Fiji House
Service Learning
Affiliates & Visiting Fellows Program
Roger D. Abrahams Fund
CFE Home
Folklore Home
UPenn Home

For more information about the Center for Folklore & Ethnography,at UPenn, contact Professor Mary Hufford at

For assistance with the Folklore and Folklife website, contact Linda Lee at

Research Archives Events News

Migrating the Folklore Archive to Digital Format

3619 Locust Walk Room 404

Our goals for this project are threefold:

1) restoring, preserving, and digitizing sound recordings that are now more than thirty years old, many of which have never been duplicated;

2) creating and enhancing access to the digitized sound recordings and obtaining permission to do so;

3) identifying stakeholders in our collections, including those whose permission is necessary in order to publish many of the materials under our care, and those who may not even know that these materials are here. Stakeholders may include people whose voices are heard on the recordings as collectors and performers, or their descendants, as well as far-flung members of their communities.

What You Can Do to Help

If you have an interest in what becomes of the materials in the University of Pennsylvania’s Folklore Archive, we need to hear from you. We are working to develop a comprehensive understanding of the recordings themselves, the conditions under which they were made, the people who collaborated on them, and the value of these materials to communities in the present. This will help us to set priorities in getting the work done, obtain permission to place materials online, to determine what restrictions should be placed on the use of the materials deposited here, and to identify the extent of support we have for this project. You can express your support by:

  • Writing to us to let us know which materials are most important to you and why;
  • Making a financial contribution to the Roger D. Abrahams fund for folklore and ethnography, indicating your interest in the archival digitization project; and/or
  • Volunteering to help us with the digitizing of manuscripts

We have begun migrating information about the materials from thousands of hand-written “master-cards” into electronic databases, and have begun creating pdfs of related manuscript materials. Some of these databases in progress are posted to this website. Please look through these inventories, and send us your questions, concerns, and comments. We plan to update the lists every few months.

Digitizing the sound recordings will require major funding. There are close to five hundred sound recordings and moving images that need to be preserved and digitized. We have engaged Safe Sound Archive in appraising the condition of the tapes and we are in the process of applying for grant money to support the migration of sound recordings and moving images to digital format. Your contributions and letters of support will help us to identify the constituencies for whom this archive is most significant.

Again, if you are one of the people whose names appear in the posted documents, or if you know anyone who participated in the making of the recordings and manuscripts, if you yourself are engaged with the contributing communities and localities, have information to share about the collections, or questions about holdings that you think we may have but are not listed, in short, if you have an interest in what becomes of the materials in the University of Pennsylvania’s Folklore Archive, please send us your contact information along with a description of the holdings in which you are interested and the nature of your interest, and we will keep you informed as the project to migrate the archive moves forward.


Holdings and Collections

Online Database of Archive Holdings (In Progress)

Hours and Rules for Use

<< Return to the previous page