RUIL exhibits in Digital Visions showcase

At the recent Melbourne Knowledge Week event, Digital Visions: Showcasing the Future of Cultural Research, The Research Unit for Indigenous Language (RUIL) presented two projects: first, Glossopticon: a Virtual Reality experience allowing users to navigate and explore samples of languages from across Melanesia; and second, a presentation of the Digital Daisy Bates archive which collates 24,000 pages of notes and questionnaires featuring Indigenous languages from the early 1900s

The Glossopticon project allows you to transport yourself to some Pacific Islands, surrounded by the sounds of their many languages. This immersive Virtual Reality experience was developed by Dr Nick Thieberger, ARC Future Fellow in the School of Languages and Linguistics, Dr Rachel Hendery, Senior Lecturer in Digital Humanities, Western Sydney University and Dr Andrew Burrell, new media artist and creative developer in association with the Pacific and Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures (PARADISEC).

The project combines linguistic research and innovative digital methods to create a map of the Pacific Islands the user can ‘fly’ over, dipping in to hear songs and the spoken word of from some of the more than 1500 languages spoken in the region. PARADISEC digitises and archives material from around the world and is focused on providing access to this collection. This project was funded by the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language.

In collaboration with the National Library of Australia (NLA), the Digital Daisy Bates project makes accessible an extremely valuable collection of several hundred wordlists of Australian languages, originally recorded by Daisy Bates in the early 1900s. This will enable reuse of the collection by Aboriginal people searching for their own heritage languages and by other researchers. The dataset is keyboarded and constructed according to the TEI Guidelines, to embody both a facsimile of the original set of manuscripts and a structured dataset for complex research questions. Access to these historical records of Australian languages will benefit from the interdisciplinary cooperation of linguists and musicologists with technology experts and with the premier collecting agency the National Library of Australia.

You can read more about our Digital Daisy Bates project on the School of Languages and Linguistics Digital Daisy Bates web page.