Author:Anu Korb (Estonian Literary Museum)
Paper short abstract:
The researcher acts as conduit between the community and its information and traditions. For the informants, a publication of their material represent their own stories and folklore, while for the readers they offer a peek into an unfamiliar world and an opportunity to revise established opinions.
Paper long abstract:
The point of folklore collection is not merely accumulating material in the archives, but it is the first stage of salvaging material from being lost ensuring that there will be something to study, publicize, and publish in print, such as documentaries or music albums.
The role of a researcher, an outsider, is particularly challenging—s/he will have to mediate the community's information and traditions in the motherland, but also convey news and opinions from the motherland to the informants. Members of the lore group always prefer having the material collected from them made public, and the outcomes reach back to the community. The issue of feedback, giving the material back to the group of informants, is not at all straightforward. What a compiler of a publication, a documentary or an exhibition has in mind may differ considerably from that of the community members. Evaluation of the material is influenced by people's values, intra-community relationships, etc. Recording oral history often reveals how differently informants may remember the same events. A researcher collecting folklore is often trusted with private information. The researcher may not even realise the thin line between what is appropriate for publication and what is not. For the informants, a publication of the material collected from Siberia's Estonians represents their own stories and folklore, while for the readers they offer a peek into an unfamiliar world and an opportunity to revise already established opinions.
The role of archives in the circulation chain of tradition