

Daniel Mealha Cabrita
Biaroza project manager
Jan 31st, 2002