Preservation and Access: Documenting Endangered Languages - Preservation

Period of Performance

8/1/2014 - 8/31/2018

Funding Totals

$137,317.00 (approved)
$137,216.87 (awarded)

Making Pacific Language Materials Discoverable: Identifying and Describing Indigenous Languages

FAIN: PD-50034-14

University of Hawaii (Honolulu, HI 96822-2247)
Andrea Berez (Project Director: December 2013 to June 2019)

Funding details:
Original grant (2014) $122,317.00
Supplement (2016) $15,000.00
Supplement (2019) ($100.13)

The improved discovery of materials in or about Micronesian, Polynesian, and Melanesian languages held in the Pacific Collection at the Hamilton Library of the University of Hawai'i at Manoa. The applicant would develop precise catalog descriptors for approximately 1,100 endangered Pacific languages; complete cataloging for nearly 10,000 items; and make this information accessible to language communities, documentary linguists, other catalogers, and the public.

We propose to greatly increase the descriptive metadata for all the Pacific language material within the University of Hawaii at Manoa Library Pacific Collection by adequately describing the languages represented in the materials. At present, the Collection is inadequately described for language. The geographic region covered by the collection is among the most linguistically diverse in the world, which means that language information is especially crucial to the usefulness of the collection. We propose to ensure that all Pacific language material in the UHM Library Pacific Collection (~10K items) has adequate and consistent levels of description according to three standards: (i) MARC Code List for Languages, (ii) Library of Congress Subject Headings, and (iii) ISO 639-3 language codes. The first 2 are considered to be best practices for American libraries, while the third, ISO 639-3, is considered by linguists to be the gold standard for language description. Together, these 3 standards of descriptive metadata will drastically increase the discoverability of Pacific language material in the Collection, the most comprehensive collection of Pacific materials in the world.

Associated Products

Making Pacific Languages Discoverable: A Project to Catalog the University of Hawai‘i at Ma¯noa Library Pacific Collection by Indigenous Languages (Article)
Title: Making Pacific Languages Discoverable: A Project to Catalog the University of Hawai‘i at Ma¯noa Library Pacific Collection by Indigenous Languages
Author: Kleiber, Eleanor
Author: Berez-Kroeker, Andrea L.
Author: Chopey, Michael
Author: Shelby, Ryan
Author: Yarbrough, Danielle
Abstract: With more than 100,000 books, periodicals, and audiovisual, micro- filmed, and rare items, the Pacific Collection at the University of Hawai‘i at Ma¯noa (uhm) Hamilton Library is the premier collection of its kind in the world.In this essay, we describe our recent three-year project to increase the discoverability and accessibility of the Pacific-language materials in the Pacific Collection by improving and making consistent the descriptive metadata in the catalog, using standards accepted by both library science and linguistic science. Our hope is that our rationale and workflow can be adopted by other area collections around the globe, so that library resource description can increasingly benefit library users who wish to locate mate- rials based on the underrepresented languages they may contain.
Year: 2018
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: This will be Open Access as of January 2019
Access Model: Open Access as of January 2019
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: The Contemporary Pacific
Publisher: The Contemporary Pacific (journal)

Making Pacific Language Materials Discoverable (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Making Pacific Language Materials Discoverable
Author: Berez-Kroeker, Andrea L
Author: Yarbrough, Danielle
Author: Shelby, Ryan
Author: Kleiber, Eleanor
Author: Chopey, Michael
Abstract: With over 1100 distinct languages, the Pacific is one of the most linguistically diverse regions in the world. At the same time, many of the materials written in or about those languages are difficult to locate in the world’s libraries. This is because until recently libraries have lacked standards for accurately cataloging their collections according to the name of the language or dialect. This means that resources on or in languages of the Pacific have remained somewhat hidden from library users, including researchers and the public. In this presentation, we describe a three-year collaborative project between the University of Hawai'i at Ma¯noa (UHM) Library?s Pacific Collection and Department of Linguistics, in which we have been actively working to accurately describe the over 10,000 items in or about Pacific languages held in the UHM Pacific Collection. This project, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, seeks to make discoverable a critical part of the Pacific social and cultural environment, as well as set a new standard for language description to ensure that Pacific voices are heard.
Date: 10/13/2017
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: Link to PDF