Current Projects

Alaska Native Place Names

The Alaska Native Place Names Project represents an ongoing effort to consolidate Indigenous place name documentation housed at ANLA. With support from Alaska EPSCoR in 2011 a pilot project was initiated focusing on the Lower Tanana Athabaskan language. In 2014 with support from NSF-OPP 1415603 the project is being expanded to integrate historic maps and manuscript data with place name information within an extensible, open-source geodatabase. This project will provide a foundation for use by both researchers and community members, contributing to a better understanding of environmental knowledge while at the same time helping to preserve and promote Indigenous place names in Alaska. [project website]

Origins of the Alor-Pantar Languages

Origins of the Alor-Pantar Languages (2009-2016) is an NSF-funded project which seeks to unravel the linguistic prehistory of the non-Austronesian (Papuan) languages the of Alor-Pantar archipelago of southeastern Indonesia. This international project, conducted under the aegis of the European Science Foundation EuroBABEL programme, has vastly increased our knowledge of the previously under-documented Alor-Pantar language family. A volume of papers detailing the results of this project was published in 2014 as The Alor-Pantar Languages: History and Typology (Marian Klamer, ed.). This volume was published through Language Sciences Press, a new open-access, peer-reviewed venue; hence, the individual papers can be freely downloaded.

2016-2017 field work will focus on the documentation of ethnobotany in Abui, a language of Alor. [project website]

Metadata Editing and Collection Management Tools (MEaCoM)

The task of language documentation requires the researcher to manage a large amount of interlinked data, including raw audio and video recordings, photographs, transcription files, annotation files, lexical databases, responses to experimental stimuli, and field observations. While standards have been developed for archiving and preserving these data, linguistic data management prior to archive deposit is often ad-hoc and idiosyncratic, without any widely-accepted practice. In particular, no standard tool exists to manage digital files and associated metadata. At best, current practice is inefficient, resulting in delays prior to archiving and requiring significant additional investment of researcher time. At worst, these bottlenecks lead to indefinite delays, with the result that research products may never be properly archived.

The MEaCoM project (2017-2019) convenes a series of workshop bringing together key stakeholders including linguists, archivists, and software developers to develop a software requirements specification and associated use cases (or “user stories”) for a metadata and collection management tool. [project website]

NSFThis material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grants BCS-0936887, OPP-1003160, and OPP-1415603. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.