SIEF2017 13th Congress: Göttingen, Germany
26-30 March 2017

(Arch02)
Dwelling in the virtual space: digital approaches and archival practices
Location KWZ 2.601
Date and Start Time 28 March, 2017 at 08:30
Sessions 3

Convenors

  • Lauri Harvilahti (Finnish Literature Society) email
  • Sanita Reinsone (Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art, University of Latvia) email

Mail All Convenors

Short Abstract

This panel welcomes papers on interactive folkloristic methods of collecting data, including the use of diverse forms of social media, crowd-sourcing, on-line collecting platforms, as well as web-based databases and other digital solutions for using massive folklore collections in digital form.

Long Abstract

Right now a major digital revolution is taking place in the work of tradition archives. For a part, the archives have already changed from analog to digital. This has happened either in course of massive digitizing projects, or due to the fact that more and more material comes to the archives in digital form. The Internet serves as a new field for folklorists. Much of the collecting work done previously by using recording devices and cameras, or by organizing collecting campaigns, is now possible to carry out by using internet platforms. Further, Internet offers possibilities for virtual ethnography research and collecting work based on the material that lives and circulates in the web. Culture expression and communication has mowed to the open graph of the social media or to interactive portals and numerous other Internet-based solutions. Further, the Internet has opened up entirely new possibilities to connect archives, to make archives accessible for a wider audience, and an opportunity to reach the younger generations and international auditory. We have to follow these changes, in order to understand the value of digital and born-digital culture in the present-day life.

This panel welcomes papers on interactive folkloristic methods of collecting data, including the use of diverse forms of social media, crowd-sourcing, on-line collecting platforms, as well as web-based databases and other digital solutions for using massive folklore collections in digital form.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

Towards linked cultural heritage

Author: Lauri Harvilahti (Finnish Literature Society)  email

Short Abstract

During the present era of the digital network society there is a need for a www-infrastructure that would provide a platform for digital collections of cultural heritage. Based on repositories, distributed in different countries, the idea of linked cultural heritage could be put forward in a new way.

Long Abstract

The services of tradition archives are rapidly changing. Access services are developed for users, and created by users, such as crowd-sourcing methods, interactive portals, folksonomies, tagging, participatory cataloguing, among many other solutions. Information resources are retrievable due to the digital services, not only by using the traditional indexes in archives. Virtual use is not restricted in time and place. By using digitized archival reserves and search portals, the users are not anymore solely bound to the archival institute. However, huge amount of documents are still stored in analog form and used with the help of manual finding aids.

During the present era of the digital network society there is a need for a functional www-infrastructure that would provide a platform for digital collections of cultural heritage with an ergonomic user-interface allowing searches within a particular tradition, and across the traditions of multiple cultures according to a diverse range of criteria. Based on repositories, distributed possibly in different countries, the idea of linked cultural heritage could be put forward in a new way, for creating unfinished stories in the circulation network of the traditions. This requires active participation of tradition archives in the development of the archival world.

Furthermore, integration of the archives, museums and libraries in developing search portals and solutions of Linked Open Data are bringing the cultural organizations in closer cooperation. In the digital world the keywords for the cooperation of the 'collecting institutions' are network, context, interoperability and integration.

Exploring user-created metadata in digital folklore archives

Authors: Sanita Reinsone (Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art, University of Latvia)  email
Uldis Ķirsis (Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art, University of Latvia)  email

Short Abstract

On the basis of the case study on user habits in digital folklore archives, the paper will provide in-depth discussion of social tagging and peculiarities of the created folksonomy at the Digital Archives of Latvian Folklore (garamantas.lv).

Long Abstract

Garamantas.lv — the digital archives of Latvian Folklore, established in 2014, provides users with various possibilities of knowledge sharing and content transformation, including transcription and translation of manuscripts and audio recordings, adding complementary information, as well as social tagging. Garamantas.lv is chosen as a base for the case study to explore user habits in digital folklore archives and their involvement outcomes to raise intelligibility of the digital archives.

Keywords added during the manuscript transcription provides a particular type of metadata that usually serves as subjective essence of the content and can be used for classifying and searching through the large and varied data. Furthermore, empowering users to generate their own metadata, provides with a possibility to follow how bottom-up information structuring, i.e. folksonomies, are created and how they function in parallel or as a substitution for the institutionally created taxonomies.

In the presentation we will discuss the necessity of editorial intervention in the process of social tagging; furthermore, by providing statistical and content analysis we will reveal user habits of social tagging and provide analysis of the created folksonomy (consisting of more than 2000 keywords by the end of 2016) in garamantas.lv, as well as its intersection with archival taxonomies.

Minner.no - digitalized crowdsourced documentation

Author: Audun Kjus (Norsk Folkemuseum (The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History) )  email

Short Abstract

In 2016 we launched a web based collection platform that offers both contributors and collectors new opportunities. I will present the new features, how the contributors have been using them, and the work that lays ahead of us to get the new tool to function properly.

Long Abstract

Norwegian Ethnological Research is a cultural archive specialised at collecting reports from private persons regarding topics of the everyday life. The method can be characterised as mass interviews by correspondence. In recent years, the method has been adapted to digital communication, and October 2016 we launched a website tailored for this line of work.

The website introduces some novelties. The correspondents get the option of publishing texts and images at the website minner.no (memories.no). The last 20 years new legal and ethical standards have made it increasingly difficult for researchers to collect and publish people's personal stories. We believe the new website can be a means of untangling this knot. Both the laws of intellectual property and the laws of personal privacy revolve around the concept of consent, and if something is going to be published at minner.no, it is the author who has the authority to push the button - or not.

The author also gets the option to edit or delete a text he or she previously has submitted, and if you at first decided that a contribution should be for research only, you can later change your mind and publish it anyway. Giving such authority to the author is not technically advanced, but in the work of cultural archives, it is radical. In the paper, I will take a closer look at both the reasons for and the consequences of this move.

20 years with Open Access: folklore online

Author: Andres Kuperjanov (Estonian Literary Museum)  email

Short Abstract

In the 1996 the first profile specific server about (Estonian) Folklore was established and was supported by Open Estonian Foundation. It is home to academic journals, genre specific databases, readers, , etc. This presentation is about efficiency and possible future strategies will be discussed.

Long Abstract

In the 1996 the first profile specific server about (Estonian) Folklore was established and was supported by Open Estonian Foundation. It is home to academic journals, genre specific databases, readers etc. All materials are full Open Access, open source software driven and available for everyone. We do not track our users nor send them adds, all our journals follow double-blind reviewing procedure since 1997 and articles are DOI numbers even backward. The presentation will provide an overview of successful sub-projects and tools that help folklorists to create maps, statistics and follow the topography of certain types; specify keywords, tags etc. Data bases, including the newest social media and multimodal archives, and additional tools give scholars the possibities for multidimensional analysis, or even prepare the academic volumes. This presentation is about efficiency and possible future strategies will be discussed.

Third dwelling of Latvian charms: the digital catalogue

Author: Aigars Lielbārdis (University of Latvia, Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art)  email

Short Abstract

Paper is related to the project "Digital Catalogue of Latvian Charms", which aims to carry out a new fundamental research on Latvian charms by developing of advanced virtual tools and adaptation of digital humanities principles.

Long Abstract

The first dwelling of charms is among users and within performance, the second - into manuscripts and records of archives. The Archive of Latvian Folklore is main institution on research and storage of Latvian charms - more than 56,000 units of Latvian charms and their variations. It is one of the largest charm corpora among European and Scandinavian folklore archives. Most of the texts were collected and sent to the Archive during the 1930s in collaboration with schools and students from all over Latvia. In the interwar period of 20th century research on Latvian charm by Kārlis Straubergs was developed. After II WW situation in Latvia in the field of research on charm tradition was changed extremely - it came to a stand due to the political condition and impact of Soviet System on Latvian folkloristics. Only in the late 1980s scientific investigations on Latvian charm tradition renewed.

The third dwelling of charms is related to the project "Digital Catalogue of Latvian Charms", which aims to carry out a new fundamental research on Latvian charms by developing of advanced virtual tools and adaptation of digital humanities principles. Project intends to provide multilingual metadata interface, parallel Latvian text corpus of invariants in English, and new catalogue of Latvian charms according to European charm types will be elaborated. Thus Latvian charm corpus become useful for digital ethnography research and reach a new level of comparative charm studies in international context.

Dwelling through the technical innovations of the Dutch Folktale Database

Author: Theo Meder (Meertens Institute)  email

Short Abstract

The Dutch Folktale Database underwent technical changes that make the addition of metadata easier. The interpretation of data is facilitated by means of visualisation: geographical maps, timelines, a network of similar tales, and wordclouds. The database is ready to interact with similar databases.

Long Abstract

In 1994 the Dutch Folktale Database started as a stand-alone database and came online in 2004: www.verhalenbank.nl. After two large projects (FACT and Tunes & Tales), since 2016, all kinds of metadata can be added automatically and semi-supervised: languages, names, keywords, summaries, subgenres, motifs and tale types. For this, the database went over to a new platform called Omeka that fits the needs of many databases in the humanities, and that can handle all kinds of plug-ins. The following techniques have been used: n-grams, language detection, named entity recognition, keyword extraction, summarisation, bag of words, machine learning and natural language processing. Furthermore MOMFER, a search engine for MOTIFS has been added as well (www.Momfer.ml). The search capabilities of Omeka turned out to be a little disappointing, and have been further enhanced by adding Solr. The interpretation of data is facilitated by new means of visualisation: geographical maps, timelines, a network of similar tales, and wordclouds. It is now possible to ask for tales told in the 20th century in Rotterdam and its surroundings for 15 kilometers. Since the database meets the requirements of Dublin Core, a connection with similar databases or a data harvester is made possible. Recently, a Trans-Atlantic Digging into Data application has been sent in to build a harvester called ISEBEL: Intelligent Search Engine for Belief Legends. The harvester should be able to search into a Dutch, Danish and German database simultaneously. Lateron, other databases can join in.

Folklore and databases: the case of Kalevalaic poetry

Author: Jukka Saarinen (Finnish Literature Society)  email

Short Abstract

This paper deals with different approaches utilized for retrieval and using of archived folklore materials by presenting the case of Kalevalaic poetry in the archives of Finnish Literature Society, made openly available in web-based database (SKVR) in full text format.

Long Abstract

Folklore Archives of the Finnish Literature Society (SKS) became an independent department in 1934 with a task to collect, index and research folklore materials. In 2016 the two extensive repositories in SKS, Folklore Archives and Literature Archives, were merged into a single SKS's archive. One important reason for the merger was the need to combine the various archive indices and databases, which essentially helps in making the data available to the national and international data retrieval systems. The indexing system of the Archives was originally developed to classify and to describe the folklore items accumulated by the collectors: folk tales, legends, songs, proverbs etc. The Archives created a comprehensive genre-based full text index, which has been available locally in the archive premisis. Integrating this particular system of items and genres into more generally used and standard archival systems is a very challenging task, and hence retrieval of folklore items in the joint system will be defective. However, there exists an on-line full text database incorporating majority of archive items of a certain genre, namely the Kalevalaic poems. The database, basing on the digitized texts of the anthology Ancient Poems of the Finnish People (SKVR, 1908-1949, 1997), contains over 87000 items, or poetic texts. The present paper examines the relationship between this special database and more common archival databases. Particular attention is paid to how these two different approaches could be synchronized to offer a richer and more comprehensive understanding on this specific genre.

Folklore collections in digital form: popular culture, ethnographic research and analysis in the internet era

Authors: Evangelos Karamanes (Academy of Athens)  email
Aikaterini Polymerou-Kamilaki (Academy of Athens)  email

Short Abstract

Aspects that call for closer investigation of ICT are the ways in which the digital daily “creation” motivates people, as well as its relationship or interaction with the production of digital applications on the part of institutional players.

Long Abstract

In the digital era, archival documentation of popular culture items is transformed with the aid of digital technology capabilities. Popular expression and personal creation find their way into the digital media, which in turn are creations of powerful institutions, for the operation of which governments and business giants are mobilized, creating and maintaining huge infrastructures.

Seeing the Internet as a tool embedded in existing social spaces, relationships and structures, and taking into account that the form and function of folk practices and events is mediated through digital technology (Internet, social networks), the ethnographic research into how ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) are perceived and ultimately used in practice is of particular importance for the study of contemporary culture. More specifically, questions such as the ways in which the digital daily "creation" motivates people, as well as its relationship or interaction with the production of digital applications on the part of institutional players are issues that call for further investigation.

Examples of recent works implemented by the Hellenic Folklore Research Centre, Academy of Athens on on-line collecting platforms, web-based databases and applications for using folklore collections in digital form, will be briefly commented upon.

Preserving oral heritage with the use of sound maps: applying digital cartography in archiving of non-material heritage

Author: Vladimir Radinović (RadioKit Foundation )  email

Short Abstract

RadioKit foundation is working on creating a system for preserving audio archives and presenting audio material in the form of interactive map. This way of presentation of audio archives has proven to attract much bigger population and increase its interest in preservation of oral heritage.

Long Abstract

As a result of five years of active research of sound mapping models and their implementation in preservation of non-material oral cultural heritage of urban environments, RadioKit foundation has created a tool that is designed to easily present audio material in the form of a sound map. The tool itself is designed for audio archiving purposes and it allows users to assign all kinds of metadata to each of the files. The simplicity of the user interface of the tool grants a possibility of reaching wider array of users-contributors among the general populace, and its multimodal structure makes management of audio material and its presentation on the internet a much easier task for archivists. By visually presenting the collected audio data on the map and implementing interactive approach to browsing through the archival material a much bigger audience was attracted. Non-linear narrative of an online interactive map allows end users to create their own timelines and explore the material according to their personal interests which has proven to drastically increase the interest of the audience for the material presented. The system is built in way that it allows the editorial team to group the material in conceptual selections which can be easily put or removed from the map and thus operates in way as a tool for production of interactive gallery of audio material.

Intermedial identities: a possible model to describe contemporary cultural practice

Author: Adrian Stoicescu (University of Bucharest)  email

Short Abstract

The accelerated cultures of today allow the emergence of a new way of building cultural identity and its usage offline. Crowdsourcing cultural practice on the internet has evolved into a distinct practice leading to intermedial identity building processes.

Long Abstract

Against the backdrop of accelerated cultures and the dissolution of community in the sense of traditions holders, people still feel the need to find some landmarks to shape their life big moments. The substitute for the old communities, holding the archived codes of cultural practice, in which such answers could be found may be the online community of practice which increasingly slides away from its centring upon the issues of very practical matter to those of a more ritualistic or ceremonial nature.

Additionally, the contemporary life styles incorporate an ever-increasing tendency of self-museification by movies, snapshots or commentaries of the individual life in its (extra)ordinary aspects. Uploading such samples of individual life on (video) social media or specially created discussion forums tends to be itself an intrinsic part of such life styles which may develop as a strong component of the individual identity profile.

But such self-museification practices displayed within the communities with loose cultural identity, which are in fact forms of individual acknowledgement and empowerment of the weak cultural consistency enables the ground for inventing a new form of cultural transmission. The lived culture of the individual museified online becomes to certain extent the socio-cultural regulatory entity that once organised the cultural life of a community.

This papers tries to approach such practice in the sense of identifying an emergent type of cultural identity based on the principles of crowdsourcing and selection from the online to be played offline just to be museified and uploaded after to serve of identity practice raw material for further use.

The collection and publication of Icelandic folktales in the 19th century: an integrated digital archive

Author: Rosa Thorsteinsdottir (The Arni Magnusson Institute for Icelandic Studies)  email

Short Abstract

The first main collection of folktales in Iceland was done by Jón Árnason. A project on his work has the aim to document all related archived materials. It will involve the scanning and transcription of letters between him and his co-workers and the scanning of the manuscripts of the collected tales.

Long Abstract

The paper will describe a research project on the collection and publication process of Jón Árnason's Íslenzkar þjóðsögur og æfintýri (1862-1864). The main aim of this project is to document carefully the process that lay behind the first main collection of folk tales in Iceland. The focus of the project will be on documenting all materials relating to the collection of Jón Árnason's work. It will essentially involve the scanning and transcription of all letters between Jón Árnason and his collectors (including others who declined to send him material), and between Jón and his fellow editors, Guðbrandur Vigfússon in Copenhagen and Konrad Maurer in Munich; and the scanning of the manuscripts of all the folk tales collected by Jón Árnason and his co-workers. The present aim is that the scans and transcriptions of these original materials will go into databases already existing and that direct links will be made to these from the main project website and the already-established Sagnagrunnur database of all Icelandic folk legends in print. The intention is that the core part of the Jón Árnason archive will be in Icelandic and English and comprise of biographical and bibliographical information, extended entries on key topics and other relevant details about cultural context at home and abroad. Careful examination of these primary materials will then allow us to come closer to finding answers to a number of central questions concerning Jón Árnason's collection and publication of folktales.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.