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Folklore & Folklife News Fall 2006

November 2006

Migrating the Folklore Archive to Digital Format

Sara Jacoby and George Blood, of Safe Sound Archives, appraising sound recordings in the MacEdward Leach collection, January 2007.  Photo by Mary Hufford.The folklore archive has been integral to graduate education and research for more than forty years. During this time its holdings have expanded considerably, and, in spite of periodic efforts to deaccession extraneous materials, the archive has become too large for its allotted space. In addition to the crisis of space, there are crises of access and of preservation. We have been addressing the crisis of access through the creation of electronic databases of holdings, but solving the preservation crisis will require major funding. Therefore, in partnership with the American Folklore Society, the Center for Folklore and Ethnography is developing a proposal to migrate the folklore archive to digital format. We will be seeking support for digitizing the sound recordings and instituting an active online folklore and ethnography archive at Penn. We will also need to identify repositories for original recordings and manuscripts once those have been digitized. We are in the process of deaccessioning and liquidating many of our books and journals, in order to raise funds for new acquisitions and for the online archive. If you are interested in making a contribution, in receiving lists of our holdings, or have questions or recommendations concerning specific materials in our collections, please contact Mary Hufford.

Boxed reel containing sound recordings made by Jacob Elder in Trinidad in the early 1960s. Photo by Mary Hufford. 

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