Tape gumshoe

Finding tapes that need to be digitised often involves some detective work. Recently, while waiting for a dropoff of tapes (yes, in car park 3), I mused on the noir nature of the work and came up with this vignette. Perhaps the trickiest collection I’ve dealt with was one created by Fr John Z’graggen in … Read more

PARADISEC Activity Update – Jan 2021

Well, we made it through 2020! Archiving of new material has proceeded throughout various phases of lockdowns, workings-from-home, etc. A huge thank you to all of our staff, depositors, and broader community for their flexibility and patience. We flew past the 100TB-archived milestone (for which our upcoming online conference is named, PARADISEC@100), and are now … Read more

From film to file: historical manuscripts released by PARADISEC

We are pleased to announce the release of a number of historical manuscripts in and about languages of the Pacific. We worked with the National Library of Australia to digitise microfilms and have now made them available as pdf files for download from our catalog. This work was supported by the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language

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Honiara language workshop, August 2019

The Solomon Islands Kulu Language Institute (KLI) organised a workshop in August this year that attracted 100 participants representing 44 languages of the Solomon Islands.

The venue was the leaf house at Saint Barnabas Anglican Cathedral Grounds, Honiara. The workshop was sponsored by the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language, the Kulu Language Institute, the University of Melbourne, The Research Unit for Indigenous Language, and Islands Bible Ministries.

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50 words of Australian languages project

The Research Unit for Indigenous Language is running a project in 2019/2020 to collect and present words in as many Australian Indigenous languages as possible. Please consider contributing to this project.

This project aims to provide resources for schools to teach at least fifty words in their local language.

We are asking for contributions of at least fifty words in as many Australian Indigenous languages as possible. The typed words need to be listed in a spreadsheet, with audio file recordings attached. Full instructions on capturing the details are on this website.

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PARADISEC Mystery Language of the Week

By Jodie Kell

Each week of this year PARADISEC is broadcasting a Mystery Language of the Week. Published on our website through a popular audio platform, as well as through social media, we are asking people for help in identifying languages in our archive by listening to short audio grabs and contributing their knowledge to the descriptive metadata.

2019 is the UNESCO International Year of Indigenous Languages (IYIL). The Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues said that 40% of the estimated 6700 languages spoken around the world were endangered, and most of these are Indigenous languages. This puts the associated cultures and knowledge systems at risk, since Indigenous languages “represent complex systems of knowledge and communication and should be recognised as a strategic national resource for development, peace building and reconciliation.” (https://en.iyil2019.org/about/#about-1)

One of the aims of the year is to mobilise and connect different organisations, communities and individuals for coordinated action on the “urgent need to preserve, revitalize and promote indigenous languages around the world” (https://en.unesco.org/news/unesco-launches-website-international-year-indigenous-languages-iyil2019). The IYIL website contributes to raising awareness about issues surrounding Indigenous languages by providing information, including a calendar of events and access to resources, and enabling organisations to register and actively participate. (https://en.iyil2019.org/) PARADISEC has registered and is planning a series of activities to support the IYIL and use the coordinated approach promoted on the website to expand the reach of our archival materials and our organisation.

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Local wifi versions of paradisec?

 

Getting records back to the places they came from is a major motivation for what we do at PARADISEC. Repatriation of unique analog artefacts is an important model, and digital records should, in principle, be easier to move to any place. However, not every place has capacity for access to or storage of digital files. In the Pacific there are few reliable digital repositories and the cultural agencies I know have little capacity to store or disseminate digital files. Internet connections are usually expensive and so discourage download of large files.

Earlier I talked about using Itunes to get records back to Erakor, the village where I work in Vanuatu. The computers that held the Itunes installation eventually stopped working and were replaced, but the language files were not copied over to the new computers.

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Texts and more texts: corpora in the CoEDL

Corpus development is one of the goals of the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language (see this web page for more details). We have run a number of workshops on corpus-related themes (e.g. the 2017 workshop that included a day on converting early sources).

In addition to creating useable materials for the source communities (which we have a strong commitment to supporting) we are archiving records that include primary media, transcripts and associated annotations. We aim to produce from this material a subset of accessible texts for a number of languages.
Here it is worth noting that we have come up with this terminology (thanks to Jane Simpson for the formulation) to distinguish the objects we have collected:
Assemblage – all material collected, working files, early sources, multiple versions and drafts
Collection – the archived material, a subset of the above, but curated with sufficient metadata to allow the user to know what all items are
Corpus – a crafted set of texts in the language that can be used for further analysis

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