Contact Information
last updated: 4/23/2012

Collection Development Policies - Folklore

Folklore Collection

  1. Introduction
    1. Purpose of the policy statement
      This statement is intended to guide the manager of the Gender Studies fund (fund 88) by explaining the purpose and scope of the collection, describing who it serves, and outlining how this fund meshes with the library funds for related subject areas.

    2. Audience
      The primary audience is made up of collection managers and other librarians and library staff.

    3. Description of institution/department and clientele
      The folklore collection supports upper division undergraduate and graduate teaching and research to the PhD level as well as faculty research in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology. The department is the oldest and largest PhD-granting institution in the field in North America, and is also associated with the Archives of Traditional Music and the IU Folklore Archives. In 2004 the department contained 18 faculty (15.92 FTE), 122 graduate majors, and 42 undergraduate majors.

    4. Brief overview of the collection
      1. History of the collection
        The Folklore Collection has a long unbroken history at Indiana University. The collection was brought together, nurtured and sustained for forty years (1920-1959) by Stith Thompson, Distinguished Professor of English. The library administration encouraged this development and provided Thompson with funds to purchase library materials during his research trips to Europe, South America, and Asia. Thompson's purchases were especially extensive in France, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Scandinavia. The collection grew as an offshoot of Thompson's work on his monumental Motif-Index of Folk Literature (1932-37; rev. 1955-57). This work established Indiana University as a focal point for the comparative study of folklore from an international viewpoint.

        In 1978, the Folklore Collection was awarded a major NEH Title II grant for preservation microfilming and photocopying of late 18th and 19th-century materials. The grant also supported the retrospective conversion of the entire collection, which is now fully accessible through the Libraries' online catalog.

      2. Collection strengths and weaknesses
        The Folklore Collection is the largest single library collection of its type in North America. Two-thirds of the collection consists of Folk Literature (GR) and Manners and Customs, including foodways, calendar customs, rituals, and costume (GT). The remaining third of the collection is classed outside of GR or GT, including works on literary aspects of folklore, folk music and dance, ethnomusicology, folk belief, folk religion, mythology, popular culture, folk art and architecture, folklife and material culture. We collect works on every topic of interest to folklorists and ethnomusicologists all shelved in a single convenient location. In 2004 the collection consisted of approximately 49,000 titles including 850 journal and serial titles, including 250 current journal subscriptions. Special resources within the Folklore Collection include:
        • Folklore Reference Shelves: a non-circulating collection of bibliographies, indexes, encyclopedias and directories covering all dimensions of folklore and ethnomusicology
        • Dean Spruill Fansler Collection of Philippine literature in vernacular languages (on microfilm)
        • Gaidoz Collection: pamphlets and offprints of periodical articles pertaining to European, especially French, folklore circa 1900; arranged by subject. Subject index in the folklore card catalog on the 7th floor; collection is shelved in Secure Area; consult the folklore librarian.
      3. Subject areas emphasized or deemphasized
        Folk literature; manners and customs (including foodways, calendar customs, rituals, and costume); literary aspects of folklore; folk music and dance; ethnomusicology; folk belief; folk religion; mythology; popular culture; folk art and architecture; folklife and material culture.

      4. Collection locations
        The Folklore Collection is a special collection located on the 7th floor of the IU Research Collections.
  2. Scope of Coverage
    1. Languages collected and excluded
      All languages are collected, with the exception of most Chinese, Japanese, and Korean materials

    2. Geographical areas covered and excluded
      All geographical areas are covered

    3. Chronological periods covered and excluded
      All periods are covered

    4. Dates of publication of materials collected; current vs. retrospective coverage
      All publication dates are collected, with an emphasis on current coverage.

    5. Formats collected and excluded
      All formats collected, except video and audio. Video materials are collected by Media Studies librarian, while audio materials are the responsibility of the Archives of Traditional Music.
  3. Collecting Responsibility
    Collection manager: Moira Smith

  4. Related Collections
    • Archives of Traditional Music
    • Indiana University Folklore Archives (see University Archives for more information)
  5. Principal Sources of Supply and Major Selection Tools
    • Blackwell approval plan
    • Harrasowitz approval plan
    • Book reviews (Journal of American Folklore and Fabula)
    • Catalogs
  6. Preservation
    1. Criteria for selection for preservation and/or mass deacidification
      Follow the physical criteria specified by Preservation Dept.

    2. High-priority areas of the collection for preservation review and treatment
      Materials that have few holdings in OCLC should receive first priority. Other criteria for priority: IU authors; local (Indiana) interest; and material that circulates often.
  7. Selection Criteria for ALF
    • Duplicate serials, including serials duplicated in JSTOR that are more than ten years old
    • Monographs published before 1980 that have never circulated (with the exception of: reference works, festschrifts and other edited collections, and major folk narrative collections)
  8. Digital Projects
    1. Criteria for selection for digitization

    2. Priorities for collections to be digitized

      The Gaidoz pamphlet collection is the first priority. Next come materials that have few holdings in OCLC should receive first priority. Other criteria for priority: IU authors; local (Indiana) interest; and material that circulates often.
  9. Other Resources and Libraries
    • John G White Folklore Collection, Cleveland Public Library
    • Library of Congress (especially the American Folklife Center)
  10. Consortial Agreements

Folklore Collection Home Page

Revised April 2012

last updated: 4/23/2012