The Pacific and Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures
Australia lies in the most linguistically and culturally diverse region on the planet. Over 2,000 of the world’s languages are spoken in Australia, New Guinea, the South Pacific Islands and Southeast Asia. And many of these languages are endangered.
CoEDL research has shown that, within the next century, only a few hundred of these languages may still be spoken . Most of the languages from Australia and the surrounding region — and their associated cultural expressions, such as music and dance — are poorly documented, so no record may exist if they fall out of use or knowledge. Even in better-documented languages, many genres of song, ritual and similar practices of immense cultural and historical significance are poorly archived, protected and understood.
Established in 2003, the Pacific and Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures (PARADISEC) facilitates the preservation of this knowledge. Australian researchers have made unique and irreplaceable recordings in the region since portable field recorders became available in the mid-twentieth century, yet, until the establishment of PARADISEC, there was no Australian repository for these invaluable research recordings made outside of Australia.
Supporting PARADISEC’s work was central to CoEDL’s Archiving Thread — a concerted effort to train researchers across the Centre with the aim of improving and exploring the documentation and archiving of linguistic and heritage materials.
As of 2022, the PARADISEC team includes:
|Nick Thieberger||Co-founder and Director; CoEDL Chief Investigator (Melbourne)|
|Amanda Harris||Sydney Unit Director (Sydney)|
|Linda Barwick||Steering Committee Chair (Sydney)|
|Nick Fowler-Gilmore||Audio Preservation Officer (Sydney)|
|Nick Ward||Project Coordinator (Sydney)|
|Jodie Kell||Laboratory Coordinator (Sydney)|
|Steven Gagau||Research Assistant (Sydney)|
|Linda Payi Ford||Honorary Associate (Sydney)|
|Julia Miller||Senior Data Manager (ANU)|
|Tina Gregor||Data Manager (ANU)|
|Marco La Rosa||Coder Extraordinaire (Melbourne)|
|Sam King||Audio Preservation Officer (Melbourne)|
For more about the team, visit the PARADISEC website.
As a registered charity and deductable gift recipient, all donations to PARADISEC over $2 can be claimed as a tax deduction. More information about supporting PARADISEC is available on the organisation’s website.
During CoEDL’s lifetime, over 500 languages were added to the PARADISEC archive.
 Bromham, Lindell, Russell Dinnage, Hedvig Skirgård, Andrew Ritchie, Marcel Cardillo, Felicity Meakins, Simon Greenhill, and Xia Hua. 2021. “Global Predictors of Language Endangerment and the Future of Linguistic Diversity.” Nature, Ecology & Evolution.
 See the NLA collection at https://catalog.paradisec.org.au/collections/NLA1