About Language and Culture Archives

Mission and Goals

The Language & Culture Archives exists so that ethnolinguistic minority communities benefit from the preservation of and/or open access to knowledge and resources collected, compiled, or created as the result of SIL's service to these communities in the pursuit of their language development goals.

The goals of the Archives are:

  • to faithfully steward intellectual property of and about indigenous language communities worldwide that has been acquired or produced by or in partnership with SIL and
  • to ensure sustainable access to these resources in this and future generations.


In service to language communities worldwide the Archives:

  • establishes standards, best practices, and partnerships that enable sustainable archiving and sharing of knowledge throughout SIL International and within the language communities it serves
  • stewards knowledge and resources through best practices in both data collection and description
  • preserves resources in their native formats as well as migrating them to other formats as necessary
  • publishes / shares bibliographic information about resources and, where possible, distributes the resources themselves



The collection was organized in 1947 as a means of tracking and publishing a 'corporate bibliography.' Nine editions of the 'SIL Bibliography' and five supplements were printed between 1948 and 1992. The 'Bibliography' was published online beginning in 1997. Administration of this collection of published works was reorganized in 1999 under the 'Language and Culture Archives.' Joan Spanne, the Archives' first director, broadened the collection development strategy to include unpublished resources. Between 2001 and 2013, the Archives published its catalog as the 'Bibliography' portion of SIL's flagship publication, Ethnologue.com.

Jeremy Nordmoe succeeded Spanne as Director of the Archives in 2009 and has overseen a transition of the Archives catalog to an institutional repository. The launch of this current website is the culmination of that effort (integrating the catalog of SIL's resources with SIL's other services). The Archives staff supports the archiving and publishing of resources from SIL's active language programs while it also addresses a backlog of unpublished resources previously not included in the 'Bibliography.'


Contacting/Visiting the Archives

The Language & Culture Archives is located at the International Linguistics Center in Dallas, Texas (USA). The bulk of the collection is in Dallas, but some physical resources are also scattered throughout the world in SIL libraries and offices. Researchers are invited to visit the Archives to conduct research by appointment only (appointments should be scheduled  at least one week in advance). A sizeable portion of the collection still requires cataloging and/or digitization before it can be shared online.  Please contact the Archives staff to verify the availability of specific resources or make general inquiries.

SIL Language & Culture Archives

7500 W. Camp Wisdom Road

Dallas, TX 75236-5629 USA

E-mail: From Contact Us and choose ‘Archives’