Who wrote to whom, when, and where? About NorKorr on Historieblogg.no

Ellen and Annika have written about the NorKorr project on the Norwegian academic blog Historieblogg.no – a weblog hosted and edited by the Norwegian Institute for Local History. With examples from correspondences by Camilla Collett, Kitty Kielland, and Kristian Prestgard and a brief overview of the data model and encoding standards.

Read the full article (in Norwegian) on Historieblogg.no:

The Norwegian Institute of Local history (NLI): Norgesbrev and Kleiven-Prestgard correspondance

The latest additions to the NorKorr corpus are letters from The Norwegian Institute of Local history (NLI). The Institute’s main purpose is to promote local and regional historical activity in Norway. NLI is responsible for the websites lokalhistorie.no, lokalhistoriewiki.no and historieblogg.no, and publishes sources and handbooks, as well as other aids for historians. NLI also organises seminars and conferences related to local history topics.


Lokalhistoriewiki has a large collection of so-called “Norgesbrev”, that is letters sent from Norway to friends and family who had emigrated to North America. 85 of these letters have been transcribed, (the transcriptions are available – in Norwegian – at the Lokalhistoriewiki website), and metadata from these transkriptions is now intergrated in the CorrespSearch interface.

Correspondance: Ivar Kleiven and Kristian Prestgard

The letters between Ivar Kleiven (1854-1934) and Kristian Prestgard (1866-1946) have also been added to the NorKorr corpus and metadata is now searchable at correspsearch.net.

The  Norwegian politician, historian and poet Ivar Kleiven (1854-1934) from Vågå and the journalist Kristian Prestgard (1866-1946) from Heidal met at Telemark Folkehøgskule in 1885–86. Kleiven lived in Vågå all his live, but Prestgard emigrated, first to Denmark and in 1893 to America. They met only once after Prestgard left, in the summer of 1927, but they wrote to each other – about work, culture, home life, politics and more.

From XML to CMIF

The aim of the NorKorr project is to aggregate and provide correspondence metadata from Norwegian editions of correspondences from different projects, institutions and collections in a format that can be ingested by CorrespSearch.

So far we have included metadata from 12 digital editions (approximately 400 letters) in CorrespSearch . Among them are letters from National Library in Norway’s source edition series NB kilder and letters from other e-books published at bokselskap.no.

All of the letters are encoded in TEI P5 XML. To get the letters registered and integrated into the CorrespSearch web service we create a CMIF file based on the metadata already recorded in the correspDesc element in our XML files. The CMI format used by CorrespSearch is developed by the TEI Correspondence SIG and is a reduced subset of the TEI Guidelines and the TEI element correspDesc.

Digital edition, bokselskap.no
Example from the CMIF file

Zotero Group Library

The NorKorr-team has been collecting publications about Norwegian letters, letter writing as a cultural practice, letter collections, editions of letters as well as articles and guidelines on how to scholarly edit and encode letters, postcards, telegrams, etc. in a Zotero group library.

As of today, NorKorr has released the collaborative library for public view. You can access the library here: https://www.zotero.org/groups/2214573/norkorr/library.

We are open for collaboration, which means if you are working on Norwegian correspondences or letters or a related subject and you want to make full use of our library (e.g. the collected pdfs, links, and other materials in full text), you can join the group. You will need a Zotero user profile for this (you can get one here, it doesn’t cost anything and Zotero takes good care of your data).

If you are using the resources in the NorKorr group library, we would appreciate if you credit us:

Norwegian Correspondences Bibliography. Ed. by Annika Rockenberger, Ellen N. Wiger, Hilde Bøe, Philipp Conzett, Mette Witting, Nina Evensen and Ruth Sander. Oslo 2018–. URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/2214573/norkorr.

Two New Correspondences

The latest addition to the NorKorr corpus are the letters between the painters Kitty L. Kielland and the Eilif Peterssen and between Kitty L. Kielland and her sister Dagmar Skavlan.

The Norwegian painters Kitty L. Kielland (1843–1914) and Eilif Peterssen (1852–1928) first met in Germany in 1873. They were colleagues, but also close friends. They wrote letters to each other regularly, at least until Kielland late in life became too ill. Unfortunately, many are not preserved. The exchange of letters presented in the digital edition (Kitty L. Kielland og Eilif Peterssen. Brevveksling 1874–1908. Edited by Anne Melgård, National Library of Norway, 2019) is from the years 1874–1908, a total of 42 fragments/letters/drafts.

Kitty and her sister Dagmar were close. The wrote to each other regularly, but unfortunately, many of the letters have been lost. The new digital edition (Kitty L. Kielland og Dagmar Skavlan. Brevveksling 1879–1905. Edited by Anne Melgård, National Library of Norway, 2019) includes the 20 letters/fragments still preserved.

The digital editions are available (in Norwegian) at bokselskap.no and metadata from both have been included in the CorrespSearch web service.

Eilif Peterssen and Kitty L. Kielland (The National Library of Norway)
The Kielland siblings with partners, ca. 1885 (Stavanger byarkiv)