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The web-based DTA tool is a central component of the Virtual Linguistics Lab developed in the Virtual Center for Language Acquisition.

 

Purpose of the DTA

The DTA tool provides an infrastructure for creation of research data from primary sources, and for data management and sharing across distributed sources. Thus it provides a foundation for scientifically sound and replicable collaborative research. At the same time it provides material for students on the basis of which they can learn the principles of data collection, management, analyses and collaboration.

 

What is the DTA tool?

The tool structures the creation of research data through a series of stages, starting with description of essential properties of the experiment or corpus collection guiding the research, then the initial metadata describing subject or speaker being studied, and the session recorded on audio or video media. A series of fields then leads the user through systematic transcription of individual language utterances and their context, followed by a series of codings that form the basis for data analysis. It allows open-ended querying on the calibrated data entries.

            The Cornell University Virtual Linguistics Laboratory's Data Transcription and Analysis Tool (DTA) uses a sophisticated relational data model designed for structuring, organizing, manipulating and analyzing linguistic data; it has been executed by Gorges of Ithaca.

           At the same time, the DTA tool provides a simple, user-friendly tool with a graphical user interface for standardizing and structuring the procedures involved in collecting, storing, transcribing, coding, and analyzing language patterns. It is designed to be applicable cross-linguistically.

           The DTA tool is based on a conceptual and theoretical framework deriving from linguistics and psychology allowing a rigorous study of language in a highly precise and scientific manner.  However, for initial stages of data entry, the DTA presupposes only a minimum amount of background knowledge of linguistics and the language sciences.

           The DTA tool  (in conjunction with the VCLA VLL Research Methods Manual) standardizes procedures related to linguistic data coding. Thus the DTA tool facilitates-for the researcher or student-calibration of data across different languages, different data collection situations, and different sessions, as well as across different researchers. It insures replicability and reliability of data collection and data analysis methods.

           At present the DTA tool houses cross linguistic language data, e.g.,.,  child, adult bilingual and adult dementia language in various forms.

 

Use of the DTA

The DTA tool is password-protected. Anyone who wishes to access DTA data or use the tool for his or her own project should contact Professors Maria Blume or Barbara Lust to request access and use. If your request for access is granted, you will receive an email with instructions on how to set up your account and where to go in order to access the DTA's web interface.

            Once you have access, you will be able to use the DTA tool for both active and completed projects. You can input data to the tool for preservation. You can access data in specific languages.  You can also collaborate with other DTA users on joint projects; all collaborators with access to the DTA and the particular project in question can add and modify data and metadata from anywhere in the world using the Web. The DTA supports multilingual projects, and the tool facilitates analysis across multiple languages.

            Users are expected not only to access relevant data, but to share use of data, e.g., to record analyses performed on accessed data.

            To learn more about using the DTA tool, please consult the DTA tool manual, which will be made available on access.