🏛 Goings-on at ELAR

Received this from the RNLD list, perhaps of interest to the present crowd (and it’s about @msatokotsubi’s former haunt!):

ELAR launches new archiving platform

The Endangered Language Archive (ELAR) is excited to announce the launch of its new archiving platform powered by Preservica on February 21st 2021, International Mother Language Day - celebrating humanity’s cultural and linguistic diversity. ELAR holds audiovisual collections of endangered languages recorded with and by communities all over the world, preserving their knowledge and languages, making them available for future generations.

Over 500 collections can be explored in ELAR, from languages spoken by communities in the Kalahari Desert in Namibia, South Africa and Botswana, over languages signed in India and Iran, to languages whistled in the Brazilian Amazon. You can find recordings of every-day conversations, instructions on how to build fish traps or boats, explanations of kinship systems and the use of medicinal plants, and learn about art forms like string figures and sand drawings. ELAR’s collections are unique records of local knowledge systems encoded in their languages, described by the holders of the knowledge themselves.

The Endangered Languages Archive was created in 2002 in response to the dramatic decline of linguistic diversity with seed funding by the Arcadia Fund, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin. Arcadia serves humanity by preserving endangered cultural heritage and ecosystems. ELAR was created together with the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme, a grant-giving organisation which funds language documentation projects and trains language documenters globally.

In the week following International Mother Language Day, ELAR will hold a virtual celebration of the launch of its new archiving platform, showcasing the diversity of collections via the new ELAR Blog and ELAR’s social media channels. Follow @ELARarchive on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.


Yes, some big changes to the presentation! It’s definitely a much cleaner and more modern look.

Embedding media
Background: we’ve talked about the issue embedding or linking to archived materials in the past - are there any changes in this regard with the new Preservica platform at ELAR?

On first glance it looked like the ELAR video and audio is now easily embeddable in HTML, but I soon realized that you need an access token in order to view it. If you view the media in your web browser, then it generates the access token for you, and pulling the HTML code with F12/Inspect Element results in embeddable code that can be used only so long as your token is valid.

There is a Preservica API, which includes a way to get an access token and download files, etc. It looks like the only way to get an access token is to have an account:

“To request a token, send a POST request to /api/accesstoken/login, with the user name, tenancy and password as form parameters in the content (e.g. username=accessuser&password=secret&tenant=TENANT_ID).”

So is the dream of embeddable archived documentary materials still out of reach? Perhaps if someone were to make an online reference grammar based on archival data it would be reasonable to ask users to create a free ELAR account for the sole purpose of getting access to the embedded media. It looks like the tokens are only valid for 15 minutes at a time, though.

I think then that users will continue to have these two, non-mutually-exclusive options:

  1. Citation of un-embeddable archival materials
  2. Embedding of copies of archival materials
1 Like