dr hab. Piotr Grochowski, prof. UMK

Department of Cultural Studies, Institute of Cultural Sciences, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń

For me, Etnofon is a breakthrough project in Polish research on folk music and culture. It creates completely new possibilities, giving direct access to a huge resource of materials that until now were scattered and poorly recognized.
The large-scale digitisation of Polish phonographic collections and their placement in a central repository has several undoubted advantages, of which in my opinion the most important are the following three:

  • the digitisation process takes place in a standardized manner, with the use of the latest technologies, thus guaranteeing high quality of digital materials;
  • materials implemented into the repository, regardless of their origin, are also described in a standardized manner, which enables efficient navigation and searching through this huge resource according to various criteria;
  • recordings that are difficult to access, and sometimes even completely inaccessible (e.g. for the fact of being placed in private collections or the inability to reproduce analogue media), and scattered throughout the archives throughout Poland, are made available through one website, which makes it extremely easy to use them in various types of research work.

I also find it very valuable that great importance is attached in Etnofon to the detailed description and documentation of the archival collections placed in the repository without forgetting their authors and institutions where the original recordings are kept.
Etnofon is a development project. Its genesis and the source research methodology make it perfectly suited to the needs of musicologists, however over time it may evolve to meet the slightly different expectations of folklorists, ethnologists, historians and cultural scientists.
My wish for the creators of Etnofon is that their project would develop dynamically, including the next collection of recordings as well as extending and improving the already offered functionalities.
We really need such a tool.