Creating alternative access layers to the DOBES archive from existing metadata structure

Trilsbeek, P., Müller, G., & Miller, J. (2009). Creating alternative access layers to the DOBES archive from existing metadata structure. Talk presented at 1th International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC). Honolulu, Hawai'i. 2009-03-12 - 2009-03-14.
In many areas of the world, language archives are being created, containing information on endangered languages, adhering to sophisticated metadata schemes and archiving standards. The data deposited in these archives, however, is as of yet hard to access, especially for community members who might be easily frustrated when trying to access data. In the DoBeS archive, there are various ways of searching and browsing through the deposited data, allowing for sophisticated queries targeting information in the metadata or annotations, so that expert users can work with the language documentations. However, this user-interface is too complex for a visitor that has not been thoroughly introduced to the structures and it is difficult to find results that may satisfy typical community members’ interests. As a shortcut for users from the community, a community portal has been created which displays an array of traditionally relevant topics in a simple and attractive way and links to resources in the archive. Topics include traditional and personal stories, procedurals and traditional activities. It is suitable for school use and due to its topical structure, may also serve as a base for developing teaching materials. In the community portal, a number of pre-defined searches have been set up for certain resource categories. These categories are marked in the metadata, so whenever a metadata file is uploaded into the archive containing one of these values, it will automatically become part of the search results in the portal. The query to the metadata database is made possible through a so-called REST interface. Via this protocol, the metadata search can be accessed as a web service within any other dynamic web content management framework. This search technology could also be used to implement a portal for a broader audience, introducing the archive from various angles to different potential user groups. Here too, the dynamic searches guarantee a low maintenance effort once the portal has been created. And finally, we will show additional ways to represent archived data (e. g. using Google Earth layers), in order to draw a comprehensive picture of the various ways to enter the DoBeS archive and efficiently access relevant information. It is hoped that this paper will contribute to bridging the gap between the creation of comprehensive language documentation and community efforts at revitalization, and help researchers to fulfill their ethical commitment to make data as accessible as possible.
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