Regional Digital Cluster Of Traditional Verbal Culture


The article presents the first effort of research in the problem of verbal folk culture preservation through the systematic implementation of information technologies. The purpose of the study is to define a model of a regional digital cluster of authentic culture on the example of a system of electronic forms, the content of which represents the traditional folk culture and language of the Pskov region. The regional cultural cluster is understood as a single system of interconnected electronic forms, the content of which represents the traditional folk culture and language of the Pskov region. The article considers the stages of creating a cluster, its current state and development prospects. A comprehensive program of digitization of archival material has been implemented in the Laboratory of Socio-Humanitarian Regionics, Pskov State University, since 2005. The purpose of the program is to preserve the cultural heritage concentrated in two interconnected archives – folklore and dialect ones. A set of measures is being implemented to maintain and develop a system of modules of a single cluster of traditional verbal culture of the “Pskoviana” region. The structural organization of the cluster is represented by a number of certain modules. The modules have different levels of attraction. Thus, digitized audio and text files form the basis of electronic databases. The cluster’s development prospects are associated with the creation of new modules and segments in existing modules, the modernization of the platform and design, and an increase in the level of interactivity.

Keywords: Borderzone culture, “Pskoviana”, regional digital cluster, traditional folk culture


Currently, the cluster approach in various industries is one of the most recognized and effective. The introduction of clusters as a feature of regional policy is associated with the development and stabilization of ethno-cultural values, which is especially important for the youth environment (Babarykina, 2019, p. 179). The analysis of successfully operating regional cultural associations allows us to develop recommendations for the further development of cultural clusters. In particular, it is proposed to pay more attention to the search for an organic combination of innovations with the historical and cultural traditions of the region and the possibilities of creative self-realization of the individual (Kulichkina & Melnikova, 2019, pp. 103-104).

The system of postulates of the cultural cluster as a cultural association that concentrates the best creative resources of the region is also relevant for the regional digital cluster. The regional cultural digital cluster is understood as a single system of interconnected electronic forms, the content of which represents the traditional folk culture and the peculiarities of the folk speech of the region. If the traditional cultural cluster unites institutions of a creative nature located in the geographical space of the region, then the regional digital cluster is localized in the digital environment.

Due to its historical and geographical specifics, the Pskov region is rich in cultural traditions. Oral folk verbal culture, represented by language and folklore, is the focus of the best aspirations of the people, their views and values – spiritual and aesthetic. On the other hand, the Pskov dialect and folklore-ethnographic archive, which has existed since the late 50s of the XX century, stores a large volume of unique expedition data used in the scientific and educational research work of the university. The relevance of digital processing of archival data and their systematic presentation is due to the need to ensure the preservation of the archive and expand the possibilities of access to it for the scientific and cultural community.

The optimal form of such a presentation is a digital cultural cluster that has no analogues, which not only performs the function of a translator of cultural and historical tradition, but also contributes to the maintenance of national cultural memory.

Problem Statement

Research Questions

3.1. What is the mechanism of transformation of the Pskov dialect-folklore continuum into a digital form?

3.2. What are the methods of processing and structuring large amounts of information to ensure the material availability and its effective use?

3.3. What is the potential of the regional digital cluster as a means of establishing and maintaining intergenerational cultural and communicative memory?

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to present a model of a regional digital cluster of authentic culture on the example of a system of electronic forms, the content of which accumulates the traditional folk verbal culture of the Pskov region.

Research Methods

The leading method in this study is the modeling method used to build a multi-level structured cluster. The interdisciplinary nature of the research determines the involvement of methods of the humanities and technologies of archival material computer processing. The minimum unit of the cluster is the text that corresponds to the genre-thematic principle of the organization of the material. At the stage of textual analysis, such textual methods as text delimitation and attribution are used. Each of the generated collections of texts is transported to an electronic database, the fields of which reflect the text itself and the audio file, the necessary elements of text attribution (with minor variation): genre, motive, keywords; as well as metadata: information about the informant, indicating the place and year of recording.

The philological tasks of the work determine the application of a systematic approach to the analysis of interdisciplinary archival material. The methods of content analysis, communicative dialectology and the system-structural method are used in working with the text. The main method of developing the theoretical aspects of the topic is descriptive and comparative methods.


There are two strategies for describing the regional digital cluster of folk verbal culture: diachronic and synchronic. The diachronic approach involves the analysis of step-by-step activities: from the digitization of archive funds to the modular formation of a single cluster. The value of this approach is that it reflects the clarity of the goal and the technology of gradually complicating the structure of the final product. However, at the beginning of the study, when there are no analogues and technical resources are limited, it is impossible to plan and carry out strictly regulated activities. And the goal itself was initially more humanitarian (to preserve the archive) than technological. At the same time, the constant progress towards the introduction of digital technologies in scientific and practical work with the archive has led to the creation of a coherent multi-module digital product that corresponds to the idea of the cluster in its parameters and functions.

To present the results of the work, the article uses mainly a synchronic description model, which reflects the current state of affairs and a system analysis of intermediate results.

6.1. Digital form as a method of data storing in an archive and as an empirical material for systematic philological research

The Pskov dialect and folklore-ethnographic archive includes two interrelated funds: a card file and a handwritten archive of the “Pskov regional dictionary with historical data” and a folklore-ethnographic archive, including a handwritten fund and audio recordings.

Of particular value is the audio fund, which by 2013 was completely converted to digital format. Currently, the total volume of the audio pool is 60.8 GB, which is 1055 hours of sound. The audio fund is an archival collection structured according to the historical and cultural zones allocated on the territory of Pskov region, within the zone – by districts, and within the districts – by the years of the survey. In addition to the song repertoire, the collection presents a variety of verbal genres: ritual folklore, children's folklore, fairy tales, non-fairytale folklore prose-legends, legends, mythological stories, etc., as well as a large volume of speech materials that do not yet have an indisputable attribution. The collection of audio recordings, with all its self-sufficiency, in accordance with the general concept of the cluster, has an auxiliary character, is considered as a base for genre-thematic study of the folklore traditions of the region. The audio files extracted from the collection are used to form electronic databases, audio applications for book editions of Pskov texts, and are included in the electronic guide to the archive’s funds.

The manuscript fund of the folklore and ethnographic archive is also digitally processed. The scanned expedition notebook together with the corresponding audio file is a storage unit in the structure of the guide to the archive funds.

6.2. Structured forms of representation of large information amounts in a digital cluster

The large volume of data from the Pskov archive does not allow us to fit it into one electronic form without loss. During the formation of the digital sphere itself, it is much more fruitful to use small forms, from which the overall picture is formed according to the principle of a puzzle. The model of a digital cluster represented by a system of interconnected modules has both integrity and mobility.

To date, the following modules have been mastered and are functioning: a digitized audio collection; a partially scanned handwritten archive fund; electronic databases (6 electronic databases have been created and received certificates of state registration,); websites (; Modules, interacting with each other, are characterized by different levels of attraction. Thus, digitized audio and text files form the basis of electronic databases. In turn, electronic databases on children’s folklore, fairy tales, non-fairytale folklore prose are synchronized with certain pages of the laboratory’s website. Each module includes several segments, the composition of which is updated as a new topic is developed. Currently, in connection with the implementation of the research project on the theme of childhood in the discourse of the Pskov-Belarusian borderzone of particular relevance are the segments such as established at different times of the electronic database “Children’s folklore” (2012) and “The Pskov-Belarusian borderzone (a guide to collections of Pskov dialect and folklore-ethnographic archive)” (2020).

Prospects of development of the cluster associated with the creation of new modules and segments in the existing modules, modernization platform and design, increase the level of interactivity.


The creation of the regional digital cluster “Pskoviana” is carried out in inseparable connection with the research and educational activities of the laboratory. In addition to philological research tasks, the cluster modules contain significant socio-cultural potential.

The issue of preserving cultural values is focused on a generational approach, which assumes continuity and a spiritual connection between the future and the historical past. In society, as the researchers note, “there is a need for the transmission of the accumulated communicative and cultural memory to younger, “digital” generations as the most important indicator of the development of society based on humanistic traditions” (Oleshko & Oleshko, 2020, p. 509).

The generational approach is already evident at the stage of the expedition survey, in which a significant role is assigned to student field practice, where young people, meeting with traditional culture and especially with its carriers, gain experience in cultural communication. Software students were also involved in the creation of separate modules of the digital cluster “Pskoviana”, which corresponds to the principle of interdisciplinarity and even “transdisciplinarity” (Chira, 2019) of the digital cluster.

Thus, the regional cluster of traditional verbal culture "Pskoviana" is an integral, internally structured digital product that has an original form and content. Due to the significant volume, variety of modules and segments, regional orientation, it has scientific, artistic, historical and cultural value. All this gives the cluster social significance and national and cultural identity.


The reported study was funded by RFBR and BRFBR, project number 20-512-00003 “Childhood subculture in the discourse of oral history, language and folklore of Vitebsk-Pskov Borderzones of the XX – early XXI century”.


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Bolshakova, N., Vorobeva, L., Mitchenko, Z., Muratova, M., & Ploschuk, G. (2021). Regional Digital Cluster Of Traditional Verbal Culture. In D. Y. Krapchunov, S. A. Malenko, V. O. Shipulin, E. F. Zhukova, A. G. Nekita, & O. A. Fikhtner (Eds.), Perishable And Eternal: Mythologies and Social Technologies of Digital Civilization, vol 120. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 349-356). European Publisher.