The Basics of Database Cataloguing: How We Do It At The RRC by S.A.Krishnaiah

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RRC began its database in the Index card system from 1985 onwards (S.A.Krishnaiah). At the beginning RRC use to collect the primary information’s, later RRC researcher received a research fellow of the Centre to Finland to study the Methodology of indexing in the Finnish Folklore Archives.(1985). Further RRC started the Card system on trial and error method. later having indexing the cards for multi media genres or to obtain the resourceful data’s through cards became very complex, altogether the idea of card indexing system was dropped out after introducing the computer system in the year 1988.

RRC was a pioneer in the use of Personal Computers for accessioning and retrieval of folklore material. Personal Computer was introduced into RRC by Dr. Peter J. Claus of University of California, Hayward.Fieldworkers/collectors card (collcard) first briefed out by Prof Lauri Honko (1989) earlier to this Prof Peter J Claus who has introduced the Dos version Computer Database. The same Database is been extensively used by the RRC researchers.

Coll Card: In a span of short time RRC gathered quite a few archival materials from different parts of the state. Hence it became difficult to collate and access them into the archives. The 'COLLCARD' (Collect Card) system introduced in 1989 by the Finnish scholar Prof. Lauri Honko changed the face of cataloguing system of RRC. It resolved most of the co-ordinating problems of accessioning the material simultaneously documented on different media into the archives. The Collcard system was introduced by Prof. Honko during the Finnish-Indian Project seminar held in the campus of M.G. M. College. Prof. Honko had first launched the Collcard during his field work in China in 1986. The Finnish-India Project also saw for the first time the use of computer for inputting the Collcard. In a short while RRC developed its own card naming it as the FIELD CARD based on the model of Finnish Collcard . The coll card system is now accepted by many other archives as a useful tool for contextual field work of folk performances. The field card has also been adopted as the model for designing the computer database for retrieval of archival material. Prof. Honko, the inventor of the Collcard system, acted as a guide for the Siri Sampada Archives in matters relating to research and systematic documentation.

I have supplimented in this chapter few Database models- this draft is created for better understanding of the concept of Database (S.A.Krishnaiah).

Indo Finnish Project Collcard (Collectors Card)

01 Reserve code

02 code of archive

03 1=Audio tape 4=Slides 7=CD Rom Disk

        2=video tape    5=photographs         8=other material (e.g. manuscript)
        3=cine /film    6=gramophone record   9=Notes	

04 accession code: accession year (two last numbers)/accession number

05 specifications

06.1 collector data: full name (m /f)

06.2 occupation

07.1 informant data: full name (m /f)

07.2 occupation

07.3 year of birth

07.4 Place of birth

07.5 place of residence

07.6 education

07.7 other (e.g. civilian estate or caste, language of performance etc.)

08.1 topographical data: post code + place of collection

08.2 village or locality

08.3 place of origin of item

09 collection date: yy-mm-dd

10 project code

11.1 Genre

11.2 informant's

12 type or index code

13 contextual data

14.1 cross references: simultaneous documentation

14.2 same collection occasion

14.3 other

15 keywords

16 other information


At Present RRC using slightly a changed model of the Indo Finnish Project Collcard format

been adopted as the model for designing the computer database for retrieval of archival material. Prof. Honko, the inventor of the Collcard system, acted as a guide for the Siri Sampada Archives. Thus RRC began to call the ethnographers  or collectors card as RRC Dield Card.  See RRC Field Card Model  as follows

RRC FIELD CARD (For RRC Use Only) Material ID Accn No: -----------------------

                                                   Ma. No.:------------------------

NO:---------------------------------------- 01 Genre Term:---------------------------------------------------------------------- 02 Item Name:----------------------------------------------------------------------- 03 Sub Item/Item type:-------------------------------------------------------------- 04 Performer/Informant:-------------------------------------------------------------

  Sex: ---------(m/f) Age:--------Caste:----------------Education:-----------------  
  Occupation:----------------Birth Place:------------------------------------------     
  Mother Tongue:-------------------------------------------------------------------
  Full Address:--------------------------------------------------------------------

05 Ace. Performers:-----------------------------------------------------------------


06 Rec. Language:------------------------------------------------------------------- 07 Topographical data: -------------------------Spot of Rec:------------------------

  Village/Town Name:---------------------------------------------------------------
  Pin Code:-----------------State:-------------------------------------------------

8 Date, From ---------------------- To:------------------------------------------ 9 Time, From: ---------------------- To:------------------------------------------ 10 Rec. Media: ---------------------- ------------------------------------------ 11 Simultaneous Collections:-------------------------------------------------------- 12 Rec. Context:-------------------------------------------------------------------- 13 Field Notes/Catalogue/Description: ----------------------------------------------


(Use back of Card)*

  • Use back of Card for more details



The present plan sheet intends to set forth the preparations to be made before setting up Archives of a standard quality. Naturally it is assumed that there would be adequate budgetary allotment to set up the requisite implement.

1. The archives should be housed in a strong building and situated in clean and healthy environs. 2. Naturally archives need adequate staff with the necessary qualification, experience and proficiency in research and technical know-how about documentation and preservation of materials.

The following is a standard team: 1-Director (Head of the Division)-1, 2-Manager (To look after the accounts)-1, 3-Researchers (It is desirable that they are conversant with digital technology)-3, 4-Transcribers-1, 5-Translators-1, 6-Chief Technical Assistant-1, 7-Asst. Technicians-2

8-Helpers-2,  9-Securitymen-2

3. It would be necessary to set up three rooms in the Archives two of which should be equipped with air-conditioning and humidity control facility. 4. The capacity of the air-conditioning required for the area of the Archives should be decided in consultation with technical experts.

Equipment needed for high quality documentation: At present two modes of equipment are available for documentation and preservation of Archival material. 1. Analogue equipment 2. Digital equipment

Tape recorders (spool type- are still used for quality recording and play plack in Radio Station), microphones, good quality film cameras, video cameras (with necessary tapes) are in the analogue mode. Though we are in the computer age many of the archives have been using the analog equipment which they brought in the market years ago. A modern documentation and archiving institution would do well to acquire digital equipment for recording and preservation. Though institutions continue to work in the analog medium, it is advisable to convert the analog materials into the digital mode. Hence there arises the need for procuring equipment for the conversion of analog materials into digital materials.

Today all varieties of equipment to carry out multimedia documentation and archiving are available in the digital mode in the open market. Research has shown that the digital materials are more durable than analog materials. From this point it would be prudent for a new institute to go in for digital equipment.

An archival institute, having the need to preserve documentation records, needs to have high quality equipment. Low and medium quality equipment are freely available but Archives should use high quality videotapes, audio Dat tapes, CDs, DVDs etc.

Desirable digital equipment: 1. DAT Recorders-3 2. DAT Tapes (as per need are available in the market) 3. DAC or D/A Converters- which convert analog documents into digital documents. 4. Microphones suitable for digital equipment-2 5. Audio-mixers (which can mix sound from different sources of input)-1 6. Tripods-2 7. DV Camera, Umatic or Beta Cameras (of good quality)-2. Sony / Pansonic company has brought into the market DV Cameras of good quality. 8. Digital photographic Cameras -2 9. Memory cards of 1 GB needed for Digital photographic Camera-10 10. Flashes, recharges, rechargeable batteries etc. 11. Digital Photoscanner-1 12. Planetary Scanner for Manuscript Documentation 13. Digital Editing equipment- consisting of computers, DVD writer, CD writers with suitable software installed. 14. A Laptop computer to enable on the spot- transmission of materials to the centre from the field. 15. Adequate software which should be obtained in the authorized manner. 16. E-mail facility- Correspondence should be by e-mail. 17. Air-conditioning equipment 18. A generator to cope with situations of current failure.

Note: This is neither a final nor an exhaustive list. As the market is being flooded with new equipment and new software everyday- the choice of the most suitable equipment or software is a mind logging problem. The website is a useful guide in the matter. Also computer magazines, video-magazines offer upto date information.

The following are some of websites that can be read:

1. (Digital Audio Tape: DAT) 2. 3. (Digital Photography Medium) 4. (Video Medium) 5.