Workshops & Courses

Archiving for the Future:
Simple Steps for Archiving Language Documentation Collections

Archiving For the Future Logo by Kung, Sullivant, Pojman & Niwagaba 2020, CC BY-SA 4.0

Archiving for the Future: Simple Steps for Archiving Language Documentation Collections is an open educational resource (a free online course) that I co-created and launched on September 1, 2020, to aid people of all backgrounds to confidently organize born-digital and digitized language materials and data for deposit into any digital repository for long-term preservation and accessibility. The target audience for this course is anyone who is engaged in creating materials in or about Indigenous, endangered, under-documented, or minority languages as part of language documentation efforts, including language rights, maintenance, and revitalization. It was designed particularly for individuals or groups made up of academic researchers and/or Indigenous or endangered language speakers and community members, though anyone may benefit from it.

The curriculum follows simple steps to guide participants through three phases of work to organize language documentation materials for archiving, and it explains in detail what to do before, during, and after data collection to facilitate the long-term preservation, accessibility, and reuse of the data. The course is designed to be informative, engaging, and accessible to anyone, especially to those with no previous experience archiving collections of language materials.

Simple Steps for Archiving Language Documentation Collections Infographic by Kung, Sullivant, Pojman & Niwagaba 2020, CC BY-SA 4.0

I developed this course in collaboration with my colleagues Ryan Sullivant, Elena Pojman, and Alicia Niwagaba at  Archive of the Indigenous Languages of Latin America at the University of Texas at Austin and in consultation with representatives of various DELAMAN archives and other digital data repositories in the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Australia, and Cameroon.

The course material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. BCS-1653380 (September 1, 2016 to August 31, 2020). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

This work, Archiving for the Future: Simple Steps for Archiving Language Documentation Collections by Susan Smythe Kung, Ryan Sullivant, Elena Pojman, and Alicia Niwagaba, is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 International.

We welcome your feedback on the course, so please check it out at!

Photo: quito-ecuador-view-of-the-city-2170520 by jerzykwpodrozy (Pixabay), CC0.

AILLA in Ecuador May-June 2018

3 AILLA events were held in Ecuador in May & June 2018 in conjunction with Amazonicas 7.

  1. AILLA Presentation at the International Conference on Amazonian Languages in Baños de Agua Santa, May 30, 6:00pm.
  2. AILLA Archive-a-thon on Day 1 of the Linguistics Summer School in Quito. Half-day event on Monday, June 4, 8:30am to noon. The slides used for this event are available in AILLA’s training materials for self-depositing in English and Spanish.
  3. A general presentation about AILLA at the Escuela de Ciencias Históricas de la Pontificia Universidad Católica de Ecuador, Monday, June 4 at 4:00pm.
Photo Nuestra Señora del Rosario de Agua Santa, Baños, Ecuador by Rinaldo Wurglitsch (Flickr), CC BY 2.0
Photo: Classroom building, University of Florida) by Steven Martin (Flickr),CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

CoLang 2018, June 18-29
University of Florida

I taught 3 workshops at CoLang 2018 at the University of Florida in Gainesville. The slides for these courses will be available in the CoLang repository at some point in 2021.

How to Manage your Materials and Data for a Language Archive with Vera Ferreira, J. Ryan Sullivant, and Alicia Niwagaba in Week 1. This was a brand new course that I presented for the first time at CoLang 2018. This work was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation, BCS-1653380. Slides and videos used for this workshop are available in English and Spanish in AILLA in the collection Language Data Curation Tutorials.

Short description: This course will teach students about the management, organization, and curation that they can do during and after their data collection to prepare their language materials (both born-digital and analog) for deposit into a language archive. Selected discussion themes include the following: Strategies for managing both born-digital and analog data (incl., the importance of collecting metadata simultaneously with the data, and file-naming strategies for encoding metadata); Who would use my collection, and how? (Expected users: language communities, academic researchers versus less expected users: genealogists, historians, artists, musicians, the curious public); What archives can and cannot do for you (e.g., digital preservation versus digital presentation; which kinds of files are suitable for archiving); Making collection guides and finding aids (incl., the importance of collection guides using examples from physical and digital archives; what to include when creating collection guides); and Strategies for managing access to sensitive data (incl., access restriction techniques at various language archives and managing access in perpetuity).

Community Language Archives with Susan Gehr in Week 2. This was the 3rd time that Susan G. & I co-taught this course at CoLang; we co-taught it with Shannon Bischoff in 2014 and without Shannon in 2016.

Short description: In this workshop, students will develop an understanding of archival best practices as they apply to the creation and maintenance of Community Language Archives. Topics that will be addressed include the following: different types and functions of archives (including physical and online digital archives); how to do archival research (including the use of online catalogs and finding aids, navigation of online digital archives); types of language materials that should be put into archives (including copyright, intellectual and cultural property, how to care for physical artifacts and digital files); why, when, and how to donate language materials to an archive (including organization of materials and metadata, costs, policies of archives, and the human element); and when access restrictions might need to be applied to materials in an archive. We will briefly touch on how to start a community language archive (physical vs. virtual, partnering with a larger archive, necessary resources, e.g. human, physical, technological, fiscal), but this will not be a major focus of the class. No archives experience or knowledge is required. The course will be of interest to those wanting an introduction to language archives and those wishing to learn how to better manage language and heritage resources, such as language researchers, teachers and interested community members. The course will also be of interest to individuals that wish to preserve resources in their possession.

Navigating Consent, Rights, and Intellectual Property all by myself in Week 2. This was the 2nd time I taught this course at CoLang (it debuted in Alaska in 2016), and it is my absolute favorite course to teach thus far.

Short description:  This course is intended for anyone of any level who wants to have a better understanding of issues of informed consent, copyright, intellectual property, traditional or cultural knowledge, and attribution, as well as implications of these issues for language documentation and data collection, language maintenance and revitalization, research, and scholarship. The class will be organized into a combination of lecture and open discussion about the above named concepts, as well as the concepts of open versus public access, fair use, public domain, terms and conditions of use, access embargoes, access restrictions, access protocols, attribution, etc., and how these concepts interact. To contextualize the class content, we will explore various online, digital language archives and other on-line intellectual property resources to provide exposure to processes and legislature that control access and articulate rights and property.  

This website, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under CC BY 4.0 International.  

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