Bérose: online encyclopedia and database on the ethnology of France
The BÉROSE website is both a collaborative research tool on networks of scientific sociability, a place for electronic publishing of the results obtained and a library of digitized sources.
BEROSE or the emergence of ethnographic knowledge
BEROSIS (acronym of «Base d'Études et de Recherches sur l'Organisation des Savoirs Ethnographiques») is a research program devoted to the history of anthropology and ethnographic knowledge (from the 18th century to the 1990s) in France, Europe and in more distant worlds such as Africa, the Americas, Asia and Oceania, which have long been the lands of ethnographic mission favoured by anthropologists.
Project interdisciplinary and collective, BÉROSE federates scientists whose ambition is to produce a fine genealogy of a science sensitive, from its origins, to the different figures of otherness: the «savage» and the «primitive», the pagan, the peasant, the poor, the man of the people, the first men and the «last» (these individuals-world, witnesses of a culture disappearing).
BÉROSE was founded in 2006 by Claudie Voisenat and Jean-Christophe Monferran as part of a research program carried out by the Laboratory of Anthropology and Institution of Culture, Interdisciplinary Institute of Contemporary Anthropology (LAHIC-IIAC; CNRS/EHESS/Ministry of Culture). It is directed from 2008 by Daniel Fabre and benefited from 2008 to 2012 from the support of the National Research Agency thus accelerating its development.
It has continued since then thanks to the renewed partnership with the Ministry of Culture, the BNF, the CRBC, the Mucem, the ethnopole GARAE (Carcassonne), and is based on a network of documentary centres and museums.
Led by Christine Laurière (EHESS, LAHIC-IIAC), and Frederico Delgado Rosa (CRIA-FCSH/NOVA), the program is enriched by contributions from French and international researchers: about forty researchers contribute, at present, to the scientific development of BÉROSE.
An online encyclopedia and a database
The results of the research carried out under the programme, but also the documentary sources on which they are based, are available in a online database.
In open access, BEROSIS is based on three pillars :
- documentary files articulated with social graphs to visualize a scientific network;
- an unprecedented collection of e-books;
- scientific meetings within the framework of the project. Documentary files are the heart of the BÉROSE online encyclopedia.
They fall into three broad categories: thematic :
- Ethnographers and anthropologists, which also includes scholars, amateurs, missionaries, scholars and collectors with other intellectual identities but historically linked to anthropology;
- Ethnographic and anthropological journals;
- Anthropological institutions such as ethnographic museums, learned societies, schools.
Each documentary dossier contains a short introductory statement and at least an unpublished biographical or historical presentation article, which may be supplemented by one or more point-specific supplementary article(s) and which provides access to other relevant sources, including digitized primary sources as part of the program (journals, archives, correspondence) or available online.
There are also relational cartographies to visualize intellectual and institutional networks, iconographic and audiovisual documents, and notes and research instruments.
Each document file presents the work of one or more researchers and can be supplemented regularly by new articles and/or documents.
Research and Information Resources: Reviews and Correspondence
Starting from a number of French magazines from the 1870s to 1920 focusing on folklore and popular traditions (Melusine, the Celtic magazine, the Review of popular traditions, The Tradition…), the program has gradually reconstituted the conditions for their appearance, the identity of their French and foreign creators and contributors. This has made it possible to identify the central actors of the period, which sees the formation of a real national and European network around these periodicals and the societies of which they are the organ.
The review of journals giving way to biographical concerns, another resource, correspondence, has been widely used to uncover their relational network. One of the essential elements was institutional ownership, which have taken on increasing importance with the turn of the century through the progressive professionalization of this knowledge under the aegis of anthropology and through their inscription in the museum field first, then university from the 1920s onwards.
Members of the Bérose network regularly organize workshops, study days or seminars in relation to their research themes, by inviting colleagues to join them in nurturing and broadening reflection and fostering comparative thinking. These meetings are national, European or international, and concern the history of anthropology in the broad sense. The proceedings, possibly supplemented by other contributions, are systematically published or included in the documentary dossiers.
A network of partners
The programme is based on a network of libraries and documentation centres grouped around a cooperation agreement with the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BNF) for digitisation. The library of the Museum of Europe and the Mediterranean, those of the Laboratory of Social Anthropology and the Centre for Breton and Celtic Research, the documentation centre of the Audois Group of ethnographic research and animation are thus associated with the activities of BÉROSE.
The journals whose digitization is necessary are entrusted to the BNF, which digitizes and converts them into text mode. The digitized documents are put online in Gallica and made available to BÉROSE and the institution that keeps them, for use on their own information systems. In 2010, five titles representing over 34,000 pages were posted online.