Announcing a new 2009 project...SignWriting Literature Archives

Valerie Sutton sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Sat Dec 6 17:08:29 UTC 2008

SignWriting List
December 6, 2008

Dear SignWriting List!

Announcing a new 2009 project....

SignWriting Literature Archives
Writing World Literature in the Sign Languages of the World

In 2009, SignWriting will be 35 years old. The first document written  
was in 1974 in Denmark.

Last year at this time, Steve Slevinski and I made it our goal, in  
2008, to complete and officially start using the International  
SignWriting Alphabet (ISWA 2008) in current software, and to develop  
new software using the ISWA 2008. We have succeeded with this goal. I  
still have new books to write to teach the ISWA, and Steve still is  
working on new software, such as the SignWriting MediaWiki Plugin,  
which is in Alpha right now, but the goal of using the ISWA 2008 by  
the end of 2008 has been accomplished. Thank you, Steve, for creating  
the IMWA to ISWA conversion program, which was seamless, making this  

With the ISWA installed in SignPuddle, we now have some Ethiopian  
handshapes, and other new handshapes, that others have requested over  
many years. This means that we hopefully can start writing some  
Ethiopian Sign Language Literature, and hopefully most of the  
handshapes needed will be there...although I realize that there will  
always be new handshapes needed that we could not foresee....

Therefore I am keeping a list of new requests, and maybe in four years  
or so, we can add the requests...but not for a long time, because I  
believe we can "construct" any new handshapes that are needed, and I  
am hoping that the ISWA has enough handshapes that other countries can  
start writing literature too...

So my goal, for 2009, is to collect and publish as many SignWriting  
documents as possible, both old and new, written by hand, or by any  
computer program, and place them in a new internet Archive called the  
"SignWriting Literature Archive (SWLA)". I am going to start a  
homepage now, for the SignWriting Literature Archive that will make it  
possible to search for SignWriting documents by country, by name of  
the sign language, by the document title, by the document date, by the  
name of the author, by the name of the software used to create the  
document, and by the format for downloading and reading the document  

It is my hope, by the end of 2009, that we will have a huge archive of  
SignWriting documents easily accessible by anyone on the internet....

Several days ago, I had a great conversation with Steve and Dianne  
Parkhurst in Spain, on Skype....Steve and Dianne gave us permission to  
scan in old documents, dictionaries and literature in SignWriting from  
Spain, including Steve's mystery novel, plus we also have permission  
to provide another version of those documents written in SignPuddle in  
vertical columns, so the Spanish Sign Language documents will have two  
versions available in the SignWriting Literature Archives...the  
original historic document, and the newly entered document in  
SignPuddle. Thank you, Steve and Dianne, for this....I am hoping by  
the end of 2009 to have a long list of Spanish documents available on  
the web...preserving your work spanning over decades.

And I would also like to do the same for all other countries and  
authors who have written SignWriting documents in the past or present,  
whether they were written in SignWriter DOS, SignWriter Java, SWEdit,  
SignPuddle...or by hand...any version is historic and should be  
documented and preserved in the SW Literature Archives.

So I hope writers here on the SignWriting List will contact me with  
permission to place your documents in the new SignWriting Literature  
Archives in 2009...It will be a slow process, to get them all  
cataloged and available,  but well worth the effort...

So I look forward to receiving information from writers, as to the  
names and lists of their documents...

If you give us permission to place your documents in the SignWriting  
Literature Archives, you are welcome to post the names of the  
documents here on the SW List, and slowly I will contact you and make  
arrangements to receive copies of the documents to place them in the  

2009 will be a rich year of literature preserved around the world...I  
look forward to hearing from all of you...

Have a great weekend everyone!

Val ;-)

Valerie Sutton
Sutton at

SignWriting Literature Project
Writing Literature in Sign Languages
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