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University of Texas, Austin (Austin, TX 78712-0100)
Virginia Garrard Burnett (Project Director: July 2017 to present)
Transcribing AILLA: Increasing Collection Access and Reusability through Crowdsourced Transcription

A Foundations pilot project to transcribe materials in Mixtec, a pre-Columbian language spoken in south-central Mexico, and that are housed at the Archive of the Indigenous Languages of Latin America.  Working with undergraduate linguistics students and Mixtec community members who have migrated to southern California, the applicant would undertake transcription of hand-written documents and audio recordings to make them searchable, thereby improving access and reuse. 

The Archive of the Indigenous Languages of Latin America (AILLA) at the University of Texas at Austin (UT) has thousands of images of handwritten manuscripts whose text cannot be searched, making them difficult for users to discover and access. Since many of these documents are transcriptions or translations of recordings in AILLA's collections, improving access to a manuscript increases access to other media. This project pilots a low-cost process to improve access to resources in AILLA's collections by crowdsourcing the transcription of select handwritten documents written in Mixtec languages using open-source software. It will be implemented in an undergraduate linguistics course at UT, for which lesson plans will be developed, and within a Mixtec speech community in California, in an effort to develop a community of practice. More broadly, investigators will disseminate findings among other digital archives so they may adapt the approach to any language.

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Project fields:
Latin American Languages; Linguistic Anthropology; Linguistics

Humanities Collections and Reference Resources

Preservation and Access

$42,000 (approved)
$42,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2018 – 9/30/2020