Jane’s last post and a post on the ever excellent Language Log have got me thinking about permanence and accountability in the internet age. Its a theme that I encounter again and again, working for a digital archive.
In the field last year I meticulously gathered photos with audio recordings of many plants in the area I was working in PNG. I certainly don’t like creating lexicon entries all with a gloss of “tree/plant species” and I figured in this digital age, including a picture and audio recording of each plant was one way of increasing the identifiability of each plant (and animal… but they’re not so photogenic). Pictures are a much more salient identifier for speakers of the language than anything else. Never-the-less, scientific name are a good universal identifier for a plant, but they’re hard to get if you don’t have a botanist with you.
So earlier this year I sat down with Barry Conn at the National Herbarium of New South Wales to discuss interdisciplinary work between linguists and botanists. One of my questions was “what does a linguist need to do in the field to get a plant identified?”.
Here are some of my notes from the meeting, with some comments from Barry:
I’m sure we’ve all done it from time to time: somehow, despite carefully trying to do something else altogether, we delete a critical and unique recording on our flash recorder… never to be heard again.
But all is not lost, in fact its often really quite simple to get it back… but only if you’ve taken the necessary precautions.
Many academic disciplines depend on analysis of primary data captured during fieldwork. Increasingly, researchers today are using digital methods for the whole life cycle of their primary data, from capture to organisation, submission to a repository or archive, and later access and dissemination in publications, teaching resources and conference presentations. This conference and workshop will showcase a number of projects that have been developing innovative and sustainable ways of managing such data.
Thanks to Linda and Frank for a very interesting workshop last Friday. I picked up some great tricks on using transcriber and audacity. Perhaps the best trick I learnt was how to remove cicada noise from my PNG recordings.
Maybe you already knew how to do this (or maybe you just fiddle with the EQ), but I always thought this was in the realm of Hollywood fantasy (like when the forensics guy magically “enhances” a grainy image to reveal the killer’s face in a thriller). Removing the noise allows me to more easily transcribe a busy recording, and seeing as insect noise was pretty constant and loud through all my recordings, this is quite handy. There are some caveats, but here’s how to do this using freely available, cross platform software.
Pacific and Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures / Sydney Humanities and Social Sciences e-Research Initiative Workshop
Presenters: Dr Linda Barwick, Director, PARADISEC and Frank Davey, Audio Preservation Officer, PARADISEC.
A free workshop covering: the range of research applications for recording and analysis of digital audiovisual media; questions of sustainability and archiving of audiovisual data; tools and resources for archiving, analysis and presentation of digital audio; the role of recordings in humanities disciplines; and using audio recordings in presentations and teaching. Includes hands-on sessions using Audacity sound editing software and Transcriber speech annotation software.