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Posts from the ‘Books’ Category

What can the Open Folklore project help me do now? [1]

While one way to think about Open Folklore is as a website or as a scholarly portal (that will live at ) another way to think about it is to see it as a branding effort or as a unified (unifying) label for a mixed collection of projects, efforts and services being pursued by the Indiana University Bloomington Libraries and the American Folklore Society aimed at making more of the scholarly literature and a greater range of scholarly resources in folklore studies openly available for those who need them. This post is the first in what I hope will be a series in which I show as quickly as I can what some of these resources are and how to access them independently. I am drawing here upon what we might call the “quiet phase” projects that provide the current core of content around which the Open Folklore portal or (viewed somewhat differently) the Open Folklore banner can be wrapped.

In this, context, “What can the Open Folklore project help me do now?” Here is a first and (I hope) simple answer.

Answer 1:  Open Folklore can enable you to consult the full text of out-of-copyright books from the Indiana University Libraries’ famed Folklore Collection in the Hathi Trust Digital Library.

The IU Folklore Collection was digitized by the Google Books project in partnership with the libraries of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC). It constitutes the first “Collection of Distinction” to be digitized in this partnership.

Much of the content (books and journals) from the Folklore Collection has already appeared in Hathi Trust. For works that are no longer under copyright, the full text of the original work is both full text searchable and full text readable. So, if you want to consult and read or search a particular book in the collection, you can now do so online. If you wish to try it out, here are the stable URLs for some sample works in the collection.

George Bird Grinnel’s The Punishment of Stingy and Other Indian Stories (1901)

George H. McKnight’s St. Nicholas: His Legend and His Role in the Christmas Celebration and Other Popular Customs (1917)

Arthur Mitchell’s On the Popular Weather Prognostics of Scotland (1863)

Max Müller’s Lectures on the Science of Religion: With a paper on Buddhist Nihilism and a Translation of the Dhammapada or “Path of Virtue” (1872)

Paul Radin’s El Folklore de Oaxaca (1917)

The stable URL for these works also enables you to reliably cite these work when writing or creating new scholarly projects building on this older work. They can be used in citations in new written (and perhaps printed) works such as books and articles, but also in websites, blog posts, and other scholarly new media.

There are (as of today) 2425 other works from the Folklore Collection itself available in full text via Hathi Trust. Hathi Trust as a whole provides full text access to over a million volumes that are in the public domain (representing about 19% of the collection as a whole.) [More on using the in-copyright volumes later.]

Find a volume of relevance to you and try out the folklore studies offerings of Hathi Trust, made possible by our friends at the Indiana University Bloomington libraries, the librarians of the CIC, Google Books, and the other Hathi Trust partners.

Help Ted Striphas Make an OA Audiobook of The Late Age of Print

Help Ted Striphas make an open access audiobook version of The Late Age of Print: Everyday Book Culture from Consumerism to Control.

My IUB colleague Ted Striphas published The Late Age of Print: Everyday Book Culture from Consumerism to Control in 2009 with Columbia University Press. Coincident with the release of the copyrighted physical volume last year, Columbia released a free, CC-licensed PDF of the book. The goal of Ted’s next effort is to produce a text-to-speech (T-T-S) version of the book, which will be released freely online under a Creative Commons 3.0 BY-NC-SA license.  Kudos to Columbia University Press for supporting these progressive projects, including the new audiobook making effort.

Describing his project and seeking community help on it, Ted writes:

“Producing a T-T-S version of the book will require a great deal of textual cleanup — more than I can muster given my professional commitments, plus a newborn in my life.  Consequently, I’ve set up a wiki site — http// — in the hopes that I might be able to crowdsource some help.”

“Why do I want to create a Late Age of Print audiobook?  First, I’m trying to promote both the idea and practice of free, open-source scholarly work — an issue that I address at length in an essay just out in the journal Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, on the politics of academic journal publishing.  Second, it seems profoundly unfair to me that people with vision impairments cannot access many scholarly titles, since few ever get transformed into audiobooks.  I’m hoping that my wiki might become a model for similar projects.  Admittedly, the project will serve to promote the book as well.”

If you are interested in helping on this worthy project and, along the way, demonstrating your support for open access scholarly publishing, everything you need to know should be findable on the website for The Late Age of Print.

(PS:  I cannot get the block quote function to work for me today, hence the old fashioned formatting.)

Call For Book Proposals: Mellon Funded Project for First Books

[from an AFS announcement]

Call for Book Proposals

The University of Illinois Press, the University Press of Mississippi, and the University of Wisconsin Press, in cooperation with the American Folklore Society and with the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, are collaborating to host an author’s workshop at the 2010 conference of the American Folklore Society for authors working on their first book. Up to six authors will be selected to participate in a full day of intensive activities devoted to critiquing and developing their individual projects. Workshop activities will include one-on-one mentoring sessions with editors and senior scholars and group discussions of revision and editing strategies, publishing processes, and project critiques. A modest stipend will be provided to participants to help defray the costs of attending the workshop.

This opportunity is open only to authors preparing their first books. Projects must be single-authored, nonfiction books based on folklore research. Edited volumes, photography collections with minimal text, and memoirs will not be considered.

Projects selected for the workshop will be candidates for publication in the Presses’ new collaborative series, Folklore Studies in a Multicultural World, which aims to publish exceptional first books that emphasize the interdisciplinary and/or international nature of the field of folklore. Within the series, each Press will focus on specific aspects of folklore studies related to its areas of expertise: Illinois on gender and queer studies, world folk cultures, and multiculturalism as manifested in forms of vernacular expression such as music, dance, and foodways; Mississippi in folk art, American folk music, African American studies, popular culture, and Southern folklife; and Wisconsin in folklore studies that intersect with Upper Midwest cultures, Irish/Irish-American studies, Jewish studies, Southeast Asian studies, gay/lesbian studies, foodways, and travel. Applicants may indicate in their proposal whether they have a preference of publisher.

Proposals should be submitted via e-mail between January 1, 2010 and April 1, 2010, to For submission guidelines, please see

Delaware Tribe in a Cherokee Nation

With this note, I want to congratulate Brice Obermeyer on the publication of his new book Delaware Tribe in a Cherokee Nation (University of Nebraska Press, 2009). Brice is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Emporia State University. His book began as his dissertation research at the University of Oklahoma, where I had the privilege of serving on his doctoral committee. Of the Ph.D. students with whom I have worked, Brice has the distinction of being the first to accomplish the difficult additional task of seeing his doctoral dissertation transformed into a published book. This major effort entails not only additional research, writing and revision, but the practical matters of securing a publisher, further revision on the basis of peer-review, and going through the multitude of steps the follow in the production process. Congratulations to Brice on his negotiating these many steps successfully.

An important study of a complex and contentious topic, Brice’s book has been published by the University of Nebraska Press, an important publisher of books in anthropology and Indigenous studies. His study is a crucial examination of the political and historical complexities that have led to the entanglement of the Delaware people with the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma and of the Delaware struggle for self-determination in a context in which they are doubly encompassed by both the United States and the Cherokee Nation, two powerful governments whose interests have often been hostile to Delaware ones. To explore the complicated ways in which the exercise of Cherokee national sovereignty has resulted in the disenfranchisement and subjugation of another American Indian people is a difficult and painful undertaking, one that Brice pursues with care. Brice succeeds in accounting for the complexities of the Delaware situation, respecting the diversity of views found among Delaware people, and contextualizing the historical events and social and culture processes that make sense of the political paradoxes that Delaware and Cherokee people must negotiate. A excerpt is available on the University of Nebraska Press website.

Congratulations to Brice and to his Delaware collaborators.

Chicago Folklore Prize!!!!!

What amounts to the Nobel Prize in Folklore Studies was announced last week at the American Folklore Society meetings in Boise, Idaho. I am so super pleased that two friends with ties to my home department are sharing the award for 2009. The Chicago Folklore Prize is a book prize and it is the oldest and most distinguished award in folklore studies. Begun in 1928 by the University of Chicago, it is today given by the university in partnership with the American Folklore Society.

Sharing the prize are my colleague Michael Dylan Foster (Assistant Professor of Folklore at Indiana University) and Ray Cashman (Associate Professor of Folklore at The Ohio State University). Ray earned his Ph.D. in folklore here at Indiana University.  Michael’s book is Pandemonium and Parade: Japanese Monsters and the Culture of Yôkai (University of California Press). Ray’s book is Storytelling on the Northern Irish Border: Characters and Community (Indiana University Press).

Indiana University has distributed a press release celebrating news of their winning the prize. Congratulations to Michael and Ray and to folklore studies.

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