publishing fieldwork data

David Gil gil at EVA.MPG.DE
Wed Apr 18 08:35:14 UTC 2007

Martin Haspelmath wrote:

> Similarly, typologists don't yet have an e-journal for typological
> databases. I find the reason for this easier to identify: A typological
> database is a much less traditional object of publication than an
> annotated text, so there are no clear models in traditional publication
> practice, and an e-journal for typological databases would have to
> start from scratch in many way.

I think there's another more obvious reason.  One's collection of  
transcribed texts constitutes a set of complete objects, each of which  
could (if there were a willing publisher) stand alone as an electronic  
or hardcopy publication.  Barring the discovery and correction of  
errata, once the text is transcribed, that's it, it's done.  In  
contrast, one's collection of typological databases represents a set  
of ongoing projects, which, hopefully, one would keep on adding to  
indefinitely.  Obviously, this is inconsistent with hardcopy  
publication, but it also poses problems with respect to electronic  
publication, in that such a publication would invariably constitute a  
snapshot, taken at a more or less random point in time, of work in  


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