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AILLA papers


Metadata - cataloging archive materials

Download Metadata Forms or Editors

Metadata is catalog information about each resource. Some of it is used in searches, some defines property rights, other parts document how the resource was created. Complete metadata makes resources easier to accession, easier to protect, and more useful over time. We recommend that you use our spreadsheet or devise your own catalog to manage your language documentation corpus as it is created.

The best way to understand what metadata is and what information we want from you is to browse the archive and look at a variety of examples. The Depositor Information Packet contains a description of each of the metadata fields (eg title) and a set of controlled vocabulary terms (eg genre keywords.)


If this is your first deposit, you will be creating a new collection. This is an organizing layer for your materials that will help future users view your work as a coherent whole. Please take a few minutes to browse some collection pages to get an understanding of this concept. We encourage you to include collection overview materials, such as a bibliography, a summary of the project, maps, etc: anything that will help future users understand and make effective use of your resources.

Resource bundles

Many resources come in bundles, like a recording with transcription and translation files and some photographs. Please note all relations among items and label all the items clearly so that we can correctly accession your materials. Some bundles consist of a single item, such as a journal article. Others have hundreds of items. For example, a book based on several performances of verbal art has these elements:

  • all the pages in the book, scanned into several hundred tiff files;
  • audio files in two formats (wav and mp3) for each performance;
  • additional photographs of the performers.

Depositors decide how to organize their materials into bundles, and provide descriptions of how the items in each bundle are related. Users can then use this information to reassemble the bundle correctly.

AILLA's metadata schema conforms to the standards for language resources defined by both the International Standards for Language Engineering and the Open Language Archives Community.

AILLA is a joint effort of the LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Collections, the Department of Linguistics, and the Digital Library Services Division of the University Libraries at the University of Texas at Austin.
AILLA is also grateful for support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Science Foundation.
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