I was looking at the wikipedia article for Language Documentation. The only reference cited was a thesis by Debbie Chang. I happen to know Debbie. So I thought I would take a look at her thesis and see what she said. So I clicked the link and was delivered to a 404 error page on GIAL’s website. GIAL had recently renovated their website. I was able to locate thesis and fix the URL on wikipedia by digging through the GIAL website. The new URL is: http://www.gial.edu/images/theses/Chang_Debbie-thesis.pdf
But then I looked at the URL and asked: Why are PDFS in the images folder? What is the long term infrastructure for this school? It seems that when PDFs (thesis) are put into the images folder rather than into a digital repository that something is not quite right with the longterm planning for the school. Ironically, this is not too far from the main thrust of Debbie’s thesis.
It would seem that the long term solution for this kind of problem would be for a small school like GAIL to A. have its library develop an infrastructure for permanently housing these kinds of materials. Or B. contract with another organization or archive which could take care of these sorts of issues for them, provide handles or stable URLs, and then for GIAL to link to the permanent location of these items from GIAL’s website. It is interesting to note that on the same campus as GIAL is SIL International’s Language and Culture Archive, yet GIAL has not taken advantage of this opportunity.