LINGUIST List 12.1446

Tue May 29 2001

FYI: Jobs Ads Analysis, Ethics Wkshp Report

Editor for this issue: Karen Milligan <>


  1. Richard Sproat, Analysis of Job Ads on Linguist
  2. Doug Whalen, FYI: Report on Ethics Wkshp

Message 1: Analysis of Job Ads on Linguist

Date: Tue, 29 May 2001 16:44:02 -0400
From: Richard Sproat <>
Subject: Analysis of Job Ads on Linguist

I have completed a preliminary survey of the job ads that have been
posted on the linguist list from the beginning of 1994 until May of
2001. The data show some clear trends, including an explosion of
industrial jobs last year; but there is also some (in my view) telling
data on the *kinds* of industrial jobs that are being offered.

Rather than clutter the List with the particulars, I have put all of
this at:

In addition to the analysis, you can download the (unedited)
automatically extracted job postings, and the sample of 224 job
postings that I checked by hand.

Richard Sproat Human/Computer Interaction Research AT&T Labs -- Research, Shannon Laboratory
Tel: +1-973-360-8490 180 Park Avenue, Room B207, P.O.Box 971
Fax: +1-973-360-8809 Florham Park, NJ 07932-0000
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Message 2: FYI: Report on Ethics Wkshp

Date: Tue, 29 May 2001 17:32:42 -0400
From: Doug Whalen <>
Subject: FYI: Report on Ethics Wkshp

 How can we ethically put language on the web?
 by D. H. Whalen, President, Endangered Language Fund.
 Report on the SALSA Special Colloquium on Archiving Language 
Materials in Web-Accessible Databases: Ethical Challenges, 
Sunday, 22 April, 2001.

The internet is a great tool for spreading information around the 
globe at minimal cost. As sound gets better integrated into this 
world-wide web, it becomes easier to include material from endangered 
languages. Since the majority of the world's language do not have an 
agreed upon writing system, putting them on the web in spoken form 
makes a lot of sense. But can we do it ethically? This was the 
question raised at a recent workshop at the University of Texas in 

The workshop was part of the SALSA meeting-the Symposium about 
Language and Society, Austin, which is in its ninth year. The need 
for explicit agreement about ethical issues was brought into focus by 
the launch of UT's AILLA project. This is the Archive for the 
Indigenous Languages of Latin America ( As 
with North America, virtually all of these indigenous languages in 
Latin America are endangered. For some of these language 
communities, the prestige of being put on the web is very 
advantageous, both for pride within the community and for political 
leverage with the majority language of the country. But there are 
ethical decisions that have to be made at every step of the process. 
The intent of the workshop was to bring some of these considerations 
to light, both to make others aware of them and to bring in other 
perspectives so that a consensus can begin to be formed
The eight speakers had a variety of issues to raise, and certainly 
none of them were settled. In fact, most of the talks explicitly 
raised more questions than they answered. As a workshop to bring 
awareness to issues that are easy to ignore when only the technical 
challenges seem difficult, however, this workshop was quite a success.

The clearest consensus was reached on these points:
* "Publishing" on the web is different from publishing on paper. It 
has different consequences for the authors of the texts and should be 
treated differently.
* Agreements to be recorded are often made with an individual based 
on trust with that one person. Putting that same recording on the 
web brings the whole world into the picture and should not be assumed 
as part of the original agreement.
* This last point is especially difficult to accommodate when the 
recordings were made decades ago, before there was an internet to 
think about.
* The rights to linguistic material fall under the general issue of 
intellectual property rights. These are currently being debated in 
relation to indigenous culture for music, dance, and visual arts as 
well as for language material. In these domains as well, there are 
many unanswered questions.
* While problems will always arise, it is imperative that web 
archivists have an explicit ethics policy in place. It needs to cover 
the known issues but also be flexible enough to accommodate the 
developments that we know are going to take place in the realm of 
indigenous intellectual property rights.
* Indigenous peoples often assume that others are making money off of 
their products. With language material on the web, this is typically 
not true, but if it does become true, it is apparent that some method 
of sharing that income with the indigenous group is necessary.

An expanded version of this report can be found on our web page 
Doug Whalen (
Haskins Laboratories
270 Crown St.
New Haven, CT 06511
203-865-6163, ext. 234
FAX: 203-865-8963
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