Nick Thieberger (Linguist) digitises large collection of Solomon Islands cultural assets

Associate Professor (Linguistics), Nick Thieberger, has successfully been awarded 2 Grants to digitise a large collection of photos, field notes, tapes and other material collected in the Solomon Islands, PNG  and neighbouring communities.

From 1971 to 1985, Ian Frazer retired anthropologist, conducted field work in North Malaita, Solomon Islands, mainly To'abaita but with neighbouring groups as well (Lau, Baelelea, Pijin). During this time he built up a large collection of tapes, photos, field notes and other material. There are over 200 cassettes and over 40 reels of mixed content - music (traditional and contemporary), traditional stories, history, life histories, traditional and present day customs/culture, political history and much more. None of the collection is digitised. This project will digitise this collection and make it available for current efforts to strengthen the ongoing use of local languages.

The Divine World University has a collection of tapes made by various people over time which was then deposited with the library at the Divine World University. They represent at least nine languages of PNG and also the German pidgin Unserdeutsch. The tapes are being stored in an environment that is not completely climate controlled and mould has affected some. Other tapes date from the 1960's and are records of local oral tradition. There are few records of most of the 900 or more languages of PNG so it is important to ensure each recording is accessible and playable.

Nick received two grants from the ELDP Legacy Materials Grants programme to work with the Divine World University in Madang on 180 of their tapes and with Ian Frazer who also has 240 hours of recordings from Lalaita, Solomon Islands.

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Nick Thieberger