DAILP stands for ‘The Digital Archive of Indigenous Language Persistence.’ Formerly the Digital Archive of American Indian Language Preservation and Perseverance, our name change reflects our belief that language perseverance and language preservation are closely interconnected and mutually-sustaining efforts, which result in language persistence. Our site presents a proof of concept for DAILP’s reading interface using annotated Cherokee documents as a pilot. With the support of our sponsors, we have identified design functions and user configurations in order to create an online interface for community commentary.

The core goals of the Cherokee pilot project are:

  1. Deepen our existing community-centered design workflows in partnership with the three federally recognized Cherokee tribes and representatives from their language programs. Support sustainable programs of transcription, translation and language learning that build on existing efforts within the Cherokee community.
  2. Expand the number of documents collected in our digital collection of historical Cherokee manuscripts. Transcribe, translate, and annotate documents to adapt them into resources for language learning and for linguistic and historical research, partnering with formal institutions to support ongoing collection development.
  3. Build off of existing transcriptions and annotations to develop and sustain an online environment for contextualized language learning through a robust technical and informational infrastructure.

Community-Centered Design

In addition to our core team, which consists of Cherokee language experts and linguists, we also work with speakers, archivists, and librarians. We have prototyped an online environment that supports varied reading and language study practices. Our reading interface is enhanced regularly to reflect feedback and recommendations from our team.

The Cherokee community has enhanced DAILP’s design, contributing to our site in many ways. DAILP’s work since 2015 has focused on developing workflows and infrastructure that align our source texts, translations, and linguistic annotations with descriptive resources and other materials shared with us by the Cherokee tribes and linguistic scholars. We have benefited from free translations of almost 70 Cherokee syllabary documents provided to us by a team of United Keetoowah Band tribal members led by Ernestine Berry and including Clara Proctor, Marlene Ballard, Oletta Pritchett, and the late Opel Foreman. These resources can be referenced from our transcriptions and translations as sources of information about individual words and usage.