CAVA home (British Sign Language Corpus Project)


The CAVA (human Communication: an Audio-Visual Archive) repository contains rights-cleared primary audio and video recordings made by UCL’s human communication researchers and their associates. The British Sign Language Corpus Project (BSLCP) section of the CAVA repository contains video recordings of BSL video data from 249 deaf signers of BSL from 8 regions around the UK: London (L), Bristol (BL), Cardiff (CF), Birmingham (BM), Newcastle (N), Manchester (M), Glasgow (G) and Belfast (BF). The participants are mixed for gender, age group, age of BSL acquisition, social class and ethnicity. There are 2 levels of access. The Open Access data includes narratives (n) and lexical elicitation (l), and the Restricted Access data includes interviews (i), conversation (c) and some combined narrative followed by conversation (n-c) – for more detail see BSLCP Activities. All participants were filmed in pairs for all activities, with three cameras: one on each participant, and one on the pair. Some annotations are available as well (see below for details).

Example Video Resource filenames and what they mean:

BF9+10i = Belfast participants number 9 and 10 in the interview activity

CF17n = Cardiff participant 17 in the narrative activity

Example Annotation (eaf) Resource filenames and what they mean:

LN12F40BHC.eaf = London participant 12, Female, age 40, Black, from Hearing family, in the Conversation activity

BM03M40WDNC.eaf = Birmingham participant 03, Male, age 40, White, from Deaf family, in the Narrative-Conversation activity

MC11F35AHC.eaf = Manchester participant 11, Female, age 35, Asian, from Hearing family, in the Conversation activity

Accessing BSL Corpus data on CAVA

In order to view narrative or lexical elicitation video data in your browser, simply search or browse CAVA, and you will be able to view/download the video clips without logging in. Viewing or downloading the Open Access (narrative or lexical elicitation) video data to your computer first requires agreeing to some terms and conditions. Viewing or downloading the Restricted Access (interview or conversation) video data (either viewing in your browser or downloading to your computer), requires a user license (request a user license here). Depending on demand and the details of your particular request, the process of obtaining an End User License may take several weeks. After you have obtained your End User Licence, please log in here.

To view the eaf annotation files, you will need to download and install the software ELAN, available for free for Mac, Windows and Linux.

Annotations and translations

Lexical-level annotations and English translations of some of the conversation data from Bristol, Birmingham, London and Manchester and some narrative data from Belfast and Glasgow are available for download in the form of ELAN annotation files (search for “eaf”), along with annotation guidelines explaining annotation procedures. English translations of all narrative data from all 8 regions (Bristol, Birmingham, London, Manchester, Cardiff, Newcastle, Belfast and Glasgow) are also available. More annotations, transcriptions and translations will be made available on this site periodically, after they have been completed and checked. See release notes for details of which files have been annotated and to what level of detail.

Note that although the eaf annotation files for the conversation data are open access, the video files that they are linked to are restricted access; you will need to request an end user license agreement to access the conversation videos. To qualify as a researcher you must be academic or research staff at a university or research institution, or an undergraduate or postgraduate research student.

More information