A project to develop Early Modern Karelian studies at the international level by making available newly discovered documentary sources was initiated three years ago by Associate Professor Irina Chernyakova, Vice-Dean of Research and International Collaboration in the History Faculty of Petrozavodsk State University, and Professor Jukka Korpela, Director of the History Institute of the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Joensuu. Our initial discussions of the possibility of a combined research project using these sources took place at the colloquia of the international research consortium TASC (Trans-National Database and Atlas of Saints Cults) led by Dr. Graham Jones in Rome (2000), Budapest (2001), and Goettingen (2002).
There are large amounts of Swedish documentary materials of interest to Russian scholars, as well as materials in Russian archives of interest to Swedes and Finns, which is difficult for historians of the respective countries to access. By presenting these materials on the Internet, we will make them generally available to future researchers, whether from these or other countries. As representatives of different academic traditions, we share a concern with training the next generation of scholars to read and to critically interpret such sources. In particular, we are interested in a period  — the 16th -18th centuries — about which the traditional historiography of the two countries disagrees. It was hoped that by making these materials easily accessible, new perspectives might be generated.
In order to make the sources available at a scholarly level which would justify our project as a means of publishing archival materials we required technical assistance. Fortunately one of our TASC colleagues, German scholar Dr. Norbert Winnige, Chief of the the Information Technology Department of the Max-Planck Institute of History in Goettingen (Max-Plank Institute) had the necessary experience in creating Internet full-text databases as a result of his work on the project of Dr. Hans Medic, which is devoted to publishing the correspondence of ordinary people from the times of Thirty Years War. Without his aid and dedication this project could not have been accomplished.
The first stage of our collaboration was the ‘Povenetskaya Tamozhennaya Kniga 1612 goda’ (Povenets Custom Book of 1612), now preserved in the Slavic collection at the University of Stockholm (Sweden), have being prepared and published on the Internet in 2003*.
The text itself was sent to me in a copy by professor Elizabeth Lefstrand with the assistance of our long-time collaborator Gennady Kovalenko, the Head of the Novgorodian Section of the St. Petersburg Institute of History (Novgorod the Great). Together we published Karelian documentary sources from the Russian, Swedish and Finnish archives (1997—2001).
The Teaching-Editing-Research Project (TERP) was undertaken as an activity of the newly created ILLMiK (Investigative Laboratory for Local and Microhistory of Karelia, University of Petrozavodsk), which was organized within the History Faculty to facilitate this work. Our project has become the primary goal thanks to cooperation of among the three institutions mentioned above  and St.Petersburg Institute of History of the Russian Academy of Sciences. A letter of collaboration concerning the Working Program was signed by the three organizers and Professor Vladimir Ginev, Director of the Scientific Archive of the St. Petersburg Institute of History, on 16 March, 2004.
The main task for the next years is to prepare an almost unknown archival collection, the Olonets Military Commanders' Archive, which contains a huge amount of local Karelian documentary sources from the second half of the 17th century. They will be edited and published on the Internet as an academic level publication.
The Collection on a whole consists of about 12.500 irregular sized sheets of paper (sstavy) covered by texts which are often extremely illegible.
On the first three years stage of the TERP the 7.100 sheets of documentary sources were must first be described in a catalog compiled by the archivists of the St. Petersburg Institute for History. The digitized sources then used to be transported to Petrozavodsk where they were prepared portion by portion for computer presentation by our specialist in ILLMiK. Daily work is organized primarily by Oleg Chernyakov, who is responsible for technical aspects of the project, such as equipment and software maintenance, as well as digitizing and preparing of archival documents to be read and prepared for publication by the staff of ILLMiK. The huge amount of them are already read, transliterated, annotated with explanations of archaic language and terminology by students and postgraduates (see information of current work in the electronic Reports and Publications’ Journal, chapter “Reports”). Afterwards all texts and indexes will be checked and corrected by Irina Chernyakova, the editor of Internet-publication. Finally, the collection of Olonets Military Commanders' chancellery, organized as a full-text database, will be presented on the servers of Petrozavodk State University and the University of Joensuu, in accordance with the Working Program.
We hope that these initial publications will lead to the continuation of our work and form a firm documentary basis, as well as a model, for local studies of this border area. Numerous other historical sources devoted to the complicated, dramatic history of Karelia and the Karelians in the Pre-Industrial times await publication and investigation.
An Agreement for TERP to be continued for the next three years period is signed on 28 of November, 2006. In accordance with it a new our partner in Germany is the Christian-Albrecht-University in Kiel. Professor Ludwig Steindorf is appointed as immediate participant and the coordinator of TERP from the German side. We are working nowadays for a new Working Programs creating.
  1. At the moment a new version of this documentary source, revised and enlarged edition, being made in Adobe Acrobat, is presented on our website in the electronic Reports and Publications’ Journal of ILLMiK (see chapter “Documents”).