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SignWiki Web and Mobile Access to Sign Languages

From EPSA - European Public Sector Award

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SignWiki is a collaborative web and mobile platform which enables the collection, dissemination and analysis of sign language (SL) resources and knowledge via a dictionary and various materials for teaching and learning.

The methodology and didactics build upon ideas of open and active participation of the SL community. Deaf people and those interested in SL participate and can both, use the material and contribute with their own comments, materials and signs. SLs do not have a written or standardised form. However, a certain formal standardisation takes place through the active participation of deaf signers in the decision-making and commenting of signs via the SignWiki. Thus, politics and language policy is formed, independent of age, gender or residence.

SignWiki Iceland has created a ground for new and innovated solutions that can be used worldwide to give people access to the local SL and also to other SLs. SignWiki adopted a generic approach and is set-up as a wiki ‘farm’, which means that numerous different sites using different SLs can be set up with little additional technical cost based on the Wiki template, which also allows materials to be made available across platforms. Open source software was chosen for financial reasons and for open access to SL resources. Everything on SignWiki is open and under CC license. Descriptive pictures are from the Wiki community for teachers and other content creators to copy and use for their own purposes in teaching.

Through SignWiki, Icelandic sign language is now for the first time open to everyone; all the information is easily accessible for all users on an interactive basis. The system is unique in its integrated pedagogical, open and participatory approach. It is user-friendly and easy to handle at a very low cost.

The system is a true pioneering work, the first of its kind and therefore easily accepted by many countries. It has brought forward new solutions on a worldwide scale and has already been implemented in Norway, the Faroe Islands, Tanzania and Namibia, with training and support from the staff at the Communication Centre for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Iceland. Finland has already implemented it and further countries have also shown interest.

Award info
Award category: weathering the storm. creative solutions in a time of crisis - european and national level
Award type: nominee
Award year: 2013
Project type
Sector: Information society, technology, media and audiovisual
Type of activity:
Keywords: sign language, mobile platform, offline app, social media, Wiki, knowledge webpage, cooperation, open access
Short English description: SignWiki is a collaborative web and mobile platform which enables the collection, dissemination and analysis of sign language (SL) resources and knowledge via a dictionary and various materials for teaching and learning.
Further information
Organisation: Communication Centre for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Other applicants:
Homepage: http://signwiki.org
Level of government: national level
Size of organisation: 25-50
Number of people involved: 1-5
Country: Iceland
EU membership: other European country
Language code: en
Start date:
End date:


SignWiki Web and Mobile Access to Sign Languages (64.1316714, -21.8734532)
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