What We Do

The goal of a Language and Culture documentation project is an archived documentary corpus.

That corpus is composed of two categories of files:  those which give structure to the corpus and the bundles of recordings which comprise the bulk of the corpus. The structural files include an introduction, a ‘terms of use’ statement related to permissions and restrictions given by those who participate, informed consent statements, and a table of contents. The digital audio and video recordings normally include wordlists, several recordings each of multiple genres of speech acts, in addition to cultural recordings, and annotated discussions about the language, culture and context. Practitioners attempt to achieve as representative a corpus as possible within the time, personnel and resource constraints of the project.

The completed documentary corpus is submitted to a previously identified archive, often one associated with the practitioner’s sponsoring organization. SIL’s Language and Culture Archives, as well as similar archives around the world, provide long term preservation of the data collected and serve as sites for making the data more widely available.