This year at PARADISEC our collections grew as follows:

January 2011 / December 2011
159/172 collections
6,972 /7,422 items
46,900 /58,680 files
5.02 /5.46 TB
2880:25/3185:43 hours

We are always in negotiation with prospective depositors about collections, for example, we are working with Theodore Schwartz to accession his wonderful 1950s Manus (PNG) recordings (made with Margaret Mead) and have accessioned John Harris’s PNG recordings from the 1960s. Not all negotiations are successful however. For example, we offered to work with the Basel Kultur Museum to digitise Fr. John Z’graggen’s 500 tapes from the Madang region of PNG, but so far that offer has not been taken up.

We continue to be an exemplary five-star Open Language Archives Community (OLAC) collection, which means our metadata is among the few OLAC archives with the highest quality rating. The content of the metadata relies on depositors, so we have focused on making it as easy as possible for a minimal metadata set to be entered and then enhanced over time. Our metadata is also harvested at the collection-level by the Australian National Data Service.

We didn’t digitise any recordings in the first half of the 2011 due to a lack of funding, but we had an ARC LIEF grant that began in May and were then able to employ a new audio technician (Nick Fowler-Gilmore) and an administrative officer (Georgie Burke) in the Sydney office. Julia Miller started work at the Canberra office, cataloging and digitising the Stephen Wurm collection there. We have also had digitised material deposited by several researchers.

The LIEF grant is allowing us to redevelop our catalog and the associated workflow, with the help of Silvia Pfeiffer and John Ferlito. We hope to have a new catalog working by mid-2012, with greater access to the collection and streaming delivery of media.

As we have been operating since 2003 on computers that have not been updated since then, our ageing equipment began to fail during the year, with our Sydney server ‘Azoulay’ breaking down completely at one point. All our data is securely backed up in several places, but it has taken some time to negotiate with university systems to get servers replaced and to install the tools we need to run to ensure the integrity of the collection.

It is a time of change for digital collections as national strategy documents start to come to terms with the fact that vast collections of digital information will need proper curation into the future. PARADISEC members participated in the Expert Working Group of the 2011 Strategic Roadmap for Australian Research Infrastructure planning process and in the NECTAR funding program. PARADISEC is part of the successful HuNI funding bid to NECTAR to build tools for generic processes relevant to the humanities.

We have been developing methods for entering metadata using a prototype tool provisionally called Fieldhelper, now being developed by the Australian National Data Service (ANDS) with a testing version to be available for use in mid-2012. Similarly, the presentation system we have developed, EOPAS (, puts media and its associated interlinear glossed text online. A future version of EOPAS will allow annotation of the interlinear text.

Collections that were added to this year include Cindy Schneider (Abma, Vanuatu), Don Daniels (Madang province, PNG), Roderic Lacey (120 cassette tapes in Enga, PNG), Mary Ayres (Morehead District, PNG), Stephen Wurm (many regions of PNG), Margaret Carew (Gun-nartpa (Burarra), Australia), Rachel Nordlinger (Wambaya, Australia), John Newman (Manus, PNG), Catherine Ingram (Kam, China).

1 thought on “PARADISEC’s 2011”

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