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Reviving Northern Paiute legacy materials using ELAN

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Title: Reviving Northern Paiute legacy materials using ELAN
Issue Date: 02 Mar 2013
Description: Archived at the University of Nevada-Reno Special Collections department are the collected field materials of the late Sven Liljeblad, a Swedish folklorist who first arrived in the area of Fort Hall, Idaho in the 1940s. In work that spanned four decades, he recorded and made meticulous notes of a range of Northern Paiute and Shoshoni dialects, as well as Nez Perce. His slip files served as the primary source for the newly-published Northern Paiute-Bannock Dictionary (Liljeblad, Fowler, and Powell 2012). There remain many hours of audio recordings on various media—wire, gramophone, vinyl disc, and reel-to-reel—as well as notes, miscellany, and transcriptions in various states of completion. Most of the collection lacks basic metadata, leaving annotations and recordings in disparate areas of the archive without the benefit of cross-referencing.

This paper reports on progress toward linking the audio recordings of just one body of materials—those of Northern Paiute storyteller, Pete Snapp (92 years old at the time of the ~1963 recordings)—to the available transcriptions and translations using EUDICO Linguistic Annotator (ELAN). In so doing, conceptually linked elements from different places in the archive are time-aligned in an XML format that can be archived alongside the digitized version of the audio files. One goal has been to preserve the integrity Liljeblad's work while making it accessible for in-depth study of the language by both linguists and community activists. Part of this process has involved developing tiers (annotations) for the original transcriptions, translations, and footnotes associated with the Pete Snapp Tales, while adding tiers for native listener responses, intonation units, and other previously unannotated elements of the recordings.

The content of the Tales includes both traditional and historical narratives of great value to the community. An overarching goal of the project is to facilitate access to that content for members of the community. Only 13 of the more than 30 tales recorded from Pete Snapp have been found to carry any annotation whatsoever. This material has been incorporated into our ELAN database and will become a permanent part of the Liljeblad collection. The next obvious step in the digital re-documentation process will be to provide more complete annotations for all the Tales, with the help of native speakers and local technical assistants, and to migrate the materials into a searchable database from which lexical and grammatical information can be found and used.

Liljeblad, Sven S., Catherine S. Fowler, and Glenda Powell. 2012. Northern Paiute-Bannock Dictionary. University of Utah Press.
Rights: Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Appears in Collections:3rd International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC)

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