ACLA-DB: A Database for Linguistic Fieldwork Metadata
Presented by:          Baden Hughes, David Penton and Steven Bird,
Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering,
University of Melbourne
Project / Software Title :       ACLA-DB  
Project / Software URL:  
Access / Availability:       The software is open source and available under the GNU Public License.
The sources can be obtained via the URL above.

Many linguistic research projects collect large amounts of multimodal data in digital formats. Despite the plethora of data collection applications available, it is often difficult for researchers to identify and integrate applications which enable the management of collections of multimodal data in addition to facilitating the actual collection process itself. In research projects that involve substantial data analysis, data management becomes a critical issue. Whilst best practice recommendations in regard to data formats themselves are propagated through projects such as EMELD, HRELP and DOBES, there is little corresponding information available regarding best practice for field metadata management beyond the provision of standards by entities such as OLAC and IMDI. These general problems are further exacerbated in the context of multiple researchers in geographically-disparate or connectivity-challenged locations.

In this session we will demonstrate a linguistic database application designed for structured metadata creation and data management. The software is initially deployed for a group of researchers collecting multimodal data on child language acquisition in Australian indigenous communities. Features of the ACLA-DB software include:

  • full online and offline functionality
  • a client-server data replication and synchronization model
  • integration with external linguistic analysis tools
  • structured metadata creation
  • a flexible database query interface
  • open data standards
  • cross-platform and open-source
The design aims to be sufficiently general that other research groups may consider adopting it as the basis for other projects, a process facilitated through dynamic configuration at the point of installation. In addition to the software itself, we also provide details of the database schema, development tools and the application hosting requirements.

[The software demonstrated is further described in:
Baden Hughes, David Penton, Steven Bird, Catherine Bow, Gillian Wigglesworth, Patrick McConvell and Jane Simpson, 2004.
Management of Metadata in Linguistic Fieldwork - Experience from ACLA.
Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation. Lisbon, Portugal. May 26-28, 2004.
E-Print available from]

Papers and Handouts
Instructions for Participants
Working Groups
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