• Remembering OF Team Member Garett Montanez
    Posted on Thu, 07/02/2015 - 11:06am

    It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Garett Montanez, a beloved and valued member of the Open Folklore Team. Garett made enormous contributions to the project as its Technology Lead, including the design and implementation of the web site as well as the associated “Search” feature. As excellent and outstanding as those professional contributions were, however, Garett’s personal qualities will remain even longer in our hearts and minds. His remarkable goodwill, generosity, constant smile, and his absolutely guaranteed optimism, carried us through many rough patches. Every time we asked if he could add new features (and there were many of these requests, small and big alike,) we learned to expect his standard response, “Sure, we can do that!” And in fact, not only did he say it, he did it. Always. His colleagues on the Open Folklore Team join the many others who were fortunate to know him in expressing our sadness at his passing and the knowledge that we will miss him greatly.

  • Open Folklore Web Archive Collection Grows Past 100 Sites
    Posted on Sun, 10/12/2014 - 11:53am
    (Written by Moria Smith and Cross-posted from the AFS Review)
    Websites contain valuable information for research and for documenting the history of the field of folklore studies. But they are ephemeral; they may change rapidly or even disappear. Anyone who cites information disseminated in websites as either primary or secondary data, for example, soon discovers that "link rot" is a significant problem.

    Web archives capture snapshots of websites as they appeared at a particular moment. Researchers can use the resulting archives as a searchable index of websites both past and present, including websites that have changed. Web archives also provide a persistent citation to a site that existed at a specific time (thus avoiding link rot), and they allow access to websites that are temporarily down or permanently departed.


    The Open Folklore Web Archive is a searchable collection of archived copies of websites that are of research value or institutional importance to folklorists. Collecting began in 2010 and is continuing, using the Archive-It service from the Internet Archive. The archive consists of two collections (https://archive-it.org/collections/2077 and https://archive-it.org/collections/2843) that together contain over 100 websites selected for their research value or institutional importance to the field.



    So far, the collection has two areas of emphasis, both directed toward the goal of capturing and making accessible the institutional history of the field:


    1. Websites of academic folklore programs


    2. Websites of public, folk, and vernacular arts organizations, both government-sponsored and private not-for-profit. We based our initial selection on Gregory Hansen’s “Webography of Public Folklore Resources,” Folklore and the Internet: Vernacular Expression in a Digital World, ed. Trevor J. Blank (Utah State University Press, 2009):213-230.


    In the last 6 months, the Open Folklore team has archived the following 48 new sites for the collection, raising the total collection to 115 sites:


    Alaska Native Heritage Center - http://alaskanative.net 


    Arts Center of Cannon County (Tennessee) - http://www.artscenterofcc.com


    Blue Ridge Institute and Museum of Ferrum College (Virginia)- http://www.blueridgeinstitute.org 


    California Indian Basketweavers Association - http://www.ciba.org  


    California Traditional Music Society - http://www.ctmsfolkmusic.org


    Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (Maryland) - http://www.cbmm.org 


    Chinavine - http://www.chinavine.org


    Department of Arkansas Heritage - http://www.arkansasheritage.com/


    George Washington University Department of American Studies (District of Columbia) - http://departments.columbian.gwu.edu/americanstudies/


    Georgia Council for the Arts - http://www.gaarts.org


    Illinois Arts Council - http://www.state.il.us/agency/iac 


    Institute for Community Research (Connecticut) - http://www.incommunityresearch.org 


    Iowa Arts Council - http://www.iowaartscouncil.org 


    Jubilee Community Arts at the Laurel Theatre (Tennessee) - http://www.jubileearts.org 


    Kansas State Historical Society - http://www.kshs.org 


    Kentucky Historical Society - http://history.ky.gov


    Louisiana Folklife Center - http://www.nsula.edu/folklife


    Maine Arts Commission - http://mainearts.maine.gov


    Massachusetts Cultural Council - http://www.massculturalcouncil.org


    Mississippi Arts Commission - http://www.arts.state.ms.us


    Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians - http://www.choctaw.org


    Mississippi Cultural Crossroads - http://www.msculturalcrossroads.org


    Missouri Folk Arts Program - http://maa.missouri.edu/mfap


    Missouri Historical Society - http://www.mohistory.org


    Museum of International Folk Art (New Mexico) - http://www.moifa.org


    New England Foundation for the Arts - http://www.nefa.org


    North Carolina Folklife Institute - http://www.ncfolk.org


    North Dakota Council for the Arts - http://www.state.nd.us/arts


    Northwest Folklife (Washington State) - http://www.nwfolklife.org


    Northwest Heritage Resources (Washington State) - http://www.northwestheritageresources.org


    Northwest Native American Basketweavers Association - http://www.nnaba.org


    Ozark Studies Institute (Missouri) - http://ozarksstudies.missouristate.edu/programs.htm


    Philadelphia Folksong Society - http://www.pfs.org


    Rangeley Regions Logging Museum (Maine) - http://www.rlrlm.org


    Rhode Island State Council on the Arts - http://www.arts.ri.gov/folkarts


    Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area (Pennsylvania) - http://www.riversofsteel.com


    Rose Center and Council for the Arts (Tennessee) - http://www.rosecenter.org


    Sealaska Heritage Institute (Alaska)- http://www.sealaskaheritage.org


    South Georgia Folklife Collection - http://www.valdosta.edu/library/find/arch/folklife/index.html


    Talking Across the Lines - http://www.folktalk.org


    Texas Folklife - http://www.texasfolklife.org


    The Folklife Center at Crandall Public Library (New York State) - http://www.crandalllibrary.org/folklife


    Traditional Arts in Upstate New York - http://www.tauny.org


    Tuckerton Seaport and Baymen's Museum (New Jersey) - http://www.tuckertonseaport.org


    University of Kentucky Modern & Classic Languages, Literatures & Cultures - http://mcl.as.uky.edu


    Virginia Folklife Program - http://www.virginiafolklife.org


    Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art (Maryland) - http://www.wardmuseum.org


    Washington State Arts Commission - http://www.arts.wa.gov


    To recommend other sites for this collection, please contact Open Folklore team member Moira Marsh at molsmith@indiana.edu.


    Founded in 2010, Open Folklore (www.openfolklore.org), an award-winning partnership of the American Folklore Society and the Indiana University Bloomington Libraries, is a scholarly communications effort to make a greater number and variety of useful resources available to folklorists and the communities with which folklorists partner. Open Folklore offers a single point of access to a growing universe of folklore studies scholarship and public education in books, journals, websites, and gray literature, and to information about open-access communications in folklore studies and beyond.


    To learn more, attend the Open Folklore session at next month’s AFS annual meeting in Santa Fe (Exploring Open Access Folklore Scholarship I: How Open Folklore Can Help You To Be a Smarter (!) Folklorist, Session 01-03, Thursday, November 6, 8:00-10:00 am).

  • Is No News, Good News? At Open Folklore, the Answer is Yes!
    Posted on Sat, 03/01/2014 - 10:56am

    The news page at the Open Folklore portal has been quiet. Is that a bad sign for the project and for open access in folklore studies? No, it is good news and here is the backstory.


    Since the update of the Open Folklore portal site, the OF team has been focused on the project's longer term efforts. This noisy behind-the-scenes work has meant that we have been more quiet in public. But what is going on back stage? The OF team works to be open about the project, of course, so here are some updates.


    Last May, in anticipation of an external assessment of the project, the OF team prepared a a background document titled "Open Folklore Project: Background Briefing for Consultants." You can now read this report yourself. Find it in IUScholarWorks Repository here:


    Generous and talented colleagues Miriam Posner (UCLA, @miriamkp), Nancy Sims (U Minnesota, @CopyrightLibn), and Ethan Watrall (Michigan State U, @captain_primate) visited Bloomington for meetings with the Open Folklore team during July 2013. On the basis of their studies of the project, they authored the report "Open Folklore: Maintaining Momentum, Assuring a Future." It too is now accessible in the IUScholarWorks Repository. Find it here:


    Because of travel problems, a fourth project consultant--Perry Willett (California Digital Library, @cpwillett)--was unable to reach Bloomington for the assessment meetings in June. He generously undertook an independent review of the project and its portal site. His report is also now available in the IUScholarWorks Repository. Find it here.


    Since accepting these thoughtful and helpful reports, the project team has been working to implement and build upon the recommendations made by the consultants. Team efforts in pursuit of these project enhancements--both organizational and technical--accounts in part for our quietness.


    In sync with these efforts, Open Folklore co-project principal investigators Julie Bobay and Timothy Lloyd have been participating in a series of gatherings and workshops on "sustainable scholarship" organized by Ithaka S&R--a research organization serving libraries, scholarly societies, academic publishers, and others interested in scholarly communication.


    Plans for the future of Open Folklore are being developed in the context of two additional efforts. One of these is the National Folklore Archives Initiative. This connected and parallel project includes AFS and many partner organizations in the field. Building upon the work of its initial NEH funded phase, the NFAI is--like Open Folklore--planning its next steps. In early February, OF and NFAI project participants met together in Bloomington to coordinate joint work in partnership with the IU Libraries, which hosted the meetings.


    In addition to NFAI, Open Folklore is in close dialogue with the Office of Scholarly Publishing at Indiana University. The OSP is a new campus unit that brings together the IU Press and the open access scholarly communications work of the IU Libraries. It thus holds much relevance for both Open Folklore and the field of folklore studies. Like OF and NAFAI, the Office of Scholarly Publishing, and the IU Press within it, are making ambitious plans for the future.


    On top of all of this, Indiana University Bloomington is pursuing a number of key plans of relevance to Open Folklore. In addition to a new campus strategic plan, Indiana University has announced an ambitious program of digitization for all of its time-based media holdings as well as a new planning effort for the digitization of other campus holding.. As these include the full holdings of the Archives of Traditional Music and other collections of relevance to folklorists and local communities around the world, this is a big deal with immediate relevance to OF.


    The takeaway is hopefully clear. A quiet news page is a consequence of a lot of work going on behind the scenes. If we stay quiet for a while longer, that is only because we are tackling some big and worthy items on the OF to do list.