SIEF2019 14th Congress: Santiago de Compostela, Spain
14-17 April 2019

(Arch02)
Keeping track of your field data [SIEF Working Group on Archives] [W]
Location Room 06
Date and Start Time 16 Apr, 2019 at 11:15
Sessions 1

Convenors

  • Maryna Chernyavska (University of Alberta) email
  • Kelly Fitzgerald (University College Dublin) email

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Short abstract

Folklorists and ethnologists document cultural expressions and collect large amount of data in their professional life. In this workshop, participants will learn basic principles and best practices of field data management, and develop skills necessary for field researchers in the information age.

Long abstract

Conducting fieldwork is the essential part of being a folklorist or an ethnologist. We document cultural expressions and collect huge amount of data in our everyday professional life. Managing the data we have collected may feel overwhelming. Having to organize and make sense of hundreds or thousands of files, ensuring we have ability and equipment to open those files years later are just a few of many challenges researchers face. How do we manage fieldwork data? In this workshop, participants will learn basic principles and best practices of field research data management, including file format conventions, file versioning, best practices creating metadata, and other practical skills necessary to use fieldwork data efficiently. Utilizing a sustainable approach to fieldwork data management will make it possible for researchers to use and reuse it, as well as to make it available for other audiences. It is our responsibility not only to our discipline, but first and foremost to the people we study and who let us learn from them.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

Analogue and digital obsolescence and other joys of managing fieldwork data

Author: Maryna Chernyavska (University of Alberta) email
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Short abstract

It is our ethical and professional responsibility to have data collected in the field in the course of our research organized and accessible today and years later. This presentation will address challenges we encounter in the world of rapid technological changes, and offer possible solutions.

Long abstract

Conducting fieldwork, whether in the digital world or in the more traditional physical space, leaves an ethnographer with a ton of data: most often, dozens (or, depending on the scope of the project, hundreds) of hours of interviews, photographs, field notes, sometimes video recordings and even accidental artifacts all of which form the body of our fieldwork data. This fieldwork data becomes the basis of and informs our scholarship. The most diligent of us transcribe our interviews full text, have people, places and events identified for all the photographs, and have our fieldwork collected over the years neatly organized. However, files collected in the field may be left behind in a rush to a new project, and overwhelming number of other obligations in our daily lives. And yet our fieldwork may have value beyond our own scholarship. It may be useful for other researchers in the future, for communities we study, for other multiple audiences that become users of folklore archives today. If it is our ethical and professional responsibility to have our data available and transparent, how do we make sure we can respond to the challenges brought by rapid technological changes? How do we describe and store our fieldwork data, so we and others can make sense of it years later? This presentation attempts to give practical answers to these challenges.

Dublin Core and Omeka. Possibilities and challenges of digital folklore collections and archives

Author: Emese Ilyefalvi (Eötvös Loránd University / University of Alberta) email
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Short abstract

This presentation analyzes the advantages and disadvantages of Dublin Core Metadata Initiatives and Omeka content management system from a folklore/ethnology point of view.

Long abstract

Folklore and ethnology departments typically have their own collections or archives based on the students' fieldwork materials. The main difficulty in managing such collections is material heterogeneity, the large amount of data and the lack of archival specialist. It is crucial that university curricula incorporate the best practices of data management and offer a suitable platform for students. There are countless initiatives within digital humanities to standardize metadata systems and datasets in hopes of interoperability. The Dublin Core Metadata Initiatives is one of the most popular of these and several digital folklore projects or archives are using it (e.g. Department of Greek Literature - University of Athens, Nederlandse VolksverhalenBank - Merteens Institute etc.) In my paper I will first investigate the dataset of the Dublin Core, analyzing the advantages and disadvantages of the DC dataset from a folklore/ethnology point of view. In the second half of my presentation I will focus on Omeka, which is an open-source web-publishing platform, a content management system for institutional digital collections using the Dublin Core, which could be a possible tool for university purposes.

Processing the interview; depositing for dissemination

Author: Kelly Fitzgerald (University College Dublin) email
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Short abstract

This workshop contribution will address certain challenges associated with digital archival documentation. Questions regarding cataloguing, and arranging recordings will be posed. It will recognize long-standing folklore traditions and new ways to engage with a tradition archive.

Long abstract

At times, individual scholars and researchers find they have a body of recorded material from years of fieldwork. This contribution to the workshop will address some of the challenges associated with this digital archival documentation. A number of questions will be addressed such as how best to catalogue, index and arrange the contents of audio and video recordings. What is the best way to present content for further research and analysis? Facilitating this kind of access to collections will generate opportunities for internal collaboration as researchers, who may not engage with ethnographic fieldwork themselves but will be able to access and utilise relevant collections. This will offer increased possibilities for cross-pollination between disciplines and the creation of a diverse array of interdisciplinary research projects. Arguably, there are those who may find this methodological process a flawed approach. There are, however, a number of academics who are engaging with this process and bringing new insights to the archive. This workshop will give recognition to a long-standing tradition in folklore studies and will identify new ways to engage with archival sources. The workshop will strive to demonstrate that scholars who work with the archive in their research activity enhances one's ethnographic fieldwork.

Housekeeping and family life at home: daily homework in the work journal by a housewife 1890–1914

Author: Åsa Ljungström (Mid Sweden University) email
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Short abstract

The daybook kept by a housewife and mother forms the ethnography of a home were daily work was carried out in 24 years, 1890–1914, by the housewife, a maid and a daughter. There are photos of interiors and objects, mentioned to keep track of when digitalized in a folk life archive and at my desk.

Long abstract

The housewife, once a professional housekeeper, the matron of an estate, kept a daybook of her household work for 24 years in ten thin notebooks. A world of the life of a family is stored. It has been digitalized at the Institute of Dialectology and Folk Life in Uppsala, Sweden. I have taken on the analysis of the progress of the daily life of the family at home and I need to find my way through the data to the themes – in order to tell the story of class and gender of female conditions in a changing world.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.