Special Collection of Ethnographic Material

From its foundation, the Institute has dedicated special care to the gradual collection, sorting out, safe-keeping and protection of ethnographic materials. The materials that are in question here are ones that have been collected during the course of the regular research activities of the Institute, but are also transcribed materials and materials previously recorded from other archives, donated materials and purchased materials. Today these materials, which have been methodically collected over the last sixty years of the Institute’s existence, create a unique collection of folklore and ethnographic documents that describe Croatian traditional culture in the twentieth century, about other nationalities in Croatia, as well as about Croats living outside of Croatia. The entire collection has been registered as a cultural monument. The material that makes up the manuscript collection contains 2276 text collections and music annotations, 19 dance collections and 374 kinetograms. As well as this, there are 57 drawing collections with about 2000 panels; 4355 tape recordings (which consists of mainly music recordings, but contains narratives); a record library with 1488 sound recordings; a photo library and a slide library with 76672 items in total; 1956 video cassettes and 51 films. The collection covers the areas of music, dance, oral and folk literature, folklore theatre, visual expression, traditional customs and the documentation of contemporary traditions and events. All these details about the collection are stored in a database, which is being continuously updated and enlarged, and thanks to which, makes research into the collections and archives very simple and quick.

In 1997 for preservation reasons, and also to make the collection more accessible, the project of digitization and restoring the audio fund started. At the end of 2002, the digitization of the unique music annotations started. There are also plans to digitalize the video and photo libraries, but the progress of this new project is dependent on financial considerations.

The materials of the Institute are made available as a priority to the members of the Institute for their work in ethnographic and folklore research. Nevertheless, the collection is available for outside users, who are either members of establishments or individuals, interested in using them for the purpose of science, education, arts and culture, as well as those interested in amateur culture.

Audio Library
The sound recordings make up a unique fund of folkloristic and ethnographic documents on Croatian traditional culture, other peoples in Croatia and Croatians living outside of Croatia, and cover the fields of oral literature, folklore music and dance, narrations on customs and other ethnological material as well as contemporary events, scholarly conferences and the like.  At the moment, the Audio Library houses 4355 units, largely of notations from the Croatian-speaking regions.

Digitising of the earliest tape recordings began in 1997 while the digital fund today numbers 1416 units of digitised material covering the period from 1954 to 2010.

Medium: tapes, audio cassettes, mini discs, DAT, CD, DVD
Format: analog notations and digital (wave)
Period: 1912 – 2019
Language: Croatian, Serbian, Slovenian, Albanian, Macedonian, Hungarian, Italian, German, Roma…



Photo Library

The Photo Library collections contain more than 76000 photographs, largely of folklore and ethnographic themes from traditional building methods, economic activity, rituals and customs through to notations of visual art folklore, the folklore theatre, music and dance.  It also documents a series of contemporary folklore and social events in Croatia, along with scholarly conferences and promotions that deal with the activities of the Institute and its staff.

Medium: b/w and colour photography, negatives, slides, photos on glass, digital photography (jpg, tiff, dng)
Period: 1880 – 2019
Language: Croatian




The Manuscript Fund is made up of 2276 collections of unique texts and note notations that emerged and were collected as part of the regularly scholarly-research and professional activities of the Institute’s staff, but also material copied from other archives, or purchased by or donated to the Institute.  Although the Fund also contains writings (largely copies) from the 15th to 19th century period, most of the material documents the 20th and 21stcenturies.

The melographic notations comprise a unique collection and are of outstanding value.  To ensure their preservation, digitization is also under way and 230 collections of music notations from the 1932 to 1969 period have been digitized to date.


Medium: manuscript and machine notations on paper, CD, DVD
Period: largely the 20th and 21st century
Language: Croatian, English, German, Spanish, Serbian and Slovenian



Video Library

The videos cover various areas of ethnological and folkloristic themes, from folklore theatre, dance, music and traditional customs through to various contemporary social and political events and duplications of selected TV broadcasts.  Today, the Video Library contains 1956 units, while individual units often contain several different broadcasts / videos. 

Medium: BETA, VHS, S-VHS, DV, miniDV and DVD
Format: analog and digital (VOB)
Period: 1931-2019
Localities: Croatia, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, North America and South America



Disc Library

The Disc Library contains selected titles from domestic and foreign production, largely folklore and ethno music, either purchased or donated.  

Medium: LP, audio cassettes, CD, CD-Rom
Format: analog and digital (wave)
Period: 1975 – 2019
Localities: Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Czech Republic, Romania, FYR of Macedonia, Japan, The Ukraine, Hungary, Albania, Latvia, Ireland, Russia, Bulgaria, Sweden, PR China, Lebanon, Oman, Egypt, Marocco, Zimbabwe, Iran, Columbia…




The collections contain 934 postcards showing annual and life customs, traditional costumes, dances, economic activities and architecture. 

Period: 1900 – 1999
Localities: Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Slovenia, France, Netherlands, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Alaska




The collection contains some 2000 drawings filed in 61 folios. They are largely by the Academy-trained artist Živko Kljaković, who worked at the Institute, with only 9 collections of sketches by other authors.  The unique Živko Kljaković collection originates from the 1950 to 1965 period and is made up of 1750 drawings filed in 52 folios.  He drew on tablets, that is, hard paper cardboard in 17×24 cm dimensions, usually in the Indian ink technique, although he also worked in pencil and paint.  The entire collection is made up of sketches of traditional architecture and folk handicrafts, of narrators and of various characteristic motifs from the art and life of the people living in the various areas of the Croatian region.

Medium: drawings on paper
Period: 1952 – 1999
Localities: Croatia (the Adriatic coast and the islands, Lika, Banija, Moslavina, Podravina, Zagreb regions), Bosnia-Herzegovina, Poland



Dance Collections

The notations of Croatian dances stored in the IEF Documentation are largely the work of Dr Ivan Ivančan, but there are also labanonotations by other ethnochoreologists and folklorists (Zvonko Lovrenčević, Ljelja Taš, Branko Kostelac, Ana Maletić, Petar Ortolani, Branko Šegović), making up a fund of 19 collections of dances and 374 labanonotations.

Medium: hand-written and machine-written notations on paper
Period: 1948 – 1965
Localities: Croatia, Montenegro, Austria (Burgenland)