The great majority of material in this dictionary was collected by Robert L. Oswalt starting in 1957 and lasting several decades. His tireless collaborator in this task was Essie Parrish, in addition to Herman James and numerous other speakers of the language. The final manuscript of Oswalt's dictionary dates from 2005, and is located in the California Language Archive (CLA) at the University of California, Berkeley. Bob Oswalt passed away in 2007.
In 2011, Eugene Buckley at the University of Pennsylvania began preparing the dictionary manuscript, a text file, for import into a Fieldworks Language Explorer (FLEx) relational database which could then be the basis of an online dictionary. This initial work was supported by a grant from the University Research Foundation and a School of Arts and Sciences Research Opportunity Grant, and largely implemented by Penn student John Gluckman.
From 2012-2015, a grant from National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) under the Documenting Endangered Languages (DEL) program funded multiple trips to California for interviews with Anita Silva to gather more information and examples for the dictionary. Silva was keenly devoted to sharing her knowledge of the language and was an energetic and cheerful collaborator on the project. Since her passing in 2015, Buckley has also had the opportunity to work with three other speakers: Otis Parrish, Inez Adam, and Freda Davis.
In the first year of the DEL grant, Penn graduate student Kobey Shwayder was supported as an RA to work on the database. The initial phase involved matching the existing entries to Oswalt's original fileslips, stored at the CLA. Access to that information was made possible by Patrick Hall, a student at Berkeley who had laboriously photographed around 14,000 paper slips containing Oswalt's notes and shared them with Buckley in 2010. Shwayder also developed links among entries in the database for morphologically related words.
Further support was provided by the Penn Undergraduate Research Mentoring (PURM) summer program; this made possible the assistance of Catherine Liu and Logan Castrucci during the summer of 2016, who helped to edit and expand the entries.
Since 2018, Buckley has also had the good fortune to share materials with Gavin Antone, a descendant of the Kashia tribe who is a dedicated learner of the language. Among other contributions, he photographed and typed up the fileslips from the work by Abraham Halpern in 1940, the most important source of information about Kashaya before Oswalt's research.
First as a volunteer and then through another summer PURM program in 2021, Anthony Burger consolidated various Kashaya materials outside of Oswalt's work, as well as editing and organizing the Halpern notes for incorporation into the database.
Starting in 2020, significant editing help has been provided by Penn undergraduate Gonzalo Ortega. Over the past decade, assistance with the database and related materials has also come from Michael Ehart, Jacob Kaufman, Kevin Liang, John McLaughlin, Matthias Volker, Jialin Wang, and Thomas Yim.