Sharing the load? Problems with the ‘lone depositor’ model for the archiving of materials in endangered language archives

Ruth Singer recaps last week’s Linguistics in the Pub, a monthly informal gathering of linguists in Melbourne to discuss topical areas in our field.

Traditionally collections in endangered languages archives are identified with a single depositor. This depositor is typically a researcher, who is not a member of the community in which the recordings were made. This depositor decides on access restrictions to the materials, ideally in consultation with the community. There are a number of quite separate problems with this position, for those who manage archives and for those who find themselves in the position of lone depositor. In this era of collaborative fieldwork, we can also ask whether the lone depositor model is the best one for communities who speak endangered languages. One suggestion is to make collections open access so that the depositor does not need to be contacted. Another suggestion is to name a number of depositors for each collection, so that no single person has sole responsibility. In this LIP we will discuss potential solutions to the problems of the lone depositor model in the light of participants experiences as depositors and archivists.

Read more

Happy IDWIP!! 29 years on

I nearly missed this [thanks Bruce!] Mick Gooda, the Social Justice Commissioner celebrates International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples – the birthday cake theme this year being ‘Indigenous designs: celebrating stories and cultures, crafting our own future’ His press release notes that International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples marks the day of the … Read more

Birrguu Matya, or the game Tapatan

‘A new board game based on an ancient Aboriginal game has just been released by N S W Aboriginal artist Donna Hensen. Called Hunters Tactics,’ reported the Koori Mail 166 (17 December 1997), page 25. ‘Traditionally, the game was played on the ground using sticks, stones or kangaroo dung and was one of many used … Read more

LEGO blocks

Jeff Good has written a blog post about how citation metadata was dealt with in various file conversions for the Lexicon Enhancement via the GOLD Ontology (LEGO) project. His post was written in response to my discussion and follow up (plus James McElvenny’s contribution) about citation practices of data aggregators like LEGO and PanLex. Jeff’s … Read more

Citation, citation

Continuum International Publishing Group has just sent me a complimentary copy of Jim Miller’s new textbook A Critical Introduction to Syntax which includes a chapter on “Noun Phrases and Non-configurationality” (pages 61-98). Since this is a topic I have published on (Austin and Bresnan 1996, Austin 2001a, 2001b) I figured I’d have a quick look … Read more

Rights, responsibilities, and data duffers

In a recent blog post James McElvenny presents a broad-ranging discussion about copyright, in response to my earlier post about the use of materials from my published work without attribution by the PanLex project. James covers a lot of ground and brings in many different aspects, including his frustrations that he “can’t play region-coded DVDs … Read more

Professor Austin and copyright

Peter Austin has raised his voice on this blog to ‘protect [his] legal rights and those of the Dieri people who have contributed to [his] knowledge of their language’ (source). He suggests that the PanLex project is guilty of ‘theft’ for using, without citation, data from a Dieri-English word list contained in his 1981 grammar … Read more

They’re out to get you (or your data at least)

A couple of years ago I wrote a blog post about Professor Phillip M Parker PhD, a Professor of Marketing in France who had established a website called Webster’s Online Dictionary that contained materials on endangered languages taken from copyrighted sources.1 Parker also published a set of books based on materials taken from copyrighted websites, … Read more