CONTEXT, TEXT, AND TEXTURE OF COLLECTED ITEMS:
Placed just before the text are your comments on where the text was collected and under what circumstances. You may want to mention whether it was indoors or outdoors, whether there were other people present (and if they had any effect on the performance), whether there were other activities going on (a wedding? a festival? a funeral? a party?). If possible, you should find out whether the texts would have been originally performed in an entirely different context than the one you're in while collecting. For example, you might be sitting in someone's living room recording songs that originally were only sung on shipboard, or at work, or in the nursery. You might be interviewing a retired midwife whose customs and practices would normally have been performed during an actual childbirth. You might be in mixed company collecting logger stories that normally would be told only among men. Very often context has an impact on vocabulary, length of presentation, the amount of explanation offered (definitions of terms, tools, etc.), gesture, style, volume, and even basic choices about what to perform and what not to mention. Placing your contextual information just before the text has the effect of providing an understandable setting for researchers.
These are the items you collected from your informant(s). They may be stories, legends, jokes, or other narratives, in which case they simply need to be typed double-spaced (to insure clarity of text). Try to provide a verbatim (word-for-word) transcription of their performance, including slang terms, false starts, pauses and the like. Very often the way something is said provides an important dimension of meaning.
If the item is a song, you may provide the words on the page (arranged in stanzas suggested by the song's phrasing and structure), and pass in the musical "text" on a tape recording. If you have the ability to write musical transcription, include a transcript of the first verse on the page containing the words. If the item is an example of material folklore, a sketch or a scanned photograph should be placed on the page where the text would normally appear.
For convenience, all these expressions are called "texts," from the Latin term textus, "a woven object," to indicate that we are focusing on the expressive aspect of a culturally-situated articulation.
Each item is given a number and a title that reflects the content of the text. The informant's name, the location where the item was collected, and the date of collection, are given in the upper right hand corner of the page (only on the first page, if the text continues over onto more pages).
As the term suggests, textural comments are addressed to the "feel" of the text and its performance: particular terms, tones, nuances, double-entendres, feelings, attitudes, opinions suggested, values raised or illustrated, style, etc. Where context provides the answer to "Where?" texture addresses the issue of "how?" Because this set of comments is often focused on issues related to why the text was performed, specialized terms used, whether the performer actually believes the story or not, whether there is an element of humor or exaggeration, and so forth, this section comes appropriately after the text as a kind of stylistic note.
For reference questions: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (435) 797-3439.|
Fife Folklore Archives, Utah State University Libraries, Logan Utah 84322-3000