January 21, 2022

Descriptions of 10,000+ Brazilian Chapbooks in Library of Congress Collection Now Available Online

From the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress:

You have a new opportunity to discover 10,000 plus titles in the American Folklife Center’s Literatura de cordel Brazilian chapbook collection (AFC 1970/002)! The Library of Congress holds one of the world’s largest collections of literatura de cordel – Brazilian chapbooks — published from 1930 to date.

The collection was begun in the 1970s by scholar Sol Biderman and continues to grow in the present through the collecting efforts of staff in the The Library of Congress Office, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  Catalog records for 9286 of these cordel have just been put in production in the Library’s Online Catalog for discovery by people around the world (hint: search “AFC 1970/002″). At the same time, Library catalogers in the Rio Office are busy creating new catalog records for their more recent cordel selections to add to this fascinating collection of poetic and artistic work.


Up until 2015, the Library’s cordel were cataloged in a database that was accessible onsite only, so the wealth of titles in this collection remained hidden.  Making these bibliographic records available online is important for other libraries worldwide that house collections of cordel.  Due to their ephemeral nature and local production by multiple publisher-poets, description of cordel in a catalog is a challenge, and this project will aid in developing best practices for description and access in library catalogs and databases.


Since 2012, the Library of Congress has been harvesting and archiving websites and blogs featuring literatura de cordel.  The American Folklife Center also has several audio recordings of performances of cordel poetry and song by cordelistas in the marketplace.  Stop by, online or in person, to discover these chapbooks for yourself!

The complete blog post has more info and links to a number of web resources.

Direct to Suggested Search of LC Catalog: AFC 1970/002

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.