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A History of the Project
The Romanian Love Charms database and website was begun in September 2004, as part of a Brown STG Faculty grant which provided staff and student time to implement the project. The main project team consists of Sanda Golopentia, (Professor, French Studies) who is responsible for the contents, Elli Mylonas (Associate Director, Scholarly Technology Group, CIS) and Carole Mah, (Senior Programmer/Analyst, Scholarly Technology Group, CIS), who are responsible for the implementation and overall design, and James Dorian, (Computing Coordinator, French Studies), who has solved many of the intricate technical problems of day-to-day work. Erik Resly ('08) is responsible for the graphic design and also drew the regional maps. He gathered images, advice and critiques from all of us and synthesized it into the visual presentation of the current site.

The site is based on an initial database of 119 Romanian love charms that Sanda Golopentia developed in 1987 at Brown University. The technical consultant of the Romanian Love Charms Database project was Allen Renear, Director of the Brown Scholarly Technology Group at the time. The texts were translated into English by teams consisting of S. G. (translation) and one of Will Robins, Catherine Sama, and Laura D'Angelo, who were writing their dissertations at the time in Brown's departments of German, Italian and French respectively (literarization and versification). Peg Hausman (Ph.D. in Brown's Comparative Literature department), former Robert Austerlitz (then Professor of Linguistics at Columbia University), writer Marguerite Dorian, Blossom Kirschenbaum (translator and, at the time, Academic Research Assistant in Brown's Comp Lit), James Augerot (Professor of Linguistics and of Romanian at the University of Washington) and Charles Carlton (Professor of Romance Linguistics and of Romanian at the University of Rochester) read the translations and made invaluable suggestions. The database resulted in the publication of Sanda Golopentia, Desire Machines. A Romanian Love Charms Database, Bucharest: The Publishing House of the Romanian Cultural Foundation, 1998.

In expanding the initial database, we benefited from the generous help of the prestigious Cluj-Napoca "Folklore Archives of the Romanian Academy" Institute ( Institutul "Arhiva de Folclor a Academiei Române"), whose director Ion Cuceu and researcher Anamaria Petrean put at our disposal a uniquely rich and vast material. The distinguished folklorist Nicolae Both, Professor Emeritus of the Cluj-Napoca University, Dr. Ion Cuceu, as well as Professor Ioana Both and researcher Ileana Benga gave precious time and competent suggestions to help us enlarge the corpus of charms. A number of approximately 150 supplementary texts were introduced during 2004 and 2005 by Sanda Golopentia, with the help of Amalia Telbis, student at Brown. We are now in the process of engaging the cooperation of the Institute for Ethnography and Folklore 'Constantin Brailoiu' ( Institutul de etnografie și folclor 'Constantin Brăiloiu',) in Bucharest, directed by Dr. Sabina Ispas and wish to thank for their devoted help our colleagues Alina Ciobanel and Ion Ghinoiu, as well as Dr. Radu Rautu, researcher at the Institute for Anthropological Research in Bucharest and Gabriela Ionescu, who generously put at our disposition their ethnological film work.

To all the present and future contributors of our site (among whom we are happy to announce Ana Olos, Professor in the English Department of the University in Baia Mare, and Doina Tătar, Professor in the Mathematics Department of the University "Babeș–Bolyai" in Cluj — Napoca) we here extend our friendly thanks.

The Website
In the first phase of the project, Sanda Golopentia, together with Allen Renear, had digitized the text and translations of 119 charms, together with metadata about provenance, in order to typeset her book. They used Waterloo Script to add formatting information to the texts. In the process, however, it became clear that if they added classification and keyword information as metadata to each charm, they could use available tools to sort and sift through the charms, and help Prof. Golopentia do her analysis of the texts. This was awkward using the tools available at the time, but still more powerful than nothing at all.

When Prof. Golopentia began a new phase in her research on charms in 2003, she needed to retrieve the digitized charms that she had entered for the book. STG took the whole system of files with formatting and classification information that had been designed for a system that was no longer available to us, and transform them into current formats so Prof. Golopentia could continue her work. We then recreated the functionality she had in the old system. As we worked on the conversion and planned the new system for data entry and analysis, we were able to make the process of entering charms and metadata easier, and to provide new interfaces for analysis. Prof. Golopentia worked with the system, testing and experimenting from the first instance, which was of great help in defining new features and tools for her work.

We chose a web browser front end for editing and display of the charms, and we developed two related but distinct types of access: a restricted interface for editing and analysis, used primarily by Prof. Golopentia and her colleagues, and a public interface for the browsing and searching of the charms. The project was implemented using a MySQL database, php as a scripting language, and xml tools as necessary. The original 119 charms were imported into database fields, with the added refinement that textual materials (charm texts, techniques, translations and notes) were marked up in XML to aid retrieval and formatting.

The editing interface allows scholars to enter charms. They can include metadata about provenance, citation information and other such background information. The most complex part of the data forms, and the part that contains within it a great deal of the analysis that is being performed on the charms are the inventories of terms and concepts referred to in each charm. Prof. Golopentia has tagged these texts, and then repeatedly refined the terms and classifications in the inventories so that they make sense. We provide her with lists of aggregated keywords and the charms they are attached to so that she can review and revise her work for clarity and consistency. The result of this work can be seen in the public part of the website, when charms are viewed by inventories.

It is important to note that this website is a work in progress. STG constructed a skeleton, a database and scripts that access is, and worked with Prof. Golopentia to make sure that it fulfilled her requirements, and could accommodate most forms of charms that she expected to encounter. At this point, development is complete, and Prof. Golopentia and her colleagues can continue to enter and classify charms. The public interface is a window onto their work, and the contents will change as more charms are added or edited.

For information on how the charms were tagged using XML markup, please see the Markup Guidelines.

Accessibility This website has been designed according to best practice for accessibility. We plan to make it accessible to alternate browsers and modes of input. We have not yet tested it thoroughly, however. More complete information about accessibility will be provided when that has been completed.


We would also like to acknowledge the contributions of:

All material on this website is copyright © 2005 Brown University, except for charms in Romanian. These are copyright by the archive or publication in which they appear. Other material is copyright as marked. Please contact Sanda Golopentia or the archives before using any text or other material from this website.

For questions about Romanian charms or the content of this website, please contact Prof. Sanda Golopentia
For questions about the techncial aspects of this project, please contact STG