Further Information : Links

Related Projects & Initiatives

This page provides a short list of websites and projects relevant to oral literature or which function as gateways to further resources, often making use of digital technologies to disseminate content in innovative ways. We are always eager to hear of new resources in these areas and will consider adding them to the list. Please contact us with suggestions.

University of Cambridge Projects

Professor William Sutherland at the Conservation Science Group in the Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge, directing a research project on extinction risk and global distribution of languages and species.

Oral Literature Projects

Founded in 1986, the Center for Studies in Oral Tradition at the University of Missouri has a national and international focus for interdisciplinary research and scholarship on the world’s oral traditions. Oral Tradition is a free, open-access electronic version of the centre's journal.

The Cahiers de littérature orale (Oral literature journals), published by the Centre de Recherche sur l’Oralité (Research Centre on Orality), now CERLOM, is one of the rare publications in the French language exclusively dedicated to orally transmitted texts. Each issue (about 220 pages, two issues or one double a year) is articulated around a topic related to the different facets of orality. It collects discussions, articles, reports and various information.

CELIAC is the Centro Editorial de Literatura Indígena, Asociación Civil, or the Center for Native Language Publishing, in Oaxaca, Mexico and is dedicated to the vitalization if indigenous languages of the Americas.

Listen to the D.K. Wilgus collection of ballads and folksongs, part of which is now online.

Estudos de Literatura Oral (ELO) is a yearly journal published by the CEAO and devoted to the study of traditional / popular literature.

The Institute for Studies of Traditional Literature at the New University of Lisbon is supported by the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia. It aims to recognising traditional / oral / popular literature as a central discipline of social and human sciences and as an intrinsic part of nonmaterial and universal human heritage.

The International Society for Folk Narrative Research is a scholarly and professional organization of international specialists in the areas of folk narrative, popular literature, folklore, and related fields.

International Society for the Oral Literatures of Africa (ISOLA) was established in 1991 as an association of scholars from all over the world who are interested in exploring the rich oral traditions of Africa and the African Diaspora from as many disciplinary perspectives as possible.

A website devoted to the Inuit Orality Conference with downloadable papers, proceedings and summaries.

The Melanesian Way (Inc. Papua New Guinea) is an initiative to revive, promote, protect and preserve traditional Melanesian cultures and indigenous practices and to fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Mountain Voices presents interviews with over 300 people who live in mountain and highland regions round the world. Their testimonies offer a personal perspective on change and development.

The Mukurtu Wumpurrarni-kari Archive is a browser-based digital archive created by the Warumungu community in Tennant Creek, N.T. Australia. The archive contains photos, digital video clips, audio files, and digital reproductions of cultural artifacts and documents.

The National Folklore Support Centre (NFSC), Chennai, is an unconventional, free-thinking organisation that works with the intangible heritage of India in innovative ways. NFSC is dedicated to the promotion of Indian folklore research, education, training, networking and publication.

Oral Traditions, a website devoted to the spoken word of the UK.

The Sabah Oral Literature Project was established by Dr G.N. Appell and Laura W. R. Appell in 1986 to collect, preserve, and translate the oral literature of the various peoples of northern Sabah. The oral literature of the peoples of Sabah contains important knowledge on the environment and its uses, elucidates the nature of the indigenous perceptions of their environment and offers an insight into the human condition during those times in human history when small communities existed on subsistence agriculture and came into conflict with other such societies.

Songs of Memory is an international conference to make the Philippine Epics and Ballads Archive of the Ateneo de Manila University accessible to all.

The Kiswahili Story Database publishes sets of stories and folktales. Kiswahili Story Database is available by subscription to individuals and institutions.

The Travelling Archive is a website about an ongoing journey through the rich and varied folk music of Bengal.

Tribal Cultural Heritage of India Foundation was established in in 2008 with the aim of contributing to the documentation of India’s tribal cultural heritage, especially aspects of oral traditions, traditional knowledge and material culture that may be valuable for the cultural identity of tribal people.

The Tun Jugah Foundation is charitable organisation with a number of objectives, including the collection, recording, transcription and translation of all forms of Iban folklore for study by contemporary scholars and future generations of Iban.

Ukrainian Folklore Sound Recordings is a website of 170 hours of audio recordings, part of a larger project on Ukrainian Traditional Folklore which seeks to present the folklore and ethnography of Ukraine.

The Uysal - Walker Archive of Turkish Oral Narrative (U-W ATON) is a repository situated at the Texas Tech University Libraries in Lubbock Texas. The work towards an archive began in 1961.

The Verba Africana series aims at producing DVDs for video documentation, research and e-learning of African languages and oral literatures. They have hosted Ewe Stories and Storytellers from Ghana and Zanzibar: Taarab and Ngoma Performances online, hosted by Leiden University. Verba Africana was established by Dr Daniela Merolla and is the publication series of the international project "African oral literatures, new media, and technologies" (Leiden University, Hamburg University, INALCO-Paris, University of Naples 'L'Orientale', SOAS-London and NWO - the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research).

The Wadeye Song Database presents the results of the Murriny Patha song project.

The Western Australia Folklore Archive records, preserves and gives the public access to the rich folk traditions, past and present.

Endangered Languages Projects, Resources and Funding

Arca dei Suoni is a project aimed at the collection, sharing and preservation of sound documents related to the life and history of the local communities of Sicily. The project will actively involve high schools and cultural associations in a network, in order to get them to record, upload and download audio(visual) files through a dedicated platform so as to foster awareness of the citizens’ direct responsibility in the monitoring and protection of Sicilian cultural heritage.

Earth Action is an endangered languages programme that provides funding for indigenous language projects specifically in North/Central America and Siberia.

The Endangered Language Alliance is a non-profit organization whose mission is to further the documentation, description, maintenance, and revitalization of threatened and endangered languages, and to educate the public about the causes and consequences of language extinction.

The Endangered Languages Fund was founded ten years ago with the goal of supporting endangered language preservation and documentation projects. The main mechanism for supporting such work on endangered languages has been funding grants to individuals, tribes and museums.

Endangered Languages is a video-based e-learning module available in English, Dutch, Brazilian Portuguese and Russian.

Etnolinguistica is a repository of information on native South American languages, being part of a wider project to create and gather online resources on this field, for both academic researchers and the general public.

Enduring Voices: Documenting the Planet's Endangered Languages, conducted in collaboration with the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages, strives to document endangered languages and prevent language extinction by identifying the most crucial areas where languages are endangered, and assist indigenous communities in their efforts to revitalize and maintain them.

The First Peoples’ Heritage, Language and Culture Council (the First Peoples' Council) is a provincial Crown Corporation formed by the government of British Columbia in 1990. They have developed online language and culture toolkits for people wanting to develop language revitalization projects and an impressive language map of British Columbia.

The Foundation for Endangered Languages supports, enables and assists the documentation, protection and promotion of endangered languages.

The goal of the German Association for Endangered Languages (Gesellschaft für bedrohte Sprachen – GBS) is to further the use, preservation and documentation of endangered languages and dialects.

The Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project (HRELP) supports research, training and archiving for endangered languages throughout the world.

Language Documentation and Conservation is a fully refereed, open-access journal sponsored by the National Foreign Language Resource Center and published exclusively in electronic form by the University of Hawai‘i Press.

A set of useful online resources to accompany the book Linguistic Fieldwork: A Practical Guide, by Claire Bowern.

The Ethnos Project is a research blog and information resource exploring the cultural impacts of information and communications technologies (ICTs) when used to affect social change; sustain and stimulate the rapidly disappearing traditions and languages of Indigenous peoples; and improve the quality of life of people on their own cultural terms.

The Script Encoding Initiative was set up at the Department of Linguistics of the University of California at Berkeley to fund proposals for those scripts currently missing in Unicode (and its ISO counterpart, 10646), the universal character encoding standard. It was officially established in April 2002.

SemArch is the web-site of the archive of audio documents at the Department of Semitic linguistics, University of Heidelberg. Funded by the DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft), it aims at the digitalization of audio documents of Semitic languages or dialects and their archiving and publishing in an internet-database.

The Formartine Oral History Project contains an online archive of interviews and narratives from Aberdeenshire.

The Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas (SSILA) is a scholarly organization founded in 1981. Membership is open to all those who are interested in the scientific study of the languages of the native peoples of North, Central and South America.

The Sorosoro programme of the Fondation Chirac intends to contribute to the safeguarding and revitalization of endangered languages.

The Teaching Indigenous Languages website is an outgrowth of a series of annual conferences started in 1994 at Northern Arizona University (U.S.A.) focusing on the linguistic, educational, social, and political issues related to the survival of the endangered Indigenous languages of the world. It contains papers from the 1997 through 2003 conferences on indigenous language teaching, revitalizing and preserving and lots of additional information and links.

The Foundation for Siberian Cultures (Kulturstiftung Siberien) aims to preserve indigenous languages.

Tools for Linguistic Anthropology a society for linguistic anthropology resource site.

The UNESCO: Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger lists about 2,500 endangered languages. For each language, the Atlas provides a name, its degree of endangerment and the country or countries where it is spoken. UNESCO also maintains a page on oral traditions.

Vanishing Voices of the Great Andamanese is a major documentation project directed by Professor Anvita Abbi of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India, aiming for a detailed descriptive grammar, a sociolinguistic description, a trilingual dictionary in Great Andamanese, Hindi and English, and an extensive archive of folklore, oral texts, and video recordings of the surviving 36 Great Andamanese speakers residing in the Strait Island.

In 2000, the Volkswagen Foundation established the DoBeS (Documentation of Endangered Languages) programme in order to document languages that are potentially in danger of becoming extinct within a few years time. The archive is based in Nijmegen in the Netherlands.

VOVA (Vocal and Verbal Arts Archive) preserves endangered indigenous languages and other vocal and verbal art traditions through digital documentation of community performances.

UNESCO Reports

UNESCO World Report 2009: Investing in Cultural Diversity and Intercultural Dialogue explores potential routes to renewing development strategies in favour of poverty eradication, environmental action and sustainable, human-centred governance.

UNESCO World Report 2010: Community-Based Approach to Museum Development in Asia and the Pacific for Culture and Sustainable Development contains 10 articles from community-based museums in the Asia Pacific region.

ICCROM-UNESCO 2009: Preventive Conservation of Collections in Storage is a guide to re-organising museum storage. For museum professionals.

Cultural Heritage Protection Handbook 5, 2010: Handling of Collections in Storage. A guide for museum professionals.

Cultural Heritage Protection Handbook 3, 2007: Documentation of Artifacts' Collections. A guide for museum professionals.

Cultural Heritage Protection Handbook 2, 2006: Care and Handling of Manuscripts. A guide for museum professionals.

Digital Archive and Library Resources

AILLA is a digital archive of recordings and texts in and about the indigenous languages of Latin America. Access to archive resources is free of charge.

The Alaska Native Language Centre was established by state legislation in 1972 as a center for research and documentation of the twenty Native languages of Alaska.

The Archival Platform is a networking, advocacy and research initiative which aims to facilitate dialogue and information sharing between professionals, academics and government employees in the heritage and archive sector.

The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies aims to further understanding of Australian Indigenous cultures, past and present through undertaking and publishing research, and providing access to print and audiovisual collections.

The Centre de Recherche en Ethnomusicologie (CREM) is part of the Laboratoire d'Ethnologie et de Sociologie Comparative (UMR 7186) in Paris. The ethnomusicology archive may be searched here.

Copyright for Librarians is a joint project of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society and Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL), a consortium of libraries from 50 countries in Africa, Asia and Europe.

Documenting Endangered Languages (DEL) is is a multi-year funding partnership between the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) that supports projects to develop and advance knowledge concerning endangered human languages.

The Digital Endangered Languages and Musics Archives Network (DELAMAN) is an international umbrella body for archives and other initiatives with the goal of documenting and archiving endangered languages and cultures worldwide.

The aim of the Endangered Archives Programme (EAP) to contribute to the preservation of archival material that is in danger of destruction, neglect or physical deterioration worldwide. Based at the British Library, EAP has compiled a series of very helpful guidelines on the preservation of film, images and sound recordings.

The Endangered Languages Archive (ELAR), part of the Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project (HRELP), provides a digital archive for the documentations and descriptions of endangered languages. ELAR started accepting deposits in October 2005.

Intellectual Property Issues in Cultural Heritage is concerned with the nature of knowledge and rights based on culture: how these are defined and used, who has control and access and how fair and appropriate use and access can be achieved to the benefit of all stakeholders.

JISC Digital Media (formerly known as TASI) is a JISC Advance service, which provides advice, guidance and training to the UK's Further and Higher Education community. The website offers very helpful guidelines on working with still images, moving images and audio.

The Journal of Folklore Research offers concise reviews of recent works (including books, museum exhibits, scholarly websites, DVD and CD-ROM productions, and video and film documentaries) relevant to the discipline of folkloristics, delivered directly and free of charge to individuals through an e-mail subscription list, as well as on-line through their website.

Kaipuleohone is the University of Hawai'i's digital ethnographic archive for audio and video recordings as well as photographs, notes, dictionaries, transcriptions, and other materials related to small and endangered languages.

The Langues et Civilisations à Tradition Orale (LACITO) archive contains documents of connected, spontaneous speech, mostly in 'rare' or endangered languages, recorded in their cultural context and transcribed in consultation with native speakers.

Memory of the World is UNESCO's programme aiming at preservation and dissemination of valuable archive holdings and library collections worldwide.

Open Folklore, being created by the American Folklore Society and the Indiana University Bloomington Libraries, is a new scholarly resource that will make a greater number and variety of useful resources, both published and unpublished, available for the field of folklore studies and the communities with which folklore scholars partner.

The Open Language Archives Community (OLAC) is an international partnership of institutions and individuals who are creating a worldwide virtual library of language resources.

The Pacific and Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures in Australia (PARADISEC) 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.

The practical e-records blog is about software and tools for archivists, written by Chris Prom.

The Repository and Workspace for Austroasiatic Intangible Heritage (RWAAI) is a digital multimedia resource dedicated to the maintenance of research materials documenting the intangible heritage of the Austroasiatic communities of Mainland Southeast Asia and India.

The Rosetta Project is a global collaboration of language specialists and native speakers working to build a publicly accessible digital library of all documented human languages.

Toolkit for the Impact of Digitised Scholarly Resources (TIDSR) is a guide to measuring the impacts of online scholarly resources.

Other Resources

Alexander Street Press publishes resources for anthropology, ethnography and a range of other disciplines.The Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries page contains free folk music downloads.

Chickasaw.tv is an online network of video-rich channels dedicated to representing all historical and contemporary facets of the dynamic Chickasaw Nation.

Core of Culture Dance Preservation is a registered non-profit organization committed to safeguarding Intangible World Heritage. The emphasis is on ancient dance and endangered movement traditions in the healing, meditation and martial arts. Core of Culture initiates, supports and documents projects to enhance the appreciation and preservation of these rare forms of movement.

Endangered Alphabets is a project by artist Tim Brookes to make wood carvings of texts written in endangered languages and scripts.

Open Book Publishers is a Social Enterprise (CIC) company founded by a group of scholars concerned about the increasing price and difficulty to publish and access research in the humanities.

Narrative is a non-profit organisation dedicated to storytelling in the digital age.

Olympus digital voice recorders can be used for documentation of oral literature. Olympus provided three recorders to the World Oral Literature Project in 2011, for use in fieldwork in endangered traditions.

Shared and Open Anthropology is a project that examines the creation of anthropological knowledge through the use of communication technologies.

Open Context publishes anthropological data online.

The Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage is a research and educational unit of the Smithsonian Institution promoting the understanding and continuity of diverse, contemporary grassroots cultures in the United States and around the world. Their online resources include a series of documents relating to Safeguarding Traditional Cultures.

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) recognizes the dependency of indigenous and local communities on biological diversity and the unique role of indigenous and local communities in conserving life on Earth.

The Environmental Knowledge and Knowledge Societies page on the Rachel Carson Centre website contains links to PDFs of papers.

The Global Diversity Foundation promotes the richness of local cultures and their environments around the world.

The International Library of African Music (ILAM) is the largest archive of African music in sub Saharan Africa.

The Lao Oral History Archive (LOHA) documents the untold stories of Lao refugees in the US through audio and video media and create an on-line archive of interviews, videos, and historical documents.

The Permanent International Commitee/Comité International Permanent des Linguistes (CIPL) is an international non-governmental organization founded in 1928 during the first international congress of linguists to assist in the development of linguistic science.

The Poetry Translation Centre translates contemporary poetry from Africa, Asia and Latin America, including some in endangered languages.

The Xoms |Omis Project was established for the dual purpose of improving the livelihoods among the Hai||om whilst simultaneously seeking to ensure the preservation and promotion of Etosha’s unique cultural heritage.

Radio 3 provides the World Music archive . The archive provides ten years of Radio 3 on-location recordings from 2000 to the present in our World Music archive, recording the life and musical traditions of countries ranging from Brazil to North Korea and Cuba to Turkmenistan.