PARADISEC (the Pacific And Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures) offers a facility for digital conservation and access for endangered materials from the Pacific region, defined broadly to include Oceania and East and Southeast Asia. Our research group has developed models to ensure that the archive can provide access to interested communities, and conforms with emerging international standards for digital archiving. We have established a framework for accessioning, cataloguing and digitising audio, text and visual material, and preserving digital copies. The primary focus of this initial stage is safe preservation of material that would otherwise be lost, especially field tapes from the 1950s and 1960s.

Principal project staff
Dr Nick Thieberger; Dr Linda Barwick
Start date
Wednesday, January 1, 2003
Completion date
Sunday, June 1, 2008
Digital resources created
Australia lies within a region of great linguistic and cultural diversity. Over 2000 of the world's 6000 different languages are spoken in Australia, the South Pacific Islands (including around 900 languages in New Guinea alone) and Southeast Asia. Within the next century this number is likely to drop to a few hundred. The majority of these 2000 languages and their associated cultural expressions (such as music and dance) are very poorly documented. Even in those languages that have begun to be documented many of the most developed cultural expressions (such as languages of song and ritual) have never been studied. Australian researchers have been making unique and irreplaceable audiovisual recordings in the region since portable field recorders became available in the mid-twentieth century, yet until the establishment of PARADISEC there was no Australian repository for these invaluable research recordings. As at March 2007 we have digitised 1700 hours of media and hold text files and images of fieldnotes related to the region.
Source material
The main sources of data are collections of analogue field recordings held in university departments, but also include a number of deceased estates. We have taken 14,000 images of Arthur Capell's notes and put them on-line for scholarly access.

Barwick, L., Blythe, J., Marett, A., & Walsh, M. (in press). Arriving, digging, performing, returning: an exercise in rich interpretation of a djanba song text in the sound archive of the Wadeye Knowledge Centre, Northern Territory of Australia. In R. M. Moyle (Ed.), Oceanic encounters: Festschrift for Mervyn McLean. Auckland: Research in Anthropology and Linguistics Monographs.
Barwick, Linda and Nicholas Thieberger. eds. Sustainable Data from Digital Fieldwork Sydney: Sydney University Press. 2006. (178 pp) (all papers are available here:
Barwick, Linda. & Nicholas Thieberger. 2006. Cybraries in paradise: new technologies and ethnographic repositories. In C. Kapitzke & B. C. Bruce (Eds.), Libr@ries: Changing information space and practice (pp. 133-149). Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Barwick, Linda. 2006. A musicologist’s wishlist: some issues, practices and practicalities in musical aspects of language documentation. Language documentation and description, 3(2005), 53-62.
Berez, Andrea and Gary Holton. 2006. Finding the locus of best practice: technology training in an Alaskan language community. Barwick, Linda and Nicholas Thieberger. (eds.) 2006. Sustainable Data from Digital Fieldwork Sydney: Sydney University Press. 69-86
Bowden, John and John Hajek. 2006. When best practice isn't necessarily the best thing to do: dealing with capacity limits in a developing country. Barwick, Linda and Nicholas Thieberger. (eds.) 2006. Sustainable Data from Digital Fieldwork Sydney: Sydney University Press. 45-55
Eades, D. & Hajek, J. 2006. Gayo. Journal of the International Phonetic Association 36, 107-115."
Evans, Nicholas. Listening to the Pacific: In remembrance of Terry Crowley. Linguistic Typology 9: 155-160.
Foley, W. 2006. Universal constraints and local conditions in pidginization: case studies from New Guinea. Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages 21, 1-44.
Hajek, J. 2006. On doubly articulated labial-velar stops and nasals in Tibeto-Burman. Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area 29(2), 125-133.
Hajek, J. 2006. On the Edge of the Pacific: Indonesia and East Timor. In D. Cunningham, D. Ingram, & K. Sumbuk (Eds.), Language Diversity in the Pacific. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. 122-131
Honeyman, Tom. 2006. Powerless in the field: a cautionary tale of digital dependencies. Barwick, Linda and Nicholas Thieberger. (eds.) 2006. Sustainable Data from Digital Fieldwork Sydney: Sydney University Press. 23-32
Johnston, Trevor and Adam Schembri. 2006. Issues in the creation of a digital archive of a signed language. Barwick, Linda and Nicholas Thieberger. (eds.) 2006. Sustainable Data from Digital Fieldwork Sydney: Sydney University Press.7-16
Marett, A., Yunupi?u, M., Langton, M., Gumbula, N., Barwick, L., & Corn, A. (2006). The National Recording Project for Indigenous Performance in Australia: year one in review. In Backing Our Creativity: the National Education and the Arts Symposium, 12-14 September 2005 (pp. 84-90). Surry Hills, NSW: Australia Council for the Arts.
McConvell, Patrick and Nicholas Thieberger. 2006. Keeping track of language endangerment in Australia. Denis Cunningham, David Ingram and Kenneth Sumbuk (eds). Language Diversity in the Pacific: Endangerment and Survival. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters. 54-84.
Musgrave, Simon and Nicholas Thieberger. 2006. Ethical challenges in documentary linguistics. Keith Allan (ed) Selected Papers from the 2005 Conference of the Australian Linguistic Society. [Online peer reviewed documents]
Rumsey, A. 2006. The articulation of indigenous and exogenous orders in Highland New Guinea and Beyond. The Australian Journal of Anthropology 17(1), 47-69.
Rumsey, A. 2006. Verbal art, politics and personal style in the New Guinea Highlands and beyond. In C. O’Neil, M. Scoggin & K. Tuite (Eds.), Language, Culture, and the Individual: A Tribute to Paul Friedrich. Munich: Lincom. 319-346
Schroeter, Ronald & Nicholas Thieberger. 2006. EOPAS, the EthnoER online representation of interlinear text.. Barwick, Linda and Nicholas Thieberger. (eds.) 2006. Sustainable Data from Digital Fieldwork Sydney: Sydney University Press. 99-124.
Shane Stephens. 2006. The Annodex platform. Barwick, Linda and Nicholas Thieberger. (eds.) 2006. Sustainable Data from Digital Fieldwork Sydney: Sydney University Press. 125-134
Stevens, M., Kruspe, N. & Hajek, J. 2006. Register in Mah Meri: A preliminary phonetic analysis. In R. Hoffmann & H. Mixdorff (Eds.), Speech Prosody. 3rd International Conference Dresden, May 2-5, 2006. 269-272.
Storch, N. & G. Wigglesworth. 2007. Writing tasks: comparing individual and collaborative writing. In María del Pilar Garcia-Mayo (ed) Investigating tasks in formal language settings. Multilingual Matters.
Thieberger, Nicholas and Simon Musgrave. 2006. Documentary linguistics and ethical issues. Peter Austin (ed). Language documentation and description, Volume 4. London: Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project, SOAS.
Thieberger, Nicholas. 2005. Computers in Field Linguistics. Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, 2nd Edition, Elsevier. 780-783.
Thieberger, Nicholas. 2006. The benefactive construction in South Efate. Oceanic Linguistics, Volume 45, no. 2, 297-310.
Thieberger, Nicholas. A Grammar of South Efate: An Oceanic Language of Vanuatu Oceanic Linguistics Special Publication, No. 33. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press. (384+xxvii pp+DVD) 2006.
Williams-van Klinken, C. & Hajek, J. 2006. Patterns of address in Tetun Dili, East Timor. In C. Norrby & J. Warren (Eds.), Patterns of Address Worldwide, special number of Australian Review of Applied Linguistics 29.2(21), 1-21.