User Guide - Introduction

1. Introduction

The Indigenous Languages Digital Archive (ILDA) is a web-based software designed to assemble primary source materials for endangered languages into a digital archiving space in order to support language revitalization through linguistic analysis and development of language learning materials. ILDA provides digital surrogates of written and audio materials, pairing images and sound clips with transcriptions of words and phrases in a given language. As a research tool, ILDA is intended to serve the needs of language and cultural teachers, linguists and others in the community as they access archives to inform language and cultural revitalization.

1.1 Development of ILDA

ILDA’s development began with the design of the Miami-Illinois Digital Archive (MIDA). MIDA is a web-based community-directed digital archive software created by the Myaamia Center to assist in Myaamia language and culture revitalization. After successfully using MIDA in their work, Myaamia Center staff began to pursue a pilot program to expand the software for use by other Indigenous Community Researchers. Alongside National Breath of Life staff and a team at the University of Oregon’s Northwest Indian Language Institute (NILI), Myaamia Center staff successfully launched ILDA in 2017. Since then, these parties have piloted ILDA so that it can support the work of other Indigenous language Community Researchers. You may read more about the development of ILDA at http://miamioh.edu/myaamia-center/breath-of-life/ilda/index.html.

1.2 What ILDA is and isn't

ILDA is designed to be a digital archive for a given language. A digital archive stores primary source material of a language and the accompanying analysis necessary to make this information useful for research and community language and culture revitalization. ILDA preserves each token, instance, or a word/phrase found within a collection, and provides access to digital surrogates (pictures and audio clips) of source materials.

ILDA is not meant to function as a dictionary, which provides type level entries (i.e. standardized forms of words). Instead, ILDA is meant to provide a clear window into the archival record to inform the analysis and the development of dictionaries, curricula and other tools. ILDA provides a software platform to host large-scale collections of linguistic documentation.

1.3 Importance of Data Management

For an archive to be useful as a research tool, it must be well organized. For ILDA to be used to its full potential, users must manage data in a consistent, clear and standardized manner. Implementing protocols for how data will be organized, processed, and analyzed is an essential part of managing a digital archive within ILDA. Much of this guide covers working procedures for managing data within ILDA. These procedures are certainly not the only way to organize data successfully. Instead, they are the working procedures successfully adopted by current ILDA users to ensure data is managed in a clear and consistent way.

1.4 Tips for using this guide

Throughout this guide, the names of fields and buttons within ILDA are bolded to make it easier for you as the user to identify when we are talking about a particular field or button within the software, as opposed to a more general concept. So, the field named Original Gloss will be bolded, but when we’re talking more generally about reading glosses, the term “gloss” will not be bolded.
Many of the sections of this guide are related, and we do our best not to repeat information included in another section. With that in mind, we frequently reference other sections. Be sure to refer to relevant sections when you need clarification.
There is a glossary at the back of this booklet that includes definitions of the linguistic, computer, and ILDA-specific terminology used in this guide followed by a Troubleshooting section that includes solutions to common problems ILDA users have reported.