During the Soviet administration, field researchers working in the institutes of the Moldovan branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences created recordings of folkloric beliefs and traditional rites. These audio recordings have never been distributed and a proper musicological investigation of the material has never been carried out.
The reel-tape recordings held by the Institute of Philology of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Moldova represent the most extensive collection of folkloric creations from the area between the Prut and the Dniester rivers. The recordings contain details on myths and magical beliefs, ceremonies, tales, ballads, theatre, and doina songs.
The tapes show traditional customs that are no longer followed. Due to the rapid process of modernisation started in 1991, most of these traditions are disappearing. Moreover, during the institutional reorganisation that followed the dissolution of the USSR, registries of the collection were lost, and the collection itself divided among several institutions. The lack of funding in the institution, the degradable materials, along with recent violent demonstrations in the country put the collection at great risk.
The project digitised 358 volumes of manuscripts and 490 tapes from three institutions. The collections were moved to safer locations and the staff of the archive were trained in digitisation and archive management. The largest collection of folkloric creations of the Romanian, Găgăuz and Bulgarian communities is now available to all researchers through the project website at http://folkloricarchival.asm.md/.