Digital Archiving : How to do archiving

Importance of Folklore

Documentation and interpretation of traditional culture is the heart of folklore. It includes recording and analyzing these traditions along with historical and cultural information by using photographs, videos, audio recordings, drawings, and field notes.

What counts as folklore collections?

The folklore collections are not depended on one area alone. It varies from group to group, expression to expression such as stories, songs, jokes, proverbs, music, dance, beliefs ranging from spiritual beliefs to racial and ethnic stereotypes; medicinal and healing practices; festivals and other community gatherings; food ways and material art forms such as vernacular architecture, carved objects, graffiti and embroidery.

Source For Folklore collections

The source for Folklore collections can be referred from various persons such as Historians, Sociologists, Anthropologists, Ethnomusicologists or Photographers. All these references are important and it varies from one area to other. Also some references may be pointing out on a particular topic or a particular region. Actually, the duty of the archivist starts from here who in turn assist in assessing the resource.

Organising materials for access.

The duty of the archivist now comes to the next step. They have to access the received source materials one by one with the help of the field worker. This is most required since the materials differ on various aspects such as historical,Cultural geography, Psychology, Linguistics and arts. For example a historian will concentrate more on the names of the places while a research scholar will be keen only on the cultural aspects. Thus, the accessing the source material is very important.

The work of the Folklorist must be balanced between the requirements of other disciplines and other users. The use of keyword holds importance on a general point of view.

The third step of the archivist is to gather essential information about the history and context of the collections. It also includes contacting the people related to the collection. In case of donated articles, it is the duty of the archivist to have the contact details of the presenter.

Questions to field worker

How are the materials arranged? Are there any particular aspect to the followed?

The first preference is given for date wise arrangement. Secondly if there are more narrations on a same concept, they are then arranged narration by narration.

Are the materials used for more than one Folklore items?

If the concept is same and if the source material has got more space, then more folklore items can be recorded in the same casette.

Are the records created by the researcher themself?

There are two types of records. The first will photographed and recorded by the researcher themself and the second being a donated material.

Are all the records created by the folklore organisation?

Most of the records will be created by the folklore organisation or from a sister organisation also dealing with folklore studies.

Is there any records created from a non – folklore organisation?

Individuals who do not belong to Folklore Organisation do submit some records and it is documented along with the justification materials.

Documentation of folklore materials

The folk materials are documented by uploading it in an audio or a video sytem and also through maintaining photographs. These in turn act as material evidence for further studies. These source materials should be safeguarded properly or else they may cease to be of any help in future. Also the documentation of source material involves lot of time and are expensive.

Video login sheet

The Video logsheet has three important divisions such as the

1. Time code – This shows the time during which the pariculars where video graphed

2. Field note – In this case all the landscape, costumes day to day activities will be logged in.

3. Detailed note – This will contain the detailed description of the field note.

Video log

Audio log sheet

The audio log sheets are similar to the video log sheet.

Audio log

Photo log sheet

The photographs are converted into CD (Compact disc) for better maintanence. Each roll is being printed in index sheet (A4 size)for easy reference.

Index Sheet

Photographs documented has to be logged in containing the description of the person who had documented the particular photo,the meaning of the photo along with the field information such as place and date.

Photo log

Corresponding data sheet

The corresponding data sheet is the main link for all the available data in the archives. The three main sources such as audio, video and photograph will have this particular column where in details of all relavant materials will be stored making the access task easy.

For example, if there is an audio log sheet, its corresponding data sheet will have datas like related videos, photographs, bibliography, newspaper clippings and other source related to that particular Audio. This type is followed in all the log sheets.

Labelling of NFSC audio-visual archive

The Labelling of the audo – visual archive involves many stages. As soon as the materials are brought to the centre, they are organised date wise with the help of the field worker. They are labelled in an order. For Example,


State – TN – Tamil Nadu

Form – Oral Narratives

Name of the project – Transgenders

Media – Film Roll Number 01

Further details – Photo number 27

In this project all the code words remain the same but

FR – changes

V – video

A – audio

CD – Compact disc

Archive of Indian Folklore

The aim of the centre is to create a comprehensive audiovisual archive on Indian folklore. In order to accomplish this goal, the centre had started archiving field documentation of the materials in the form of photos, CDs, audio and video tapes.

At the centre, we have well organised sections for audios, videos, photographs, negatives, slides, compact disc and degitial video disc.

Negatives and slides are organised in the boxes separately designed for this purpose. Compact disc and degitial video disc is being maintained in a new device called the digital CD library

Digital CD Library

Digital Library-1

Digital Library-2

Digital Library-3

The CD Library is a CD/DVD storing and retrieving system controlled by the computer with USB cable. This system has got a software for storing and retrieving the discs. It is simple, fast and efficient. One CD Library machine can store 150 CD/DVD. The retrieval process becomes very easy and fast through the use of key words. The searching process can be done either through category (dance/drama/music/performance/oral narratives/ books/ library/journals/ artists…etc) or with any word that has been computerized.

One of the most advantage of the CD library is that it can adopt one to 127 machines which can store up to 19050 CD/DVD for maximum.

At present the centre has nine machines and 1235 CD/DVD. The CD/DVD contain various categories such as interview, public program- lectures, workshops, photographs, oral narrative, documentaries, short films and music.

Copy of all originals

A copy is always made in the archive for transcription and reference. The master copy is kept in a seperate place.

Organising materials

The materials are organised on the basis of archive, state wise or category wise.

Folk performance




Music and


Index sheet

The Index sheet will be covered with butter paper and preserved in plastic leaves. The subject will also be logged in the sheet.

Press Clippings

Press clippings are sorted subject wise and filed and indexed. For sample these are some of the subjects

A – Artscape

A 1 – Arts

B – Book Review

C – Caste Issue

C 1 – Community

C 2 – Crafts

C3 – Culture

D – Dalit

D1 – Dance

D2 – Drama

E – Eco Friendly

F – Festival

H – Herbal

L – Life

L1 – Literary Review

M – Madras Scapes

M1 – Magazine

M2 – Media

M3 – Miscellaneous

M4 – Music

M5 – Myth

O – Occasions and Performance

O1 – Other Issues

P – Painting

P1 – Performing Arts

P2 – Personality

P3 – Puppetry

R – Religion

R1 – Rural Issue

T – Temples

T1 – Textile

T3 – Traditional

T4 – Travel

T5 – Tribal

U – Urban

Finding aids & Bibliography

The finding aid is a clear and brief summary on the physical nature and it contains collection details. It also serve as an index for a book and very helpful for the researchers.

Important Points for Finding Aid

Contextual information – This is about the individual or organisation that created the collection.

Physical information – It is about the quantity of materials, formats of records, and physical condition.

Content Information – It is about the people, subjects, specific traditions, and genres reflected in the collection.

Physical access information

– The restrictions are put due to copyright and about the physical condition of material that may affect access and location of the material.

Physical control information

– It is about the container/box or folder lists.

Content access information

– This actually deals with indexes and the indexing terms that will in turn help a user find specific people, subjects, places, events, or forms of records in a collection.

Indexing terms

Indexing terms can be created based on the available materials in the archive.

For example

NFSC- National Folklore Support Centre

PA – Performing Arts

DOC – Documentary

TN – Tamil Nadu

MP – Madhya Pradesh

Finding Aid

Sl.NOCode NoTitleRemarkDetailsCondition
27DOC/TN/20Parathavar of Tamil NaduUvari Thirunelveli-Fisher casteDirection – S.Simon John -Tamil NaduGood Condition