"Unknown Unknowns" and the Retrieval Problem in Language Documentation and Archiving.

Date
2011-12
Authors
Holton, Gary
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
University of Hawai'i Press
Abstract
One of the major motivations driving the field of documentary linguistics is the need to create a lasting record of language that can be (re)used by both speakers and linguists. However, the mere act of language documentation does not guarantee that the products of documentation are accessible. This retrieval problem can result in a false belief that a language has been adequately documented—what I refer to as an unknown unknown. This paper illustrates unknown unknowns with examples drawn from the field of place names documentation, touching briefly on unknown unknowns in other areas of language documentation. The paper concludes with some suggestions as to how to mitigate against the retrieval problem.
Description
Keywords
archive, unknown unknowns, retrievable data
Citation
Holton, Gary. 2011. "'Unknown Unknowns' and the Retrieval Problem in Language Documentation and Archiving." Language Documentation & Conservation. 5: 157-168.
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