PARADISEC activity update

PARADISEC continues to grow! In the last year 63 new collections have been added and the archive has grown to 9.04TB with 12,489 items (made up of 73,496 files). We are currently reworking the catalog to make it easier to use.

We have added more items from Stephen Wurm’s (collection SAW4) and Don Laycock’s (DL2) papers.

Added collections include Gavan Breen’s written materials, transcripts and notes of vocabulary and grammar on 49 Australian languages and dialects, mainly from far north Queensland and the central Northern Territory (collections GB01-50). Almost all the languages described are now no longer spoken.

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PARADISEC stats for 2014

It has been quite some time since our last update on the contents of the PARADISEC archive. Since our report on this blog two years ago, we have added 88 collections bringing the total to 265 collections. There are now 9,836 items and 60,516 digitised recordings, images and videos in the archive, which is now … Read more

Imagine … a world without PARADISEC

Imagine … a world without memories is the evocative and chilling title of a project organised by the National Committee of Australia for the UNESCO Memory of the World. Through the Australian Memory of the World Register, the Committee, mostly volunteers, are building public awareness of the importance of maintaining records and objects associated with … Read more

PARADISEC’s ‘Data Seal of Approval’

As we approach our tenth year of operation, it is gratifying that PARADISEC has achieved this seal of approval (DSA), based on 16 criteria (listed below, and see how we meet these criteria here: We have been a five-star Open Language Archives Community repository for some time, which also means that we are one of the 1800 archives whose catalog and metadata conform to the Open Archives Initiative standards, but the DSA looks more broadly at the whole process of the repository, from accession of records, through their description and curation and to disaster management. This is important for our depositors to know as they can be sure that their research output is properly described and curated, and can be found using various search tools, including google, but more specifically the Australian National Data Service, OLAC and the WorldCat, and also the aggregated information served in the Virtual Language Observatory.

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The latest stats at PARADISEC

PARADISEC now holds 177 collections containing 7,516 items and 59,083 files that are 5.59 TB in size. There are 3,310 hours of audio recordings in the collection. The catalog of these collections can be viewed via the Australian National Data Service, or the Open Language Archives Community or the Virtual Language Observatory.

Since our last report, Nick Fowler-Gilmore, the Audio Preservation Officer in the Sydney office, has completed the digitisation of Calvin Roesler‘s tapes (CR1) the last of which were his 1959 recordings in Asmat. See the fieldnotes and a summary of the collection at

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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.

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The Growing PARADISEC Collection

Following on from Aidan’s blog last week announcing that PARADISEC‘s archive has reached 2000 hours of recordings, here is some of the detail about what’s in our digital archive. Along with Mark Durie’s collection from Aceh, described in the last post, are other collections from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, China, the Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Hawaii, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kiribati, Korea, Lao, Malaysia, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Norfolk Island, Palau, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Reunion, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Vietnam, and Wallis and Futuna.

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Renovations, Repairs and Repositories

A lot of work has been happening at the University of Sydney over the past six months, and at the end of last year the top floor of the Transient Building, which houses Linguistics, Paradisec and a few other offices, got renovated. Unfortunately, since the entire exterior of the building is composed of fibrous asbestos, it’s unlikely that the University will outlay the mammoth insurance costs to do any exterior work. But anyone who knows the Transient building knows that the best option would be to demolish the whole thing and start again from scratch.

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