Author Topic: unpublished material  (Read 5587 times)

Offline isauk

  • Jr. Linguist
  • **
  • Posts: 17
unpublished material
« on: July 04, 2014, 07:37:40 AM »

are any of you familiar with how unpublished material is typically accessed? i know that such works /can/ be accessed, because bits of information will end up being published in other works, but how does one go about finding the the unpublished works themselves? do any of you know any of the details of this process?

Offline Daniel

  • Administrator
  • Experienced Linguist
  • *****
  • Posts: 1575
  • Country: us
    • English
Re: unpublished material
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2014, 11:21:32 AM »
As a general rule, you should try to only cite published material. There are exceptions, but they should be exceptions, for a reason.
So trying to find unpublished material is generally not a good idea. Instead, you should try to find material, and usually go with published sources. If you come across something that isn't published but is still useful, you can then additionally cite that, as an unpublished source. In some cases, unpublished material may be most of what's available (for example, field notes on some obscure language), and this may fit the project. But when you can, use published sources.

There are generally four categories of courses:
1. Published (journal articles, books, etc.)
2. In press / forthcoming (same, but not yet published, just in progress and fairly reliably going to be available officially soon)
3. Semi-published material like conference presentations and theses. These are harder for others to find and review, but still "count" in your bibliography. Do check for published versions of the material, though.
4. Unpublished material-- manuscripts, notes, websites, etc.


When you do cite the non-published sources, it's a judgment call to see what fits best. Cite them as such.

"Unpublished manuscript" is a common citation form-- the implication is that the material will eventually be published. (I admit as a reader, though, it can be annoying to not know where to find the final article if I'm reading the document 10 years later and I want to read it too!)
"Personal communication" (or p.c.) is used to refer to comments from someone (usually an authority on a topic) that aren't available in any published work. You might contact a field worker, for example, to ask about an additional construction not shown in their published grammar.
Finally, with the internet as it is now, there are a lot of easy to access (and generally reliable) ways to get papers. Some permanent repositories are the best, while personal websites also offer paper drafts. In these cases, it's crucial that you cite the URL so that, hopefully, others can refer to the same material.

In the end, make sure you have some published sources and that you only use unpublished sources when you need to. You don't really need to go out looking for them, but if you want to, just a google search will turn up a lot, or you can contact authors who you know work on the topic, or check their websites. There's a lot of material out there.
Welcome to Linguist Forum! If you have any questions, please ask.

Offline isauk

  • Jr. Linguist
  • **
  • Posts: 17
Re: unpublished material
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2014, 06:03:42 PM »

i think you might've misunderstood my question. --- i have no desire to cite anything. (and actually, i have no desire even to publish any of my own writing. if i were to publish any of it though, i would avoid citations as much as possible as i am not a fan of them.) --- i simply want to learn. that's all. that's my only reason for wanting to find unpublished material.

so,, for example, the chimariko language is one of those sorts of languages that's very difficult to find information on. but supposedly it's actually fairly well documented. so,,, one could conceivably learn quite a lot about it, except that most of that documentation is unpublished! so how does one get a hold of it then?? i know that it /can/ be gotten a hold of because i've come across other books that mention information on the language (and oftentimes even admit to having gotten it from unpublished sources). but then, how do these authors access that unpublished material? ---- i'm guessing you probably don't know the answer to this though, since it would appear that you see no reason to read unpublished materials and therefore have probably never tried finding any.




Offline jkpate

  • Forum Regulars
  • Linguist
  • *
  • Posts: 130
  • Country: us
    • American English
    • jkpate.net
Re: unpublished material
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2014, 10:04:56 PM »
are any of you familiar with how unpublished material is typically accessed?

Publication is how works are `typically' made available, and there is no typical way for unpublished material to be accessed (although the internet is changing this to some extent for new works). Something that isn't published could be anything: notes taken during fieldwork, a personal journal, a paper that was repeatedly rejected from journals, a paper written for a course, a project that somebody did for their own enrichment, a summary of preliminary results to decide the future direction of a project, and so on. There's no standard repository of `everything anybody has ever written' that you could consult.

Have you seen Carmen Jany's (published) Chimariko grammar? It's well over 200 pages and so should provide a lot of useful information. It does look like Kroebel's original field notes about Chimariko vocabulary are available at Berkeley's library, if you're up for a road trip, but there might be restrictions on handling the notebook itself.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2014, 05:47:28 AM by jkpate »
All models are wrong, but some are useful - George E P Box

Offline Daniel

  • Administrator
  • Experienced Linguist
  • *****
  • Posts: 1575
  • Country: us
    • English
Re: unpublished material
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2014, 04:00:31 AM »
Quote
if i were to publish any of it though, i would avoid citations as much as possible as i am not a fan of them.
???
Citations are the core of academia. They're annoying to use but incredibly useful. They act like the internet is linking websites together-- you can view one article and find another that is related, and track down who said what and where you can go for more information. In fact, I can definitely say that you won't ever get anything published if you avoid citations. You can publish fiction, even possibly some kinds of general textbooks or nonfiction for a broad audience, but in those cases the reputability of the work is usually based on the authority/reputation of the author, which usually is based on published research which would have citations.


Anyway, as jkpate said, publication is the main way to share material. Unpublished material is available in various ways, but unreliably:
1. Personal websites (or personal accounts on websites like academia.edu)
2. Some special collections (and rare volumes) in libraries
3. Random websites (from wikipedia to whatever else you can think of)
4. Databases/collections such as some fieldwork collections, some of which are available to the public.
5. Repositories at individual universities (often associated with the library) where individuals (students/faculty) can upload papers.

But the vast majority of that is just in progress work that will eventually be published. You can see it ahead of time, but it's not a totally different category.

Finally, in many cases you can contact the author and they'll be interested in sharing their work with you. But of course sometimes it won't be ready and they may not yet want to share unorganized notes. Also, you should really consider how your approach to not citing will work in that situation-- citations are a sign of respect and sharing of information-- if you don't cite people that's probably plagiarism and will discourage anyone from wanting to share their work with you. In fact, getting citations of their work is a motivating factor for sharing it with you.


But there's a much better approach to finding reliable information (the whole point is that unpublished material may not be reliable-- that's why it's not published, either due to the author or publishers deciding it's not ready!!). Instead, you should use citations, and resources like Google scholar. Track down rare materials. Often a university library will offer ways to acquire material they do not have, such as an inter-library loan service where they can order a rare book for you from another library for a short term. Basically everyone working in academia operates like this. There aren't mystery linguists out there hiding what they write and refusing to publish. There's probably some in progress work you can get if you contact the authors, but that's not going to be all that much, most likely.
Welcome to Linguist Forum! If you have any questions, please ask.

Offline isauk

  • Jr. Linguist
  • **
  • Posts: 17
Re: unpublished material
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2014, 08:44:54 AM »
Have you seen Carmen Jany's (published) Chimariko grammar? It's well over 200 pages and so should provide a lot of useful information.

yes, i've seen it, and i found it only mildly informative (then again, i tend to be kinda picky when it comes to grammars and so i should maybe i should give it another chance). but it's based (entirely, i think) on harrington's unpublished field notes, and that's exactly the sort of question i'm trying to get an answer to here.,,, how was jany able to get a hold of harrington's unpublished works?

It does look like Kroebel's original field notes about Chimariko vocabulary are available at Berkeley's library, if you're up for a road trip, but there might be restrictions on handling the notebook itself.

i think this is the answer to the question (and actually, i didn't even know kroeber had worked with chimariko,, which isn't to say i'm going to drive down to san francisco now). these unpublished works are housed at a libraries, but you can't check them out or have them sent from one place to another through ILL, and there are no copies that have ever been made of them. and so, you have to go, in person, to whatever library happens to have the work you're interested in, and check yourself into a special room with someone standing there watching you for the whole time you're looking over it. so,, i guess that's what people like carmen jany have to do to get their books written.


Offline isauk

  • Jr. Linguist
  • **
  • Posts: 17
Re: unpublished material
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2014, 10:22:30 AM »


Anyway, as jkpate said, publication is the main way to share material. Unpublished material is available in various ways, but unreliably:
1. Personal websites (or personal accounts on websites like academia.edu)...

maybe i haven't expressed myself clearly enough. ---- i do not have some sort of strange preference that materials be unpublished rather than published, or anything insane like that. my goal is not to reject all published materials and then find ways to get a hold of all the unpublished information that's ever been spewed by some wacko on his blog. --- (i find it weird that i'm even having to clarify this right now.) --- my desire is only to get good information. for very well-represented languages, like quechua or inuit, it would be asinine to try to locate old, incomplete, unpublished works because there are already so many comprehensive published works (not to mention the fact that these languages still have lots of speakers). but for lots of the less common languages (like kutenai, for example), the unpublished stuff is your only option. it's that, or it's nothing. --- those of us who wish to learn about such languages then have choice other than to resort to the unpublished works (which isn't wacko website stuff, but rather simply field notes and the like carried out by people who often had a pretty good idea of what they were doing but for whatever reason never got around to finishing organizing their notes). --- so,, i hope that clarifies what i've been saying.

Citations are the core of academia. They're annoying to use but incredibly useful. They act like the internet is linking websites together-- you can view one article and find another that is related, and track down who said what and where you can go for more information.

first of all, don't assume that i have any interest whatsoever in following the ways of academia (especially when it comes to linguistics). for all you know, i'm flat out anti-academia.

secondly, i have nothing against directing readers toward more detailed information, and do not oppose the idea of bibliography sections in books or even superscripts and footnotes. as a general rule of thumb, i'm all for usefulness. but the idea that citations in academia come down to usefulness is a bit of a half truth (or,, probably some much smaller fraction). it's more about credit. ----- so now,,, here's the question: is there ever a time when credit is at odds with utility or conduciveness to learning? i think it would be silly to insist that these things are never at odds, which means there are necessarily going to be times when using a citation (as opposed to not using one) comes at some cost. the next question then is,,,, what's more important? credit or education/usefulness??? --- personally, i go with the latter,,, but that's just me...

Also, you should really consider how your approach to not citing will work in that situation-- citations are a sign of respect and sharing of information-- if you don't cite people that's probably plagiarism and will discourage anyone from wanting to share their work with you. In fact, getting citations of their work is a motivating factor for sharing it with you.

thanks for the advice. ---- so,,, now the main reason (or one of the main reasons) why i should be using citations is for the purposes of furthering my own work?? -- has it ever occurred to you though that that might not be in the best interest of getting the public to understand linguistic concepts??

In fact, I can definitely say that you won't ever get anything published if you avoid citations.

maybe so. and did you not see earlier when i said that i will probably never publish any of my writings? -- really though,, i have to wonder. if i were writing something about how adjectives follow nouns in french, then would i have to give a citation for where i learned this?? -- why should some papuan language be any different then? --- if i do happen to learn about a papuan language from some book, rather than talking to a speaker of that language, then does it really matter? i might also have only learned about french from a book. ----- i think a lot of this comes down to the fact that a lot of writers actually *want* to litter their books with citations, and that there are certain readerships who also want this. but what makes you think i would ever be interested in targeting those sorts of people??

there's no reason to assume here that you and i have any of the same goals. i am largely interested in public understanding, and would not want to compromise this simply to fit in or follow a bad convention. -- obviously, by getting your work published you can reach a larger audience, but this must be weighed against what you lose by structuring your work in a certain way (not to mention the fact that many (if not most) people who buy books don't actually read them (or even open them) anyway). ---- now,,, i can only imagine that you don't see any harm in citations (correct me if i'm wrong), and i really have no desire to try to convince you of what i think here (since i've had already had so many dozens (hundreds?) of discussions about the strategics of promoting ideas to the public, and ultimately it's not like there are any studies on the subject, which means it usually comes down to a person's own personal experiences), but i personally happen to find citations very annoying (like how you said), but not only in terms of using them but also in terms of reading them. what i *think* then is that other people (not professional linguists, but rather regular people) are deterred by citations (or worse, that even when they try to put up with them, it drastically obstructs their learning rate). and since reaching the general public is my goal, this concerns me. in general i have MANY issues with how things are written, and believe that even the simplest of tweakings could have major impacts on public understanding. maybe i'm wrong, but i'm not going to be convinced otherwise by simply being told "no, citations don't obstruct learning", and i'm certainly not going to be convinced that i should do things a certain way solely for the purposes of fitting in with some convention when my concern regarding public understanding are not being taken into account.

You can publish fiction, even possibly some kinds of general textbooks or nonfiction for a broad audience, but in those cases the reputability of the work is usually based on the authority/reputation of the author, which usually is based on published research which would have citations.

if you pander to such ideas for the purposes of making money, then fine. but if you're really trying to get ideas out there, and change how people think about things, that i really don't think there's much value at all in compromising your work simply to fit it into this system. realistically speaking, i think a very small percentage of buyers of books actually ever read them, and i think probably an even smaller percentage of readers will actually read things /carefully/. trying then even just to get a foot into the door with the publishing world seems like a total lost cause to me.












Offline MalFet

  • Global Moderator
  • Serious Linguist
  • *****
  • Posts: 282
  • Country: us
Re: unpublished material
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2014, 11:14:03 AM »
Perhaps this is overly obvious, but the vast, vast majority of unpublished manuscripts are obtained by asking their authors for copies.

Offline jkpate

  • Forum Regulars
  • Linguist
  • *
  • Posts: 130
  • Country: us
    • American English
    • jkpate.net
Re: unpublished material
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2014, 05:44:28 PM »
Perhaps this is overly obvious, but the vast, vast majority of unpublished manuscripts are obtained by asking their authors for copies.

Yes, this is true for manuscripts, but does this happen often for original, one-of-a-kind field notes? I'd imagine that whoever has them would feel a responsibility to protect them, and distribute them only to people that they trust. I don't know what isauk has in mind, but I doubt that a request by a general member of the public for field notes would be successful. On the other hand, if isauk is running some organization that educates the public about understudied languages, then maybe a request would be successful (although for Chimariko there would still be a question as to why the published grammar is inadequate for educating the general public).
« Last Edit: July 05, 2014, 05:48:10 PM by jkpate »
All models are wrong, but some are useful - George E P Box

Offline MalFet

  • Global Moderator
  • Serious Linguist
  • *****
  • Posts: 282
  • Country: us
Re: unpublished material
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2014, 11:42:40 PM »
Absolutely. I didn't mean to imply that a request for unpublished material will necessarily be successful. Especially coming from a stranger, it almost never will be: not for manuscripts, and definitely not for fieldnotes. Nevertheless, of the cases in which researchers do reference unpublished material, that material was generally gotten by asking the original author directly.

There are exceptions to this for the very famous and influential (i.e., Kroeber), who often find every drop of ink they've ever spilled stuck in an archive somewhere after their death. But, once that kind of material lands in a public or semi-public archive, it's not really unpublished anymore (or at the very list it shouldn't be listed as "unpublished" in a bibliography reference).

Offline Corybobory

  • Global Moderator
  • Linguist
  • *****
  • Posts: 138
  • Country: gb
    • English
    • Coryographies: Handmade Creations by Cory
Re: unpublished material
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2014, 04:36:10 AM »
How can you be anti-academia, but be searching for academic materials?
BA Linguistics, MSt Palaeoanthropology and Palaeolithic Archaeology, current PhD student (Archaeology, 1st year)

Blog: http://www.palaeolinguist.blogspot.com
My handmade book jewellery: http://www.coryographies.etsy.com

Offline isauk

  • Jr. Linguist
  • **
  • Posts: 17
Re: unpublished material
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2014, 06:36:50 AM »

@ malfet and jkpate,

guys, i'm talking about situations where the authors are dead., and where even though the works of these dead authors are unpublished, people manage to access them anyway. --- that was all that i was asking about, and i think the answer to that question has already been said.

Offline isauk

  • Jr. Linguist
  • **
  • Posts: 17
Re: unpublished material
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2014, 06:49:10 AM »
How can you be anti-academia, but be searching for academic materials?

well, i'm also anti-business, and yet i still shop. and i've known people who are anti-government, and yet they vote. you don't have to like a certain system, but if you're living in it then you typically have to follow its ways. in fact, i'm currently in college. the fact that i'm anti-academia is irrelevant here though. i was forced into going to college regardless of what my political/philosophical stance on it is.

but this comes close to missing the point. you're calling the various unpublished field notes, etc, that i'm seeking "academic materials", but in what sense do they qualify as "academic"? --- (i myself have written stuff about languages. does that qualify as "academic material" then?) ------- admittedly, much of the information i've managed to get about languages is from grammars that probably /should/ be considered "academic materials" (and indeed, i often have many complaints about how those grammars are written)., but again, i return to my first point: just because i oppose academia, and have issues with academic writing, it's not as if i have a choice in the matter. it's that or nothing.


Offline MalFet

  • Global Moderator
  • Serious Linguist
  • *****
  • Posts: 282
  • Country: us
Re: unpublished material
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2014, 06:52:39 AM »

@ malfet and jkpate,

guys, i'm talking about situations where the authors are dead., and where even though the works of these dead authors are unpublished, people manage to access them anyway. --- that was all that i was asking about, and i think the answer to that question has already been said.


If authors are getting documents from an archive and then citing them simply as "unpublished", they are doing so against the norms of bibliographic referencing. Many archives will deny you future access for this kind of thing.

Offline isauk

  • Jr. Linguist
  • **
  • Posts: 17
Re: unpublished material
« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2014, 08:14:54 AM »
If authors are getting documents from an archive and then citing them simply as "unpublished", they are doing so against the norms of bibliographic referencing. Many archives will deny you future access for this kind of thing.

i never said that anyone is doing any such thing.