The Language Media Center is prime campus location for both research and instruction at Pitt. As a computing lab shared by modern language departments offered at the University, we welcome all research projects by faculty and graduate students whose topics center around linguistics and language education.
Experiments in Our Labs
Our PC and Mac labs are well suited to computer-based group experiments. Individual stations are equipped with headsets and microphones, making it possible to record audio input from subjects. We already have some popular experiment software, and our lab managers are equipped to provide assistance with software installation. Our student workers, depending on availability, can help with testing and data collection.
The PC lab and the Mac lab can be reserved through our online reservation system. Please note that there are restrictions on the volume and frequency of research reservations, which were instituted in order to encourage fair sharing of our limited lab resources.
Procedures and Policies
To ensure a successful outcome, a research project must be planned well in advance. There are several stages of preparation, starting with (1) a project approval 5-weeks before the planned experiment, (2) a request for technical assistance at the 4-week prior mark, followed by (3) an initial setup, and (4) two rounds of lab-wide testing. The details are found in this section on our policies on research projects. Please read it carefully and in entirety.
In addition to the policies noted above, here are suggestions for relevant practices and considerations.
- Leave a room for last-minute checks. Because our labs are shared, computer settings may be altered by a class earlier in the day of your experiment. Due to this, we recommend provisioning 30 minutes before your experiment start time.
- Expect contingencies. Technologies can fail despite our best efforts. It is therefore sometimes necessary to expect unforseen circumstances and have a readily-deployable alternative plan.
- Prepare alternative solutions. Many research experiments rely on digital media as stimuli, and this can cause a problem that is often beyond our control. There are, for example, hundreds of different video and audio formats out there, creating codec issues. Even the best experiment software titles such as e-Prime are not immune to these issues. When such compatibilty problems occur, please understand that you may have to employ a backup plan for a solution.
- Communication. We found that effective communication between the research lead and the center's management is one of the key elements of success. Please work closely with the LMC's manager through the preparation stage and the experiment.
Experiment Software Offerings
Our center has licenses for some of the most popular experiment-running software titles: e-Prime and SuperLab. In addition, we have LiveCode (previously Runtime Revolution) licenses. Details:
- e-Prime 2.0 Professional
- 2 full licenses for experiment building. Installed on our PC laptops.
- The two full licenses allow up to 50 machines to be used to collect data concurrently: our 28 PC stations can be simultaneously used.
- SuperLab 4.5
- 2 full licenses for experiment building. One installed on our PC laptop, another on our Mac laptop.
- 28 runtime-only licenses. It can be installed in the PC lab or the Mac lab, upon request.
- LiveCode 5.5
- Installed on 9 Mac stations in our Mac lab: 1 instructor machine + 8 stations in 2nd and 3rd rows.
- 11 licenses to be shared by researchers; please send your inquiries to the center's director.
Create Media for Experiment Scripts
Our center does not provide direct help with creating experiment scripts, but there are some services we provide you might find helpful throughout the experiment building process. You can reserve our recording studio to create high-quality audio recordings to be used as stimuli. We also have video cameras and audio recorders that may be checked out. If you require multimedia editing, you can reserve our multimedia development station, which has video and audio editing software. In addition, you can check out our laptops, pre-installed with e-Prime and SuperLab, for development of experiments.
Digitizing and Archiving Data
Do you have old research data that needs digitizing? The LMC can help. We can perform the following tasks:
If you have data-related needs not covered by the methods above, please send your inquiry to the center's director. Please note that we may not digitize any copyrighted materials unless you obtain the rights from the publisher. Please see our policies on duplication and Pitt's policy on copyrighted materials.
- Turning analog media (sound recording, video tapes) into digital formats
- Scanning printed materials into digital files (PDFs or image files) and run OCR software
If you have any questions about using the LMC for your research, please email Na-Rae Han, the center's director. If you have research-related needs that are not met by what is noted above, we would be happy to discuss ways to accommodate your project.