My fieldwork archives





Since 1997, my years of fieldwork on Melanesian languages and cultures have produced a number of audio recordings, representing 24 languages in total. In almost all cases, these are the first ever audio recordings for these particular languages – and possibly, for some of them, the last ones.

The following statistics give an overview of the contents of these fieldwork recordings (as of June 2011).

(1997-2011) 1096 104 h 24'  34"
Vanuatu 1002 97 h  24' 47"
Solomon  Is 94 6 h 46' 01"
Mwotlap 551 56 h 32' 30"
> other languages 545 47 h 39' 10"
narratives 389 50 h 04' 00"
> other spoken 356 29 h 14' 34"
songs 218 16 h 07' 34"
> other music 115 8 h 14' 20"

Under its original format which is used for archiving, namely *.wav audio files, the collection of all these recordings represents 45.7 gigabytes of data, roughly the equivalent of 68 data CDs (79 audio CDs). Thanks to the compression of the mp3 format, this large figure magically comes down to 3.27 Gb.

Some of these files are not meant to be shared publicly, because they are private, or because they relate to traditional knowledge which is restricted or secret. But in most cases, the speakers and performers were happy for me to share our recordings with a broader public – provided, of course, their names would be acknowledged, and intellectual property respected.

Most of my fieldwork recordings (currently 82%) are now archived and can be shared. I have made these recordings available to two audiences: