Database Design, Annotation and Archiving with SayMore

Sarah Ruth Moeller  (

Description: Language documentation generates so many files! How do I keep track of them? This workshop teaches participants to implement database design and data management principles using the SayMore software program. SayMore is specifically designed for collecting, organizing, storing, and retrieving digital files in a language documentation project and tracking their status through the documentation workflow. It adds value to these files by creating metadata forms about people and digital items, recording the presence of rights and access management information, producing time-aligned oral and written translation and transcriptions, and exporting files to other language software programs such as FLEx and ELAN.

Course materials: Participants should download SayMore from onto a laptop with Windows. The material is based on the SayMore Tutorial ( Sample audio files may be downloaded from the SayMore Tutorial before class, or participans may bring their own audio files. Handouts provided by instructor.

Supplies Needed: Laptop with microphone. Headphones.

Course Goals: This workshop will give participants the basic skills to build and maintain a documentary corpus and prepare the data for archiving, using SayMore as the primary tool.

  • 1st day: Structuring a language documentation collection (items, sessions/bundles, project-level information). File naming conventions. Access management with access protocols. Building a database with SayMore – adding files, gathering metadata, project-level metadata. Tracking workflow status.
  • 2nd day: Basic Oral Language Documentation (BOLD). Creating time-aligned oral and written annotations in SayMore.
  • 3rd day: Exporting/importing files from/to SayMore to/from other software programs. SayMore-FLEx-ELAN workflow.
  • 4th day: Manipulating and sharing a SayMore database without using SayMore. Combining projects and making bulk additions to a database. Backing up the database. Archiving and archiving packages in SayMore.

Student Learning Objectives: By the end of the workshop, participants will know basic principles of data management and have acquired basic skills to build and maintain a documentary corpus. They will be familiar with the SayMore software program and have gained competency using its main features.

Instructional methods: Participants will learn theory and principles through short lectures before implementing them by hands-on exercises. For example, the participants will hear about the main purpose and basic methods of Basic Oral Language Documentation (BOLD), then the instructor will walk through the relevant oral and written annotation tools in SayMore. After following the instructor, participants will practice with their own data or with sample files provided by the instructor. Written step-by-step instructions will be available so that participants can practice again on their own. The topics on the third and fourth day may be expanded or abbreviated according to the participants’ interests.

Evaluation: The workshop will be Pass/Fail. Participants will be evaluated on the basis of a small documentary corpus that they will build by applying the principles and skills taught in the workshop. Full attendance is required for a pass.

Disabilities services: “The Office of Disability Services implements the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and insures that UAF students have equal access to the campus and course materials. The instructor will work with the Office of Disabilities Services (208 WHIT, 474-5655) to provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities.”