6.4 Creating a Guide for your Collection

The idea of creating a user guide for your language collection is still relatively new. Your guide should serve as an extension of your collection description. It is an opportunity for you to advise users on how they can navigate the collection, and what they can expect to find. The guide should provide users with a refined list of genres and search terms that will help them to optimize their research experience. 

When creating a collection guide, consider who the most common users will likely be:

  1. Those aiming to research and/or preserve community memory,
  2. Language teachers, 
  3. Those pursuing typological inquiries

The metadata you enter for each item will assist you in this process. As you assign keywords to items in your collection, you are essentially starting to build an interactive guide to your collection. The keywords will operate as search terms, so you will want them to be very specific and helpful to users.

When putting together a guide to your collection, consider the following information:

  1. A list of available genres in your collection
  2. Cultural uses and relevant keywords 
  3. Pedagogical uses and relevant keywords
  4. Typological uses and relevant keywords

Consider the way community members will want to access your collection. Some may be looking for certain stories, or readings done by specific speakers. Your guide should give clear indicators of how your materials will be useful for purposes of cultural instruction, for example, teaching youth in the community about heritage practices and the community members who discuss these practices.

You will also want to consider the way linguists and language teachers will want to access your collection. Language teachers may be looking for examples of specific communicative constructions, such as questions or commands. Linguists may be searching for relevant typological and grammatical constructions in your language data. Each of these should be represented in your keywords. For a review of CoRSAL's recommended subject and keyword categories see the below image: 

Examples of subjects and keywords in Boro metadata spreadsheet.

Examples of subjects and keywords in Boro metadata spreadsheet.

An example of a collection guide is here: https://scholarspace.manoa.hawaii.edu/handle/10125/24768