In 2002, as part of an effort to promote the understanding of oral traditions as multimedia events, the Center for Studies in Oral Tradition launched the first eCompanion, created to accompany John Miles Foley's How to Read an Oral Poem. This facility contains audio, video, photographic, and text-based support for that volume, and advocates using the media in an integrated fashion—with the book in one hand and a mouse in the other.
Two years later the CSOT extended the concept of eCompanions to the articles that constitute its journal Oral Tradition. As with the first such facility, eCompanions for OT presented resources that could not fit comfortably, or at all, between the covers of a printed text. Again the model consisted of adding electronic to textual media.
With the migration of OT to the web, eCompanions were attached to individual articles, so that the entire experience of each contribution—the pdf file and online multimedia—is available in composite, integrated form. Examples include audio and photographs accompanying a study of Gaelic song, video and photographs to illustrate Javanese dance, supplementary images associated with Kabuki drama, and audio of an Appalachian folktale performance. These eCompanions are meant to accomplish what the article by its very nature cannot: to fill in some of the background of real-life context and experience that is by convention eliminated from even the most carefully prepared textual document. Hopefully, they will help the reader to become a better, more faithful audience for the oral tradition under consideration.
Now, with this special issue on Basque Oral Poetry we are able to provide a great wealth of visual and temporal media. Photo, audio, and video resources are presented in a slideshow accompanying the individual articles. Audio and video resources are indicated by icons in the slideshow. Click on the slide to 1) see an enlarged photo, 2) hear audio, or 3) watch video. As a convenience, each slidehsow includes a visual index accessible by clicking the word "index" in the upper right-hand portion of the slide. Clicking on the thumbnail image in the index will advance the slideshow directly to that resource. Each slide has a distinct URL, so links can be created directly to a particular slide. In order to provide this capability, the browser history is incremented as the slideshow progresses. This means that clicking on the browser's back button will take you to the previous slide rather than returning you to the table of contents, so we have provided a convenient link to the TOC below each slideshow.
We hope you will enjoy the new eCompanion mode and we welcome suggestions for additions, modifications, and other improvements to journal.oraltradition.org. Oral tradition is a [End Page i] vast and complex phenomenon, and we need your help to make this site as useful as possible. Please send any feedback to John Foley.
University of Missouri