The Classification of Latvian Folklore Material; the Genres and Codes
Anna Berzkalne, having learned about the practice used in similar institutions abroad - in Finland, Denmark, Germany and elsewhere - decided to implement the best of that in the Archives of Latvian Folklore. So some pattern had to be chosen in order to follow, and thus it was the Finnish one, not only the theoretical part, but also the practical - even the same archiving materials (envelopes, etc.) ordered for the needs of LFK.
For a good archive there is just one basic thing - classification system, determining the arrangement and cataloguing system of the material. In LFK every text (song text, folk-tale, legend. proverb, etc.), melody transcription or graphic item is considered as a separate unit, a folklore item. Each collection is assigned a unique identifier number, while each item receives a separate number within the particular collection. Thus a two-group numeric code can be used to identify a particular item. According to these principles a systematic index was created, including the metadata regading the items - the date of reception at LFK, names of collectors and informants, their biography data, address, place and time the text (or song) was learned by the informant/singer, as well as the genre.
So for the classification purposes also the genre (in the form of a alphanumeric code) must be added to the item. This is not so easy a task as it might seem. The discussion on whether genre is a generic feature of folklore has not come to any final conclusions and maybe it never will, as the amount of scholarly literature dealing with this subject is still growing. Still for the purpose of retrieval of the right item out of millions it is necessary to distinguish between folk-tale and legend, for example, however similar they may appear in some cases. On the other hand the list of genre codes may give some insight into what has been collected and can be retrieved from this archive. The genre groups are as follows (only the main listed below):