Thousands of dialectological notes, ethnographic accounts and folkloric creations archived at the Institute of Romanian Philology „Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu” from Chişinău will be digitised and offered better conditions of preservation in the next 15 months through a British-funded project.
Through the grant „Saving the dialectological and ethnographic archival material preserved in Chişinău, Republic of Moldova (EAP1248)”, won by Dr. Mariana Cocieru, ethnofolklorist, Head of the Folkloric Subdivision of the Institute of Romanian Philology „Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu”, and administered by the Association Eurocentrica from Bucharest, a significant part of the dialectological archival material gathered by the Moldovan Branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences and subsequently by the Academy of Sciences of the Moldovan SSR between 1946-1991 in the Romanian-speaking villages of the Soviet Union will be digitised and will be soon made accessible online. The Grant is offered by the British Library, with the support of Arcadia Charitable Fund, through the Endangered Archives Programme, whose objective is to facilitate scholarship and research by identifying and preserving the archival material at risk, concerning pre-modern societies from all over the world.
The material to be digitised comprises written notes and audio recordings on reel tapes, consisting of dialectological peculiarities, folkloric songs and tales, descriptions of traditional customs and crafts, collected in the Soviet period mainly from the nowadays territory of the Republic of Moldova, but also from regions currently belonging to Ukraine or situated in Caucasus and Central Asia. The material was preserved in precarious conditions until the beginning of the project, due to limited public funding. At the end of the project, it will be freely available online, for non-commercial use, on the on the special section of the site of the British Library (https://eap.bl.uk/) and on the project’s website (http://folkloricarchival.asm.md/).
The project, whose institutional partners are the Institute of Romanian Philology „Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu” and the Association Eurocentrica, carries on the work done in a similar action carried out in 2018 under the coordination of musicologist Dr. Victor Ghilaş, director of the Institute of Cultural Heritage of Chişinău, when the folkloric material collected in the past by the specialists of the Academy of Sciences was digitised. Like then, the work will be carried out by a team of young Moldovan researchers, who will be trained in digitisation techniques and archival management by foreign experts, but his time they will be coordinated by Dr. Cocieru.
“The archival material to be digitised is highly important for our knowledge of ethnographic traditions and linguistic pecularities in the Republic of Moldova. I am happy that after the digitisation of the folkloric archival material in which I took part as a simple team member last year, I will be able to contribute to saving the dialectological and ethnographic material archived at the Institute of Romanian Philology „Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu” as a project director. At the same time, I think that the chance granted to young researchers to work following Western standards and the possibility offered to larger audiences to get in touch with the advantages of digitizing cultural heritage is as important as saving the archival material”, said Mariana Cocieru.
Project funded through the grant EAP 1248 „Saving the dialectological and ethnographic archival material preserved in Chişinău, Republic of Moldova”, offered by the British Library, with the support of Arcadia Fund, through the Endangered Archives Programme