The Auslan archive consists of movies and background information about the people in the movies (metadata)

1. Movies (over 1,100 separate video clips)

Language recording sessions were conducted with one hundred deaf native and near-native signers of Auslan (twenty participants each from Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney). Participants were involved in three hours of language-based activity that involved an interview, the production of narratives, a survey, free group conversation, and other elicited linguistic responses to various stimuli. Two people were recorded in each session. The sessions were lead by a deaf native signer, usually a person well known to the participants. The footage has been edited into separate digital movie clips for each activity or task.

Click here for more information about the movies in the archive.

2. Metadata files (one for each video clip)

To facilitate access to the data, the project provides relevant metadata on all the media and annotation files. The metadata are stored in a database file in fields that follow IMDI metadata guidelines, which includes keys for sign language metadata. (IMDI stands for ISLE MetaData Initiative and is a standard used in describing language corpora.) As with the ELAN program, this has been developed at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen. Metadata will be transferred into the IMDI software before the archive and corpus becomes openly-accessible. The metadata includes information about the media and annotation files in the categories of:

  • actor (region, sex, age, education, etc.)
  • content (various language tasks, elicitation materials used)
  • media (format and type)
  • project (name, language, methodology)
  • session (task name, participants, etc.)
  • related written resources (existence of an annotation file for a media file, and the type of annotation completed if one exists).

Search routines across the archive and corpus will combine the search capabilities of ELAN itself, which are already powerful, with searches using IMDI metadata criteria. It will thus soon be possible to combine searches of data and metadata (e.g., one could search for all instances of the sign for BAD-LUCK used as an intensifier by male signers over 50 from the Melbourne region). Thus, it will become possible, for the first time, to make extensive qualitative and quantitative investigations of large samples of Auslan texts for evidence of common or regular grammatical constructions, sociolinguistic variation, and lexical and grammatical change.