Principles of database design

Andrea Berez
Toshihide Nakayama
Nicholas Thieberger

Course days, time, and location:
6/29, 6/30, 7/1, & 7/2
10:00 - 11:45
Knight Library, Room 267b

Course Information:
This workshop teaches students to design and implement a database management system (DBMS) for organizing, storing, managing and retrieving the kinds of information typically arising from fieldwork. These include primary data like media recordings, photographs and fieldnotes; value‐added data like annotated transcripts and lexica; and metadata about people and places. Students will learn how DBMSs work through a combination of lectures and hands‐on coursework using a sample set of hypothetical fieldwork data. This workshop is aimed at newcomers and assumes very little previous experience. Topics will include: Survey of database systems in linguistic aplications: Relative merits of different DBMS (Open Office Base, Filemaker Pro, Access, etc). Abstracting from field material to database structures; Exercises will include creation of flat and relational databases.

Course Documents:
Day One  
Day Two  
Day Three & Four  

Instructor(s) Bio:
Andrea Berez is a doctoral candidate in the linguistics department at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is a descriptive and documentary linguist who works primarily with speakers of Ahtna and Dena’ina, two endangered Athabascan languages of southcentral Alaska. Her linguistic interests include intonation, spatial cognition and discourse-functional approaches to grammar. She is also interested in the development of the technological infrastructure to support language documentation and archiving.

Toshihide Nakayama
is an Associate Professor at ILCAA, TUFS. He has been working primarily on Nuuchahnulth (a Wakashan language spoken in British Columbia, Canada), and his research interests include morphology, syntax, interactions between grammar and discourse, grammatical typology, and language documentation. Among the main publications are books on Nuuchahnulth, Nuuchahnulth (Nootka) Morphosyntax (2001, University of California Press) and two text collections with grammatical analyses (2003, Endangered Languages of the Pacific Rim Project, Osaka).

Nick Thieberger works with Warnman, an Indigenous language from Western Australia and South Efate, a language from central Vanuatu, for which he developed a method for citing archival recordings created during fieldwork, presenting a DVD of playable example sentences and texts in the language together with the published grammar. In 2003 he helped establish the Pacific And Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures ( and continues as the project officer with this multi-institutional archiving project that holds 4.4Tb of data, including 2,440 hours of digitised audio files. He leads a team that is building EOPAS, an online database for presentation of interlinear glossed text with media. In 2008 he established Kaipuleohone, the linguistic archive at the university of Hawai'i. He is interested in developments in e-humanities methods and their potential to improve research practice and he is now developing methods for creation of reusable data sets from fieldwork on previously unrecorded languages. He is the technology editor for the journal Language Documentation and Conservation. He is an Australian Research Council QEII Fellow at the University of Melbourne and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa.

                                              Updated July 3, 2010 at 7:29 pm