At over 57,000 volumes, the Folklore Collection at the Indiana University Bloomington Libraries is the largest, most comprehensive working collection of its kind in the world. The collection has a long unbroken history at Indiana University ever since it was first brought together by Stith Thompson, Distinguished Professor of English, one of the founders of folklore study in the United States and author of the monumental Motif-Index of Folk Literature. The collection has been maintained and nurtured at the Indiana University Bloomington Libraries to this day.
In the summer of 2009, the entire Folklore Collection became the inaugural “Collection of Distinction” to be digitized as part of an agreement between the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) and Google Books. As a result, the entire collection, both books and journals, is fully searchable by anyone online. However, copyright restrictions mean that only some of these volumes may be read in full online.
Online books fall into three classes:
- Public Domain
- Open Access.
Since most published books are protected by copyright laws, they are not freely available online. Either the reader, or a library acting on behalf of readers, must pay for access. Nevertheless, limited previews of many books are available online even though they are still under copyright. Thousands of such books are to be found in Hathi Trust and Google Books For example, see:
Public Folklore (1992) edited by Robert Baron and Nicholas R. Spitzer
In Hathi Trust and Google Books, you can still search the full text of copyright-protected books. Results appear either as snippets or simple citations, with links to sites where you can either buy the book in print or find it in a library. For example, a search within:
Chaseworld: Foxhunting and Storytelling in New Jersey's Pine Barrens (1992) by Mary Hufford
can tell us which ten pages the author name “Bauman” appears and which seven pages the topical word “law” appears.
Here are found published books whose copyright term has expired, making possible the provision of digital versions of them freely available online. For books published in the U.S., these titles were usually published before 1923. In Hathi Trust and Google Books, you can not only read but also search the full text of books in the public domain. For example, see:
Literary Aspects of North American Mythology (1915) by Paul Radin.
Open Access books are recent publications (either born-digital or digitized from print copies) whose copyright owners have made freely available online. Utah State University is a leader in this movement, and several important folklore titles from this Press are available online here. For example, see:
Once Upon a Virus: AIDS Legends and Vernacular Risk Perception (2004) by Diane E. Goldstein.
Open Folklore is also working with copyright holders to release (and if necessary digitize) published books so they too are freely available online. Contact us if you own the rights to a published work in folklore studies and are interested in making it an open access book.
We invite users of Open Folklore to follow the following steps and browse the large and growing number of folklore books now freely available online.
Access Folklore Studies Books in the Hathi Trust Digital Library
Started in 2008 as a partnership among research libraries, HathiTrust is an open web resource that aggregates, preserves, and provides access to the collections of member libraries. Its mission: to contribute to the common good by collecting, organizing, preserving, communicating, and sharing the record of human knowledge. To date 29 major research libraries have joined as partners in Hathi Trust.
Features of Hathi Trust Digital Library:
- Advanced search options
- Ability to create permanent collections
- View books and journals online as images, pdf files, or text that can be copied and pasted
- Search full text of 6 million books and journals
- If books are in copyright, search results show references to page numbers
Search all six million books and journals in Hathi Trust Digital Library here
Access Folklore Studies Books from Utah State University Press
Access Folklore Studies Books in Google Books
- Public domain books may be read online – click “Full view”
- Download public domain books as PDF or Epub file
- Alternatively, read books online as plain text that may be copied and pasted
- Sort results by relevance or date
- Advanced search available
- If book results are in copyright, they may appear as previews (search terms will be highlighted) or as snippets showing where search terms are found
- Click “Find in a library” to locate a print copy that may be borrowed through interlibrary loan
Access Folklore Studies Books via the Internet Archive
- All texts are fully available online
- Advanced search available
- Sort results by relevance, average rating, download count, date, or date added
- Read online or download texts as PDFs, text files, or formatted for eBook readers such as Kindle
The IUScholarWorks repository contains a rapidly growing number of books in folklore studies, and this number is increasing as Open Folklore works with copyright owners to make their work fully accessible online.
- Use the Open Folklore search tool to find open-access books in the IUScholarWorks Repository.
- Use the Filter by Search for words in author, title, publisher, and subject.
- Use Filter by Type option to limit results to books only.