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Building and running a distributed knowledge centre for linguistic diversity and language documentation requires a flexible and reliable support and knowledge-sharing infrastructure. The services offered by the knowledge centre consist of a web presence providing information on the relevant topics, a helpdesk allowing researcher to interact directly with the centre, as well as training courses offered on a regular basis.

The Website as a Portal to the Centre

The CKLD website (this site) operated by the University of Cologne is the main portal to the Knowledge Centre. The site offers a description of the centre and a list and explanation of its services. Besides providing a collection of informational material and further relevant links to software tools, language resources, manuals, and documentation of best practices, the website is also the entrance point into the interaction with the CKLD Helpdesk.

Support through the CKLD Helpdesk

The CKLD Helpdesk is integrated into the CLARIN-D Helpdesk operated by the HZSK in Hamburg. The use of a ticketing system (OTRS) and proven support workflows allows for efficient handling of incoming inquiries. For each question, an automatic confirmation mail is sent to the user. Within two working days, questions will either be answered directly by the first-line support at the HZSK, or, if needed, forwarded to experts within the CKLD while keeping the user updated on the status of the inquiry. The incoming inquiries also provide the CKLD with valuable information on which topics need to be covered more in detail on the website or in dedicated trainings. The CKLD Helpdesk provides information and guidance to researchers in the preparation and during the execution of language documentation and other field-work based linguistic research projects as well as typological research. This includes questions relating to equipment, digital tools, methods, where to find data and information, whom to contact for specialist information on particular regions or language families.

Teaching and Training Modules

The participating institutions offer courses in language documentation, corpus creation, data analysis and research data management. The Endangered Languages Archive and the SOAS World Languages Institute are one of the leading providers in language documentation and linguistic diversity trainings. The HZSK regularly offers trainings for the EXMARaLDA software or project specific trainings on research data management. With the distributed expertise, the CKLD can offer various training modules on topics such as research data management, publication and sustainability, including ethical and legal issues, but also hands-on trainings that provide researchers and students with the practical knowledge required to actually create high quality language resources. The partners coordinate their training activity and communicate their activities via the CKLD website.