How to Find an Archive
Endangered languages documentation is irreplaceable. Besides digitizing work in accordance with best practices, linguists will eventually want to consider donating your materials to an established archive with professional staff. This page lists some archives that accept linguistic documentation, as well a course of action to follow should a suitable archive be available and a course of action to follow should no suitable archive be available.
Archives that accept endangered language documentation:
- AIATSIS, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.
- AILLA, Archive of the Indigenous Languages of Latin America, at the University of Texas at Austin.
- ANLC, Alaska Native Language Center, at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
- DOBES, at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen.
- HRELP, Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project, at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
- LDC, Linguistic Data Consortium, hosted at University of Pennsylvania.
- NWIC Virtual Library, Northwest Indian College Oksale Program at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Texas at Austin.
- PARADISEC, Pacific and Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures, University of Melbourne.
- SCOIL, Survey of California and Other Indian Languages, at University of California, Berkeley.
- THDL, The Tibetan and Himalayan Digital Library, at the University of Virginia.
Go to their website and/or write to their contact person, and follow their guidelines for:
- obtaining consent to archive materials;
- intellectual property and defining access restrictions;
- sorting materials into archival objects;
- depositing materials with the archive.
While the creation of an archive is a heady undertaking, indeed, some individuals and institutions possess the means to create one. If interested, follow these steps, referring to the archive checklist for additional information, including links to readings, examples, and tools.
- Ask for advice from the OLAC archive advisors or someone at an archive that follows the recommendations of best practices.
- Choose a standardized metadata schema and create metadata for each item. Some metadata systems are very extensive, others are quite simple. The two which are best suited for linguistic
material are the IMDI scheme and the simpler OLAC scheme. Whichever you use, you must minimally include the following:
- the language: identify the variety as narrowly as possible and/or use the corresponding Ethnologue code;
- the creators: list the full name of everyone who had a major role in the creation of the resource and identify the nature of that role;
- the date and place in which the item was created;
- intellectual property rights and access restrictions;
- the intellectual content: provide both a keyword and a brief prose description;
- the resource: identify the equipment, software, and methods used to create the resource; give a brief description of the recording conditions; and rate the overall quality on a scale of 1 (best) to 5 (worst). (1 applies only to recordings made in sound studios.)
- When you set up your archive, choose a system that
- runs on your platform
- supports your metadata
- Define a policy concerning intellectual property rights and develop a consistent practice for obtaining consent (forms, recorded statements). The best sources for information on developing this policy will be other researchers who have worked in your region or language community and are familiar with the customs and mores of the area, and your native speaker consultants.
- Follow best practice recommendations for creation and conversion of resources to ensure that the materials you produce are of archival quality.
- Be sure to record information about the equipment, software, and methods you use to create materials and some description of the conditions under which recordings are made.
- Convince your research community to establish a proper archive to serve your linguistic or geographic area.
Creating a Corpus
How to Find an Archive
How to How to Establish an Archive
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E-MELD School of Best Practice: Finding an Archive
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