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The Newcastle Electronic Corpus of Tyneside English (NECTE). and the ethical and legal consequences. of linguistic archaeology. AHRB project code: RE11776. NECTE aims and objectives.

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the newcastle electronic corpus of tyneside english necte

The Newcastle Electronic Corpus of Tyneside English (NECTE)

and the ethical

and legal


of linguistic archaeology

  • AHRB project code: RE11776
necte aims and objectives
NECTE aims and objectives
  • To preserve, archive, and digitize audio recordings of Tyneside English dialect interviews conducted in 1969 and 1994.
  • To align these digitized audio interviews with their orthographic transcriptions.
  • To make these aligned files available to researchers (both scholars and authorized laypersons) on the web.
the data protection act dpa of 1998
The Data Protection Act (DPA) of 1998
  • Purpose
  • Who must comply?
  • Types of data affected
dpa purpose
DPA: Purpose

“An Act to make new provision for the regulation of the processing of information relating to individuals, including the obtaining, holding, use, or disclosure of such information.”

--16 July 1998

dpa who must comply
DPA: Who must comply?

“data controllers”

and their

“data processors”

data controllers and data processors examples
Banking services, police, employers, marketers, medical personnel, academic researchers who use “human data subjects”


Data controllers: Principal and co-principal investigators of grants.

Data processors: data managers, data handlers, data “miners”, research assistants.

Data controllers and data processors: Examples
dpa types of data affected
DPA: Types of data affected

“personal data”, i.e.:

“data which relate to a living individual who can be identified from those data”

informed consent
Informed consent
  • Pre-1984 data: Can consent be established?
  • Implied consent
  • Last resort: tracing participants
establishing consent
Establishing consent


Most people who live on Tyneside take a pride in the local dialect[...]That is what this enquiry is concerned with[...] I shall call on you in the near future. I should be very grateful if you and the other members of your household would each give me about ten minutes of your time. I should like you to talk and to answer a few questions. The results of the survey will in due course be published, but no resident who has helped by talking in this way will be referred to in such a way that they could be identified.

Barbara Strang, Professor of English Language

& General Linguistics

The University, Newcastle upon Tyne

implied consent
Implied consent

TLS/G54 .. Well, I—I’m-- I'm against both sides, tell you the truth.

Interviewer: Aye.

TLS/G54 I- I'll tell you the truth, they can please theirself if they hear it or not, whoever hears the tape recorder it doesn’t worry me at all. I always speak my mind.

problems using data that pre exist dpa 1998
Problems using data that pre-exist DPA 1998
  • Digitization (change in storage mode)
  • Security and privacy (change in accessibility of data)
  • Readily identifiable data subjects?
  • Sensitive subject matter (interview content) and personal data
sensitive subject matter interview content examples
Sensitive subject matter (interview content):Examples
  • Addresses (home, school)
  • State of health
  • Voting preference
example 1 addresses
Example 1: Addresses

Interviewer: Could you tell us first of all, where you were born please? To start at the beginning.


Interviewer: Whereabouts please?

TLS/G11Here in Valley Drive…

Interviewer: Here.

TLS/G11a Low Fell.

Interviewer: where did you go to school?

TLS/G11 I went to Central High first, and then Westfield in Kenton.

example 2 state of health
Example 2: State of health

TLS/G12 How I like to spend my-- Spend my spare time shopping.

Interviewer: Yes?

TLS/G12 I don’t do anything apart from that, because I haven’t got the best of health.

TLS/G52 well with Jimmy not having any mother... but never mind. The drink got him. It-- it-- it-- it ruined him.

voting preferences
Voting preferences
  • Voter party registration
  • Voting patterns
  • Voting frequency
example 3 voting preferences
Example 3: Voting preferences

Voter party registration

Voting patterns

Voting frequency

Interviewer: Em this is eh another question you don’t have to answer if you don’t want, because some people don’t. Eh which way do you vote?

TLS/G211a: Labour.

Interviewer: Yes. Eh have you always voted the same way?

TLS/G211: Uh huh.

Interviewer: Yes. And do you eh—do you always bother to vote, you know in-- in general and local—local elections?TLS/G211: Oh yes.

problems particular to archived sound files
Problems particular to archived sound files
  • (Digital) Can be saved onto computer (permanent storage, easily transferable to non-authorized users)
  • Potential for subject identifiability
  • Anonymised data
  • Access to i.d. files (internal only)
  • Access to sound files and social data (password-protection and carefully screened users)
  • Storage of original audio data
  • Compliance statement
  • University technology transfer office
  • University legal team
  • University data protection officer
data protection officer compliance statement steps
Data protection officerCompliance statement: Steps
  • Draft report
  • Meet with university’s data protection officer
  • Notification and registration of data with the Information Commissioner
data protection and protection of data
Data protection and protection of data
  • DPA requires protection against destruction of personal data
  • ‘Traditional’ media (audio tape, print, etc.) subject to deterioration
  • Digitization provides additional backup of data