Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Like others, I had never heard of Traditional Cultural Expressions or really considered the conflict between libraries holding TCEs and the cultures from which those TCEs originated. As I read through the readings, I was reminded of controversies in the past in which cultural groups or countries try to reclaim artifacts that are being preserved or put on display in another country, for example the Elgin Marbles. Although those situations are different in many ways, they do bring up similar conflicts between, on the one hand, respecting and honoring the culture that created the items and, on the other hand, also providing access and knowledge to the general population.

Similar to Lori K, I also wondered why folklore was not was a less neutral term, especially when the next sentences states some countries still prefer the term folklore to TCE. I personally do not perceive "folklore" as having negative connotations, but maybe that is because I am not part of one of the cultural groups affected by TCEs and maybe individuals in a cultural group trying to protect TCEs has a different view.

I tried to think of a way to balance and reconcile the library's goals of access and preservation of heritage with the desires of culture groups to protect their TCEs and keep their TCEs private. In my mind, these competing goals are difficult to reconcile but, hopefully, the collaboration of libraries, other interested parties or institutions, and cultural groups will result in policies that both respect the rights and interests of the cultural groups while not limiting access to TCEs.

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