Paul Trilsbeek


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  • Klamer, M., Trilsbeek, P., Hoogervorst, T., & Haskett, C. (2017). Creating a Language Archive of Insular South East Asia and West New Guinea. In J. Odijk, & A. Van Hessen (Eds.), CLARIN in the Low Countries (pp. 113-121). London: Ubiquity Press. doi:10.5334/bbi.10.


    The geographical region of Insular South East Asia and New Guinea is well-known as an area of mega-biodiversity. Less well-known is the extreme linguistic diversity in this area: over a quarter of the world’s 6,000 languages are spoken here. As small minority languages, most of them will cease to be spoken in the coming few generations. The project described here ensures the preservation of unique records of languages and the cultures encapsulated by them in the region. The language resources were gathered by twenty linguists at, or in collaboration with, Dutch universities over the last 40 years, and were compiled and archived in collaboration with The Language Archive (TLA) at the Max Planck Institute in Nijmegen. The resulting archive constitutes a collection ofmultimediamaterials and written documents from 48 languages in Insular South East Asia and West New Guinea. At TLA, the data was archived according to state-of-the-art standards (TLA holds the Data Seal of Approval): the component metadata infrastructure CMDI was used; all metadata categories as well as relevant units of annotation were linked to the ISO data category registry ISOcat. This guaranteed proper integration of the language resources into the CLARIN framework. Through the archive, future speaker communities and researchers will be able to extensively search thematerials for answers to their own questions, even if they do not themselves know the language, and even if the language dies.
  • Trilsbeek, P., & Wittenburg, P. (2007). "Los acervos lingüísticos digitales y sus desafíos". In J. Haviland, & F. Farfán (Eds.), Bases de la documentacíon lingüística (pp. 359-385). Mexico: Instituto Nacional de Lenguas Indígenas.


    This chapter describes the challenges that modern digital language archives are faced with. One essential aspect of such an archive is to have a rich metadata catalog such that the archived resources can be easily discovered. The challenge of the archive is to obtain these rich metadata descriptions from the depositors without creating too much overhead for them. The rapid changes in storage technology, file formats and encoding standards make it difficult to build a long-lasting repository, therefore archives need to be set up in such a way that a straightforward and automated migration process to newer technology is possible whenever certain technology becomes obsolete. Other problems arise from the fact that there are many different groups of users of the archive, each of them with their own specific expectations and demands. Often conflicts exist between the requirements for different purposes of the archive, e.g. between long-term preservation of the data versus direct access to the resources via the web. The task of the archive is to come up with a technical solution that works well for most usage scenarios.

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