Folklorist Lynne Williamson approached us last year to consult on best practices for building her video archive. She had a common scenario in the folklore world—a mobile folklorist capturing lots of digital materials, working on more than one computer, without time or resources to process the collected data into shareable content for peers, the broader public, and traditional communities.

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Sewing Circle Quilt from the Connecticut Cultural Heritage Arts Program. Photo: ctheritagearts.org

Like many of us, these materials were being collected and stacked on a shelf. While the 20th-century folklorist would glance woefully at a stack of unprocessed cassette or VHS tapes, the 21st-century folklorist now stares at unprocessed SD cards. Luckily, with Lynne, we also had an intelligent and creative community scholar, extremely patient woman, and folklorist committed to processing materials while following best practices.

Our goal in this project was to establish a video archive that had long-term stability, but that also could be easily shared with artists and even re-purposed in creative ways in future programming. You can view our entire report here.

This consultancy was supported by the American Folklore Society’s Consultancy and Professional Development Program, made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and was a collaboration with the CT Cultural Heritage Arts Program of the Institute for Community Research.