The card index of Latvian literary vocabulary — its origin, current state of affairs and future possibilities

Keywords: Latvian literary (standard) language, the card index of Latvian vocabulary, the Dictionary of Literary Latvian, digitalisation of language materials
Language: In Latvian

The card index of Latvian literary vocabulary was collected over the period of 50 years, from 1946 to 1996. Notably, 1946 was the year that the Institute of Literature and Language at the Latvian Academy of Sciences was established and 1996 was the year of publication of the very last volume (8th) of the Dictionary of Literary Latvian which drew its contents from this card index. (In 1992, the Institute was re-named the Institute of Latvian Language.) This unique index of three million cards contains excerpts from Latvian fiction and poetry, periodicals and from scientific and other academic journals.

Until April 2014, the card index was held at the Institute of Latvian Language, University of Latvia. Then, for some unknown reasons, the index was dismantled, transported and deposited, in no semblance of order, to a repository building belonging to the Academic Library of the University of Latvia (24 Lielvārdes Iela) where it is no longer available to the public.

The eight volumes of the Dictionary of Literary Latvian contain only a tiny fraction of the material held in these index cards. For this reason it is essential that the intrinsic value of the full contents of the card index — a unique ‘memorial’ to Latvian literary heritage — be a subject for investigation and research. To enable such research by experts in linguistics or students in Latvia and to those from all over the world, its contents must be made accessible and ought to be digitalised.