A Brief History of Archiving in Language Documentation, with an Annotated Bibliography

Authors: Ryan Henke and Andrea L. Berez-Kroeker

Abstract: We survey the history of practices, theories, and trends in archiving for the purposes of language documentation and endangered language conservation. We identify four major periods in the history of such archiving. First, a period from before the time of Boas and Sapir until the early 1990s, in which analog materials were collected and deposited into physical repositories that were not easily accessible to many researchers or speaker communities. A second period began in the 1990s, when increased attention to language endangerment and the development of modern documentary linguistics engendered a renewed and redefined focus on archiving and an embrace of digital technology. A third period took shape in the early twenty-first century, where technological advancements and efforts to develop standards of practice met with important critiques. Finally, in the current period, conversations have arisen toward participatory models for archiving, which break traditional boundaries to expand the audiences and uses for archives while involving speaker communities directly in the archival process. Following the article, we provide an annotated bibliography of 85 publications from the literature surrounding archiving in documentary linguistics. This bibliography contains cornerstone contributions to theory and practice, and it also includes pieces that embody conversations representative of particular historical periods.

Citation: Henke, Ryan and Andrea L. Berez-Kroeker. 2016. A Brief History of Archiving in Language Documentation, with an Annotated Bibliography. Language Documentation & Conservation 10. 411-457. http://hdl.handle.net/10125/24714