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From: Peter K. Austin
Department of Linguistics, SOAS

9 February 2009

David Nathan, Director of the Endangered Languages Archive, at SOAS, and I are back in Tokyo at the invitation of Toshihide Nakayama of ILCAA, the Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa, at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies for 10 days to run a workshop on language documentation that follows up our 2008 workshop. This year we are taking a different tack and focusing the week of seminars and practical sessions on the principles and practices of archiving endangered languages materials. The week begins on Monday (today) with preparations in the morning and David's public lecture on "Archiving endangered language materials" in the afternoon. Classes begin in earnest on Tuesday and run until Friday, with sessions from 10am to 5pm each day. There will be 15 attendees, mostly students who are doing fieldwork in various locations around the world. Details of the workshop can be found here.

The topics we plan to cover include:

  • Language documentation and language archiving - major issues
  • Audio - good practices refresher
  • Audio recording - how to make great audio
  • Data and metadata - good practices refresher
  • Data management practical
  • Workflow for archiving
  • Mobilisation and delivery of language materials
  • Transcription, annotation, translation - good practices refresher
  • IP and ethical issues in the delivery, usage, and archiving of materials

There will be group work in the practical sessions and a final discussion with presentations by the attendees on the last day. If time and energy permit I will blog about how the workshop goes and report on some of the outcomes.

PS This post marks the second anniversary (almost to the day) of my first contribution to the Transient Languages blog at Jane's invitation. Since February 2007 I have written 64 posts on a variety of topics, at the rate of roughly one every 1.6 weeks (a full listing in reverse chronological order can be found on my HRELP home page). My output for calendar 2008 was almost 50% more than 2007, while this year so far it has been almost one per week (admittedly some were more in the form of announcements rather than opinion pieces that require research and checking). I am not sure if I will be able to keep up this rate, but so far I do find blogging a fun and interesting means of communication.

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The Transient Building, symbolising the impermanence of language, houses both the Linguistics Department at Sydney University and PARADISEC, a digital archive for endangered Pacific languages and music.

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