In order to make Australian Indigenous kinship vocabulary from hundreds of sources comparable, searchable and accessible for research and community purposes, we have developed a database that collates these resources. The creation of such a database brings with it technical, theoretical and practical challenges, some of which also apply to other research projects that collect and compare large amounts of Australian language data, and some of which apply to any database project in the humanities or social sciences. Our project has sought to overcome these challenges by adopting a modular, object-oriented, incremental programming approach, by keeping metadata, data and analysis sharply distinguished, and through ongoing consultation between programmers, linguists and communities. In this paper we report on the challenges and solutions we have come across and the lessons that can be drawn from our experience for other social science database projects, particularly in Australia.
|Australian Aboriginal Studies
|Published - 2010