The lifestory is a source for qualitative
research. The most basic component of the NMV collection is
the written or recorded document of personal history, a short
or lengthy story of a person's life and observations.
Oral history, in contrast to traditional
written history, is unedited, and is just as "true" and perceptive
as is life. The lifestory is raw material that the researcher
may evaluate and put in context.
The lifestory that is created in a conversation
with an interviewer, is free from standards imposed by quantitative
research and questionaires. The interviewer creates an informal
environment, in which the conversation partner talks about
familiar situations and his/her life in familiar terms.
The researcher finds information on several
levels. In addition to the geographic and historical chronology,
the individual's lifestory includes unique patterns of speech,
images, expressions, myths, fables, ideas.
The individual's story may be recorded in
several media: audio cassettes, written memoirs, photographs,
household documents, letters, journals, video tapes, film.
Each testimony is characterized by the individual's
unique approach, experience, and background, which therefore
is hard to categorize according to themes, but rather the
entire testimony allows individuals to understand individuals'
experiences that differ from their own. Trust plays a key
role in creating the lifestory and is the primary principal
in the formation and creation of the collection.
Professional researchers and a large part
of society - those who have agreed to share their experiences--play
key roles in the acquisition of lifestories.
Lifestories are acquired through research
and field work. The lifestory interview is the product of
the author's--the interviewee's and interviewer's--work together,
the result of an interactive process. The author narrates
his/her story as he/she desires, but the interviewers may
also suggest questions.
The selection of interviewees in qualitative
study may be based on: The "snowball" principle--one interviewee
may suggest a next candidate Personal contacts, recommendations
by others The suggestion of experts in the field
Regularly occurring fieldwork:
Mid-summer: Multi-project fieldwork project "Lifestory-Latvia"
Year-round project: "Lifestory in the Diaspora"
Specific Research Projects:
Qualitative study on poverty in Latvia
The Home: Riga, Latvia
Multi-generions: 100 x 100
A regional study of experience of ethnic diversity in Latvia
Archive of Humanity
The central role of the individual in the
creation of the collection and research is evident by the
name of the collection: Archive of Humanity. This archive
contains audio-recorded lifestories of the twentieth century.
There are 1400 lifestories in the archive.
The author - the individual who records or writes his/her
memories - takes part in the creation of the archive, and
agrees to include his/her memories, verifying this with his/her
NMV Archive has the following individual
collections, given in order of date of acquisition:
I. GLAS'NOST AND RENEWAL OF INDEPENDENCE ("THIRD AWAKENING")
II. LATVIANS IN THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA,1990.
III. LATVIANS IN GREAT BRITAIN, 1990-1992.
IV. DAGMARA VALLENA'S collection, 1975-1992, RADIO FREE EUROPE,
U.S. correspondent collection.
V. LATVIANS IN NORWAY, 1993-1996.
VI. Collection of BAIBA BELA and GINTA ELKSNE, 1994/95
VII. Interviews in LATVIA, 1992-1995.
VIII. FIELD WORK IN SKRIVERI, 1995.
IX. Collection of writer DAINIS GRINVALDS
X. HOME/HOUSE in RIGA, LATVIA, from 1995 -
XI. FIELD WORK "LIFESTORY IN LATVIA - 96"
XII. LATVIANS IN SWEDEN - 96
XIII. Interviews in LATVIA - 1996 and 1997
XIV. RADIO LATVIA collection
XV. Interviews conducted by RIGA SCHOOL OF COMMERCE (Rigas
XVI. FIELD WORK "LIFESTORY IN LATVIA - 97"
XVII. FIELD WORK IN RENDA WITH JIM STALEY
XVIII. FIELD WORK "LIFESTORY IN LATVIA - 98"
XIX. AMERICAN LATVIAN ASSOCIATION (ALA) project "LIFESTORY
IN THE DIASPORA"
XX. FIELD WORK "LIFESTORY IN LATVIA - 99"
XXI. SPECIALTY COLLECTION OF THE LIBRARY OF THE UNIVERSITY
OF LATVIA XXII. MULTIGENARION COLLECTION 100 X 100
XXIII. INARA KAIJA EGLITE'S COLLECTION
XXIV. FIELD WORK "LIFESTORY IN LATVIA - 2000"
XXV. STUDENT COLLECTION - from 1998
ENTRIES OF NOTE:
Authors of the longest lifestories:
Juris Klavins, U.S. - 17 hours, 10 audiocassettes
Voldemars Ploss, U.S. - 20 hours
Miervaldis Jansevics, U.S. - 20 hours
Sofija Dravniece, Latvia - 10.5 hours, 9 audiocassettes
Biruta Leite, b. 1912, Latvia - 10.5 hours, 7 audiocassettes
Margarita sidere, b. 1913. in Vladivostok. Latvia 12 hours,
Helena Gerasimova, b. 1911. 12 hours, 8 audiocassetes
Oldest authors: Marija Petersone, b. 1892. okt.
Lidija Kruklande-Liepina,b. 1893, Baiskalna
Emma Avots, b. 1893. Jeros
Alma Urbane, b. 1894. Mazirbe
Sofija Dravniece, b. 1895. Dundaga
Marta Germane, b. 1895. Riga
Salimona Romanovska, b. 1896. Berzpili.
Long-silenced Cultural Representatives of Latvia:
Janis Sirmanis, writer. Syracuse, U.S. 1990
Uldis Germanis, writer and historian. Riga, Stockholm. 1995
Janis Klidzejs, writer. U.S. 1999
Gunars Janovskis, writer. London, 1990.
Andrejs Eglitis, poet, Stockholm, 1996.
Tadeusz Puisens, writer and historian, Toronto, Canada, 1990.
Velta Snikere, poet. London, 1990.
Ingrida Viksna, poet, Toronto, Canada, 1990.
Elza Ziverte, singer. Toronto, Canada, 1990.
Andrejs Jansons, musician. U.S. 1999.
The collection's holdings include Radio
Latvia's broadcasts from the 1991 Barricades in Riga.
Use of Collection
Rules of use
application for use
The collection may be used:
for academic research by students for
research, baccalauerate, master's, and doctorate theses
by researchers of cultural history, regional
identities, and traditions
by educational programs
as a resource for films, books
Those who are interested in using the collection
may fill out the application for users. Users agree to work
with the NMV collection staff and to abide by the rules of
Researchers who wish to conduct extensive
research must come to the NMV in person and arrange for the
conditions of use. Applications for use are accepted by mail
Current users include:
-Nikola Nau, a docent at Cologne University, Germany is conducting
research on Latvian conversational language
-Mara Lazda, a doctoral candidate in history at Indiana University,
USA is using the collection in dissertation research.
Rules of use:
Collection users must abide by the permission
to use agreement made between the collection and the lifestory
author. Many authors allow their lifestories to be used for
academic research or publication. There are authors, however,
who wish to remain anonymous. No personal data may be used
for internet publication. Researchers, publishers, and others
who would like to request more information about the NMV Archive
of Humanity should send in an application for use. All publications
must cite NMV Archive of Humanity as a source.
Application for use: