About the www.Alaskool.org project and its developers

How We Made the Online Iñupiaq Dictionary

Once we had permission to use the Iñupiat Eskimo Dictionary by Donald H. Webster and Wilfried Zibell (1970), we typed the words into an Excel spreadsheet. The minimum we entered were the Iñupiaq words and related English words. We also entered the categories into the spreadsheet in the format shown below. "Pictures" holds the name of a scanned image that goes with the Iñupiaq word in that row. However, only entries in the columns named Iñupiaq and English are essential to make the online dictionary work.

Example of dictionary spreadsheet layout:

category1 category2 category3 category4 Inupiaq English Dialect Pictures
Place, Time, Descriptives Time Months Names for Eskimo moons (months) vary from village to village based upon location and seasonal events. nullibuvik October (lit. breeding time for caribou) kiv pictname

The difficult part about creating an online dictionary is figuring out what to do about a font if there are characters that aren't on the regular keyboard. As part of the Native Studies Curriculum and Teacher Development project, we had created an Iñupiaq font that works on both Macs and PCs and is available for free download from this web site. We hope to put together some other "free" fonts for Alaska Native languages and appreciate any comments and suggestions.

Once the dictionary spreadsheet is created, we transfer it to a database and move it to the web site. The interactive program for the Iñupiaq dictionary on the Alaskool web site is written in asp (Microsoft's Active Server Pages) and can be replicated to support other interactive Native language dictionaries (once any font issues are accommodated).

Please contact us if you have any comments or suggestions.

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