Technology for Language Documentation Meeting

Wednesday 19 March, ICT Building, University of Melbourne

Purpose: to identify topics of mutual interest in the application of technology to language documentation.

Agenda:
Steven Bird, University of Melbourne
- spoke about annotation tools developed by LDC
- gave overview of current OLAC developments
- presented application for TELIA project: Technology for Endangered Languages in Australia

Cathy Bow, University of Melbourne
- gave overview of EMELD project and Melbourne Uni involvement

Simon Musgrave, Monash University
- discussed previous project at Leiden
- presented draft outline for application for collaborative research (Monash Arts/IT) on data management and archiving


Nick Thieberger, University of Melbourne
- gave overview of PARADISEC: Pacific and Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures

Heather Bowe, Monash University
Anna Patterson, Monash University
- looking at Honours project documenting Pitjantjatjara children's stories
- involvement in VCE subject on reclamation of Victorian indigenous languages

Baden Hughes, University of Melbourne
- discussed his involvement with several projects relating to digital archiving


Other Invited Participants:
David Nash - ANU/AIATSIS
Patrick McConvell - AIATSIS
- both expressed interest in the practice of digital archiving and data management

Discussion:
Followed a number of different tracks - the following themes emerged:
- as we become 'experts', others will come to us for help
- issues of archiving should be considered everyday practice, not an add-on or an end-point
- issues of separation of text from audio in traditional archives
- importance of assessment of available tools - need for objective advice for researchers
- need for broad scope of linguists in discussion - not just typologists but also discourse, etc.
- tension between becoming too prescriptive yet people wanting guidelines
- making data available is more important than getting it perfect
- considerable discussion on standardisation of language codes for Australian languages
- issues of 'modeling' in relation to dictionary development - data model vs presentation model
- value of sharing resources/information - not reinventing the wheel

Outcomes:
1.    Share data
-    Participants encouraged to forward a small sample of interlinearised text to CB for analyis/comparison/discussion

2.    Look at on-line annotation tools
-    Steven & Baden will look at developing or adapting tools to allow for material published on the web to be annotated by certain users with relevant feedback for later review (e.g. for Australian language codes)

3.    Consider holding workshop
-    The group perceived a value in holding a workshop looking at various aspects of language technology
-    No details were discussed

4.    Continue discussion / meet again
-    No dates were set in this regard, but all agreed to the importance of keeping in contact and meeting regularly
-    Some sub-groups arranged to meet informally for specific purposes

For further details contact
Cathy Bow      cbow@unimelb.edu.au    8344 1323 (Monday - Wednesday)
Steven Bird     sb@cs.mu.oz.au              8344 1324