The beauty of totality.
By now I probably own the largest library of Skolt Saami to Finish language dictionaries in the world. Except for a few Skolt - German ones from the 1800 century that I found visiting the Humbolt University Library in Berlin last month, I have gathered all I could find.
The sum total is 4 books and 1 bad photocopy from the 80s.
They all vary greatly in size and quality, and I have tested my way through them all in the hopes of finding a candidate for scanning and optical character recogniction.
Finally today, a breakthrough. Mosnikoffs and Sammallahtis dictionary from 88 seems to have all the necessary ingredients: the copy is in strong black and white ink, the “c” does not look like an “e” (who would have thought that this would be the greatest of challenges for the digitizing community?) and all the special letters of the Skolt Sami language are possible to separate from each other. The ? from the d, the ? from the k, the ? from the ?, the š and ž, and å and â, not to mention the õ ö ? and ?. (Even your browser probably do not support these characters...)
I am starting to get a close relationship with these characters. Their corresponding sounds roll silently in my mouth like liquorice while I stare at the enlarged scans. Teaching the computer to understand all of them takes patience, but gives a rare glimpse into the microscopic world of the letter. The shapes of the characters are blown up and supersized until I see every molecule of ink filling up the topography of the paper.