Frequently Asked Questions


You may search and browse AILLA's catalog information (metadata) without creating a user account, but you will not be able to view or download any files if you do not create an account and log in. Creating a user account demonstrates that you have agreed to abide by the Conditions for Use of Archive Resources. You must agree to these conditions in order to view or download any files. AILLA will not give or sell your account information to anyone. It is strictly for our own administrative use.

When you create an account, you will receive an email from asking you to confirm your registration. If you do not see this email in your in box, please look for it in your spam or junk folder. Follow the directions in the email to confirm your account. Do not reply to the email.

After confirming your account, log out, and then log in again before attempting to access media files.


If you have forgotten your AILLA password, you can request a new password by clicking the “request new password” link in the User Login area of the front page of AILLA. That link takes you to a page where you will enter your e-mail address or AILLA username. After submitting your password request, you will receive an email from about replacement login information. If you do not see this email in your inbox, please look for it in your spam or junk folder. Follow the directions in the email to log in to the site and change your password. Do not reply to the email. After logging in with the link provided, you can edit your account information. Follow the guidelines that appear beneath the password field for a strong password, and confirm your password by typing it again in the next box. Make sure to save your changes at the end.

If you are already logged in and want to change your password, you can either log out to follow the procedure above or you can open the “My Account” page. Once you are in your account you can click on the “Edit” tab. In this form, you will enter your current password in the “Current Password” field. Next, you will enter your new password in the “Password” field. Follow the guidelines that appear beneath the password field for a strong password, and confirm your password by typing it again in the next box. Make sure to save your changes at the end.

If you need help, please contact AILLA or refer to the video below:


Search. Use the search bar (located in the upper right corner) to search for any language, person, country, genre, keyword, etc. Enclose phrases within quotation marks to narrow your results, e.g., "snow white" instead of snow white.

Advanced searches. Boolean operators in all caps (AND, NOT, OR) can be used to restrict searches.

Search by PID The persistent identifier or PID is the unique six digit number associated with an object in AILLA and can be found at the end of that object's URL. If you already know the PID associated with the object that you want to find, you can search by PID just like you would search with any other keyword.

Browse by collection. Collections are whole sets of resources (organized into folders) created by a particular researcher or project. Click on the Collections tab in the top menu to produce a list of all the Collections in AILLA. Click on one of the collections to see a summary of that collection, followed by a list of all of the resources it contains.


Graded access levels may be assigned to the entire collection, to specific resources (i.e., folders) within a collection, or to specific media files within a resource.

How to Determine the Access Level of a File: The access level for each file is indicated by an Access Level number (1-4) next to the filename in the file list of the resource that contains the file. The access level number is NOT shown in the metadata of the file itself.

In that same file list, if there is no "File Type" listed for a particular file (e.g., a WAV file), then the file is not available online. In those cases, there is always a corresponding access copy (e.g., MP3) with the same file name available online and in that same list of files. When viewing the file-level metadata record, no file viewer/player means that the file is not available online. Please look for the corresponding access copy in the file list.

Level 1: Public Access. AILLA Users have full access to these materials after creating an account and agreeing to AILLA's Conditions for Use of Archive Resources. For this level, we assume that depositors have already gained permission for public access from the speakers or authors of the resource.

Restricted Access. AILLA has 3 types of restricted access, Levels 2, 3, and 4, described below. All restrictions must be justified. AILLA has the following preprogrammed justifications for restricting access to materials:

  • Protected population (e.g., children)
  • Required by IRB or other authority
  • Access restricted by speech community
  • Wish of speaker or speaker's family
  • Ceremony, ritual or esoteric language
  • Thesis in progress
  • Material under copyright
  • Could not obtain informed consent
  • Administrative curation in progress
  • Other reason: please explain (if this option is selected, a text box will appear for the explanation)

All materials with restricted access (levels 2, 3, and 4) are password protected. Users may access recordings only if they know the password that the depositor created and shared with them. Depositors have the option of assigning a visible hint to accompany the password.

Level 2: Curation in progress. This type of restriction is reserved for (1) materials that are under curation (by AILLA, by the depositor, or by the depositor's delegate) and (2) materials that must remain restricted for various reasons that must be justified. Level 2 restricted access must be renegotiated with AILLA every five years. (AILLA will contact the depositor at the appropriate time.) If not renegotiated, access levels will be determined by the archive. For extremely sensitive information that must be guarded indefinitely, the depositor must either (1) establish a succession plan for who will make decisions about the materials after his/her death or (2) reconsider if those materials should even be added to the archive.

Level 3: Temporary embargo. Users may not access the resources until after a specified date. This level allows the depositor to restrict access to resources for a few years, for example while preparing a publication, such as a dissertation, or for the lifetime of a speaker. After the time limit, access changes to public access (Level 1).

Level 4: Controlled access. AILLA will provide contact information and the user must contact the depositor (or some other access "controller") directly for permission to access the resource or file. The controller must ensure that their appropriate contact information is up to date in the AILLA record. If contact information is not up to date and/or the controller does not respond to email from requesters/AILLA users, then determination of permission to access and use the resource/file reverts to the manager of the archive. A depositor must establish a succession plan for who will control the materials after their or the controller's death.


Anonymous User: Anyone with an Internet connection who navigates the AILLA website. Anonymous Users can browse and read the metadata in AILLA, but they cannot access any of the media files. To gain access to the media files, the anonymous user must create a free account and log in.

AILLA User: Anyone with an Internet connection who has created an AILLA account and logged into the site. In addition to being able to browse the archive and read the metadata, AILLA users can stream, view or download Level 1 (public access) media files.

Conditions of Use of Archive Resources: AILLA requires all users to agree to the Conditions of Use of Archive Resources when they create an AILLA User account. If they do not agree to these Terms & Conditions, they will not be able to create an account or to access any media files at AILLA, including those designated as Level 1 (Public Access).

Metadata: The catalog or contextual information about collections, resources, media files, languages, countries, organizations, depositors, and other contributors to the data. Metadata is accessible to both Anonymous and AILLA Users.

Media Files: Any of the multimedia data files (e.g., audio, video, photographs, texts, etc.). The filenames can be seen by the Anonymous User, but the files cannot be downloaded or viewed by Anonymous Users. Only AILLA Users may have access to media files.

Public Access: Any member of the Internet community (i.e., anyone with access to the Internet) may access these files after they have created a free AILLA account and become an AILLA User. Public access differs from Open Access in that Open Access implies that the materials have been released into the Public Domain. Since most AILLA materials are protected by Copyright, they are NOT Open Access.

Public Access Policy: In general, AILLA encourages all depositors to make their materials freely available on AILLA, and to consider archiving with AILLA as a form of publication. We reserve the right to archive only those resources that we deem appropriate, with respect to both content and access.

Restricted Access: Access is restricted to certain users, usually the collection or copyright owners and their delegates, and to AILLA administrative staff. AILLA has three different types of restricted access; see Graded Access Levels for descriptions.


You must be logged in to access any file in the archive. If you have logged in and you still can't access a Level 1 file, you probably need to adjust your browser settings to accept cookies.

Most of the resources in the archive can be accessed by the general public without restriction, but some have been restricted by the depositor. These restrictions are there to protect the speakers from harm or embarrassment. If you are asked to enter a password, then that file is restricted. If you do not know the password, you do not have access to that file. Sometimes you will see a date, such as 2025-01-01. This means that the file is restricted until that date, at which time it will become publicly available. Sometimes you will be asked to contact the depositor directly to ask for permission to access the file. This enables the depositors to know who is using their resources.

Some browsers, such as Chrome, may restrict downloads from AILLA. If clicking the download button does not start a download, you may right-click to save the link and when you receive a warning about the file, select the "keep" option from the menu behind the arrow.

Some files will be downloaded with an extra extension that may need to be removed in order for the file to be opened properly. For example, an ELAN annotation file may download as file.eaf.xml. Simply remove the .xml extension to open it in the program.

Some files may be too large to download unless you have a very high speed Internet connection. You can look at the media details for any file to see how big it is before you start the download process.

Some uncompressed archival files (wav, mpg, and tif) are not available online even though they have a metadata record. These files will have nothing listed under "File Types" on the resource page, and there will be no download button on the record page for that file. We apologize for any inconvenience. If possible, please download the compressed equivalent file (mp3, mp4, jpg, or pdf) instead. If you must have the uncompressed file, please contact us for assistance.


Many of AILLA's audio, video, image, and PDF files can be viewed or streamed directly in your browser. You can also download files and play them on your own computer using applications that can be obtained for free.

  • Audio (wav, mp3) and video (mpg, mov, avi, mp4, m4v, etc.) files: iTunes, Quicktime, Windows Media Player, Audacity, VLC media player, etc.
  • PDF files: Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • Plain text (txt) files: WordPad, TextWrangler, Notepad, Word, Open Office, among others. Note: if all the line breaks are missing, you are probably trying to use Notepad. Try a different program; it will probably fix the problem. Notepad sometimes has trouble converting text files created on other platforms correctly.
  • XML files: these can be opened like plain text files, although they are meant to be read by applications and not people. You should be able to open them in the tool used to create them, like Elan (see next) or Toolbox.
  • Elan (eaf) files: transcription, translation and annotation files produced by the Elan program, created and distributed by MPI-Nijmegen.
  • Transcriber (trs) files: transcription, translation and annotation files produced by the Transcriber program.
  • Praat textgrid (TextGrid) files: transcription, translation and annotation files produced by the Praat acoustic analysis software.
  • Images (jpg, png, gif, tif): Windows Photo Viewer, iPhoto, IrfanView.

Note that some files downloaded from AILLA will contain an extension that must be removed before the file can be read by certain applications.


Always cite any resource that you use (including but not limited to educational materials, presentations, publications, exhibitions) following the AILLA Citation Guidelines.

We believe that the resources at AILLA will be useful in a multitude of ways:
• for developing teaching materials for all ages and in many kinds of classrooms;
• for research;
• in language reclamation programs;
• in artistic creations;
• among many others.

We encourage you to explore the archive and make full use of the resources, but we ask that you be at all times respectful of
• the individuals who created the materials,
• the peoples whose languages are spoken in these materials, and
• the scholars who produce and deposit many of our resources.

Ask for permission before making any kind of derivative work (e.g., transcription, translation, incorporation into a textbook or analysis, creative production, etc.).


To view, download, or stream a restricted file, you will need to unlock the file with its password. Enter the file's password in the Unlock Object box at the bottom of the page and click the Authenticate button.


AILLA requires PDF/A files. A PDF/A file is a special type of PDF that is used for archiving and long-term preservation (read more about PDF/A files here). Often depositors write to us asking how to create a PDF/A file (or how to convert an existing PDF to PDF/A). Given that the process varies depending on the program and operating system being using, we are not able to providd exact or detailed instructions. However, below you will find some instructions that will help get you started. Also note that many methods for creating a PDF/A require some version of Adobe Acrobat Pro.


  • AILLA Written Instructions for converting Microsoft Office 2013 Word and PowerPoint documents to PDF/A files using Windows 10 if you do NOT have Adobe Acrobat Pro.
  • AILLA YouTube Video: demonstrating how to make PDF/A documents using Windows 10 and Microsoft Word (Office 2013) with Adobe Acrobat Pro installed on the computer.


  • AILLA YouTube Video: demonstrating how to make PDF/A documents using Mac OS 10.10.5 (Yosemite) and Microsoft Word (Office 2011 for Mac) with Adobe Acrobat Pro installed on the computer.

Apache OpenOffice lets you export directly to PDF. See the OpenOffice Wiki for instructions on exporting to PDF/A under the section called Controlling PDF content and quality.