LINGUIST List 13.1524

Fri May 24 2002

All: Open Language Archives Community on LINGUIST

Editor for this issue: Karen Milligan <>


  1. hdry, OLAC search now available on LINGUIST!

Message 1: OLAC search now available on LINGUIST!

Date: 23 May 2002 00:06:27 -0000
From: hdry <>
Subject: OLAC search now available on LINGUIST!

Dear Linguists,

You are no doubt familiar with the difficulty of finding information
about a language that you are researching. To a certain extent, the
internet has made it easier to find language documentation, but you
have to spend time searching each linguistic or language-related
archive individually. And even then you may not find what you are
looking for, since the same thing can be described differently in
different archives (e.g., dictionary and lexicon; genitive and
possessive; Sami and Lappish).

Over the past few months, we have been telling you about various
developments in the Open Language Archives Community
(OLAC)-developments that will make finding language data and
documentation easier. And today we are happy to announce that the
OLAC search engine and OLAC record editor (ORE) are now both available
on the LINGUIST List site.

What is OLAC?

OLAC is part of the Open Archives Initiative, a cross-disciplinary
movement to make it easier for electronic archives to share
information. OLAC is an "open archives" initiative designed
specifically to make information about language data and documentation
easily available. More information about OLAC can be found at

What is the OLAC search engine? 
In order to make linguistic data more easily accessible, the Open
Language Archives Community (OLAC) is assembling an online database,
similar to a huge library catalog. In this catalog is stored
information on language resources, such as corpora, field notes,
grammars, audio/video recordings, descriptive papers, and so on. The
information is stored as metadata in XML format, which organizes it so
that it is easily understood by the OLAC search engine.

Thirteen major language archives have already submitted information to
 OLAC, including ELRA, the Summer Institute of Linguistics, and the
 Linguistic Data Consortium. OLAC is encouraging everyone, from the
 major archives listed above, to individual linguists, to submit to
 them information about what you have.

	 This will allow the OLAC archive and search facility to grow
	 ever more useful, and an ever more valuable tool for the
	 linguistic community. Please visit our OLAC page at and try out the search engine,
	 where you can search all thirteen archives at once.

What is the OLAC repository editor?

The OLAC repository editor (ORE) is a simple form-based editor that
will allow linguists to add records to the catalog. If you are an
individual researcher, with a collection of field notes, papers
describing a language and so on, and especially if you have no
programming experience, you are likely to submit your information
using the OLAC Repository Editor (ORE). The ORE is just a series of
internet forms that you fill in, thereby creating a repository of
information. When you are ready, you can then make them available to
the OLAC search engine.

ORE is now available at It
will ask you create a login first, but having done that, you are ready
to enter information about any language resources you wish other
linguists to know about.

These are two of many exciting developments that will shortly make
life better for the working linguist. Some of you may remember, for
example, that the Max Planck Institute recently announced a suite of
software tools that field researchers can use to input or describe
their data, as well as the availability of
information about the (1) The corpus of the Max-Planck-Institute for
Psycholinguistics (Nijmegen, The Netherlands) and (2) The corpus of
the DOBES (Documentation of Endangered Languages) program. See
LINGUIST 13.1287 for more details.

And, by the way, the Max Planck Institute will shortly be making
information about these corpora available to the OLAC search engine.
So please visit our new OLAC facilities and let us know if you have
suggestions or comments.


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