Accepted paper:

Folklore and databases: the case of Kalevalaic poetry


Jukka Saarinen (Finnish Literature Society)

Paper 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.

Paper 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.

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