ISEBEL stands for Intelligent Search Engine for Belief Legends.

We aim to build an international search engine that is able to harvest data from several folktale databases. Beta version: http://search.isebel.eu/

Picture taken at the first international meeting of the ISEBEL group, on September 14, 2017, at the Meertens Instituut in Amsterdam

The picture shows:
Theo Meder: Dutch project leader of ISEBEL, senior folk narrative researcher at the Meertens Instituut, and professor at the University of Groningen. Holger Meyer: German assistant professor in the Database Research Group, CSEE Department, at the University of Rostock. Christoph Schmitt: German head of the “Institut für Volkskunde” and Wossidlo Archive, Faculty of Humanities, at the University of Rostock. Matthijs Brouwer: Dutch software engineer at the Meertens Instituut. Vic Ding: Dutch software engineer at the Meertens Instituut (newly hired for the ISEBEL project). Tim Tangherlini: American professor at the Scandinavian Section and the Asian L&C, at the UCLA. Roman Winter: Dutch-Italian PhD student. Antal van den Bosch: Dutch linguistics professor on example-based language modelling at the Radboud University Nijmegen and director of the Meertens Instituut.


The following databases are involved:

The Dutch Folktale Database

The Danish Folktale Database (see also here)

The North-East German Folklore Database WossiDia

See this pdf for a description and the first plans on ISEBEL in Dutch (published as: Theo Meder: ‘ISEBEL: Intelligent Search Engine for Belief Legends’, in: Volkskunde 119 (2018) 1, p. 87-89.)

An English slideshow about ISEBEL (presented at the SIEF workgroup on Archives in Vilnius, Lithiania, 18 October 2018): http://www.theomeder.nl/VilniusISEBEL.pdf

The German poster presented at the Interdisciplinary Research Camp, University of Rostock, 22th November 2018: Poster_ISEBEL

On March 5, 2019, there was an ISEBEL conference at the University of Rostock, organized by Christoph Schmitt and his German team, and Theo Meder. Title: Transnational Harvesting of Folktale Data: a Video Workshop by ISEBEL. See the program and presentations here.

Here is the poster (and here) as presented on the international DH2019 conference in Utrecht 10-12 July 2019. The abstract can be found online here. And here’s a picture made at the conference.

At the end-of-grant conference January 29-31, 2020 in Alexandria, Virginia (USA), Tim Tangherlini represented the ISEBEL project with this slideshow.

Presentations meant for the closing meeting in Berkeley, USA, March 19, 2020 (cancelled because of the lockdown):

Petra-Himstedt-Vaid: ‘Witches and Werewolves – from the details in WossiDia to the ISEBEL-stories’.

Theo Meder: ‘ISEBEL: Searching in English for Legends‘.


Here is some media coverage about ISEBEL: