Research Articles

Planning multimedia documentation

  • David Nathan


This paper describes some of the issues and processes in initiating, planning and developing an interactive multimedia CD-ROM for an endangered language (EL). It provides some guidance for dealing with issues that are not normally faced by linguists. It is beyond the scope of the paper to detail the skills required for preparing data or creating usable applications (such as media editing, data processing, or multimedia authoring). However, often the greatest difficulty faced by linguists is to identify which skills are needed — skills they may need to acquire or get assistance with. The focus here is on the Paakantyi CD (Hercus and Nathan 2000), and the interweaving of planning, community participation, and a team approach in its construction. Paakantyi is the language of the lower Darling River, south-western NSW, Australia. While Paakantyi no longer has any fluent speakers, the input of Paakantyi people had a profound influence on shaping the CD’s design and content. By exposing product planning and evolution to the community you can not only get valuable feedback about design, content, and usability, but also build a local ‘story’ — a biography — for the eventual multimedia product.

Keywords: endangered languages, multimedia documentation, CD-ROM, guide, skills, planning, community participation, team approach, Paakantyi CD

How to Cite:

Nathan, D., (2014) “Planning multimedia documentation”, Language Documentation and Description 2, 154-168. doi:

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Published on
31 Jul 2014
Peer Reviewed