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AFS Review: News

The Open Folklore Web Archive Collection Grows Past 100 Sites

Friday, October 10, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Moira Marsh
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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 ( and 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 - 

Arts Center of Cannon County (Tennessee) -

Blue Ridge Institute and Museum of Ferrum College (Virginia)- 

California Indian Basketweavers Association -  

California Traditional Music Society -

Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (Maryland) - 

Chinavine -

Department of Arkansas Heritage -

George Washington University Department of American Studies (District of Columbia) -

Georgia Council for the Arts -

Illinois Arts Council - 

Institute for Community Research (Connecticut) - 

Iowa Arts Council - 

Jubilee Community Arts at the Laurel Theatre (Tennessee) - 

Kansas State Historical Society - 

Kentucky Historical Society -

Louisiana Folklife Center -

Maine Arts Commission -

Massachusetts Cultural Council -

Mississippi Arts Commission -

Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians -

Mississippi Cultural Crossroads -

Missouri Folk Arts Program -

Missouri Historical Society -

Museum of International Folk Art (New Mexico) -

New England Foundation for the Arts -

North Carolina Folklife Institute -

North Dakota Council for the Arts -

Northwest Folklife (Washington State) -

Northwest Heritage Resources (Washington State) -

Northwest Native American Basketweavers Association -

Ozark Studies Institute (Missouri) -

Philadelphia Folksong Society -

Rangeley Regions Logging Museum (Maine) -

Rhode Island State Council on the Arts -

Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area (Pennsylvania) -

Rose Center and Council for the Arts (Tennessee) -

Sealaska Heritage Institute (Alaska)-

South Georgia Folklife Collection -

Talking Across the Lines -

Texas Folklife -

The Folklife Center at Crandall Public Library (New York State) -

Traditional Arts in Upstate New York -

Tuckerton Seaport and Baymen's Museum (New Jersey) -

University of Kentucky Modern & Classic Languages, Literatures & Cultures -

Virginia Folklife Program -

Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art (Maryland) -

Washington State Arts Commission -

To recommend other sites for this collection, please contact Open Folklore team member Moira Marsh at

Founded in 2010, Open Folklore (, 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).

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