The Phonographic Collection of The Institute of Art is the oldest Sound Archive of Traditional Music in Poland. It contains more than 150 000 folk songs and instrumental tunes from all over Poland, including borderlands and national minorities. Apart from folk music, there are also recordings of speeches, interviews with folk artists. Song-repertoire comprises short songs, ballads, military-songs, religious songs, small towns’ songs, children’s lore, lullabies, shepherds’ evocations etc. Instrumental music consists mostly of dance melodies. The oldest recorded performers were singers born in 1854. The majority of the performers, however, were born in the second half of the 19th century.
The collection is currently administered, developed and accessible using a system built and programmed in the framework of the CADIS project (Centre for Archivisation and Digitisation of Image and Sound). The system includes a database with a structure partly dedicated for the development of ethno-phonographic collections (of the Institute of Art as well as those obtained from other institutions) and a specialized application for servicing the digital archive. The application has two essential functions: 1. It provides administrator and editors (archivists, researchers) access to all objects and metadata and their editing. 2. It enables users to browse (simple and advanced search) the collections, with viewing and listening to the objects, and gives the opportunity to select and order selected digital copies of music recordings and documents.
The system presents descriptive, administrative and technical metadata organized in the registers, describing both digitized objects (carriers), their structure (individual works), objects management (e.g. data about the creators and performers of objects, date of object creation, technical data related to objects), as well as the digitalization process itself (e.g. used devices, their configuration, software, file formats, capacity, quality expressed by sample resolution, etc.).
The application includes metadata allowing to connect different types of documents (e.g. sound, image, text), it provides an overview of digitized graphic documents associated with the recordings (eg music or text transcription), a carrier (e.g. a track-list, protocol, label scan), a performer (artist's photograph) or musical activity (e.g. instrument photography).
The system is administered by archivists-ethnomusicologists. It enables the work of many users at the same time. Changes in documents and objects are saved in the database allowing for tracking the history of changes. Files stored and processed in the system can exist in various data formats. Each document has a defined set of attributes describing features specific to a given registry.
The system has built-in complex document searching mechanisms enabling full-text searching, advanced search using selected attributes of the document, and search based on a specific keyword structure. To listen to music, there is a built-in audio-player
The system also allows to select quickly the desired material according with multiple criteria. Access to the data requires registration from the user. After logging in, the user may view the available metadata, and has the possibility to listen to the whole (or samples of) archival recordings - depending on their legal and technical status. The user has access to all categories of available metadata except for those restricted for the staff only.