SIEF Working Group on Archives Events



Quod oculus non videt, cor non dolet?

A SIEF Archives Working Group Conference
Amsterdam, October 21 – 23, 2020

Organised by: Meertens Instituut, Oudezijds Achterburgwal 185, 1012 DK Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Call for papers

Both traditional paper archives and modern digital archives provide access to as much data and metadata as possible. They serve researchers and interested parties. While traditional archives are still bound by opening times, the digital archives make their data available 24/7. Full open access is the new academic ideal: documents and scientific articles should always be available online for free for everyone. Nevertheless, several obstacles and restrictions are conceivable. To begin with, the user must know where to look: where can the relevant data be found? The amount of data can be so large and inconceivable that analysis by the human brain is not feasible, and computational tools need to be used to make patterns in digital big data visible. Another issue is data management: how is data stored and in what format? Not every data format is fit for every researcher. Finally there are publishers who like to put up pay walls that in many cases obstruct free exchange of information and research. The next question is whether we want to and can put everything online. We cannot simply take a press photo, a newspaper report, a novel or a diary and put it online: the makers are protected by copyright according to European guidelines up to 70 years after their death. For example, recent songs may not be freely included in databases and put online, unless payment is made for the rights. Many personal data from, for example, storytellers and singers are also protected for privacy reasons, while such information is often vital for researchers when analyzing personal repertoire. What ethical rules apply to the collectors and researchers? For instance, there are also (often unwritten) ethical rules that ensure that certain texts or images remain invisible. Think of documents with a controversial, fascist, racist, sexist, pornographic or violent content. Moreover, in some countries there is regulation regarding blasphemy, lese majesty and national treason. Shielding such material is understandable, but on the other hand does not do justice to the reality of the culture of daily life. Folklore also has its black fringes, and by obscuring it, a false and nostalgic positive image of folk culture is wrongly created. How do archives deal with European legislation on privacy and copyright? And how do they deal with controversial material? And if such material is kept away, what ethical rules are applied? To what extent does the saying “Quod oculus non videt, cor non dolet” apply here? (What the eye does not see, the heart does not grieve about).

Participants of the conference of the SIEF working group on Archives may want to focus on the following subjects:
- how to find (your way into) an archive
- access to data in general
- data management
- online (open) access policies
- online databases, search engines and visualization tools
- computational tools to analyse big data
- methods of adding metadata to collections
- copyright
- privacy
- controversial collections and how to handle them
- ethics concerning collecting, archiving and analyzing
- the study of the ‘dark side’ of folklore and culture

The deadline for abstracts is set on April 1, 2020.

Theo Meder

Please send you abstracts to: Theo.Meder(a)



Panels at SIEF2019 14th Congress, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, 14-17 April 2019

Keeping track of your field data; convenors Maryna Chernyavska and Kelly Fitzgerald
Participatory Archives in a Transforming World; convenors Sanita Reinsone and Ave Goršič

17–19 October 2018 conference History, Memory, and Archives: Sensitive Issues took place in Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore, Vilnius

Conference was dedicated to the Centenary of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Finland. For more information, click here

The Digital Humanities in the Nordic Countries Conference

7th March to 9th March 2018 The Digital Humanities in the Nordic Countries Conference took place in University of Helsinki, Finland. Conference was looking to extend the scope of digital humanities research covered, both into new areas, as well as beyond the Nordic and Baltic countries.

There was an archives panel within the conference - for more details, see here.

For more information, please visit conference website.

Towards Digital Folkloristics. Research
            Perspectives. Archival Praxis. Ethical Challenges
In September 14–16, 2016, the conference “Towards Digital Folkloristics. Research Perspectives. Archival Praxis. Ethical Challenges” took place in Riga, Latvia. The conference was devoted to the rapidly evolving field of digital folkloristics with a particular focus on tradition archives dealing with information technology.

For further information, please visit the conference website.

The Network of Nordic and Baltic Tradition Archives took place in Copenhagen, August 18, 2015 at the Dansk Folkemindesamling (The Danish Folklore Archives), Det Kongelige Bibliotek (The Royal Library).

Panels at SIEF2015 12th Congress: Zagreb, Croatia

Archives, digital collections, on-line databases and the internet Everyone an archivist?

The role of participatory archives in creating cultural heritage

Visions and traditions: the production of knowledge at the tradition archives

Ethnographic archives: should we share or should we hide?

The first meeting and seminar of the Network of Nordic and Baltic Tradition Archives took place in Oslo, Lysebu, April 13-15, 2015.

The Role of Archives in the Circulation Chain of Traditions
Founding panel at the 11th international SIEF congress, Tartu, July 2013