Bringing User-Centered Design to the Field of Language Archives

Wasson, Christina
Holton, Gary
Roth, Heather S.
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University of Hawaii Press
This article describes findings from a workshop that initiated a dialogue between the fields of user-centered design (UCD) and language archives. One of the challenges facing language archives is the fact that they typically have multiple user groups with significantly different information needs, as well as varying cultural practices of data sharing, access and use. UCD, informed by design anthropology, can help developers of language archives identify the main user groups of a particular archive; work with those user groups to map their needs and cultural practices; and translate those insights into archive design. The article describes findings from the workshop on User-Centered Design of Language Archives in February 2016. It reviews relevant aspects of language archiving and user-centered design to construct the rationale for the workshop, relates key insights produced during the workshop, and outlines next steps in the larger research trajectory initiated by this workshop. One major insight from the workshop was the discovery that at present, most language archives are not meeting the needs of most users. Representatives from all user groups expressed frustration at the current design of most language archives. This discovery points to the value of introducing a user-centered approach, so that the design of language archives can be better informed by the needs of users.
language archive, user-centered design, language documentation
Wasson, Christina, Gary Holton & Heather S. Roth. 2016. Bringing User-Centered Design to the Field of Language Archives. Language Documentation & Conservation 10. 641-681.
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