Data management workflow by Rachel Watson

After plenty of trial and error, I’m happy to be posting the latest diagrams for the data management work flow that I’ve been working on with the valuable input of my team members. I don’t think it’s quite the finished article, no doubt we will find some details that need to be clarified, but I think we have now found a good system that means everything that needs to get done to get the data and metadata from creation to archiving with maximum efficiency and minimal confusion. It’s being used now by team members in various different roles and it seems to be going well so far *touch wood*.

I’ll be posting with some reflections on the process of developing a work flow for a project of this type, the challenges that we have encountered and how we have overcome them. In the meantime I’ll briefly outline the principles that underpin the workflow.

  1. Let the data management flow be dictated by the natural cycle of research and field trips – not the other way round.
  2. Where a task must be carried out in a very specific way by multiple team members, have documents detailing this process in explicit detail. If it doesn’t really matter how it is done, don’t bother.
  3. Apportion tasks according to knowledge and expertise, but…
  4. Ultimate overseeing of the data and metadata should be ceded to a central manager (we have two – one in London and one in Senegal)

The following diagrams show the process that we follow for getting the data and all its accompanying metadata from creation in Casamance, through the transcription process, and back to the corpus in London. The diagrams are colour coded according to the role of the team member who must carry out the step (green = researcher, blue = Corpus Master (CM), red = Transcription Master (TM) and yellow = transcriber). The docx. files referred to in the round ended boxes are more technical ‘how to’ documents , and the .xlsx are excel templates that we use to transfer metadata. The eagle eyed reader may notice that step 4 is missing. This concerns the flow of recordings from the transcription master to the transcribers and back again, and I don’t have an updated version of this section due to *ahem* a workflow hiccup – I’ll update asap!

1 create new arbil session

2 prepare new files for transcription

3 CM receives new transcription list

5 new transcriptions senegal to london

6 process new ELAN files

7 update arbil for new transcriptions

8 new ELAN files into corpus

9 integrate new elan files into corpus

 

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