Workshop at Wikimedia’s Arctic Knot conference

On the 25 June 2021, ELAR, together with ELPD grantee Joshua Wilbur, will host a workshop at Wikimedia’s Arctic Knot conference, titled ‘Unlocking the potential of digital language archives‘. During the workshop, participants will get hands-on experience navigating ELAR, and explore ways of making language archives more accessible and user friendly for communities. Participants will discuss how existing digital infrastructures like Wikipedia could be used for making archival materials discoverable, and what their ideal community archive would look like.

The Arctic Knot Wikimedia Language Conference will take place online on the 24 and 25 June 2021. The entire programme is available here. The conference is organised by Wikimedia Norge, The Arctic University of Norway, Wikimedia UK, Wikimedia Deutschland, Wikitongues and Art+Feminism. The conference focuses on the future of indigenous and underrepresented languages and their presence and use on the Wikimedia projects, looking at Sámi languages in particular. You can register for the conference under this link.

The workshop will explore possible ways of community language documentation and archiving. The aim is to create a space for dialogue between speakers of Sámi languages or Sámi community members, and linguists and archivists. The workshop will be divided into three parts: The first part will consist in a short introduction to some basic archiving terminology, community language archives, and the differences between an archive and a website. In the second part, participants will be introduced to the Endangered Languages Archive (ELAR), and the Pite Sámi collection compiled by Joshua Wilbur. Participants will be asked to browse the collection and familiarise themselves with the archive’s interface. For the third part, participants will work in smaller groups on questions pertaining to designing a community archive for their variety of Sámi, discussing what types of materials should be included, which metadata categories would be useful to them and how these should be presented, and what the interface for their community archive would ideally look like. Together with the participants we will assess how existing digital infrastructures such as Wikipedia might be used for making archival materials accessible to community members. Furthermore we will determine how institutions like ELAR can best support Sámi communities in documenting their languages and preserving the materials, while also making them accessible to the communities in the best possible way.

Attendees will gain insights to language documentation and preservation. At the end of the session they will have a basic understanding of community archives, and how institutions such as ELAR might be of service to them in terms of preserving their linguistic and cultural heritage. They will also be equipped to think about planning their own community archive, and depositing their materials in an ELAR collection.

Participants need to register in advance using this link. In order to get the most our of the workshop, participants should register as ELAR users before the workshop.

To understand how archives can better serve the communities whose languages are represented in them, the QUEST research project at ZAS Berlin is currently conducting a survey on accessing archival materials. The questionnaire is currently available in English, Spanish, Russian, and French. If you are part of a community speaking a minoritised language, we invite you to take a few minutes to fill in the questionnaire. If you are working with a community that you are not a part of, fill in the outsider researcher questionnaire!

To learn more about language archiving, have a look at AILLA‘s online course ‘Archiving for the Future‘ and their YouTube channel featuring videos in English, Spanish and Portuguese on archiving.

During the first day of the Arctic Knot Wikimedia Language Conference, ELAR’s Communication Officer, Leonore Lukschy, will be taking part in a panel debate discussing ‘What role can indigenous language Wikipedia versions play in the strengthening of literacy for the circumpolar indigenous languages?’.

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