publishing fieldwork data

Harald Hammarström harald at BOMBO.SE
Wed Apr 18 09:16:04 UTC 2007

>> 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 progress.

I don't understand this distinction; once a typological database is 
designed and each time datapoint is set, that's it, it's done. My own
typological database projects certainly have non-random points in time.
For example, when all datapoints in a drawn sample have been set, then
it would be ready for publication just like a text collection (a text
collection, like a typological database, could also be extended 
indefinetely with more texts).

To me an online "journal" for publishing typological databases sounds
like a perfect outlet. I don't see any real technical obstacles either.


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