The proposed poster presents the prototype of the "Database of Belarusian Periodicals" , developed at the University of Oldenburg in cooperation with the Belarusian State University, Minsk.

The digitization of four central literary periodicals (Maladnyak, Polymya, Uzvishsha and Kalos’se) from 1920 / 1930ies Belarus aims at two main goals:

  • a broad and simplified accessibility of central literary institutions of that time for the scientific community – an important step towards a systematic scientific evaluation of this matter;
  • a manageable database for detailed and possibly statistical analyses of various aspects concerning the institutional landscape, including, but not limited to, the following: the inter-relation of the periodicals’ authors, inter-dependencies of publication place, ideological framework and literary and / or aesthetical standards, frequency of publications, distribution of literary subgenres, etc.

Data capture is performed in XML on the basis of the TEI Guidelines. The poster specifically discusses the application of the Guidelines to the encoding of table of contents of periodicals, which constitute the projects’ main data source.

The database itself is implemented as an application for the open-source XML database eXistdb. An extensive range of search queries can be performed on the collection, which allow to obtain quantitative characteristics of the periodicals and their contributing authors.

Regarding the project’s theoretical background (i.e. addressing philological questions about Belarusian literature – which up until now has received limited international attention – from a field theoretical perspective established by French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu1), the database promises new findings and insights on processes of value assignment and consecration in a less stable literary field2. On a broader level, it seeks to generate objective material for the historiographical evaluation of literary processes.


  • Bourdieu, Pierre: The rules of art: genesis and structure of the literary field , Cambridge, Polity Press, 2014.
  • Kohler, Gun-Britt: Westbelarussische Literatur und Belarussisches Literaturfeld (1921-1939). Versuch einer Standortbestimmung in: Wiener Slavistisches Jahrbuch, Neue Folge 3 , 135-176, 2015.
  • Van Rees, Kees: Field, Capital and Habitus: A Relational Approach to ‘Small‘ Literatures in: Kleinheit als Spezifik: Beiträge zu einer feldtheoretischen Analyse der belarussischen Literatur im Kontext ‘kleiner‘ slavischer Literaturen ed. by: Kohler,Gun-Britt/Navumenka,Pavel I./Grüttemeier,Ralf, Oldenburg, BIS-Verlag, 15-56, 2012.