• Enhancements and Accomplishments Announced for Open Folklore Project, Portal Site
    Posted on Fri, 04/01/2011 - 1:40pm

    The Open Folklore Project team is pleased to announce a series of enhancements to the Open Folklore portal site (www.openfolklore.org) and a cluster of recent accomplishments for the project as a whole. Aimed at fostering open access scholarship in the field of folklore studies, Open Folklore (OF) is a collaborative project led by the American Folklore Society (AFS) and the Indiana University Bloomington (IUB) Libraries. The Utah State University (USU) Libraries, of which the USU Press and USU Special Collections are key parts, is a Strategic Partner in the OF Project. As announced in March, the OF Project has been working toward the goal of unveiling these developments on April 1, 2011, about a half a year after the OF portal site was first launched at the 2010 AFS meetings. This announcement makes these developments public.
    Friends of Open Folklore
    As a project, OF has now expanded to recognize a new group of partner agencies. The first "Friends of Open Folklore" are four agencies that are systemically making available a growing body of open access folklore studies scholarship and doing so in a sophisticated way that allows for the ongoing, automated inclusion of information about this rich content in the OF Search tool. These first four OF Friends are: (1) the Center for Folklore Studies (at The Ohio State University), (2) the journal Ethnobotany Research and Applications(published at the University of Hawaii), (3) the National Folklore Support Centre (Chennai, India), and (4) the World Oral Literature Project (at the University of Cambridge). Thanks go to these organization for their work advancing open access scholarship in folklore studies and neighboring fields. The OF Project looks forward to the continued expansion of the OF Friends community.
    New Content for OF Search
    New content discoverable in OF search now includes the full range of books and journals published by the National Folklore Support Centre (NFSC). For this first time, OF search is making available content published in non-Western alphabets. This OF first comes with the inclusion of புதிய பனுவல்: An International Journal of Tamil Studies , one of the numerous journals published through the NFSC journal portal. Also new in OF Search is all of the published and white-paper material made available by the World Oral Literature Project and all of the content published in Ethnobotany Research and Applications.
    In addition to this new material being made available in an ongoing and expanding way by these OF Friends, the AFS and IUB have made substantial amounts of additional scholarly material available for the field. Included here are a large collection of American Folklore Society annual meeting programs and abstract books, a growing collection of course syllabi developed and shared by folklorists, published indexes to the Journal of American Folklore, monographs on the history of folklore studies, and an important collection of reports and white papers relating to professional development in the field. This growing corpus of published and grey-literature materials builds upon earlier collections made available by the Fund for Folk Culture and other agencies.
    Additional Content for the OF Archive-IT Collection
    Important website content has been added to the OF Archive-It collection. Joining the sites already being preserved in Archive-It are the content-rich websites of the Institute for Community Partnerships, the Veterans History Project, and the American Folklife Center, including the sites for many of its rich and important American Memory projects. Work toward the inclusion of additional key websites in the field is underway.
    Zotero Integration
    The OF Search tool has been enhanced so that users can, with a single click, include bibliographic data from OF Search results into personal Zotero research libraries. Zotero is a widely used, freely-available open source software tool for scholarly research. It allows for powerful and easy management of research sources, note-taking, tagging, and other scholarly tasks. Zotero integration is in addition to the availability of tagged, XML, and BibTex data that has been a part of OF Search since the Portal's launch. These capacities allow for the use of other common bibliographic software programs. (Folklorists interested in learning more about Zotero are encouraged to consult the introductory materials at www.zotero.org
    First OF Screencast
    Beginning work developing how-to materials for the use of the OF Portal site, the OF Project Team has released the first of a series of web-based screencasts. The first seven-minute video illustrates how to use the OF Search tool for discovering and accessing freely available folklore studies scholarship. The screencast is available on the OF portal site, on YouTube, and for download from the IUB Libraries. In addition, a seven-minute overview of the OF project as a whole is also available as a screencast on YouTube. Screencasts illustrating the use of other OF resources are in development.
    Additional Folklore Content in HathiTrust Digital Library
    Behind the scenes, the OF Project Team and the Utah State University Library are continuing work making additional folklore scholarship available via the HathiTrust Digital Library.  Thousands of folklore studies works are now searchable in HathiTrust and an ever-growing number of these are fully accessible. Among the titles now available to all via HathiTrust are many valuable works published in the Memoirs of the American Folklore Society series, a venerable collection of works published by the AFS. At IUB Libraries, extensive work aimed at making older journal runs freely available in HathiTrust is continuing.
    Other Behind the Scenes Projects
    In partnership with the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, work continues on enhancing the Ethnographic Thesaurus (ET) and making it available through the OF Portal Site. Also, a Drupal-based workflow tracking system designed to help the OF team manage sub-projects and tasks has been set up and is now being used.
    Keeping in Touch
    The OF Project Team, Strategic Partner, and OF Friends share the goals of keeping the community informed about work on OF and receiving continuous input and feedback. We will continue to use the OF news tools (Facebook, Twitter, and especially the OF News section of the portal site) to share new about OF goals and next steps about every six months. Feedback and comments are always welcome by email, weblog post, Facebook comment, and good old fashioned mail (℅ either the IUScholarWorks Project at the IUB Libraries or the AFS Office).

    Project goals for April 1, 2011 were selected from many options as those that seemed most important to the community, those that were within our means to accomplish quickly, and those that are needed to support OF's future progress. A new set of goals for fall 2011 will be announced soon.

  • Looking Ahead with Open Folklore
    Posted on Fri, 03/11/2011 - 12:38pm

    Since its launch last fall, the Open Folklore project has been continuing its work vigorously. We set a goal of unveiling a batch of new features on the portal site (www.openfolklore.org) and profiling several content accomplishments on April 1. We will explain these in detail then but we cannot resist offering a brief preview now.

    Our communications goal is to keep the community informed of our intentions, and to receive continuous input and feedback. We will use the OF news tools (Facebook, Twitter, and especially the OF News section of the portal site) to tell you about our goals and next steps every six months or so.

    Project goals for April 1, 2011 were selected from many options as those most important to the community; those that are within our means to accomplish quickly, and those that are needed to support our progress in the future.

    Highlights among the Spring 2011 goals are:

    • Harvesting additional repository and journal content in OF Search.
    • Facilitating easy use of Zotero (www.zotero.org) for users of OF Search.
    • Refining the process by which existing journal context is liberated inside the HathitTrust Digital Library and the Google Books project.
    • Developing tutorials and other promotional materials to help people learn about the project and use the portal site.
    • Launching the “Friends of Open Folklore” initiative.
    • Advancing the “gray literature” initiative and making available a least one collection of gray literature materials via OF Search.
    • Add additional websites to the Open Folklore collection in Archive-It.
    • Include the initial collection of folklore studies syllabi donated by AFS members in IUScholarWorks Repository and make them discoverable and accessible via OF Search.
    • Complete work on a backend system for tracking in-progress tasks and projects central to the future development of Open Folklore.
    • Beginning work integrating the Ethnographic Thesaurus into the Open Folklore network.
    Details on these initiatives will be provided in our April release announcement. We welcome comments, inquires, and suggestions from the Open Folklore community.

  • ALCTS Outstanding Collaboration Citation for OF Covered in American Libraries Magazine
    Posted on Wed, 02/23/2011 - 12:37pm
    Yesterday, American Libraries: The Magazine of the American Library Association shared news of the Open Folklore project's winning of the The Association for Library Collections and Technical Services' (ALCTS) 2010 Outstanding Collaboration Citation. ALCTS is the national association for information providers who work in collections and technical services, such as acquisitions, cataloging, collection development, preservation and continuing resources in digital and print formats. ALCTS is a division of the American Library Association. Find the American Libraries piece online at http://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/news/ala/open-folklore-project-receives-alcts-outstanding-collaboration-award
  • OF In Library Journal
    Posted on Sat, 02/19/2011 - 12:36pm

    In a new article in Library Journal, Barbara Fister offers a very thoughtful discussion of the current scene in university libraries and highlights the promise of projects like Open Folklore. Read all about it http://www.libraryjournal.com/lj/home/889330-264/what_a_provost_could_do.html.csp .

  • Anthropology News Commentary Considers Open Folklore Project
    Posted on Wed, 02/02/2011 - 12:35pm

    Anthropologist and science studies scholar Kim Fortun has written an essay discussing the Open Folklore project for Anthropology News. Her piece is currently accessible (toll free) via the AAA website. Professor Fortun is the outgoing co-editor of Cultural Anthropology and a thoughtful advocate in anthropology for scholarly communication reform.

    Update: With the publication of newer issues of Anthropology News, the best place to obtain Professor Fortun's article online is now via Wiley Online Library. As of March 7, 2011, the article was being made available for free (courtesy of the AAA) at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1556-3502.2011.52206.x/abstract

  • Open Folklore Project Wins Major Library Award
    Posted on Thu, 01/27/2011 - 12:33pm

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Open Folklore project, a collaborative effort between the Indiana University Bloomington Libraries and the American Folklore Society, is the recipient of the 2011 Outstanding Collaboration Citation. The honor comes from the Association of Library Collections and Technical Services within the American Library Association.

    The award recognizes and encourages collaborative problem-solving efforts in the areas of acquisition, access, management, preservation or archiving of library materials, as well as a demonstrated benefit from actions, services or products that improve and assist with the management of library collections.

    The citation will be presented at the Association of Library Collections and Technical Services Awards Ceremony at the Annual Conference in June 2011.

    Open Folklore debuted in October 2010 to provide open online access to many useful -- but heretofore difficult to access -- research materials in the field of folklore studies, including books, journals, "gray literature" (unpublished) and websites.

    "Ultimately, Open Folklore will become a multifaceted resource, combining digitization and digital preservation of data, publications, educational materials and scholarship in folklore; promoting open access to these materials; and providing an online search tool to enhance discoverability of relevant, reliable resources for folklore studies," said Kurt Dewhurst, president of the American Folklore Society.

    Primarily, Open Folklore was developed so quickly and productively because of the close match between the collection development and scholarly communications priorities of the IU Libraries and the American Folklore Society, Dewhurst said.

    "We also have been working to develop the partnership behind Open Folklore," he said. "Since the portal primarily points to resources elsewhere and contains little content of its own, it has been critical for IU Libraries and AFS to become active in encouraging other partners in our field . . . to deposit more materials online and in open access and to develop recommended shared practices for doing so; to collaboratively digitize hard-copy materials; and, in some cases, to join with us as more engaged planning partners."

    Barbara Fister of the Inside Higher Ed blog Library Babel Fish, said the project is drawing "a terrific map for societies unsure of how to proceed" with open access.

    "Partnering with Indiana University libraries, the American Folklore Society is identifying where their literature is and how much of it is accessible, bringing attention to existing and potential open access journals, asking rights holders if material can be set free, digitizing gray literature so it will be preserved . . . these folks are sharp," Fister said. "And they're doing what scholarly societies should do: promoting the field and sharing its collective knowledge for the greater good."

    "As it grows, Open Folklore will provide a vehicle -- guided by scholars -- for libraries to re-envision our traditional library services centered on collections -- selection, acquisition, describing, curating and providing access to a wide range of materials, published or not," said Brenda Johson, Ruth Lilly Dean of University Libraries. "The progress of this experiment will, in a very real way, illuminate the path academic libraries must take in supporting collection development in the digital age."

    John Wilkin, executive director of HathiTrust Digital Library, believes Open Folklore is "extraordinary in its vision and its promise."

    "As a librarian deeply involved in building digital collections of the future, I view Open Folklore as a stunning example of the value of, and opportunities presented by, new developments in scholarly communication," Wilkin said. "I say this from several perspectives: as the Executive Director of HathiTrust, the Associate University Librarian for Library Information Technology at the University of Michigan Library and as a longtime member of the digital library community. Open Folklore could only have happened through the knowledge, insight, commitment and passion of its collaborators in different spheres of the scholarly communication environment -- libraries, scholars and their scholarly societies."

    Wilkin said Open Folklore is a new way of looking and doing things, and as such can be difficult to describe, adding that it is simultaneously similar to and quite different from any other initiative he knows of.
    "Encompassing advocacy, education, access, collection development, description, searching and many other familiar enterprises in our community, it combines them in new and innovative ways," he said. "Open Folklore is an example of the spectacular things that can be achieved together but which are entirely impossible alone."


    From the Indiana University Press release available here.

  • Ethnobotany Research and Applications + Open Folklore
    Posted on Fri, 12/03/2010 - 12:29pm

    The editors of Ethnobotany Research and Applications (ERA) and the Open Folklore project are pleased to announce that work published in ERA is now fully discoverable via the OF Search tool on the Open Folklore portal site (http://openfolklore.org/). Among fully searchable titles, ERA joins a growing group of open access journals of interests to folklorists, including Indian Folklife, New Directions in Folklore, and the Indian Folklore Research Journal. Like many of these titles, ERA is published using Open Journal Systems, a vital open source software package for open access journal publishing that incorporates the Open Archives Initiative (OAI) standards upon which OF Search relies for easy metadata harvesting.

    Describing the inclusion of ERA in the Open Folklore portal, OF project team member Jason Jackson noted that "Folklorists in the United States and around the world have long maintained an interest in vernacular uses of plants as manifest in their studies of both folk medicine and of material culture. Including such an important journal from the interdisciplinary field of ethnobotany is another important development for the Open Folklore project and for the field of folklore studies."

    ERA Editor in Chief Will McClatchey commented:  "The editors at ERA are very happy to be linked with The Open Folklore Project since we share so many common objectives. Within ERA, readers will find articles that almost exclusively draw upon primary interviews with people and emphasize the value of knowledge that is being used by people for survival. Readers are sometimes surprised to find articles about how people are interacting with plants, animals and ecosystems within modern cities as well as in rural settings. Some ERA authors primarily focus on folklore and ERA may represent a rare venture into the "botanical world". We look forward to an exciting bilateral collaboration with The Open Folklore project as ERA opens a portal link to encourage our readers to explore the world of folklore." 

    More information on ERA is available on the journal's website:

  • Good News on the OF Journal Front
    Posted on Thu, 12/02/2010 - 12:27pm

    While it does not (yet) look different to users, the Open Folklore portal's "Journals" page works differently behind the scenes and this new functionality will make possible new developments in the future. The first version of the journals page was simply a handmade webpage listing a wide range of open access journals in folklore studies and providing links through which these publications could be accessed.  This tabular data has now been incorporated into a backend database.  The database now feeds its content to the journals page and populates the tables that can still be found there.

    What does this difference mean? From a day to day point of view, it means that when a new title is added to the site, this can be done easily on the project team's end through a simple database form. Looking ahead, this change will also allow the journals page to grow and change in fruitful ways. In the future, it might take the form not of a single page of tables but instead become a user searchable utility or the data could be remixed by the user to highlight different aspects of the journal system in folklore studies.  The data is also now available to be used on other pages and in other parts of the site as the larger Open Folklore effort grows and changes in response to user needs and technological opportunity.

    . . .

    Late breaking news! The new journal database structure described above can already do work for you. Here's how.  At the top and the bottom of the journals page, there is now an RSS feed icon (similar to, but different from the one associated with OF News). Use this RSS feed to subscribe to the new "OF Journals" feed. What does that do for you? It tells you when a new gold open access journal has been added to the OF portal. It is essence is an alerting system by which you can learn about new open access journals and about established and legacy journals that become open access. The journal list grows and you know about it. Its a steady stream of great news from the field of folklore studies.  How great is that?

    Try it out and tell us what you think.

    While we are basking in good journal news, we can report that Material Culture Review (formerly Material History Review) and the Journal of Language and Popular Culture in Africa are two more open access journals added to the portal list this week. Collective appreciation goes to the editors and authors who have made these titles possible and for everyone who has worked to make them freely available online.

    (Learn about RSS feeds by consulting RSS in Plain English at http://www.commoncraft.com/rss_plain_english )

  • Two Titles Added the Journals Page
    Posted on Wed, 11/10/2010 - 12:25pm

    Two titles have been added to the Open Folklore journals page. These open access journals in ethnomusicology are the Pacific Review of Ethnomusicology published by the graduate students in the Department of Ethnomusicology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Revista Transcultural de Música | Transcultural Music Review published by Spain's Sociedad de Etnomusicología. These are both well-established titles with large open access backfiles. Thanks to all involved in the publishing of these two pioneering journals in ethnomusicology.

  • Utah State University Joins HathiTrust!
    Posted on Sat, 10/30/2010 - 1:23pm

    Utah State University has become the 35th partner of the HathiTrust Digital Library. This is a wonderful development, one that builds upon the Utah State University Libraries' work as a strategic partner in Open Folklore. HathiTrust is a fundamental part of the Open Folklore effort but this development is important for the further growth and success of HathiTrust and of Utah State University in general. This important development is characterized in a recent news release from Utah State University. Congratulations to Utah State University and to HathiTrust!