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[Gordon Photo]
Robert Winslow Gordon, first head of the Archive, with wax cylinder recordings and recording equipment, about 1930. Library of Congress Photo.

Ethnographic Collections in the Archive of Folk Culture: A Contributor's Guide

Prepared by Stephanie A. Hall

American Folklife Center
Library of Congress Washington 1995

Publications of the American Folklife Center, no. 20
The printed version of this publication is currently unavailable.



Contents


INTRODUCTION

The American Folklife Center's Archive of Folk Culture at the Library of Congress houses one of the largest collections of ethnographic documentation in the world, protects these materials for the use of future generations, and makes them available to researchers interested in the study of culture. Its holdings encompass all aspects of folk music, dance, narrative, arts, and material culture of all nations.

Ethnographic collections are multi-format, unpublished, created works that document cultural groups. Such collections may be broad or narrow in scope, and large or small in size. Collections currently in the Archive of Folk Culture may consist of a few recordings, such as the John Gregory Bourke Collection of nine wax cylinder recordings of Mexican music made in 1893, or hundreds of recordings and thousands of photographs such as the Pinelands Folklife Project undertaken by the Folklife Center in 1983. But all the collections there document creative aspects of traditional folk culture.

Often collectors or others (including the Library of Congress) draw on the material in the Archive of Folk Culture to create published works, but the collections themselves remain unpublished. Collections occasionally include copyrighted material, but are not usually copyrighted as a whole. Nevertheless, the American Folklife Center regards ethnographic collections as created works. Collectors make decisions about the scope, content, and arrangement of their material that are respected when the American Folklife Center takes charge of it. More than just the fieldnotes, recordings, and photographs should be preserved. The Center attempts to maintain the original, creative intent of the collector in the organization and presentation of the collection.

If you are the compiler or caretaker of a collection with material pertaining to folklife, ethnomusicology, anthropology, cultural history, or sociolinguistics, you may wish to place your collection in the American Folklife Center's Archive of Folk Culture. By contributing to this national repository, you will make your collection available for students, researchers, educators, and the people of the cultural group you studied. Your collection will become part of a national legacy, furthering research on cultural groups and preserving and sometimes helping to restore cultural heritage. If your collection materials are fragile, you will provide for their care and safekeeping.

This booklet provides a practical guide for those interested in contributing material to the Archive of Folk Culture. It explains the legal implications of giving a collection to the Library of Congress and describes how to organize, label, and document the material before transfer. It also includes advice on how collectors can protect ethnographic materials in their own keeping, or store them prior to sending them to the Library of Congress.

Placing a collection in an archive requires care and forethought. The contributor must choose a repository appropriate to the contents of the collection and the best of several possible methods of placing it there. The next section will provide information that will help you consider whether your collection might be appropriately placed among those in the Archive of Folk Culture.

Acknowledgements

When I was learning how to process the collections in the Archive of Folk Culture, I kept a computer file of problems and concerns, including a list of the kinds of information I felt collectors should have before they contribute their collections to Archive or even before they begin their fieldwork. Later this file helped me to create instructional guides for the collectors who worked on the American Folklife Center's 1991 Maine Acadian Folklife Project. Marsha Maguire, then coordinator of processing, looked at this file and realized that it had the potential to become the guide for contributors that she, Head of Acquisitions Joseph Hickerson, and Reference Librarian Gerald Parsons had often discussed and that she had begun researching. She passed her research on to me and asked me if I could re-work my computer file as the basis for a contributor's guide. The subsequent publication has been handed around the Folklife Center office, and commented upon at length by most of the staff. The information and recommendations contained within have been tried in archival practice and in the field. I would like to thank the staff of the Center, and, in particular, Marsha, Joe, and Gerry for their help in making this publication possible.

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THE ARCHIVE OF FOLK CULTURE

The Archive of Folk Culture was created in 1928 as the Archive of American Folk-Song. Housed in the Music Division of the Library of Congress, its original purpose was to establish a national collection of documentary manuscripts and sound recordings of American folksong. International materials were acquired almost from the beginning, however, and in 1955 the name was changed to Archive of Folk Song.

Over the years the collection grew to include material on all aspects of folklore in all types of media (including manuscripts, photographs, videotapes, film, and recordings). In 1976, Congress established the American Folklife Center "to preserve and present American folklife" and placed it at the Library of Congress. The Archive of Folk Song became part of the American Folklife Center two years later, and in 1981 its name was changed to Archive of Folk Culture.

Today the Archive contains well over one million items in over two thousand separate collections. At least 25 percent of the holdings come from abroad, while over 20 percent document non-English-language traditions in the United States. For instance, the Archive houses the earliest sound recordings of the now-extinct Ona and Yahgan peoples of Tierra del Fuego in South America (Charles Wellington Furlong Collection). The diverse collections include folklore, folklife, sociolinguistic, anthropological, and ethnomusicological materials.

The collections in the Archive of Folk Culture are used in various ways: The Chitimacha of Louisiana have used recordings in the Archive to recover samples of their language (Morris Swadesh Collection). Collections of early African-American music recordings, such as the Jelly Roll Morton Collection, document the musical traditions that gave rise to jazz and rock and roll and have been used to trace the change and development of these traditional forms. In addition, the collections of important researchers provide a historical record of their particular contributions to their fields. The Harold C. Conklin Philippines Collection, for example, documents the work of the theorist who developed cognitive anthropology.

Researchers studying peoples, customs, and languages use the Archive collections as source material in their research or as a foundation for fieldwork of their own. The Archive played a prominent role in the revival of interest in folk music that began in the late thirties and peaked during the sixties. Performers and artists continue to find material that inspires their work and provides aesthetic ties to earlier artists and traditional styles. For example, actor Sam Waterston used the Archive's collections of early dialect recordings to develop a nineteenth-century Kentucky accent for his television portrayal of Abraham Lincoln. Producers of radio, television, and motion pictures make use of the collections in their productions. Recordings from the Folklife Center's Italian-Americans in the West Project Collection, for instance, were played in a radio broadcast by the Voice of America.

The American Folklife Center provides access to its collections through reference copies of recordings, visual materials, and manuscripts, available in the Folklife Reading Room. Visitors may also listen by appointment to archival copies (that is, originals or preservation duplicates) of both field and commercial sound recordings in the Library's Performing Arts Reading Room.

Duplicates of collection materials are often requested by researchers. While permitting public access to virtually all of the materials in the Archive of Folk Culture, the American Folklife Center endeavors to protect the proprietary interests of collectors and performers. As a federal institution, the Library of Congress has no proprietary interests in its own collections, excepting in those compiled by federal employees as part of their duties. Performers own the rights to their performances, regardless of whether that performance is published or copyrighted, and collections as whole works are the creations of the collectors who compiled them. The Center's policy dictates that duplicates of collection materials, unless restricted by the donor, may be purchased by a researcher for private use after an appropriate form is completed. Researchers who wish to copy materials for publication, however, must obtain letters of permission from performers (or their heirs or other interested parties) and sometimes from collectors.

Usually, field collections may be copied for broadcast or museum use providing the user gives credit to the "Archive of Folk Culture in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress" and the appropriate collectors, performers, and institutions of origin (if other than the Library of Congress). Again, letters of permission may be necessary.

If necessary, collectors may choose to impose additional conditions on their collections. But the Archive of Folk Culture is a public repository dedicated to serving researchers. Collections with materials requiring narrowly restricted access may be referred to other repositories. In all cases, the Center hopes to reach an agreement with contributors that will both protect the rights of those involved in creating the collection and provide reasonable access to those studying or presenting the materials.

If you decide to place your collection in the Archive of Folk Culture, you should contact the American Folklife Center, Acquisitions Unit, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20540- 4610, phone: (202) 707-5510; fax: (202) 707-2076; email folklife@loc.gov. A member of the acquisitions staff will help you to determine whether the Archive is the appropriate repository. If the material does not match the Center's collecting needs and policies, the staff member may be able to refer you to a more appropriate repository, particularly when the collection has a local or regional orientation.

Offers of collections should be made in writing, even if the initial contact is made in person or by phone. You will be asked to complete a "Potential Acquisitions Data Sheet" to provide important information about your collection. You should also consider what type of contribution you wish to make, and the following section is provided to help you make that decision.

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TYPES OF CONTRIBUTIONS

The American Folklife Center acquires collections by several means: gift, exchange, loan for duplication, purchase, transfer, and copyright deposit. The acquisitions staff can help you to decide which contribution category is most suitable for your collection. Your needs for access to the materials, tax considerations, and the condition and value of the material should all be taken into account.

Gift: A gift is an uncompensated donation of material. Gifts to the Library of materials that are not the original creations of the donor are generally tax deductible. The Library, however, does not provide evaluations of donated materials, or advice concerning tax regulations. Donors should seek the advice of their own tax council.

Exchange: This method applies principally to collections containing sound or visual recordings. Two kinds of exchanges are possible. Archives, libraries, and other institutions wishing to increase their holdings may exchange copies of their collections for copies of materials in the Archive of Folk Culture. The second type of exchange is for individuals who want to contribute their collections but need to retain copies of the material for their own use. Such donors may give original recordings to the Archive in exchange for copies.

Duplicates of recordings made for exchange are of high quality and may serve as a substitute for the original. An exchange provides a copy for the donor's reference use and protective storage at the Library of Congress for the original collection. Because the Library must pay for duplication services, exchange agreements may depend on the availability of duplication funds. Because an exchange copy is considered "compensation" by the IRS, exchanges are not tax deductible.

Loan for duplication: This method also applies primarily to collections containing sound or visual recordings. If you wish to retain the original recordings in a collection, you may lend them to the Center. The recordings will be duplicated and returned to you. As with exchanges, the process of making exchange copies requires time and funding. How quickly a loaned collection is copied depends on its size, its condition and arrangement, the availability of processing staff, and the prior obligations of the Library's Recording Laboratory. For tax purposes a loan is not considered tax deductible.

Purchase: Occasionally, the Center purchases collections offered for sale if the material is of particular importance and other means of acquisition are not available. The funds for such purchases, however, are extremely limited.

Transfer: The Center accepts appropriate collections transferred from other federal agencies.

Copyright deposit: This arrangement only applies to those planning to copyright folklore-related material. When material is sent to the Library of Congress Copyright Office in fulfillment of copyright registration deposit requirements, it is sometimes transferred to a special collection such as the Archive of Folk Culture. Since the Archive consists primarily of unpublished materials rather than the finished, edited products authors or performers might wish to copyright, copyright deposit is primarily a means of adding publications to the Folklife Reading Room and to the Library's general collections. In special cases, however, copyrighted collections of folklore material may be acquired in this way.

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PREPARING A COLLECTION FOR THE ARCHIVE OF FOLK CULTURE

Once you and the Library have agreed that your collection should be placed in the Archive of Folk Culture and the terms of transferring the collection have been determined, you must prepare the collection for transfer. (In some cases, your willingness to carry out certain procedures may be a prerequisite of acceptance by the Library.) But the following recommendations for organizing and labeling will also facilitate the care and use of collections you keep yourself or offer to other repositories.

Arranging, storing, and presenting mixed-format collections to researchers in a comprehensible way poses special problems for archives. The Center's ability to maintain a collection in a manner that reflects the collector's intent and experience depends largely on the care with which the collector has assembled and identified it. For example, the information needed to identify the subjects of photographs or the voices of participants on sound recordings must be written down or the unidentified photographs and recordings will never be useful to researchers. Over time, information omitted before a collection is transmitted to the Library will become impossible to recover. Contributors should observe the following procedures in preparing to submit their collections for the Archive of Folk Culture.

Documenting the Collection

What to include:

A. Letter. A collection offered to the Library should be preceded by a letter summarizing its purpose and contents. The letter should describe:

  1. The type of donation you wish to make (gift, loan, etc.), as well as any other conditions you wish noted or observed (dates by which loaned recordings must be returned to you, for example).
  2. Conditions that differ from the Center's standard access and duplication policies, if any (as explained above). These must always be stated in writing.
  3. If you are the collector, a statement about yourself, your involvement in the collection, and your interest in the subject area it covers. If you are contributing a collection compiled by someone else, any information you have about the collector and a description of your relationship with the collector and the collection.

B. Potential Acquisition Data Sheet. The collection's title, creator(s), sponsoring institutions, dates, locations, and history; purpose and goals of the project; publications or programs resulting from the project; location(s) of additional copies; and a brief summary of the contents of the collection. Also requests technical information on formats and equipment used, as well as the quantity and condition of the material. A copy of this form has been included in the appendix to this brochure.

If the collection resulted from a team effort, names of interviewers, sound recordists, photographers, and videographers, if known. Include also the names and addresses of the performers and interview subjects, so that the Center or researchers can contact them for permission to duplicate or publish, whenever necessary. If you are unable to include these, let us know how researchers may contact the appropriate parties for permission.

C. Documentation materials. Items that may help to describe or list the collection's manuscripts, recordings, and graphic materials (such as fieldnotes, recording and photo logs, performer biographies, release forms, or other correspondence with performers and interviewees). Include also articles, press releases, grant proposals or descriptions, brochures, fliers, files on computer diskettes, and other related information. If you are donating an older collection on behalf of the original collector, it is especially important for you to send all the information you have about the collection.

Shipping Collections

If you are shipping a large collection to the Center, take appropriate precautions to protect the materials. Include a card with the address of the Center and your return address in the box. If the container is damaged during shipment, this may prevent the collections from being lost. Use heavy duty strapping tape to secure the boxes. Write the box number and the number of boxes you are sending on each container (ie, "Box 1 of 2," "Box 2 of 2").

ARRANGING AND NUMBERING THE COLLECTION

The arrangement of the collection gives it meaning. A careful ordering of materials, one that reflects the purpose, context, and progress of your project, can facilitate duplicating and cataloging. The final arrangement of a collection also helps researchers to locate information and appreciate it in terms of the collection project.

It is always best for the collector or someone well acquainted with the collection to place it in order. If the collection was made by someone other than yourself (as with an older body of material), you may be one of the few people who can determine a useful order.

Unorganized collections must be thoroughly studied and arranged by the archivist. Poorly arranged collections take much longer to process and this delays their availability to researchers. Please provide a logical, thoughtful arrangement of your materials before sending them to the Center, and make your arrangement clear by labeling and numbering the materials. Again, such organization may be requisite to the Library's accepting your collection.

A straightforward chronological arrangement is often useful. Other possible systems include alphabetical arrangement by participants or groupings by type of event. You can use a combination of these options if that seems most appropriate to the material. For instance, you might arrange recordings and photographs chronologically, but group administrative manuscripts by subject category or type (such as planning documents, correspondence, publications, logs, fieldnotes, publicity, etc.). If your collection includes materials from more than one distinct project, arrange each project's material separately. If more than one collector participated in the project, mark each collector's materials with his or her name.

Number the materials using an appropriate ordering system appropriate. It is often a good idea to accompany a chronological arrangement with a simple, sequential numbering system. Give each set of media its own numbers. A simple system for a collection consisting of slides and tapes includes arranging items chronologically, and then numbering the slides, "slide 1, slide 2, slide 3," and the tapes, "tape 1, tape 2, tape 3." Use a soft lead pencil (no. 1) or an indelible pen for marking on paper labels and boxes. For marking other formats, see the instructions that follow.

Number manuscript file folders or boxes sequentially: folder 1, folder 2, and box 1 of 5, box 2 of 5, etc. If you use a combination of letters and numbers, be sure the letters and numbers cannot be confused (for example, avoid using a lower case letter "l," which may be mistaken for a "one," or an upper case "O," which may be mistaken for a "zero"). Avoid giving two items the same number, and, whenever possible, avoid giving "A" and "B" designations (such as 2, 3, 4, 4A, 4B, 5). This can be confusing and lead to misnumbering or miscounting. Use a consistent numbering system throughout.

You may need to use a more complex numbering system that more closely suits your own research or fieldwork needs. For instance, the American Folklife Center (which employs teams of fieldworkers who make recordings and take photographs at different locations simultaneously) uses a system that includes: (1) the project's identifying initials; (2) the fieldworker's initials; (3) an abbreviation designating the format of the material; (4) a sequential number (e.g.: LFP DD R012 means Lowell Folklife Project, fieldworker Doug DeNatale, Audiotape Reel 012).

Such systems are perfectly acceptable, so long as they can be easily understood. Please include an explanation of your numbering system, particularly if it is complex or idiosyncratic.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR ARRANGING SPECIFIC FORMATS

Audio and video tape recordings

Labeling audio and video cassettes and their boxes with basic information about the recording is essential. Be sure to include technical information about the equipment used to make the recording, the recording speed, sound specifications (such as stereo, mono, dolby, etc.), and format (beta videotape, four-track stereo cassette, etc.). Reel-to-reel tape boxes should be labeled and a length of identifying leader attached to each tape if possible. This helps in preserving as well as identifying the reels. Label tapes and boxes with the tape number, date, place, informant and/or event, as appropriate. For collectors, it is also a good idea to voice basic information onto the beginning of each recording in the field (date, place, your name, informant's name, event or recording situation).

The Center may require a different numbering system for audio and video recordings than you use for your own reference. Collectors often use only the date to identify tapes. But this may prove confusing if you make more than one tape on that date. Using performers' and interviewees' names alone may also prove confusing since the collector may go back and record the same person at a later time. The Center usually duplicates recordings in the order indicated by your numbering scheme. Moreover, material on two or more audio tapes in your collection may well be duplicated onto only one ten-inch preservation reel for the Archive. If your original audio tapes are copied to the Archive's preservation reel out of order, the confusion will be perpetuated. For these reasons, it is important to mark the tapes so the correct order is clear. A simple sequential system usually works best.

Logging, or summarizing, the contents of your audio and video recordings in a simple outline is highly recommended. This will help you to find useful material for your own research or production work. This log helps Center archivists in arranging and providing reference aids to the collection. It will also, of course, prove invaluable to future researchers.

At the top of the log sheet, list the tape's number, followed by date(s), names of recordists, informants, and, if possible, audience members, place(s), and event(s) documented (e.g., church supper, interview). For the body of the log sheet, list the contents of the recording: summarize subjects discussed or events documented, list titles of songs or stories, and provide any other information that may help describe the recordings. List this information in the order in which it was recorded on the tape. If you can, note the timing of each segment or section. Please indicate the beginning of each side of audio tape. If one side of an audio recording is blank or unplayable, include this information on the log.

When possible, include translations or glosses of any foreign-language material (song titles, folklore genres, subject matter, event names). Translations of whole texts are welcome but not required. Double check to be sure the information on the tape log matches the information on the tape and/or tape box (especially the tape number). It is not necessary to make full transcriptions; however, if you do have transcripts, please include them with the collection.

If you write your logs on computer diskettes, please send us both printed and diskette copies. The Library can convert from various formats, but we prefer DOS files in ascii if available. See the section on computer diskettes below.

Storing and shipping recordings: If you plan to store the recordings for an extended time before sending them to the Library, place them in clean, labeled boxes. Store tapes upright in a clean area that is neither too warm nor too humid.

Storing recordings in damp basements or hot attics causes irreversible damage. Moldy tapes are often impossible to salvage and the mold spores they carry may endanger other collection materials. A hot storage place causes tapes to warp, the magnetic coating to flake off, and the magnetic information to bleed and blur, eventually rendering the recording unplayable. The Center will not accept moldy or heat-damaged recordings unless they possess immense historical or cultural value and the Library's Recording Laboratory is able to clean and preserve them.

Shelve audio and video tape in a cool, dry environment. A rule of thumb is that if you are comfortable, your tapes are comfortable. Avoid storing tapes near magnetic fields generated by electronic devices such as motors, telephones, or magnets.

When mailing open-reel recordings, it is a good idea to tape the tail end of the tape to the outside of the reel. This keeps the tape from unraveling during shipment. Do not tape the tails down for storage, however, since this will prevent the tape from expanding and contracting with temperature changes.

Place the collection in appropriately sized boxes. Boxes should be sturdy and small enough to lift easily. Tapes are heavy and may shift during shipment. If they are packed loosely or in too big or too fragile a box, they will destroy the box. Fill empty spaces with soft packing material to prevent the tapes from shifting.

Archaic recording formats (e.g., disc, cylinder, wire, paper tape):

It is especially important to document collections containing older formats. The Library attempts to make preservation tape copies of recorded material in fragile or archaic formats as soon as possible after they are received. Before the recordings are copied, however, they must be identified and placed in order. Unlike modern tapes, old recordings should not be played before they are duplicated, as each playing diminishes the quality of the recording. Therefore, if you do not arrange and identify the recordings, they may be copied in the wrong order. If you are able to arrange the recordings in chronological or some other order, please do so.

Closely examine disc sleeves and labels, cylinder boxes, wire spool boxes, and paper or acetate tape boxes for information about the recordings. You may find dates, notes, and/or initials scratched or written in these places. You or someone else connected with the collection may be able to read and explain such notations. For example, you may know that the letters "CM" scratched on a disc means that the recording was made with a carbon microphone, while the archivist might not be able to determine such information. If you are unaware of the contents of the recordings, however, do not play them in order to provide identification. Playing older recordings may endanger them, and duplicating them in the wrong order is preferable to damaging them irreparably.

Contact Center personnel for advice about placing numbers on old recordings. In some cases, a penciled number in an inconspicuous place is best; in others, a masking tape number applied to the recording's box or sleeve will suffice.

Old recordings are fragile. Special care must be taken in preparing them for shipping, and each different type of recording has its own needs. If you have any questions, contact the Center for advice on packing and shipping.

Manuscripts

The Center accepts written, typed, or ephemeral collections relevant to the field of folklife, as well as manuscript documentation of multi-format collections. When donating manuscript materials that document collections, include fieldnotes, fliers, published references to your collection, work you have written about the collection (published or unpublished), legible lecture notes, press releases, correspondence with informants (including envelopes containing names and addresses), letters of permission, and inventories. If you wish, you may donate good-quality copies of these materials rather than originals. Please send us diskette and printed copies of any manuscripts you have in computer files (see the section on computer diskettes below). Weed out multiple copies of manuscript material, leaving no more than two copies of items. Extraneous material that is not part of the collection should also be removed.

Put the manuscript materials in order: by page number, in the case of a long text; by date, in the case of correspondence, for example.

Provide a general list of the manuscript materials. Indicate if any of the material is copyrighted (for example, articles or theses). If possible, translate titles of foreign- language material. Number the pages of unpublished written materials such as tape logs, fieldnotes, and theses. Logs and fieldnotes should include the number(s) of their corresponding recordings and/or photographs.

Older manuscripts must be handled with care as they may be fragile. Do not fasten them together with paper clips, attempt to repair them with tape, or put rubber bands around them. If you plan to store them for an extended time, put them in acid- free folders and/or boxes.

Photographs

Arrange, number, and label the items, as described above. The Center recommends soft (no. 1) lead pencils for numbering both photographs and the envelopes housing photographs, since inks and solvents in inks can migrate and damage the images.

Logging: Log your visual images. At the top of each photo log sheet, include a heading that lists the roll number, page number, or range of item numbers, followed by the photographer's name, inclusive date(s), place(s), and event(s) documented (e.g., church supper, interview). Next, briefly describe the images. List image numbers, followed by names of subjects, and, if not noted before, the specific date, place, and event photographed. Double-check to be sure the information on the photo log matches the information on the items themselves (especially the numbers). Again, if you write these logs on a computer, please include both printed and diskette copies with the materials you send.

Storing: If you plan to store the photographs for a time before placing them in the Archive, house and store negatives and prints separately. Remove negatives and prints from the glassine sleeves provided by photographic developing companies; these are too acidic. Place negatives, prints, and slides in polyester (mylar) or acid-free paper folders or sleeves. Store prints in flat, acid-neutral boxes. Negatives should be stored in special sleeves and placed in binders. Or you may place them in upright boxes, so that they stand on edge (see Appendix X for suppliers of appropriate long-term storage containers). Metal filing cabinets are acceptable, but wooden ones are not. The storage environment should be cool, dust-free, and neither too humid nor too dry. Here are some additional tips on working with specific visual formats.

  • Prints: Label the back of each photo using a soft lead pencil (no. 1). Be sure to place the face of the photo on a clean, hard surface when writing on the back. Include names of subjects and the photographer, place, event documented, and date. If the print is too small or fragile to hold all this information, arrange the photos carefully and describe each photo (along with its number) on a sheet of paper. Or you may enclose each photo in a separate, labeled envelope (first, write on the envelope; then, insert the photo).
  • Slides: If you are contributing only a few slides, number each slide on its paper mounting frame. If you are donating many rolls of slides, number each box. You may also want to mark the boxes with a general description of the subject matter. An alternative to numbering boxes of slides is to place the slides in slide pages, which are available at most photographic shops. We recommend rigid slide pages or uncoated polyethylene for safe storage. In this case, you would number each page of slides, rather than each roll. Notice that most slides processed by commercial companies have the date and slide number printed on the mounting frame. You may use these dates to help you place the rolls in chronological order.
    Use the slide number if you need to refer to an individual item in a box or page of slides (e.g., "Slide number 10 of box number 3 was published in the December 1998 issue of the Journal of American Folklore," or "Slide 15 on slide page number 20 shows the collector with her recording equipment").
  • Negatives: Each roll of negatives should be numbered on the negative envelope or sleeve and the corresponding number written on the back of the prints or contact sheet. Soft pencil is best for marking envelopes and prints. Number envelopes before placing a negative inside to avoid damaging the photograph. Notice that there are item numbers printed under each image on the negative film. These numbers may be used if you need to refer to an individual image (e.g., "Negative number 12 in roll number 26 is the best image of a dancer in traditional costume").
    Include prints of the negatives you donate. For black-and- white negatives, a contact sheet may suffice.

Film

Arrange, number, and label the items in the manner described in the sections above. Log films for easy access to contents. Provide technical information about the images and sound, including the type and format of equipment used. Remember that the most common equipment used today may become obsolete in a few years, so give all the technical information you can about the format.

If the film was made before 1950, you should check with a professional to determine whether it is cellulose nitrate. Cellulose nitrate film requires special care, since it is unstable and extremely flammable.

Store film in a cool, nonhumid environment. Reels should be housed in containers. Shelve film reels flat.

Computer diskettes

Like audio tapes, computer diskettes are magnetic recordings. Read the advice for donating sound recordings for information on arrangement, numbering, and labeling. Be sure to take special precautions when labeling diskettes. You may wish to consult the manufacturer's instructions (5 1/4-inch floppy disks, for example, should not be written on except with a soft-tipped marking pen).

A printed list of the files included on each diskette should accompany each one. Be sure to include information about the brand of computer used, software used, and the operating system of the computer the diskette was made on (CPM, DOS, OS/2, Macintosh, Unix, etc). If the disk type is not printed on the diskette, include this information as well (double-sided double-density, single-sided double-density, double-sided high- density, etc.). Computer software and hardware change rapidly. It may be impossible to retrieve information from your diskettes without such technical descriptions. If you are sending word processed files in DOS and are able to convert your files to ascii, please include both a word-processed and ascii version of each file on the diskettes. Ascii is the easiest format to retrieve and use.

Include paper print-outs of the data on the diskettes whenever possible. If the collection is extremely large (as with a diskette version of a book or dissertation draft), you might just print the tables of contents, indexes, introductory materials, and/or title pages. Paper copies of these materials will make processing the collection easier and make introductory information readily available to interested readers.

Diskettes must be protected from dust and possible sources of magnetism. Do not allow metal paper clips to come in contact with the diskettes. Never place them near telephones, scissors, speakers, or kitchen magnets. Do not put rubber bands around groups of diskettes to keep them together. You may wish to use appropriate diskette boxes to organize and store the diskettes. An inexpensive alternative is an appropriately sized plastic bag. Use boxes, diskette mailers, or padded mailing bags to mail the items to the Center.

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APPENDIXES

POTENTIAL ACQUISITIONS DATA SHEET

  1. Lender, donor, or other source
  2. Address, phone number
  3. Type of acquisition
  4. Material or equipment supplied by Library of Congress?
  5. Quantity and format, including duration
  6. Physical quality
  7. Collector(s)
  8. Sponsor(s)
  9. Equipment
  10. Nature of project and reason for collection
  11. Description of contents (who, what, where, when), including sound quality
  12. Organization of collection, including nature of identification, labeling, and arrangement
  13. Nature of accompanying documentation
  14. Date of availability (and, for loaned material, return)
  15. Material or monetary requirements of donor, lender, or other source
  16. Type of access or restriction (if any)
  17. Availability of addresses of performers and other interested parties
  18. Location and nature of other copies (present or future); are any of these of permanent archival quality
  19. Publications based on collection (historical, current, or future)
  20. Nature of materials enclosed or otherwise examined by staff
  21. Other remarks, including unusual or outstanding characteristics
  22. Place of examination or interview
  23. Date
  24. Folklife Center staff member

FIELDWORK SAMPLE DATA SHEET

Number______

Corresponding to: Tape No._____Photo No.______
Video No. _____Other______

Collector:__________________________________________________
Circumstances of interview__________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
Name of informant:__________________________________________
Address:____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________zip_____________________
Others present at interview (names and addresses)___________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
Place and date of birth:____________________________________
____________________________________________________________
Family information:_________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
Size of family (names and ages):____________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
Ethnic heritage (mother's and father's):____________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
Generation of informant:____________________________________
(Date of informant's, parents', or grandparents' immigration.)
____________________________________________________________
Circumstances of immigration: (reasons)_____________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
Activities in native country:
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
Migrational experience and travel (U.S.A. and elsewhere):
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
Education, apprenticeship, and training experience:_________
____________________________________________________________
Occupational experience:____________________________________
____________________________________________________________
Church or religious affiliation:____________________________
Membership in organizations (civic, social, etc.)___________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
Special interests, skills, and hobbies:_____________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
Important events during life (civic and personal):__________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
Folklore and traditional materials in informant's repertoire (use additional page) Brief description of genre or type of performance):
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
Informant's commentary on performance:______________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
When does he or she perform it?_____________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
Time and circumstance_______________________________________
How, when, where, and from whom did he or she learn it?_____
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
Additional observations by fieldworker (Character of informant, contact with mass media and modern world, personal opinions and reactions that resulted from or influenced the interview):
___________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________


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AUDIO TAPE LOG

COLLECTOR__________________________TAPE NO._________________
TAPE TITLE (INFORMANT OR EVENT)_____________________________
CORRESPONDING DATA SHEET NO.______________
PHOTO LOG NO._____________ VIDEO LOG NO.___________________
FIELDNOTES (DATES OR OTHER RETRIEVAL NO.)___________________
CASSETTE___REEL-TO-REEL___REEL SIZE___CASSETTE SIZE (in
minutes)___MONO___STEREO___
SPEED 7 1/2 3 3/4 1 7/8 15/16 SIDES/TRACKS___________
INTERVIEW DATE___________________TIME_______________________
PLACE OF INTERVIEW(S)_______________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
SETTING AND CIRCUMSTANCE____________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
FOLKLORE RECORDED___________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
ADDITIONAL NOTES____________________________________________
____________________________________________________________

TOPIC SUMMARY

TIME OR METER TOPIC / INFORMANT
READING
(OPTIONAL)
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

VIDEO TAPE LOG

COLLECTOR__________________________TAPE NO._________________
TAPE TITLE (INFORMANT OR EVENT)_____________________________
CORRESPONDING DATA SHEET NO.______________
PHOTO LOG NO._____________ AUDIO LOG NO.___________________
FIELDNOTES (DATES OR OTHER RETRIEVAL NO.)___________________
FORMAT______________________________________________________

INTERVIEW DATE___________________TIME_______________________
PLACE OF INTERVIEW(S)_______________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
SETTING AND CIRCUMSTANCE____________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
FOLKLORE RECORDED___________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
ADDITIONAL NOTES____________________________________________
____________________________________________________________

TOPIC SUMMARY

TIME OR METER TOPIC / INFORMANT
READING
(OPTIONAL)
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________

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PHOTO LOG

COLLECTOR_______________________________ FORMAT_____________
CORRESPONDING DATA SHEET NO._________
TAPE LOG NO.______________ VIDEO LOG NO.___________________
FIELDNOTES (DATES OR OTHER RETRIEVAL NO.)__________________
INTERVIEW/VISIT DATE__________TIME__________________________
LOCATIONS
SETTING AND CIRCUMSTANCE____________________________________

TOPIC ANALYSIS

FRAME NUMBERS SUBJECT
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________

 

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   September 30, 2014
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