Research effort on “Folklore archival funds of Belarus preservation and popularization: conceptual grounds, research and methodological support” expediency substantiation.


1.Research project supervisor: Tatyana Morozova, head of the Belarusian folklore study and research laboratory of the Belarusian Literature Chair of the Philology Faculty of the Belarusian State University, First Post-Graduate Degree in Philology, associate professor. Office: +375-17-227-41-45, home: +375-17-210-01-29.


2.Preface. Project relevance.

The last quarter of the XXth century was marked with a priority tendency of globalization in all the spheres of human activity. This tendency contributes to the mutual convergence of cultures and civilizations, however it may strongly level off and sometimes provoke total annihilation of multiethnic traditional cultures which have expressed originality and specificity of every people of the world for the whole duration of human history. Thus in 2003 the UNESCO General Conference approved the Convention on preservation of non-material cultural heritage of the peoples of the world. The Convention implementation envisages the most general, primary tasks: development of methodological instructions and reference guides on collection, reference fixation with the help of modern electronic media and active introduction in Pan-European scientific, educational and creative environment of the traditional authentic non-material values of the Belarusian people.



3. State of researches in the given branch in Belarus and abroad.

The stated direction of scientific work is a relatively new and non-studied phenomenon in the Humanitarian sciences of our country. In 1990s – 2000 most folklorists of scientific institutes and higher educational establishments published their archive materials, more rarely recorded them. Computerization of archives used to be a set of folklore materials collected while on expeditions and processed by computers. Today there are only separate scientific researches made by young scientists in the system of making data basis of folklore works in certain genres. So T.D. Rabets, a research worker at the Slavic studies department of the Institute of Study of Arts, Ethnography and Folklore of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, in the theme “Creation of electronic basis of charm and prayer poetry of the Belarusians” is working out interface of users to input, examine and renew materials, as well as electronic index of characters of charms. It simplifies essentially the possibility of representation of national charm tradition on the Internet (ethnologists and folklorists in Europe have been doing the same for 15 – 20 years already), preservation of existing texts on lasting data media, systematization of folklore materials of specific genre in accordance with new possibilities of computer using.

Alexander Bej, a methodist  of the Philological faculty, being a student,  has created his own mechanism of digitalizing for folklore short-life audio- and video tapings  (reel-type and audio cassettes), which is represented in his article “Problems of retaining of ceremonial and holiday culture in Polessye: informational and computer resource”.

Foreign works of the same profile appeared in the 90s of the previous century. In particular, only German folklore archives in Freiburg have 15 special programs on processing and retaining of its funds but an access to them is copyright.  The Lithuanians have progressed greatly in computerization of the folklore archives. At the 36 International  ballad Conference in Freiburg (Germany) in 2006 Mrs. Jurgita Jusaitite made a report on computer retrieval system of folklore items and about the ways of location of folklore works on the Internet.

According to the mentioned facts, the following conclusions are considered to be important:

  1. electronic hardware creation for folklore archives needs a specialist in computer literacy;
  2. putting off folklore funds computerization can lead to authentic folklore losses (especially old audio- and video tapings), but that is inadmissible;
  3. carrying out the research in the Belarusian State University, which is considered to be the leading educational institution in the Republic, gives an opportunity to work out the model of preservation and fixation of non-material values of the Belarusian heritage for other educational institutions;
  4.  it enables to solve the main problem of modern educational process, which is  the availability of folklore archival funds to distance learning and popularization of the Belarusian culture and its important component – folk  art.

4.  The aim and tasks to be solved while doing this research.

The aim and this research is to work out conceptual ground and complex program of scientific methodological means for preservation and popularization of the folklore funds of the Belarusian people on the base of modern means of collecting, processing propagation of the information. This aim  can  be achieved by solving the following tasks:

-to create a system of provision  all non-material culture heritage funds with information in the form of standard data bases for all kinds and genres of the Belarusian folklore.

-to work out programs of computer usage of regional and genre archives of academic and scientific laboratory of the Belarusian folklore of the BSU as a pattern for other folklore archives of High Educational Institutions of the republic;

  • to digitize recordings ( both tapes and audio cassettes) and video tapes which are kept in the laboratory of the Belarusian folklore of the BSU in order to protect them from utter destruction ( half of tapes date back to the 60-80s of the 20th century and keep recordings of authentic singing from different regions of Belarus, which have no analogy in the world).


5.Scientific novelty of the planned research. A distinguishing characteristic of previous research in the country, abroad and by the author. The kind and the explanation of the expected impact. Specify the working hypotheses of initial data.
The planned investigation is of high scientific novelty, because it is based on the intersection of philological and technical-information sciences. At the current stage of information society contemporary means of using information, particularly in literary works, are required that are adequately able to present the cultural heritage of our people in the world. Unlike the few works existing in this field, the present investigation offers a wide range decision of problems faced by specialists of folklore archival funds of Belarus and abroad.

By the results of the realization of the   project “The standard folklore multimedia bank” which combines computer software and multimedia information  will be made. It will enable to preserve, popularize and give assistance in the analysis of the historical and cultural heredity of the Belarusian people. Besides being used in scientific and research work  it will give the opportunity to popularize the Belarusian folklore due to the creation of the set of  multimedia  reference encyclopedia  which can become commercial product and can be used for self- education  and  in high, vocational and secondary institutions in the course of learning humanitarian subjects.  



6. Specific contribution of the project in comparison with other works in this field.

On the basis of folklore materials of different types and genres “The reference multimedia bank of folklore” can be created. It’s a combination of the software support and multimedia information being a unified logical complex which elements are:

1) The reference bank of multimedia information is a collection of digital video and audio materials of high quality recorded on DVD by means of the method of compression which enables to compress data without loss of quality.

2) The base catalogue is a database which enables to make logical structure. In addition to making tall structure the database allows storing some additional explanatory information respecting to its folklore objects (annotations, descriptions of the objects, the places of recording, narrators).

3) The Interface is a software unit on the basis of web technologies which runs and operates the records of the base catalogue and the elements of the reference bank. Besides it the system has searching, classifying, analytical capacity.

4) The collection of multimedia reference books is a set of CD- and DVD- ROMs containing some information from the reference bank specified on genre, geographical and topical subjects

The reference multimedia bank of the Belarusian folklore will make a complete representation of all regions and areas of Belarus.


7. Availability of conditions for successful work’s carrying out (scientific potential, material and technical basis), enumeration of the available and required technical (scientific) equipment for the project’s realization. Drawing of post-graduate students, under-graduate students and students in research work.


There is scientific potential of the project’s participants and initial material and technicalbasis for successful work’s carrying out. There is a need for the invitation of the expert in control systems of databases and development of interfaces for them (one person) and the ethnomusicologist (one person) to participate in the project. The laboratory has enough of the computers (4), however only one of them more or less new (2004 of release). Certainly, there is a need for a modern computer purchasing for analog-digital converting, processing, compression and recording audio and video information into optical compatible disc types.

There is a necessity in acquiring such restoring devices of high quality as minisystems for playing audiocassettes, CD-Audio, CD-MP3, and also integrated DVD and videotape VHS player and recorder, TV-set.

We need a special expansion card with capability of high-quality hardware encoding of videosignal for image information digitization. There is such equipment for audio introduction in the laboratory of the Belarusian folklore of BSU.

We need a lot of high-quality DVDs for creation of reference data bank and ensuring its noise immunity by double reflection and Reed-Solomon code generation.


8. Research work program (in detail).

The research work program incorporates two blocks: theoretical and practical. The objectives of the theoretical block are:

1.  Establishing a framework for research (1-4 quarters of 2008):

1.1. Developing a historio-graphic analysis of approaches to whys and wherefores for electronic folklore archive funds.

2. developing a conceptual framework and an integrated program of scientific and methodological support for conservation and popularization of the folklore funds of the Belarusian nation based on modern techniques for collecting, processing and disseminating information (1-4 quarters of 2009).

3. Introducing the applied approach into the operation of computerized folklore archives at the Higher Education Institutions of the Republic of Belarus (1-4 quarters of 2010).

The second block is aimed at creating a diverse multimedia product that will embrace:

- Dataware for funds of the scientific and training laboratory on the Belarusian folklore at the BSU in the form of reference databases by kinds and folklore genres;

- computerized programs for regional and genre archives of the scientific and training laboratory on Belarusian folklore at the BSU as a model for other archives at higher educational institutions in the republic;

- digitization of available laboratory tape (reels and audiocassettes) and video recordings which contain unique records of authentic tunes from different regions of Belarus. 


9. Branch for application of the received results.

Folklore studies, ethnology studies, cultural science (section on traditional national culture).


The dean of the philological faculty, BSU

Philology Doctor, the professor


The supervisor for studies of the project

Ph.D.,the senior lecturer



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