3.1 Data Management & Metadata

Your collection of language and culture materials may include video, audio, photographs, and text.  You will need to keep track of what materials you have and some information about the materials, such as:

  • who is the creator?
  • when was the item created?
  • how are items related?
  • how did you come by the item?

In this section, we provide some suggestions on how you can organize your materials (referred to as data management) and keep track of these details (referred to as metadata). Data management and metadata creation are not difficult if you start practicing them from the very beginning.  As with everything in life, practice makes perfect!


After successful completion of this module, you will have learned: 

  1. The basic types of metadata for a sound file, audio file, photograph, and scanned document.
  2. How to names files, organize them in folders
  3. How to create and manage metadata


Henke, R and A. L. Berez-Kroeker. (2016). A Brief History of Archiving in Language Documentation, with an Annotated Bibliography. In Language Documentation & Conservation, 10, (pp. 411-457). Honolulu, Hawaii: University of Hawai‘i Press. Available from https://scholarspace.manoa.hawaii.edu/handle/10125/24714

Holton, G. (2012). Language Archives: They're Not Just for Linguists Any More. In Language Documentation and Conservation, 3, (pp. 105-109). Honolulu, Hawaii: University of Hawai‘i Press. Available from http://scholarspace.manoa.hawaii.edu/bitstream/handle/10125/4523/14holton.pdf?sequence1

Roeschley, A. & J. Kim. (2019). “Something that feels like a community”: the role of personal stories in building community-based participatory archives. In Archival Science, 19. Berlin, Germany: Spring-Verlag. DOI: 10.1007/s10502-019-09302-2. Available from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/330952780_Something_that_feels_like_a_community_the_role_of_personal_stories_in_building_community-based_participatory_archives