Archive Access and Accessibility: A Progress Report on Social Networking at Work
The Endangered Language Archive (ELAR) at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) has taken a social networking approach to archiving and disseminating documentation of endangered languages and cultures (ELC) in order to balance two requirements: the sensitivity of many ELC materials, requiring effective but nuanced access control; and the fluidity of ELC materials and their access permissions over time, requiring multiple ongoing relationships between depositors, users, and the archive. I will report on issues that arose during the system’s development and users’ responses to it following its launch in June 2010.
I will also raise the issue of perceptions of access: access is perceived to be relative to the semiotics of the archive interface, rather than the colder fact of whether a particular file is reachable. More concretely, safe and appropriate access control can be enhanced through implementation of further social networking patterns, such as ‘user reputation’ (Crumlish & Malone 2009).
World Oral Literature Project Workshop 2010