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Edit Engine: Headword

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Data fields: Swahili Headword and English Headword

The Headword field (which we used to call "SortBy") tells the database where to display each entry in the dictionaries, but Headword is never actually seen by people when they browse or search the dictionaries - the Headword field is the invisible hand that is intended to place each entry where it is most appropriate. Each entry must contain both a Swahili Headword and an English Headword. Swahili verbs and adjectives in stem form should be entered WITHOUT a preceding hypen in this field (e.g. sema).

Example of To understand how the "Headword" system works, think about the term "take a picture," which in Swahili is "-piga picha." As a dictionary user, would you be more likely to look for this by searching for take or by searching for picture? (Or, if you are looking up the Swahili, would you look for piga or would you look for picha?) Most likely, you'll be looking for "picture" or "picha" - but, without the Headword field, the computer would automatically alphabetize the term by the first letter of the first word, and you would have a hard time locating your word. Of course, sometimes the decision about which part of a phrase is the "key word" to use for the Headword will not be so easy to figure out. In that case, put the word that makes most sense to you in the Headword field, and if we think another word is more appropriate, we'll change it when we review your submission.

Verb stems should be given in the Swahili Headword field without the hyphen that we use in the Swahili Word field. The Word field is the display field, so the information we want to convey to dictionary users by including the hyphen is that they can expect to see the verb preceded by other verb elements such as subject and tense markers. The Headword field is the alphabetization field, so if we included the hyphen in the Headword field, the computer would alphabetize all verbs under the "hyphen" symbol! Please also use the hyphen in the Word field and no hyphen in the Headword field for any adjectives or other words that are usually changed by prefixes.

Please try not to over-anticipate the needs of dictionary users. For example, we usually do not put something in the Headword unless it appears somewhere in the Word field as well. If the word is a secondary spelling and you want to indicate that a primary spelling is preferred, please use our Grouping Tool instead of the Headword field. If you want to show that a term belongs to a specialized vocabulary set, please use the terminology field instead of the Headword field - for example, instead of putting "bird" in the Headword field for a particular kind of bird, select "ornithology" in the terminology field.

Edit Engine data fields and instructions


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