[Corpora-List] BAWE corpus now archived and available

Martin Wynne martin.wynne at oucs.ox.ac.uk
Tue Oct 7 12:07:46 CEST 2008

The administrative steps necessary to obtain access to the BAWE corpus were requested by the depositors of the corpus. The majority of resources in the OTA are free to be downloaded without this step, and we encourage depositors to follow this option. However, there are numerous good reasons why a depositor may wish to, or be required to do this. Funders may require them to keep a log of who is using the corpus, or it may be that the potential sensitivity of the data may require that a record is kept of the authorized users. Funders and research institutions have rights over resources which are created by people they are funding or whom they employ. Corpora contain material over which individuals or organizations have rights. So while it is clearly in the interests or researchers that access to corpora be as open and unrestricted as possible, there are legal and ethical reasons why it is often necessary to identify or authenticate users.

As part of the CLARIN project, we are working with other archives on a system making use of the latest access and authorization infrastructure (in fact I am sitting in a workshop in Berlin on this topic right now). Unfortunately, the necessary agreements and technologies are not yet in place for implementing these systems in the international environment at this stage, but CLARIN is working hard on building an infrastructure where you can register simply by logging on via your home institution.

Best wishes, Martin Head of the Oxford Text Archive

Steven Bird wrote:
> On Sat, Oct 4, 2008 at 1:29 AM, jasper holmes <jasper.holmes at gmail.com> wrote:
>> We are pleased to announce that the British Academic Written English
>> (BAWE) corpus is now available to all researchers ...
>> There are no restrictions on access to the corpus ...
> Except that the UK Data Archive requires users to fill in a web form,
> which leads to:
> "Fax or post a signed copy of this form to: UK Data Archive,
> University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex, CO4 3SQ Fax:
> +44 (0) 1206 872003 Upon receipt of the signed form, we will create
> an Athens account for you within three working days. You will then
> receive an email and will be able to register with ESDS."
> The Oxford Text Archive requires users to fill in a web form, which leads to:
> "Thank you for requesting British Academic Written English Corpus.
> Staff at the Oxford Text Archive need to approve your request before
> granting you access to this resource."
> These steps seem like overkill for a corpus which has generous
> permissions: "Available for non-commercial use on condition that this
> header is included in its entirety with any copy distributed."
> It would be helpful if UKDA and OTA didn't impose these extra barriers
> to access for such corpora. I wonder what criteria they use in
> approving an application. It would also be helpful if they made a
> sample of the data available so users could see if a corpus met their
> needs before going through the application process.
> -Steven Bird
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