Language Archive Records: Interoperability of Referencing Practices and Metadata Models


With the rise of the digital language archive and the plethora of referenceable content, a critical question arises: “How easy is it for authors to use existing tools to cite the content they are referencing?” This is especially important as people use archived materials as evidence within published language descriptions.

Archived resource metadata is well discussed in language documentation circles; however, bibliographic metadata and its accessibility are less discussed. Discoverability metadata, a subset of archived resource metadata, serves aggregators like OLAC by declaring a resource exists. In contrast, bibliographic metadata functions within documents by declaring where to find a resource that is known to exist.

In this thesis I look at the interaction between Zotero, an open source reference manager, five different archives (PARADISEC, Pangloss, SIL Language & Culture Archives, ELAR, and Kaipuleohone), and three methods of importing metadata from them into Zotero (DOI import, HTML embedded metadata, and file based import). I report on collection and audio artifact metadata provided by the archive to the author via Zotero’s interfaces: what’s included, what’s missing, and what’s misaligned.

Understanding the processes by which authors collect metadata for the purpose of citation and referencing, what metadata they need, and if it is being provided, facilitates the design of useful interfaces to archives which elevate the value of archives to all groups who interact with them. I propose that interaction design is an additional factor to those presented by Chang (2010) in her well received checklist for evaluating language archives.

Interaction design, the technical field concerned with designing how people interact with objects and services, is the design process by which archives manage the interactions they have with those they serve. I specifically argue that interaction design adds value to an archive’s brand, as perceived by the network of archive users, when it facilitates the interaction with bibliographic metadata about artifacts within holdings. This added value speaks to the sustainability of an archive within its sphere of influence. It is increasingly important in the career development of scholars to meet metric-based assessments of their influence in scholarly discussions. Reference counts, including those pointing to the evidentiary record housed in archives, play a significant role in establishing quantitative baseline metrics for scholars.

Language Archive Records: Interoperability of Referencing Practices and Metadata Models
University of North Dakota
April 2021

Citable as:

Hugh Paterson III (2021) Language Archive Records: Interoperability of Referencing Practices and Metadata Models. M.A. Thesis University of North Dakota: Grand Forks.

Hugh Paterson III
Hugh Paterson III

My research interests include typological patterns in articulatory phonetics; User Experience design in language tools; and graph theory applied to language and linguistics.