How to Use the Archives Catalog

The Archives Catalog contains resources dating from 1935 to the present and includes books, journal articles, book chapters, dissertations, manuscripts, data sets, audio and video, photographs, literacy books, instructional books on other topics (health, math, social studies), story and folk tale books, and translated works.

How do I browse the Catalog?

A ‘Browse the Archives’ box is located on right side of the Language & Culture Archives page.  You may choose from six categories:

  • Contributors – authors, editors, compilers, translators, and other roles that ‘contribute’ to the creation of a work
  • Countries – generally the primary national boundaries within which a language is spoken or with which it is associated
  • Domains – a list of 21 primarily academic fields of study (e.g., ‘Linguistics’) in which SIL specializes
  • Languages – languages that a work may cover as a subject as well as languages of the content of works designed specifically for ethnolinguistic minority communities
  • Series – serial publications
  • Subjects – keywords and phrases (e.g., ‘AIDS and HIV’), work types (e.g., ‘primers’), and academic domain related products (e.g., ‘lexicons’)

Each index is arranged alphabetically and each term/name within the index is followed by a number in parentheses representing the number of items in the catalog tagged with the term/name. Select the term/name of interest in to see a list of all the items pertaining to that term/name.

How do I search the Catalog?

Simply type in the search term(s) of interest in the search box located underneath the ‘Browse the Archives’ box on the right side of the Language & Culture Archives page.

The search engine looks in the following fields and ranks your results by relevance:

full text of documents
general descriptions
tables of contents
promotional statements
conference descriptions
script information
publication categories
ISBN numbers


The search engine will only find the term(s) in the form you type them. For example, using the singular form of a term will return different results than the plural form. Subject terms are generally in the plural form.

How do I filter my browse and search results?

Initial browse and search results may be too broad – for example, browsing by the country 'Mexico' returns over 2700 results. To the right of the results, a series of boxes allow users to filter the results using ‘facets’ or categories of terms.

The facets available will vary based on the initial browse or search criteria. Here are the possible facets available:

  • Contributor – an author, editor, compiler, translator, and other role that ‘contributes’ to the creation of a work
  • Country – generally the primary national boundaries within which a language is spoken or with which it is associated
  • Domain – 21 primarily academic fields of study (e.g., ‘Linguistics’) in which SIL specializes
  • Content Language – the language in which the content is delivered
  • Subject – keywords and phrases (e.g., ‘AIDS and HIV’)
  • Subject Language – the language which the work describes or documents
  • Series – serial publications
  • Nature of Work – e.g., text, speech, photograph, etc.
  • Work Type – may be a general work (e.g., ‘journal article’) or a specific type of work related to a particular academic field (e.g., ‘primer’ or ‘lexicon’)
  • Availability – items obtainable through or another website


These facets are made up of lists of names or terms, each with the number of related items in parentheses next to them. Select the terms to narrow your results. Undo any selection by selecting the red ‘x’ at the top of the column beside the term you wish to remove.

For example, to filter the 2700+ items related to ‘Mexico’ by contributor, select ‘Pike, Kenneth L.’ who contributed to 111 works related to ‘Mexico’. To further filter those 111 items by ‘Pike’ about ‘Mexico’, select the subject language ‘San Miguel El Grande Mixtec’. The results are then narrowed from 2700+ items down to a much more manageable 14 items.

On the results page, selecting the work’s title leads users to the detail page containing the full bibliographic description and possibly either a downloadable file or a link to a website related to the item. Some items contain only a description which indicates that the work or a copy of the work may be available upon request. See below regarding what we are able to provide.

What does 'available online' mean?

Online availability is defined as either a downloadable file available on or a link to another website. In many cases, links lead to sites where the work may be freely obtained. In other cases, these links may lead to publisher websites where the work is available for purchase only. These links may change over time. Please notify the Archives if a link is broken.

How can I download resources that are ‘available online’?

If an item in the catalog has a downloadable file, you will see the file name and a download icon at the top of the bibliographic detail page for that work. 

What ‘terms of use’ apply to items I download?

Unless stated otherwise in the file or the item description, all items are available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 Unported License.

You are free to share (i.e., to copy, distribute and transmit the work) and to remix (i.e., to adapt the work) under the following conditions:

  • You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).
  • You may not use this work for commercial purposes.
  • If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one.

Attribution: (Contributors), © SIL International; and, © Named rights holders for materials used by permission as specified in the work.

See SIL’s Terms of Use for more details.

How can I request a copy of something listed in the catalog but unavailable online?

The SIL Publications Catalog features works that are currently in-print and available to purchase.  

‘Out-of-print’ items found in this catalog may be available by special order from SIL International Publications (6–8 weeks for delivery within North America, in most cases). E-mail SIL Publications (i.e., from Contact Us, choose ‘SIL Publications’), and include the ‘entry number(s)’.

The Archives and SIL Publications can only supply copies of works for which SIL International holds copyright. Some works listed in the Language and Culture Archives catalog are copyrighted by publishers outside of SIL. A link to where the item is available online is provided (when known). Otherwise, access to these items may be possible either by interlibrary loan through a university or public library, or by purchase through or another vendor.

May I use your references in my own bibliography?

You are welcome to copy this information into your own personal bibliographic database. If you wish to republish citations from this catalog on another website or in any other medium, we request that you also include as an element or field in the citation the URL for the corresponding citation in our Archives Catalog. The format for this link is where nnnnn is the SIL Language and Culture Archives entry number. If you have additional questions regarding use or the copyright, please read SIL’s Terms of Use.

How often is the online Language and Culture Archives collection updated?

The online catalog is updated weekly to reflect new additions to the collection as well as newly available digitized formats.

How can I contact the Archives with comments, corrections or other questions?

You are invited to send your comments, corrections, or questions. Simply select Contact Us and choose ‘Archives’. When referencing specific items in the Catalog, please provide the ‘entry number’ or the URL of the item.

General inquiries may also be directed to:

SIL Language & Culture Archives
7500 W. Camp Wisdom Rd.
Dallas, TX 75236-5629 USA