Fieldwork Archives of World Renowned Anthropologists Digitized for the First Time | Alexander Street

Fieldwork Archives of World Renowned Anthropologists Digitized for the First Time

April 25, 2016

Alexander Street today announced the launch of a new fully indexed, primary source database, Anthropological Fieldwork Online, that digitizes and brings together the previously unpublished fieldwork of key early to mid-20th century scholars in anthropology. These renowned anthropologists, beginning with Bronislaw Malinowski, Ruth Benedict, Victor Turner, Max Gluckman, and Raymond Firth, helped shape the methods and theories that are still taught in anthropology courses today. The collection will eventually expand to include over 250,000 pages of documents that illuminate the history of the discipline from a global perspective.

Content is focused around each scholar’s prominent expedition field experience, with comprehensive inclusion of fieldwork, contextualizing documents and correspondence from the same time period, and subsequent writings that led to major publications, such as draft manuscripts, lectures, and articles. Users will see the full qualitative scholarly process unfold in all of its iterations, from data gathering in the field to later analysis, early writings, and final publication.

“I am delighted that Alexander Street is digitizing Malinowski’s field work material. As a researcher myself in political science, I know how important it is to have access in digital form to resources previously only available in distant libraries,” says Patrick Burke, Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at University of Westminster, and grandson of Bronislaw Malinowski. “I am sure that scholars around the world will welcome this project.”

In light of the launch of this landmark database, Alexander Street has added a number of features to its platform to digitally replicate the experience a researcher would have in a live archive. Content and metadata are presented in original finding aid order, with box, folder, and document organization maintained in digital form. Users can keyword search documents and correspondence in ways never before available.

Anthropological Fieldwork Online meets two critical objectives in the academic space. First, for anthropology, it is a collection central to the discipline, bringing a wealth of previously unpublished research and writings from the most important anthropologists into the digital world. Second, for archives, it is a collection that redefines the archival research experience, enabling researchers to mirror their physical experience in the archive on a digital platform,” says Jenna Makowski, Anthropology Editor at Alexander Street.

Anthropological Fieldwork Online is available for purchase or annual subscription. Librarians and faculty may request a free 30-day trial at


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