« The public wavelength - Peter K. Austin | Blog home | Good on you LTU! - Peter K. Austin »

[ from Peter K. Austin
Linguistics Department, SOAS
]
22 November 2010

This month the eighth volume of Language Documentation and Description (LDD8) hit the streets (you can order it at a 25% discount, and also get 25% off any of our other volumes ordered before 31 December 2010). It's a special issue on documentation of endangered oral literatures and is guest edited by Imogen Gunn and Mark Turin of the World Oral Literature Project (WOLP) at Cambridge. This is the first time we have had a guest edited issue, but it won't be the last.

Planning for the next three issues of LDD is already under way: LDD 9 is scheduled for mid-2011 and will be edited by Julia Sallabank. It will contain papers on endangered languages and sustainability, arising out of a workshop she and Friederike Luepke organised earlier this year, together with other papers and book reviews. LDD 10, scheduled for December 2011, will be a special issue on documentation of endangered languages and musics and will be guest edited by Jan-Olof Svantesson and colleagues of Lund University. LDD 11, scheduled for mid-2012, will be edited by Oliver Bond and Stuart McGill and will contain papers on issues in applied documentation for African languages.

Back in October 2002 when I first started work at SOAS and was planning what became the Endangered Languages Academic Programme (ELAP) I had a vision that we could start a publication series for the newly emerging field of language documentation (this was just one year after DoBeS began its main phase, and the same year that ELDP was launched). ELDP was holding the first grants meeting of its International Panel in February 2002 so I hatched the audacious plan to ask the panel members if they would stay in London for an extra day and present talks on language documentation in a workshop format. They all kindly agreed and then when Colette Grinevald (from Lyon), Dan Everett (who was at University of Manchester at the time), Eva Csato (Uppsala) and Nick Ostler (Foundation for Endangered Languages) heard about the workshop they offered to come and give talks too. I then asked David Crystal (author of the book Language Death who I had met in Australia in 2000) if he would present a public lecture to kick off the Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project, which he did on 28th February 2003. In retrospect this was all a bit crazy -- we had no staff other than myself and Zara Pybus, the then newly-appointed Administrator of ELAP, and we were also trying to write and get approved a new MA programme with all its constituent modules, plus appoint staff, recruit students, and so on. To add to the craziness, all the workshop presenters agreed to write up their papers for publication and did so within six months. SOAS colleagues Lutz Marten and Justin Watkins refereed them all, and Zara designed and formatted the whole lot so that in December 2003 we published Volume 1 of LDD.

Over the past eight years we have sold almost 2,000 copies of LDD (Volume 1 is still our best seller at 480 copies so far, with a respectable 50 copies per year still going out the door) and we normally sell around 500 copies in total annually. I think this is pretty respectable for what is effectively a "spare time" operation, as we have no dedicated publication staff and each volume is edited and published on top of our other usual obligations.

LDD is a small, though useful, source of income for us and helps support MA and PhD students through offering them paid part-time editorial work on production of the volumes that are edited at SOAS. On several occasions I have been asked why we charge for LDD rather than making it freely available, like the online journal Language Documentation and Conservation. The simple response is that we do keep the price of LDD as low as possible (try finding another similar linguistics publication of 250-300 pages that sells for GBP 10.00!) and that income from sales is the only way we can pay for editorial support and first class design and layout (by Tom Castle who does publication work on top of his usual day job as Digital Technician). This is particularly the case now that support for ELAP from Arcadia Fund finished this year (Arcadia will continue to support ELDP and the Endangered Languages Archive until 2016).

We are currently planning for the introduction of an online store for LDD in 2011 and are also looking at developing a new series of e-publications that will include articles published in the journal, as well as other new materials. Stay tuned for more details early next year.

Comments

Congratulations on your eighth volume! I will go through the process of ordering online and waiting for the mail to deliver the volume, but I would like to be able to download the content, even if I had to pay for it, so I look forward to your online store. I really hope you can move to an Open Access model for this content in the future.

You note that the income from sales covers design and layout, but, at 2,000 copies over 8 years your income averages £2,500 pa, surely easily found from other sources? And, while 2,000 copies is a good outcome, imagine what the impact of the same content would have been if it was freely downloadable.

You referred to the Language Documentation & Conservation journal of which I am the Technology Editor. LD&C is free, online and peer-reviewed, and is rated an A-category journal in Australia. Being online means we can count the downloads (6,623 articles in 2009 and 6,064 so far in 2010) and see where they originate from (see below for a partial list). While there is always a cost to pay for administering, editing, proof-reading, organising peer-review and so on, there is also a cost to not getting the information out to the target audience who cannot afford to buy the content, a cost that is created by using traditional publication models.

With a commitment to the Open Access (OA) model, LD&C sought and obtained funding from the US National Foreign Language Resource Center as well as the Department of Linguistics at the University of Hawai'i. This covers the cost of Graduate Assistants who do page-design and coordinate the team of (mostly volunteer) editors and copy-editors.

Some selected examples of the number of downloads over the past 2 years are given below, by country, to show the kind of reach that Open Access provides.
Malaysia 585
United Kingdom 560
Germany 467
Indonesia 462
China 447
Canada 407
India 209
Iran, Islamic Republic of 208
Korea, Republic of 159
Mexico 154
Netherlands 146
Japan 128
Thailand 127
France 117
Singapore 96
Philippines 95
Ireland 94
Ethiopia 91
Taiwan 87
Spain 86
Brazil 84
New Zealand 83
Switzerland 63
Sweden 61
Hong Kong 60
Vietnam 59
Algeria 58
Belgium 56
Poland 55
Finland 55
Tanzania, United Republic of 51
Chile 50
Turkey 49
Egypt 48
Italy 48
Nigeria 44
South Africa 43
Greece 43
Denmark 42
Cameroon 42
Russian Federation 39
Colombia 38
Austria 36
Kenya 34
Czech Republic 34
Argentina 30
Israel 28
Hungary 26
Norway 26
Bangladesh 23
Satellite Provider 20
Morocco 18
Portugal 18
Nepal 18
Romania 16
Brunei Darussalam 16

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Enter the code shown below before pressing post

The Authors

About the Blog

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.
More

FAQ

Papua New Guinea FAQs from Eva Lindstrom Papua New Guinea (New Ireland): Eva Lindstrom's tips for fieldworkers

Australian Languages Answers to some frequently asked questions about Australian languages

Papua Web Information network on Papua, Indonesia (formerly Irian Jaya)

Hibernating blogs

Indigenous Language SPEAK

Langguj gel Australian linguistics and fieldwork blog

Interesting Blogs

Omniglot Writing systems and languages of the world

LingFormant Linguistics news

Language hat Linguistics news and commentary

Jabal al-Lughat Linguistics news and commentary on a range of languages

Living languages Blog with news items and discussion of endangered languages

OzPapersOnline Notices of recent work on the Indigenous languages of Australia

That Munanga linguist Community linguist blog

Anggarrgoon Claire Bowern's linguistics and fieldwork blog

Savage Minds A group blog on Anthropology

Fully (sic)

Language on the Move Intercultural communication and multilingualism

Talking Alaska: Reflections on the native languages of Alaska

Culture matters: applying anthropology Australian anthropology blog: postgraduates and staff

Long Road ethnography and anthropology blog - including about Australia

matjjin-nehen Blog on Australian linguistics, fieldwork, politics and the environment.

Language Log Group blog on language and linguistics

Links

E-MELD The E-MELD School of Best Practices in Digital Language Documentation

Tema Modersmål Website in Swedish with links to sites on and in many languages

Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project: Language Documentation: What is it? Information on equipment, formats, and archiving, and examples of documentation

Indigenous Peoples Issues & Resources a worldwide network of organizations, academics, activists, indigenous groups, and others representing indigenous and tribal peoples

Technorati Profile

Technology-enhanced language revitalization Include ILAT (Indigenous Languages and Technology) discussion list.

Endangered languages of Indigenous Peoples of Siberia

Koryak Net Information on the people of Kamchatka

Linguistic fieldwork preparation: a guide for field linguists syllabi, funding, technology, ethics, readings, bibliography

On-line resources for endangered languages

Papua New Guinea Language Resources Phonologies, grammars, dictionaries, literacy, language maps for many PNG languages

Resource network for linguistic diversity Networking practitioners working to record,retrieve & reintroduce endangered languages

Projects

ACLA child language acquisition in three Australian Aboriginal communities

DELAMAN The Digital Endangered Languages and Musics Archives Network

PARADISEC The Pacific And Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures

Murriny-Patha Song Project Documenting the language and music of public songs and dances composed and performed by Murriny Patha-speaking people

PFED The Project for Free Electronic Dictionaries

DOBES Endangered language documentation and archiving, funded by the Volkswagen Foundation and sponsored by the Max Planck Institute, Nijmegen.

DELP Documenting endangered languages at the University of Sydney

Ethno EResearch Exploring methods and technology for streaming media and interlinear text