3.4 Item Level Metadata

For each of your files, you will want to provide the following information to the archive so keep track of this information on a spreadsheet or in SayMore. 

  • Titles
    • Main title
    • Parallel title
    • Series title
  • Creator
  • Contributor
  • Coverage
  • Language
  • Date
  • Content Description
  • Physical Description
  • Subject and Keywords

This information can be in an Excel spreadsheet, list, or entered into SayMore.  This is really your choice.  When you work with a CoRSAL staff member to move your materials to the CoRSAL archive, we will ask you for this information.  The more information you have, the more complete the metadata is, and the easier your material will be to find.

Here we provide some details on what information is needed for each file.

Titles

Main Title

All items must have a short, informative title in English that accurately describes what the item is. By using this list as a guide, you can keep your titles clear and consistent through your collection.

Type of item

Sample title

Retelling of:  use this when there is a well known story or a picture book or video that is retold 

Retelling of the Pear Story

Traditional story about: use this when the story is a folktale

Traditional story about the squirrel and bat

Monologue on: use this for one person speaking about opinions, history, interpretation.

Monologue on the state of the Lamkang language now and in the past

Description of: use this for the description of a procedure such as cooking, fishing, or how baskets are made

Description of how medicines are made from the plants in kitchen gardens

Performance of: use this for someone singing, dancing, reciting a poem

Performance of the ritual blessing song

Personal narrative on: use this for a person talking about their personal experience

Personal narrative on education and work

Conversation about: use this for two or more people talking

Conversation about the festivals in town

Elicitation of: use this when you are listing vocabulary or grammar examples and getting responses from speakers

Elicitation of words about vegetables

Analytical discussion about: use this for a guided conversation between linguist and speaker about specific aspects of the language, more detail about previously collected stories, etc.

Analytical discussion about modals

Speech about: use this for a talk prepared ahead of time and performed/spoken in front of a large group

Speech about the elections

Reading of: use this for reading of wordlists, when written stories are read out loud.

Reading of the wordlist on verbs

Photograph of: use this for photographs

Photograph of a traditional house

Unpublished manuscript about: use this for handwritten or typed notes that have not been published

Unpublished manuscript about the spelling system

Analytical notes on: use this for written paradigms, notes on technical linguistic subjects, etc.

Analytic notes on verb paradigms

Letter to: use this for letters, audio or written

Letter to Rex’s brother

**For published books, pamphlets, or magazines, use their official title.

The 6th Triennial Fellowship, Lamkang Naga Baptist Association: Hymn Book

Parallel Title

The Parallel title is a translation of the title in the source language. So, in the Lamkang Language Resource, where the Main Title is the “United Nations Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”, the Parallel Title is “Chaatti Kunpun ni Mdopandandok Indigenous Miirek ki Ruhtanna”. Something like a story or a poem will likely have a name in the source language. Other items like a word list or your notes on grammar may only have an English title--that is okay. This field is optional.

Series Title

We use the Series Title field to group items within a collection. For example, the Lamkang Language Resource includes the Shobhana Chelliah Collection and the Rex Khullar Collection, among others. This makes it easier to find just those items contributed by Rex Khullar. This field is optional.

Creator

The Creator field is used to indicate who made the item.  We have provided the most common roles for the Creator field for our language documentation projects.  You will find that identifying the role of creator becomes much easier after you have used this list a few times.

Role

Use for

Analyst

A person or group that provided linguistic analysis of language data.  

Author

A person that wrote the textual item (e.g., book, pamphlet, poem).

Collector

A person who has brought together material for the collection.  They may have recorded or written the materials themselves, or brought together recordings and materials by someone else.  If someone records a speech event, but does no other speaking or questioning, you may also use the collector role.

Interviewer

A person who elicits language data through engaging in conversation or questions couched in conversation.

Research team member

A person who participated in a research project, but whose role did not involve direction or management of it (use sparingly).

Researcher

A person or organization responsible for performing research (use sparingly).

Research team head

A person who spearheads the intellectual activities of a research project (use sparingly).

Photographer

A person or organization responsible for taking photographs.

Transcriber

A person who prepares a handwritten or typed transcript of an audio or video recording, or re-types field notes or legacy materials.

Translator

A person who renders a text from one language into another, or from an older form of a language into the modern form.

 

Contributor

Here we need to say who else is involved in the making of the recording, like the speaker, someone who helps with the recording equipment. 

Role

Use for

Analyst

A person who provides linguistic analysis of language data. 

Consultant

A person who provides specialized knowledge - anything from acoustic analysis or videography to cultural expertise.  Note that this is separate from a linguistic consultant -  see "Speaker" below.

Interviewee

A person who provides language data through informal conversation or in response to informal questions.

Performer

A person who participates in a staged performance, i.e., Sang songs, recited a poem, or acted in a play.

Research team head

A person who directs or manages the research project leading to the recording (use sparingly).

Research team member

A person who participates in a research project, but whose role did not involve direction or management of it (use sparingly).

Researcher

A person who conducts research which includes creating this recording.  For example, this could be someone hired by a grant to help with research (use sparingly).

Speaker

A person who contributes to a resource by speaking in the language of this resource collection, most likely a native speaker of the language.

Transcriber

A person who prepares a handwritten or typed transcript of an audio or video recording, or re-types field notes or legacy materials.

Translator

A person who renders a text from one language into another, or from an older form of a language into the modern form.

Since you will need to provide the names of the creators and contributors, you will want those names to be listed and spelled consistently.  This can be tricky with South Asian names, as these may or may not include fully spelled out or abbreviated caste names, family names, nicknames, and clan names.  It would be very helpful if you keep a list of names of the contributors and creators. You can decide how you would like to display in the archive.  Here is what such a list might look like:

The name

How to write it in the DL

What each part of the name means

Shobhana Lakshmi Chelliah

Chelliah, Shobhana Lakshmi

Family Name, Given Name (first), Given Name (Middle)

Rex Rengpu Khullar

Khullar, Rex Rengpu

Clan Name, Given Name, birth order name

Th. Harimohon Singh

Singh, Harimohon Thounaojam

Caste title, Given Name, Family Name

Note: If you have already listed someone under Creator, do not repeat that person under Contributor. For example, if someone records themself singing a song in their language, they will be the Creator of the item (Collector), even though they are also the Contributor (Performer) in this case.

 

Coverage

This field is for the geographical area where the language is spoken. Coverage is a repeatable field--this means there can be multiple geographical areas listed on one item.  For example, many items in the Mankiyali Language Resource include the name of the village in Pakistan where the language is spoken in the Coverage field, even if the recording was made at the University of North Texas in Denton, TX, USA. It is also possible to include other geographical areas discussed in the item, like a story about a trip to Nagaland. Even though the source language is spoken primarily in Assam, we can include 'Nagaland' to indicate the subject of the story.

Deciding what goes into the Coverage field can be confusing.  The area where the language is spoken is the best place to start.  CoRSAL staff can help you think through the other place names to include.

 

Date 

This field reflects when the item was created. Write the year first, the month, then day.  So, for October 10, 2008, the field will look like this 2008-10-10.  You may not know the whole date, but provide as much as you can.  If you are not sure, you can use a question mark after the date like this: 2008-10-10?. If you want to say an approximate date, you can use a tilde (~) like this: 2008-10-10~. 

 

Description

Content Description

In the content description, you say what the item is about.  If it is a photograph, describe who and/or what is photographed and what the context is, (e.g., a festival, or special event).  If it is a story, describe what happens in the story, or say who the story is about. You can also give more information on who is telling it, what village or country they are from.  You can also add additional information about the item, like whether a story is only told on special occasions, or what makes the item unique.  Here are some templates to help you describe your materials.

Genre

Description template

Example

Retelling

This is a retelling of {name of the story} narrated by {  }. The story is about {maximum 100 word description}.

This is a retelling of the Pear Story narrated by Beshot Khullar. In this story a boy steals a basket of pears and meets and shares pears with three other boys.   

Traditional story 

This is a traditional story about {No more than 100-word description}.

This is a traditional story about when Benglam chases a tiger and traps him in a tree, after which the tiger makes Benglam answer riddles.

 

Monologue 

This is a monologue on {maximum 100 word description}.

This is a monologue on why it is important to document a language.

Description

This is a description of {maximum 100 word description}.

This is a description of how to harvest rice from the paddy. First, they gather the rice on a winnowing fan to separate the husk. After that, the rice is stored in a granary.

Performance

This is a performance of {maximum 100 word description}.

This is a performance of housewarming songs. These songs are performed as part of the spring festival by men and women.

Personal narrative

This is a personal narrative on {maximum 100 word description}.

This is a personal narrative about the time Sumshot Khular played soccer in Texas.

Conversation 

This is a conversation about {maximum 100 word description}.

This is a conversation about preparations for a festival.  Father and son discuss what needs to be cooked for the feast.

Discussion 

This is a discussion about {maximum 100 word description}.

This is a discussion about how to weave fishing baskets in the traditional way.

Elicitation

This is an elicitation about {maximum 100 word description}.

This is an elicitation about modal verbs based on pictures and responsive sentences.

Analytical discussion 

This is an analytical discussion about {maximum 100 word description}.

This is an analytical discussion about modals based on 20 sentences collected through elicitation. The speaker and researcher identify substitutions for the modals that occur in a previously elicited list of sentences.

Speech

This is a speech about {topic} given at {event, setting, time, place}.

This is a speech about the importance of language documentation given at the workshop for digital archiving at IGNCA in June 2019.

Reading

This is a reading of {maximum 100 word description}.

This is a reading of a word list on tone in compounds.

Interview

This is an interview of {maximum 100 word description}.

This is an interview of two young Manipuri girls about going to school in Manipur.

Photograph

This is a photograph of {maximum 100 word description}.

This is a photograph of chickens in a field in Chandel during harvest time. They are of interest because of their unique plumage.

Manuscript

This is a manuscript about {maximum 100 word description}.

This manuscript is of handwritten field notes on the Lamkang language from three Lamkang researchers collected at the 2013 orthography workshop at Don Bosco.

Analytical notes

These are analytical notes on {maximum 100 word description}.

These are analytical notes on discourse markers in Lamkang.

Here is a brief list of other things the depositor may want to include in the description

  1. Birth year/gender/occupation/village the speaker is from
  2. The specific variety being spoken (Yasin Burushaski v. Nagar Burushaski)
  3. Whether there is a transcription or any analysis of the recording, or any related items
  4. Notes on the setting/context of recording (e.g., recorded during a wedding)

Sometimes you do not have all the information about an item. Include as much as you can.

Physical Description

For audio and video recordings, this is the duration of the recording. For a textual item, like a transcription, translation, or book, this is the number of pages. Use the following examples:

Audio and video recordings: 1 recording (7 mins., 42 secs.)

Textual items: 18 p. ; pdf

Photographs: 1 photograph : digital, col.

 

Subject and Keywords

The Subject and Keyword fields are your tools you can use to increase the use of your item.  We suggest provide at least three keywords for the following types of information:

  1. Linguistic information  (e.g., code-switching, serial verbs, relative clauses, agglutination)
  2. Ethnographic information (e.g., rice cultivation, bamboo, festivals, hunting, medicinal plants, dances, implements, clothing, etc.)
  3. Communicative patterns (e.g., questions, exclamations, warnings, greetings)