Analogical problems with digital data
Number of pages
SourceAsia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, 14, 2, (2013), pp. 183-194
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ RSCR CAOS
Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology
SubjectAnthropology and Development Studies
Current initiatives of digitally archiving ethnographic and linguistic data promise considerable advantages with regard to longevity and accessibility. This article discusses these ‘digital promises’ in the context of projects funded by recent research programs on endangered languages and cultures. It is argued that far from being merely a new technological tool for preserving data, digital archiving has considerable impact on the ways in which knowledge and research is organised and on the relationship between the participants in the research process. The new technological means change the structure of ethnographic data collections while highlighting a number of questions of data access and property rights that are analogous to earlier, and largely still unresolved, debates about the ethics of research and about data access and ownership.
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