Open Folklore Web Site Launches

The American Folklore Society and the the Indiana University Bloomington Libraries, in cooperation with the IU Digital Library Program, teamed up to create the Open Folklore portal. It launched on October 13 and is available at http://www.openfolklore.org/. It’s free.

The site is divided into several sections.

BOOKS — The Folklore Collection at the Indiana University Bloomington Libraries contains over 57,000 volumes, but of course not all of those are out of copyright or otherwise fully available. However, the entire collection has been scanned by Google Books, and Google Books is linked to by the Open Folklore site (though I didn’t see search queries structured to search the IUBL collection — did I miss something?) The books section also has a link to the Hathi Trust which is in this case folklore collection specific. Over 2400 of the found volumes are available in full view (wow!) The site also links to a few other folklore collections (like the Internet archive) and has some background information on books and folklore.

WEBSITES — This is not a link list, as you might expect, but a part of the portal that will archive and make available the content of information-rich, reputable Web sites about folklore. At the moment three sites have been indexed and are available.

GRAY LITERATURE — the Open Folklore site gives gray literature (information generated which is generally not for publication or wide distribution; this would include presentation abstracts, white papers, a course syllabus, etc) its own section of the Web site and links to a couple of repositories.

JOURNALS — The Journals list consists of a fairly small list of restricted-access journals which are available only by subscription. That is followed, I’m thrilled to say, by a much larger list of journals which are openly available, and a list of journals which have ceased publication but which are being digitized or which are having their contents indexed.

This being a portal, there is a search engine which is searchable by keyword. I did a search for archetype and got only a couple of results (though one of them was an excellent article, Folklore and the Comic Book: The Traditional Meets the Popular, so I’m satisfied.) I did a further search for metaphor and got four results.

Being a portal, Open Folklore doesn’t directly host a lot of material, and I’m disappointed that there were not stronger direct links to the Google Books collection. But there is still a lot here. Poring through those journals could keep me busy for days…

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